How to Plan a Year of Great Content on a Small Budget

In today’s marketing climate, content is everything. People want to consume content that interests them and it’s something that influences their buying decisions significantly. This is why Australian businesses are making strides to improve their content marketing strategies at all costs.

The problem is that content is expensive to make. At least, this is true of quality content. When you want to consistently pump out tons of articles, videos, or webinars, you need to be able to finance it well. However, there are some creative options that allow businesses to improve their content without spending too much. It makes the process a lot simpler.

Use what you already have

If your website has been running for any amount of time, it’s likely that you already have quite a bit of content featured on it. While you should be looking towards producing fresh, new content, it would be wise to take a look at the content that is already present.

Obviously, you shouldn’t re-use the content in a way that resembles plagiarism but rather restructures it. If you have a bunch of articles that deal with a certain topic, why not combine them into a comprehensive super-guide that encompasses the whole topic?

It’s a great way to get more bang out of your buck for the content and to provide a very good learning resource for website visitors. Plus, current SEO trends recommend creating more comprehensive pieces of content, so this would provide you with double the benefit.

Branch out into new fields

You can make countless iterations of any form of content. However, focusing on just one will still limit your business. Not to mention, you need to spend more and more to create innovative and interesting content on a regular basis, especially if you only stick to one form of media.

This is somewhat easier to manage when you branch out into other types of media. It’s a key part of business personalization. If your marketing team deals primarily in written articles and text posts, it might be time to try something different. In today’s marketing climate, videos are all the rage. They can dramatically increase viewer engagement and keep them occupied for quite a while. The only issue is that they tend to be expensive the longer they are.

You don’t have to go all out with your marketing content. Even short videos and other forms of visual content will keep viewers engaged to an extent. Infographics are another very effective form of content, and they’re ridiculously shareable. You’ll get lots of backlinks with a quality visual content plan, so keep that in mind.

Invite contributors

After a while, writing from the same standpoint is going to seem a little stale. For your content to stay fresh and engaging, you might need to bring in some new perspectives. Find someone to create some engaging content for your website and have them on as a guest. There are probably many local Australian individuals or experts that would contribute in the same field. You could also look abroad or check other websites that deal with similar topics. These individuals could add their experiences or expertise and make your content more diverse.

The only issue is that you have to compensate them for their work, and it’s likely going to be more costly than your own content. Nobody is going to contribute to your website unless they have a strong incentive.

Financial compensation is fine, but a more budget-friendly option would be to offer them promotion. If your website is big enough, this won’t be much of a problem. They would gladly take the offer for exposure to their target demographic. Alternatively, you could also offer social media promotion and products or services from your business. If your website isn’t too big, it’s worth a try.

Optimize your website

There are countless businesses in Australia that provide high-quality content to their users, but don’t see adequate results for their efforts. This is because factors like marketing and search engine optimization play a big part in the effectiveness of your content.

If you present a video on your website and it plays poorly, lags behind, or doesn’t work on mobile, it’s likely that it won’t draw in as many users. This is something that a lot of Australian website owners don’t realize, and it hurts their chances of spreading content. Increasing the effectiveness of your website’s content is crucial. There are countless experts in quality web design in Sydney that can help businesses set up their website content in a more efficient way. With expert help, you can make your existing content more effective, while also being able to improve your future posts.

Invite users to contribute

As much as people like listening to the opinions and advice of experts, what they like even more is hearing the perspectives of their peers. Opinion pieces and personal experiences make for great content in a lot of fields. The great thing about them is that they don’t necessarily require expertise in any form.

If you wanted, you could invite your website’s users to contribute content of their own. It’s a tried-and-tested method that gives your website more quality content, while also creating a more open and inclusive environment for people to enjoy. Users will gladly contribute their content to a website that they like, even if there’s no compensation or if it’s minimal.

Conclusion

Content is something you can’t do without in online marketing. To create better content on a budget, you’ll need to get a bit creating. With the above ideas, you should be able to handle the task and reach successful numbers.

Best Free Conference Call Services for Businesses

Having the right conference call service on your side can help improve your business in so many different ways. First of all, it provides you with a chance to contact members of your team who are far away on a moment’s notice. It also allows you to skip the necessity to go across the globe in order to attend a meeting in person. Sure, a lot of people prefer a face-to-face meeting, however, organizing one in order to resolve an issue in several minutes is a waste of everyone’s time and resources. Fortunately, a conference call service can help you avoid this but which platforms are the best for your business? Here are several worth considering.

  1. Skype

It would be simply unfair not to mention skype at the very top of this list. Why? Well, the first reason is the fact that even today, skype boasts with as many as 1 billion downloads and about 300 million monthly active users. One more thing that sets skype apart is the fact that it’s at the very top of the industry for years now. Keep in mind that this tool is completely free and that it provides you with a simple and efficient conference call service that you can use for both international and local meetings alike.

  1. Google Hangouts

If there’s one thing that we can notice about Google nowadays it’s the fact that it tries to be competitive in virtually every field out there. This ranges from becoming competitive with MS Office, with tools like Google Docs and Google Sheets. One incredible Google tool that you can use for conference call services is the so-called Google Hangouts. The best thing about this tool is that it’s completely browser-based and that, all you need to access it is a Google Account. In other words, it’s a tool that you can always default to.

  1. Zoom

Another amazing tool for conference calls, especially if you have a particularly large team, is Zoom. The only downside of this tool lies in the fact that your calls are limited to 40 minutes, however, seeing as how the majority of meetings don’t actually exceed 20 minutes, this is more than enough. Other than this, by having a limited time for the meeting, you’ll have extra motivation to keep it short and to the point. It is estimated that we spend about 31 hours in unnecessary meetings each month, either way, so avoiding this might be especially important. Needless to say, you have both free and premium accounts.

  1. Redback Connect

When it comes to hosting a conference with a particularly large audience, what you might need is a tool that’s closer to a life event streaming service than an IM software. Redback Connect is a perfect example. As is expected, this is something that can completely erase all geographical boundaries, which makes it ideal even for major industry-relevant conventions. The fact that you can also provide your audience with an on-demand content makes for another major selling point of this tool.

  1. Viber

Another tool that you need to take into consideration is the use of Viber for the purpose of conference-calling. The problem with this idea lies in the fact that Viber’s biggest advantage also tends to be its major downside. Namely, a Viber is a tool that virtually everyone nowadays has installed on their phone. On top of this, it also has a desktop version. The fact that it has a wide personal use makes people available 24/7, however, this also means that they might get distracted by other (personal) messages that they receive while working.

  1. FreeConferenceCall.com

The next tool that’s worth your consideration is the FreeConferenceCall.com. This is a reliable and simple tool with a more than self-explanatory name. The tool itself can be registered for free in a matter of minutes but you also have an option to continue with your Facebook account, thus facilitating this already short process even further. The use of this tool is also quite simple, seeing as how you can set up an online conference in a simple three-steps-long move. You get a free account, you invite participants and you start an audio conference. It really is that simple.

  1. WebEx

One more amazing tool that you should consider using is WebEx. The benefits of using this tool are numerous, the biggest one being the fact that you get to the conference call, screen share and file share within the same platform. Due to the fact that the tool also has a simple and effective whiteboard for quick and efficient messaging, it is more than clear that this is an end-to-end conference tool like no other. This is particularly effective when you’re sharing visual ideas. For instance, in a scenario where you’re trying to design a custom sign for your business. A brainstorming session in WebEx can be quite a sight. Now, the tool itself is not free, however, you do get a trial period. This means that you can always use it as a one-time solution.

  1. UberConference

One of the tools that a lot of people probably expected to see earlier on this list is the popular UberConference tool. What you get is a free conference call tool that specializes in voice calls. Sure, conference call services in 2020 usually imply video support, however, the truth is that audio always comes first. This is especially important to allow various parties to participate in conference calls while driving.

  1. FreeConference.com

Finally, we have one more tool with a self-explanatory name that can provide you with a highly-efficient online meeting room for your staff. The platform has support for any device, which gives you an additional layer of versatility that you need. Add to this the fact that you get support for international dial-in numbers and what you’ve got yourself is an ultimate tool for going global with your business. 

In conclusion

At the end of the day, there are several factors that all of these tools share. First, the registering process is always free and simple and the tool itself has a simple and intuitive interface. In fact, one could even get out of the way to claim that it makes little to no difference when it comes to which of the tools you decide to use. Now, while differences may not be exactly astronomical, they’re definitely present. Also, seeing as how no tool is so clearly superior or inferior to others, you can just pick the one that fits your own personal preference without the fear of making the wrong choice.

The Importance of a Good Coffee Machine in the Working Place

Having a good workplace goes beyond working in a clean and sterile environment. In today’s world, it’s simply not enough to have a stack of cubicles in a room and call it an office. The modern employer knows that the key to productivity and success is keeping their employee happy and treating them like human beings, not just closing them off from each other and expecting results.

This is the main reason modern offices have such elaborate designs and often look very quirky. You don’t need to be eccentric to make your employees happy, though. A few key components are enough to make them love going to work and look forward to each new day in the office. One of those components is the coffee machine.

Though it seems simple enough, a good coffee machine has the power to transform the entire office attitude and make your employees much brighter. Such a common piece of equipment will be the light in your workers’ days as it will give them an energy and motivation boost when they most need it.

1. It keeps things moving

Things at work seem to be running smoothly, and then everything just stops. People run into a problem they can’t solve only to spend the rest of the day trying to figure it out. The more they rack their brain, the further away the answer seems to be. When working on something complex and important, it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and lose yourself in your own brain. The path to a solution seems doesn’t seem like it exists.

In some cases, it’s enough to get a fresh pair of eyes on the issue and find the solution together. What do you do in the cases where the whole office is exhausted and looking for the same way out as you? This is especially an issue when we’re talking about team projects. When the whole team is down, the whole project will be too.

Sometimes the project or assignment can be so complex that it takes days to figure it out. Though, most times it takes days just because people are reluctant to give up. They don’t realize that taking a rest would help them reach the solution, as they feel useless and unproductive when they’re not working towards a solution.

This is where the coffee machine comes in. It could very well be the thing that saves your team from countless unproductive hours in the office. Coffee has the power to reset our brains and make them start working again. When you’re too exhausted to think, you need something to do it for you. A fresh cup of coffee will be exactly what you need.

Making someone do a coffee run just feels like wasting more time, but the office coffee machine will provide what everyone needs in heartbeat. If you opt for the models which can serve more people at once, the whole team can have their favourite cup of coffee in front of them at the same time. They’ll be able to get straight back to work with a rewired brain and find a solution much more quickly.

2. It gives them something in common

Offices, especially big ones, are full of very different people. This is something very normal, as not all the same personalities will ever work in the same office. It’s also a good thing because it’s ground for more creativity and productivity. People solve problems more easily and they finish projects more quickly when they look at all the different perspectives of one issue. That’s only possible with a diverse and competent team.

Though that all may sound fine and dandy, it can create a very cold and professional office. No one will know how to connect to and talk to someone else when it seems like they’ve got nothing in common. Instead of a community, your office becomes just a place where people can’t wait to get out of.

This can also contribute to feelings of isolation and make individuals feel uncomfortable while at work. In the long run, all this does is put a damper on productivity and make employees miserable. To avoid such an outcome, you’ll need to give them something in common.

With all those different personalities present, it can be very hard figuring out what exactly they all have in common. That is, it’s very hard until you realize that our society basically runs on coffee. There are virtually no people who don’t drink coffee on a daily basis, meaning everyone will have something in common.

By adding a coffee machine, you’re giving people a conversation opener. The coffee machine chats will replace the old-timey water cooler chats and encourage communication and socialization in the workplace. The conversation may start by one employee asking another how they take their coffee, only to transform into something more meaningful and friendly. The coffee machine truly is the first step to making life-long friends.

3. It gives them an energy boost

Flickering levels of energy are always the biggest danger in the workplace. When someone is physically exhausted, it gets a lot harder to think and focus on work. Whether the employee didn’t have a good night’s sleep or they’re missing their afternoon nap- the effects are the same. To make your employees more alert, you need to give them an energy source.

Now, though the idea of nap quarters in the office sounds appealing, it’s very inconvenient and inconceivable. Thankfully, there’s another energy source you can provide for your employees: the coffee machine. 

Whether they use it on their lunch break, when they first get in, or anywhere in between, you’ll be sure it’s doing its job exceptionally well. Coffee is like a reset switch for the body. As soon as we drink coffee, we feel more refreshed and ready to get back to work.

We don’t feel physically tired anymore but are instead eager to get on with our days. The body is once again able to follow the ambitiousness of the brain and help us reach success. So, by pushing the body forward, it actually contributes to the increase in productivity employers are always after.

For some, the cup or two of coffee that they have in the office is enough to get them to the end of the day. That cup is the reason they make their deadlines and are able to go home not feeling exhausted. The coffee allows them to power through another hard day and come out a winner.

4. It gives them something to look forward to

Being stuck in the office all day isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun. Most people lose motivation in the middle of the day because they’re simply overwhelmed by the amount of work they need to do and have already done. The only thing they have to look forward to is their breaks at this point. When there’s nothing to do in the break room, the employee will sit mindlessly for their lunch over of five-minute break and sink into tiredness even more.

This isn’t a very nice way to relax your brain. You’ve been staring at the screen for the whole day and now you’re just wallowing in exhaustion. All you want at that moment is to rest your head either by watching something stupid on TV or going directly to bed. That’s the exact opposite attitude of what you want in the workplace and is a sure way of creating zombies.

To avoid this, you have to give your people something to look forward to. Having a coffee machine changes the game entirely. This gives your employees something nice to look forward to on their breaks. It’s crucial to have a coffee machine which can support the needs of your staff, though. You want to provide good service for each member of the team and keep them all on their toes throughout the day.

That’s why it’s not a bad idea to look at high-shelf firms for quality espresso coffee machine, as these firms offer exactly what you need- good service and fine-tasting coffee with a press of a button. A healthy break for your employee suddenly isn’t so far away. They get to take 10 minutes to just collect their thoughts and get their brain running again. Zombie apocalypse- successfully avoided!

5. It spices up the break room

The design of the break room can always use an update. Let’s face it, most break rooms aren’t very pretty or nice. They’re packed with seating furniture or only have one table and a few chairs. The kitchen equipment is mediocre at best, and the fridge always makes that weird sound. This isn’t really an environment you want to spend all of your breaks in.

You don’t have to change the entire design and spend a lot of dough on a makeover, though. Start adding new things to spice up the place one by one. The first item on the agenda will be the coffee machine.

Professional coffee machines for offices are usually designed in such a way that they don’t take up a lot of counter space, making them perfect for every break room. As well as that, they usually have an interesting and colourful design that can light up the whole area.

Your break room suddenly won’t seem so drab and boring when it’s got one hell of a coffee machine as its centrepiece.

Conclusion

The human race takes a lot of things for granted and the coffee machine is one of them. Coffee is the centre of our culture, regardless of where you come from. It’s an excuse to see the people you love or ask someone out, an opportunity to meet new people, and a way to remind yourself that you’re not alone in this world.

On a more personal level, coffee wakes up all our senses, makes us more awake, and gives us the confidence and motivation to tackle every challenge laid in front of us. Once you put in the coffee machine, you won’t be able to recognize your staff. It really will be the thing to tie the whole place together and give it meaning.

How can I get free Internet at home without paying anything?

Person using tablet

Everyone wants to get free internet at home without paying any money. But it may not be difficult because the internet providers are updating their feature at low cost. However, there is some free application which may help you get free Wi-Fi but their service provided by them may not be effective according to your need. You just need to get free internet and also know ways on how to get free internet at home without paying.

Freedom Pop for Free Internet

Freedom Pop for Free internet is best for you if you want to go at free of cost. You will get a wireless router where you can access the internet without paying any money. Another good benefit of this router is it is portable that makes sure you can carry it anyplace and it is also workable at any place. It is also possible to get a free data plan from FreedomPop and at a time you are getting up to 500 MB without paying any money. In case you need more data you may go and visit their plan.

NetZero for Free Internet

In the name of the Internet, NetZero is one of the familiar names because this internet service provider has been providing service since 1988. Unlike Freedom Pop, you are not going to use a router but you have to install a software to avail internet from NetZero. If you don’t need enough data or you are not regular to use the internet, this plan is best suited for you. This service provider offers 10 hours per month. They also have different plans that you may be interested in a fee.

Wi-Fi Free Spot for Free Internet

Wi-Fi Free Spot for Free internet can be one of the best ways to get free internet without paying any money. This can help you identify regional and national enterprises in your location. This site preserves directory that can be reached by clicking. This can also be so helpful if you move from one place to another. However, you have to be a member of the library that offers free internet service.

Check with your service provider for free internet

In your location, the service providers for internet have plans and service for their clients. Part of this fact, their open internet service is hidden at most of the cases, additionally you may not know that your internet service provider has discounted data plans and higher browsing speed. More importantly, there are different free service that you don’t know. If you want to get an internet connection, you have to make sure the answer to these queries. You will get benefit indeed.

Search for Municipal Wireless Network in your Area

Surely there are some areas in the world with Free Wi-Fi. It is also called citywide network which setups Wi-Fi connections from the different internet service provider. In the large metropolitan areas, this network is available.

Ask a neighbor for free internet

Most of the families who use the internet connection from the internet service provider and they intentionally want to shave this internet by partial payment. Luckily if you have a good relationship with this neighbor, you ask for this internet connection. More importantly, this can be done by sharing service with your neighbor that will cost no money.

InstaBridge For Free Internet

InstaBridge is a free internet application which is applicable for smartphones with Wi-Fi passwords and spots on the go. This can be helpful to use because this can help you to identify the nearest place in which you have free access. Additionally, InstaBridge makes sure to list your home Wi-Fi to share with the rest of the family members and your friends as well. This can remove any trouble to get access in relation to password connection.

Final Verdict

Everyone may go for free intent and they also try hard but there is no way. Surely there are a lot of ways to get it done and we have discussed above. You may also avail some high-speed intent if you want to go with plans of the internet service provider. But free internet at home without paying money is really an excellent way to use the internet as you don’t have to pay any money.

Why Performance Reviews Are Critical for Small Businesses

There are certain advantages a small business has that a large multi-national corporation simply cannot, by its very nature, posses. Namely, these are a certain warmth, personality, a sense of being natural… However, perhaps the most important aspect is this – flexibility. Namely, a small business can change, shift, turn. Just compare an elegant mini cooper with a semi.

And for this reason, a small business can utilize performance reviews much better. Namely, performance reviews have gotten a bad rap as being just annoying, bureaucratic by-the-numbers sessions. This is because big companies can’t handle doing this properly, either because of their size, or simply not caring. However, having a small, dedicated team, means that you can do a performance review on a regular basis, and it also means that they have a much greater effect. Below are the reasons why these are just so important.

Time for praise (and error correction)

The entire point of performance reviews are to assess the performance and efficacy of a certain employee. How well did they do their work, how had are they working, how are they handling any pressure that may have been added to their plate.

Performance reviews present a time where you can reward good behaviour, and where bad behaviour can be corrected. Let’s face it, a busy business owner has a lot of thing on his or her mind. This means you simply forget things, even stuff as important as letting some employees know just how good of a job they are doing. It’s a great opportunity to provide some kind of reward as well. It also helps you sit down and see what one person is doing wrong.

Think of this as an opportunity bot to praise and correct your staff, as well as serving as a reminder for you to do so.

 

Helps with goals

Without goals, you are practically rudderless. Goals are something one should strive towards, one should move towards. With proper goals, you know where you are going. In turn, you then know if you’re on the right track or not. With this in mind, think of performance reviews as an opportunity to speak to employees about goals, both theirs, and how they integrate with the goals of the company.

In fact, setting goals is something any company (or for that matter, any individual) should do as soon as possible. By figuring out the goals of an employee, or by helping this person figure them out, you get to see how motivated they are, and how well they can mesh with your company. An ambitious, driven person who wants to start a family in the same town your local business is located in is much more dependable than a person who wants to travel as much as he or she can, without thinking too much into the future. On the other hand, this same vagabondish individual is perfect for positions that require travelling and going out of town.

With this in mind, it helps you figure out why certain people just don’t perform as well as they could, and can help you understand how to get good employees even better.

 

Forces you to reassess

Having performance reviews done regularly helps you take a look at your company, and see where you are right now. It forces you to sit down and analyse what is happening within your company, and how you can improve further on along the way. Perhaps your own leadership skills are not up to snuff, or you may have some other issues you need to attend to.

Juggling too many things at once can make life difficult for any business owner. Getting proper smb management solutions, instead of creating them yourself alone, can help you push forward with your company, and lighting a part of the workload you have. This can make reassessments easier, and make it simpler to integrate performance reviews into your reassessment protocols.

The carrot and the stick

Motivation is obviously important, as we’ve mentioned. But, with regular performance reviews, you can keep some less than stellar employees on their toes, while giving good ones something to look forward to. If they know that you actually care about their performance and intend to review it, both problematic employees and star workers will go the extra mile to give you their all.

And remember, always praise in public, scold in private, if you want to keep your people motivated. Scolding people in public will make your staff be afraid of making mistakes in the future, which will paradoxically lead to mistakes, or will stifle creativity. On the other hand, praising in public boosts morale of an employee even more than if you were to just sit down with them.

Conclusion

Performance reviews are important and useful, especially for small businesses. As a small business, you have a greater impact when dealing with your employees, and can influence them more, both positively and negatively.

These 5 Simple Tweaks Will Make Your Office More Productive

When it comes to the productivity of your staff, you need to understand that there are some things that you simply can’t affect. For instance, when it comes to the issue of motivation, promoting, offering raises and bonuses, as well as praising is likely to do the trick but there’s no such guarantee. There are some people who will outperform your expectations and there are those who will underperform or show lack of interest no matter what you do. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. You see, you have to do your part in order to create conditions in which those who are ambitious and hard-working enough can thrive. Here are several ways in which you can achieve this by turning your office into a more productive environment.

1. Ergonomic furniture prevents injuries and boosts productivity

The first and the foremost thing you need to focus on is getting ergonomic furniture, seeing as how this is an investment in the long-term health of your employees. First of all, proper furniture creates a smaller risk of injury, which means that your employees are less likely to get injured in the workplace which might lead to an expensive lawsuit. Second, it helps reduce the number of sick days that they take during the injury.

Finally, it helps them avoid some minor health-related inconveniences that could significantly damage their physical health and their productivity. You see, an inadequate seating and desk height can lead to problems with one’s posture. This is more than a slight annoyance seeing as how it can damage one’s ability to think straight and focus on the task at hand. Even some of the greatest chess masters in history were known to engage in physical exercise on a daily basis in order not to allow back pain to prevent them to access their full potential.

As for what you can do about this is to look for a proper way to furnish your office. Due to the logistics of this issue, you need to bring your search down to only local suppliers. For instance, for your NSW business, you should find a reliable office fit out Sydney agency and try to make these arrangements possible.

2. The positioning of the manager’s desk

In a scenario where a manager is sharing an office floor with the employees, chances are that the positioning of the manager’s desk may be crucial in the efficiency of your overall organization. While this may seem like a minor thing, you need to understand just how important it is that you find the right spot. On the one hand, you want the supervisor to have a clear field of vision of the entire floor, yet, you don’t want your employees to feel like they’re being monitored 24/7. Such a thing could make them feel uneasy, which is a major mood- and productivity-killer. Instead, you should look for a suitable Feng Shui principle and place their desk in the corner opposite the main entry point, directly facing it.

3. Task delegation and accountability

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that your employees may not fully realize the importance of their role within your company. Sure, they’re a tiny cog in the machine, yet, you need to make sure they know exactly how big of a difference they’re making. You can start this out by explaining to them where they fit in the bigger picture.

Second, you need to explain to them both potential rewards of a job well-done and repercussions of failing to meet these expectations. They need to understand that all of their actions have consequences and this should help them work more meticulously. Also, give them some room for autonomous thinking, due to the fact that this will demonstrate that you trust them, as well as give them some room to grow professionally.

4. Set realistic targets

Perhaps the most important thing in running a successful business is your ability to set realistic goals. On the one hand, this helps you push your business in the direction that you want it to go in, in small steps. It also allows you to measure your progress, seeing as how each completed task takes you one step closer towards the place where you want to be. As for your team, some of them won’t be in your employ long enough to see you fulfill your five-year plan, so tracking these micro-goals may be the only way to show them that you are, indeed, making progress.

There are also two reasons why it’s important for these goals to be realistic. First, there’s no easier way to get disappointed than to set unrealistic goals. Second, if you don’t make these goals meaningful and challenging to achieve, even if you do manage to meet them this won’t feel like a triumph. Remember, your team needs these small victories in order to keep going.

5. Give them a chance to blow off some steam

When boosting productivity, it seems intuitive that you should invest in tools, courses and bonuses, however, the direct approach is not always the most effective one. By giving your team a chance to blow off some steam by paying for a corporate holiday, throwing a party or investing in your break room, you get to raise the mood and make your office into a more hospitable place. Also, if your employees start seeing you as too profit-driven, they’ll realize that you see them as if they were assets and not real people. Needless to say, this is something you want to avoid at all costs.

In conclusion

By adhering to these five rules alone, you can make your office more efficient and turn it into a place much more pleasant for work. Some, require a slight investment, while others require you to change a corporate policy or two. The best thing about it all is that these improvements are not that hard or expensive to make and they give an instant boost to efficiency, in return.

Office Coffee Culture – What It Is & What Are Its Benefits

Unless you’re running a macabre sort of theme park complete with models of corpses, jump scare tunnels, actors donned like Klaus Kinski in that Nosferatu apparel, and perhaps a photoshopped image of the Bush family complete with Illuminati capes on, that can either seem a lark or positively disturbing (depending on your disposition that day), a dejected atmosphere at work will only make the productivity in the workplace grind towards a slow, drudging halt.

Take offices, for example.

Being stuck in a cubicle for eight hours every day can in and of itself be a nightmarish prospect. Imagine, then, what would this sort of situation look like if the employees didn’t have a short space for respite and refreshment!

It’d be a disaster.

Well, then. To prevent this, as an employer, one of the best courses of action would be to organize a refreshment station.

Now, since most people in this day and age drink coffee on a regular basis, why not venture to install a coffee machine to make your employees happy and not sad.

That’s right! – Fostering a healthy coffee-based office culture is the new, ehrm,… mini skirt! No, it isn’t. Oh, well, it’s still better than nothing. Plus, there are benefits.

Read forth to find out what.

What is Office Coffee Culture?

A office-bound coffee culture is not a conglomeration of gut bacteria that you can pick up from your office.

It’s a way of connecting to your colleagues as an employee, and creating an interesting platform for respite and convivial talks between your employees, as an employer.

The idea is simple – designate a small area of your office for this purpose, get a coffee machine, encourage your employees to take full advantage of it, et voila!- you’ve got yourself an office-bound coffee culture!

Benefits of a Coffee-Centered Office Culture

A Conversation Starter

Other than representing a way to get some rest after a tough round of work, so to speak, coffee breaks tend to be a great way to jump-start a conversation between your employees.

Loneliness and boredom are probably the worst issues that pester the working man and woman, so introducing an environment of leisure and relaxation will surely contribute to the overall atmosphere at work.

What’s more, getting your subordinates to talk to each other will no doubt encourage them to find better solutions related to work itself!

Encourages Creative Thinking

It’s difficult finding a new solution to a problem if all you do every day for eight hours is simply stare at a screen and type on the keyboard. Exchanging ideas between themselves and even expressing their annoyance at this problem in the office or another is likely to lead to some conclusions and perhaps solutions for the issues at hand.

Remember, some of the best solutions seem to shyly come to us in the most unlikely shapes and at the most unlikely times, such as sitting on the john, for example.

Newton had his lightbulb moment when an apple fell on its noggin, as well.

A Happiness Boost

Let’s not forget the main deal, either.

Coffee is one of the greatest legal brain stimulants, and drinking it in moderation can do wonders for endorphin production and hence your mood and productivity while at work.

Indeed, as long as you don’t overdo it, having a cup or two at work can turn you into a typing machine if you’re a copywriter, for example, let’s say.

Unless you’ve recently quit coffee, that is. In that case, bring a prayerbook to work and proceed to pray in French and Latin every time you feel like your energy levels are down in the gutter. French and Latin, that’s right, and you’ll also want to say these loud and clear.

Jokes aside, coffee can be a great device of betterment, not only for your respectable tummy, but also for your socializing skills at work. If you’re an employer, take time to consider installing that coffee machine.

Hospitality – One of the Most Important Skills Leader Should Have

The hospitality industry is a peculiar field, seeing as how you’re selling a general feeling, rather than just a product or a commodity. You see, there are some hotels or restaurants that simply feel cozy, welcoming and pleasant to be at, without really excelling in anything. We all have that one hotel that wasn’t the cheapest, the most luxurious or the best equipped but that we have fond memories of. Chances are that a person would return to this hotel, even if they encounter a superior offer elsewhere. In the hospitality industry, it’s all about return visitors and the only way to acquire them is to create a positive experience the first time around. Here are several skills that a leader should have to facilitate this process.

1. Communication skills

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that the organization of your hotel greatly depends on your ability to organize everything. However, making a solid plan doesn’t mean much if you can’t find a way to convey it to your staff. Moreover, there are some guests that demand or require special treatment and it’s your job to accommodate them. Either way, in the digital era, communication skills need to be used both orally and in writing. Needless to say, the latter comes in many different formats. Circular emails can replace meetings while IM tools can keep your team coordinated at any given moment. Even when it comes to your marketing, you need to become good at conveying the message.

2. Being a good listener

Previously, we put an emphasis on your ability to convey a message, however, what about your ability to receive feedback. You see, showing interest in what people are telling you is just one of many ways to make them instantly like you. Dale Carnegie talked quite a bit about this in his iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, nonetheless, this is not all that active listening is good for.

The problem with your vision of your hotel/restaurant lies in the fact that you know all the details and see all those behind-the-curtain parts that other people won’t be able to see. Therefore, you don’t have a real idea of what your business looks like from the outside. By listening, really listening to people, you’ll get a much more realistic view of your business, as a whole. This will give you an opportunity to further emphasize its strengths and fix all your weaknesses.

3. Willingness to self-improve

Being a hospitality manager takes a lot of responsibility and there’s really no limit to how good you can become in this field. The problem, nonetheless, lies in the fact that learning from experience will be limited to situations that you and your staff have encountered, which is an unreliable didactic method, to say the least. Instead of believing that hospitality is an intuitive career path, you should find a suitable course and enlist on it.

Needless to say, this will provide you with a certificate that you can use with your marketing, later on, as well as the knowledge you can apply on a daily basis. Moreover, it’s completely up to you whether you study just enough to get a diploma or if you embark on this adventure to revolutionize your business. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to be quite resourceful, at times, and provide yourself with necessary hospitality training resources. These learning materials come in various forms and are of varying quality, which is also something you need to take into consideration.

4. Cultural awareness

The next thing that a leader in the field of hospitality needs to understand is the fact that you’ll probably receive guests from all over the world. Now, in theory, a guest is supposed to adjust to the culture of their target country (your culture), however, as a business, you need to go above and beyond to be welcoming and… well, welcoming. This is why cultural awareness matters. This doesn’t mean that you should greet every single one of your visitors in their native tongue but you could, at very least be aware that they’re coming from a different culture and give them some room to breathe. Don’t be too pushy, too talkative or try to engage with them physically (even if you see it as nothing more than a handshake).

5. Multi-tasking

The next important skill you need to master is multi-tasking, seeing as how you might be required to handle several tasks at the same time. In the middle of the season, you’ll have the place full and your staff will work at its maximum capacity. Other than this, you might also employ some seasonal workers, which will require more supervision than your own in-house staff. This is all the more reason why you need to be able to handle several tasks, at the same time and perform admirably under pressure.

6. Emotional resilience

As a leader, you’ll be responsible for every success and every failure of your business. However, you need to understand that you can’t allow either of these two sensations to overwhelm you. Receiving a positive review or comment might help motivate you but becoming overconfident is a negative thing and could potentially set your back, professionally. Receiving a negative piece of feedback might demoralize you and make you start doubting yourself even wanting to quit for good. Keep in mind that different people have different requirements and expectations. This subjective standpoint that every visitor has is the main reason why you’ll never be able to please (or disappoint) everyone.

In conclusion

The very last thing you need to understand is the fact that the field of hospitality is an umbrella term that consists of many different business options. Needless to say, each of these adds another variable to the set of skills that you need to possess for success. Nonetheless, the top six factors are universally important and contribute to the overall level of your organization. Put together, they make you a great host and take your hospitality to a next level.

How to Throw a Great Office Party

Office holiday parties’ are usually memorable events – but not always for the right reasons. Lack of foresight and adequate planning can result in an office party that’s awkward at best and a complete disaster at worst. This list of things that can go wrong at an office party is a long one, but does that mean you should ditch the idea altogether? Of course not!

Office parties are actually one of the best ways to raise employee morale, improve group dynamic, and help your co-workers de-stress. An office party is also a valuable opportunity to get to know your colleagues better and find out more about how they function as a team.

With some clever planning and the help of these next few tips, you’ll be guaranteed to throw a great office party:

The right time

Don’t let all those epic party favors you have in store go to waste by picking the wrong date for your office party. Choosing the most convenient date is the first step to take when organizing a party for your colleagues. Since it’s practically a given that most of your fellow employees will have a schedule full of events they want to attend during the holiday season, you need to plan your party early and set the date at least a few months in advance.

While Saturday might seem like an obvious choice, keep in mind that not everyone will be willing to sacrifice their weekend for an office party. Mid-week is your best bet if you want to maximize the chances of a great turnout. Make sure you check the calendar in order to avoid conflicts with public holidays, and if you want to be extra safe, you can always set up an e-mail poll and let your guests vote on the date that suits them best.

A fun theme

Is there anything worse than a bland and boring office party? Since corporate parties often get a bad rep for forced niceties, awkward conversations, and flavorless food, you want to give your guests an actual reason to attend voluntarily. So put your thinking cap on and try to come up with a fun party theme that everyone will enjoy.

Theme parties are not just for children’s birthdays. In fact, there’s nothing like an awesome theme party to let you unwind after a long day of being a responsible adult. The theme for your office party can be anything from pop culture and sports to game shows and sports. Set aside enough time to make a list of options and then try to pick a theme that matches your guests’ personalities and interests.

 

Pre-event buzz

Creating pre-event excitement is one of the key ingredients for a great office party. This is also a clever way to gauge employee interest and estimate the number of people who are actually going to show up. If you’re running low on creativity, there are tons of fun office party invitation templates online that you can print out or mail to your guests.

Or simply use the power of social media to spread the word about the party and generate some much-needed buzz. You can create a Facebook event and spark the invitees’ interest by giving them a snippet of what they can expect at the office party – it can be anything from pictures of mouth-watering food to a cool music playlist that are bound to get everyone excited weeks before the actual event.

Food to please everyone

Let’s face it – lousy food can either make or break your corporate party, which means you really don’t want to take any chances when it comes to the menu. Don’t risk ruining your office party with sketchy food items and leave the catering to professionals. But what kind of catering should you choose? While options are many, one thing is for sure – few people would object to a tasty Spanish-inspired menu.

Paellas, tapas, and canapés come in many different flavors that will suit all palates and dietary needs. Hiring a reliable paella catering service such as Tapas Market catering is a foolproof way to ensure your office party is remembered for the scrumptious food. Letting experienced caterers take care of the food and drinks will prevent any menu-related mishaps that can leave a bad taste in employees’ mouths even long after the party is over.

5 Small Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs

The reason why running a small business is so hard is due to the fact that it takes too much time and energy for one to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Needless to say, for female entrepreneurs who also hope of starting a family, this might be even more challenging. Fortunately, we now live in a time when there are so many options available, that it shouldn’t be impossible for you to find something that can fit even in the tightest of schedules. With that in mind and without further ado, here are five small business ideas for women entrepreneurs.

1. Home-based catering business

The first idea that comes to mind is to start your own catering business, which you can further specialize by taking only certain types of events. For instance, you can specialize in corporate catering, small business catering or catering for parties. In order to achieve this, nonetheless, you need to compose a menu that you can work with, as well as find suppliers for, have an adequate kitchen facility and make sure that you follow sanitary rules and regulations. Also, the type of the event also mandates the size of your operations. Doing a catering for a huge wedding requires more hands, equipment, supplies and time than doing so for a small office party.

2. Creative freelance work

The next thing you can consider is doing some creative freelance work like writing content, blogging, selling photographs online and similar issues. The advantages of freelancing are numerous and straightforward. You work from home, which means that you can multitask while you’re at it (even though this drastically cuts down on your efficiency and productivity). Second, you get to choose your own work hours, which gives you the freedom to make a schedule with a better work-life balance. Lastly, there’s so much room for growth and advancement. In other words, you can start this out as a hobby or a source of side-income and, in time, turn it into a full-time.

3. Beauty therapy

Another great idea that you could pull off is start a business within your own home where you can meet, greet and treat clients. All you need is to take a single room that you’ll set aside as a home office, get the necessary equipment, purchase a brochure display for some brochures and flyers and get right into it. Offering services in the field of beauty therapy are always popular and quite profitable, yet, they this field is usually quite competitive. This is why getting a degree from a recognized educational institution like Perth Beauty College might help you get the reputation boost that you’ve needed all along.

4. Developing an app

Even though it’s true that this field requires a lot of specialization and technical prowess, the truth is that app-development has never been easier. In fact, there are some app builders out there that work on a drag-and-drop principle, meaning that all you need is a new idea in order to put your plans into action. Sure, sticking to these simplistic tools keeps you somewhat restricted in options, yet, this is still an option and, once you start earning money from this, it might be worth your while to learn a thing or two more about app development.

5. Online tutoring

One more business idea that you could try out is tutoring people online. If you have a skill, knowledge of a language that’s in demand or anything similar, you can find students online and hold lectures via a webcam in order to make an income. For those who are still unsure about how all of this work, they can always find an agency that provides these services and start working from them. Later on, you can find your own clients and enjoy the luxury of not having to share your profit with anyone else. In time, you can even start hiring tutors and make an agency of your own.

In conclusion

As you can see, these ideas greatly differ in business type and model, which leaves you with so much room for customization. This will allow you to make a business model that fits your own lifestyle and aspirations. Also, it gives you a chance to slowly scale your business over the course of time.