How Can Good SEO Help Potential Customers Find Your Startup?

SEO might not be fast or easy, but it’s still necessary in today’s business world. And if you’re just starting your business, it’s definitely worth your time.

It will allow you to generate new leads, attract new customers and ultimately, increase sales by boosting your visibility in search engines. But let’s start from the beginning.

What exactly is SEO?

In short, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and many people consider it the main digital tactic companies use to attract new customers online.

The first thing you need to know about SEO is that it isn’t a short-term tactic. It’s better described as a “collection of tactics” that you can use to improve your presence on the Internet.

Search engines – we’ll mostly be taking about Google, since it holds more than 90% of search market share – rank sites based on their relevance and quality.

You can use SEO to improve your rankings by optimizing your site and using certain tactics that Google deems useful for users. Now let’s take a look at how SEO can help small businesses attract new audiences.

SEO for small-to-mid-size businesses

If you opt for SEO, your main goal should be to use a number of different tactics to improve your rankings. Search engine visibility is crucial for your success, since most customers research their purchases on the Internet before they make a decision.

As we said, SEO is a collection of strategies and techniques that work together as a part of your overall marketing strategy. Its main aim is to improve your position in organic search results – not paid results, that’s a completely different thing – and some of the most important SEO strategies include:

  • UX and site architecture
  • Content creating and marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Analytics and keyword research
  • Link building and outreach

Before we start talking about these tactics in more detail, let’s see why this is so important for your business and what results you can expect from a successful SEO strategy.

Why is SEO important for your site?

In this day and age, a small business lives and dies by its marketing efforts and as we established before, SEO is an important part of online marketing efforts.

Look at it like this, if a potential customer can’t find your site on Google, you practically don’t exist to that customer. And if you think SEO is only important at the moment, you’re terribly wrong.

The practice has been around for more than two decades at this point and according to Market Dive research, more than 80% of marketers see SEO as becoming even more effective in the future.

How to create a successful SEO strategy

The main goal of any SEO strategy is to generate more leads and increase your customer base in the process, not just increase your rank in Google. If you want to do things properly, it would be smart to hire an SEO consultant company. Preferably a reputable one, like this New York based SEO company.

If not, you can actually try do everything on your own. However, you have to be prepared for a ton of work and mistakes along the way.

  • On-site SEO tactics:  Every piece of content on your website, from blog posts to images, needs to be properly optimized for Google, or any other search engine you plan on focusing on.
  • Off-site SEO tactics: Link building is one of the main aspects of off-page SEO and it includes reaching out to various sites and influencers who might find your site and content useful.
  • Mobile-friendliness: A vast majority of people today browse the Internet on their mobile devices. That’s why you need to optimize your site for mobile and make sure that everything works perfectly on all devices.  

Of course, tracking your SEO campaigns is always time-consuming and at times, it can be quite stressful. So, if you want to track the performance of your SEO activities, you should try using a professional digital marketing dashboard that will give you a view of how all your marketing activities are performing.

Conclusion

In the end, you’re probably wondering how much all of this will cost you. This is a tricky question, because the line between digital marketing and SEO is pretty thin. Some companies out there are even combing their marketing budgets with their SEO budgets.

In order to determine how much you should spend on search engine optimization, here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself:

  • How much do you expect to make this year?
  • What’s your chosen industry?
  • How many competitors do you really have?

If you’re able to set aside around five percent of your overall revenue for long-term SEO efforts, you’ll definitely be able to see an increase in sales during the first year of your business venture.

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7 Tools That Will Help You Start a Home-Based Business

The traditional method used to start a business was to rent an office space and get down to work. However, the overhead associated with supporting an office right from the start was challenging and even detrimental in many cases.

The good news is that technology has evolved over the years to make it much more functional and practical to run a home-based business and even to grow your business substantially in a cost-effective way. As wonderful as running a home-based business can be, keep in mind that there are still obstacles that you will need to face and overcome.

Here are several effective tools that can help you better manage and grow your home-based business.

Basecamp

Whether you want to keep yourself focused on relevant tasks for practical efficiency or you are trying to manage a remote team in the most time-efficient way possible, Basecamp can help.

This app is an excellent resource for planning and scheduling, organization, accountability and more. You may never have to worry about meetings taking too much time or missing deadlines when you and your team maximize the benefits that Basecamp can provide.

Google Hangouts

As soon as you add your first remote employee to your team, you need to find an effective way to communicate. Google Hangouts gives you text and voice communications in one platform. There is even a video communication feature.

You can use it on your desktop and mobile devices seamlessly so that you never miss important communications with your remote team. Logs of conversations are also maintained to help everyone remain accountable. Because this is a free tool that you can start using immediately, it is ideal for small businesses that have two or more workers.

Freshbooks

Small business owners can spend an incredible amount of time on financial management and accounting tasks. However, this is an area that you need to excel at if you want to properly manage your money, budget for growth and more.

Freshbooks is a user-friendly application that has robust capabilities. It’s a perfect choice for managing your home-based business’ finances. It has easy functions for invoicing, tracking payments, creating reports and more. Because it is designed for small business operations, you may find that it has more applicable features that are relevant to your specific situation.

Wagepoint

Processing payroll each week can be time-consuming and stressful. This is a task that needs to be completed within a specified amount of time, and you can’t afford to make costly mistakes.

Wagepoint is designed to help small business owners simplify this task in an affordable way. It also ensures compliance with all relevant government agencies and can help you to process tax forms and more. Employees can even access their own compensation information to save you additional time when questions arise.

Close.io

Sales is a critical component to most small businesses. You understandably need to track leads and follow up with all potential customers in a timely manner, but you also need to close deals.

Close.io is a CRM tool that is designed specifically for small businesses like yours. You can manage conversations and email messages so that you never drop the ball. You can also set reminders, create reports and more in one convenient and streamlined platform. With applications available for multiple users, you can easily track the efforts of your growing sales team as well.

CoSchedule

Effective marketing for your small business requires you to create and execute a detailed, robust marketing plan in a timely manner. With CoSchedule all aspects of communications about your marketing plan can be stored in one convenient location. You can create marketing materials within this platform, manage your marketing team and create an on-going marketing calendar so that you never miss a beat.

Remember that timely delivery of marketing content is critical to generating superior results. Because this is a collaborate solution, your entire team will stay organized and aligned.

Groove

Customer service is essential for your customer satisfaction rating, loyalty, future sales, brand reputation and more. Groove helps you to streamline many aspects of your customer service activities.

For example, through this platform, your agents can create tickets based on phone calls, social media posts, email and more. You can track the tickets, analyze them and ensure that everything is tended to in a timely manner. This is an excellent tool that can help you and your team to stay on track so that nothing slips through the cracks.

Final Thoughts

Handling all aspects of your business operations properly and efficiently requires considerable effort, but you do not need to handle tasks manually. Technology is now available that can streamline and simplify many aspects of your operations from day one. Regardless of whether you have a one-man shop or a growing small business with several employees, these exceptional tools are wonderful resources that you can begin implementing right away.

Retail Giants Are Shifting America’s Economy, Meet the Recruiting Tactics Shaping Their Impact

touring-large-warehouse

Retail giants are using automation to get rid of jobs!

Headlines like this sell magazines and newspapers, but they’re incredibly misleading. Companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart are creating so many jobs in smaller towns all over the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the number of warehouse and storage-sector jobs had risen roughly 3.9% year-over-year, to a preliminary count of 948,500. Recent stories from various cities have chambers of commerce vying for the chance to become the location of the next warehouse.

In fact, warehouse jobs pay about 31% more than retail jobs in the same county, and are more likely to hire black and Hispanic workers, according to the Progressive Policy Institute.

Far from decimating the workforce in small towns and semi-rural locations, Amazon, Staples and their counterparts employ 1.2 million workers in warehouses and other establishments. From 2010 to 2016, employment grew by 372,000 additional workers, a 48% increase. Compare that to all private industries’ cumulative 12% during the same time period.

Anyone who works in high-volume recruiting or medical staffing knows it is not easy to find hordes of qualified workers to support an economic shift. Job boards changed the game for many in recruiting–not to mention job seekers–in the late 1990s. Despite the onset of mass aggregation and performance-based job advertising, the job advertising business remains mostly unchanged. However, we are currently seeing a shift in recruiting once more, spurred in part by these retail behemoths. Leading companies are taking a holistic look at recruiting and developing recruitment marketing strategies that use multiple tactics, some old some new, to surround job seekers with their message as well as spur them to engage.

What sorts of tactics are becoming part of the recruiting mix to help companies hire better and faster? Companies in the space are stepping up to the challenge of finding innovative ways to attract and retain workers at companies like Amazon.

What unique hurdles do warehouse and fulfillment recruiters face?

First, let’s address the unique challenges that face recruiters when a new warehouse opens in a city. While the effects on the location and the workers themselves are often discussed in the news, we rarely hear about how talent acquisition pros work to staff these locations where the population levels and supporting services may be non-existent. Issues like:

  • Poor or no public transportation. While white collar companies like Google often bus in workers who don’t want to deal with a commute, it’s rare for non-white collar workers to be extended anything similar.
  • Low-income population. Retailers often rely on pay alone to attract workers, but when a competitor also raises wages, they may face turnover issues.
  • Unwilling workforce. Many states’ minimum wages do not cover living expenses in addition to child care, transportation and other considerations a low-income population may have to factor in when looking for a new job.
  • Competing for a smaller pool of candidates. Fulfillment centers are often built in rural areas where land is cheap, but there are not enough available or interested job seekers to fill the positions.
  • Geographic requirements don’t always line up with the population
  • More difficult than typical retail work. Working in a warehouse tends to be more labor-intensive than customer-facing roles, which can make retail jobs appealing.
  • Lack of brand. Warehouse roles can be the toughest to fill. Often, those opportunities typically aren’t top of mind for job seekers.

Recruiters and HR Pros are not only fighting the above frustrations, but they’re also fighting record low unemployment:

The same group of [retailers] that were fighting over people last year will be fighting over people this year. And there are a few less people to fight over and a few more positions to fill,” said Steve Osburn, a director at the Kurt Salmon consulting firm who specializes in the supply chain.

What tools are today’s recruiters using to combat this conflation of events?

Better Pay: Amazon pays anywhere between the state minimum wage and Amazon’s widely touted $14. According to PayScale, the average U.S. warehouse worker earns $12.62 per hour, or about $28,000 annually. While the compensation may appear low relative to occupations nationally, they are more competitive than wages typically earned by occupations like cashiers and cooks at about $10 an hour, according to Brookings Institute. While Wal-Mart often finds itself behind the 8-ball in wage discussions, many workers report they receive similar pay at its warehouses.

Benefits You Don’t See Everyday (At least not at this skill level). While these jobs are most certainly a harbinger of the future, many of the jobs require the same level of education and skill as cashiers or cooks, meaning the talent pool can be as large as the population in many cases. Amazon, Wal-Mart and Staples offer benefits many of those (often hourly) jobs can’t like medical benefits, life insurance, frequent breaks and 401k plans. But the benefits these companies should offer are things like emergency child care, flexible work schedules and the potential for bonuses. Candidates who take warehouse jobs (depending on location) may speak little English, come from many different cultures, and could struggle to manage multiple jobs, family duties and transportation or stability issues that can affect attendance and tardiness.

Unique Approaches & Recruitment Challenges: When you’re new in town and chances are some bad press preceded your arrival, how do you staff up in a hurry? For many recruiters, this is where big data really shines in identifying the right people to reach out to. While much has been made of resume lines and fairs, for most warehouse jobs you can apply online.

Going beyond standard job postings: Some recruiters are also using SMS messaging to move candidates through the process even faster. This speaks to candidates for hard-to-fill positions because it gives them immediate interest by the employer. Candidates don’t want to fall into a black hole process where communication from the company is sparse and not very promising. Text recruit services gives candidates security in reliable job opportunities. Automated responses and scheduling make this kind of high-volume recruiting much simpler. With a population group that may not even have a resume or a home computer, this type of quick and painless “interview” is preferred. It’s also simpler for the recruiter, who can answer many of the questions posed with automated scripts or in other languages.

Advantages of Mobile First Recruiting

Mobile-first recruiting combines SMS and Text messaging, retargeting, and career site optimization to create an experience that is better on mobile. Recognizing that even Google is putting more weight behind mobile-optimized content and more people in the job seeking public have their phones at all times, mobile-first recruiting seeks to pique candidates’ interest where they are.

  • Recruiters can quickly and easily send out new information like hiring bonuses.
  • In a competitive landscape, hiring companies can inform applicants of benefits and retarget those who might be interested in them.
  • Organizations can reach those who may not desire the arduous process of a complex ATS.
  • Text messaging a candidate is 8x more effective than email.
  • Automation allows for a faster process and pre-populated answers in ANY language, allowing recruiters to reach a more diverse population than ever before.
  • In an SMS application process, a resume is often not even necessary, making the mobile-first recruiting a boon for jobs with a low barrier of entry.

Referral Programs: Since many of the candidates who might apply to a warehouse opening may not have a resume, smart recruiters are focusing on referrals from current (even new) hires. Using religious houses and community groups to find even more workers is another tactic. Even neighborhoods are used to spread the word about the benefits of working at these warehouses. Referral bonuses are often used. Retargeting on mobile or using SMS to attract those who may not have completed the entire application or “interview” can seal the deal in areas where there are many competing warehouses and fulfillment centers.

Incentives: Going beyond cash is another tactic when it comes to incentivizing workers. From discounts on the retailer’s products, to free ESL classes and after-parties during particularly difficult shifts, the incentives heat up during a warehouse initial hiring spate and again during seasonal upswings, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other incentives includes shift selection and optional weekend shifts.

Create a Recruitment Marketing Campaign to Target Warehouse Workers

A Step-By-Step Guide

Gather your materials. The job shifts you need filled, specific benefits for the positions, any licenses a candidate might need (forklift for example) and any compensation numbers (including hourly pay, overtime pay, referral bonuses and seasonal bonuses.)

Look at your superstars. Referrals are crucial in the warehouse business for a reason. If you have warehouse rockstars, you need to find the thread that connects them. Pay attention to their work values and ask them what benefits or monetary compensation attracted them to the job. The answers may range from tuition benefits to the optional third-shift. Add their answers to your materials pile.

Build your job ad 3 ways: Of course you’ll need a description to do this, but you also want to make your ad compelling, point out the benefits of not having a traditional desk job or point out how your warehouse offers benefits others don’t. One warehouse had air conditioning and it made them more desirable than nearby warehouses that did not.

Job Advertisement: This will go on your career site, job boards, get picked up by aggregators and generally be a candidate’s window into what it’s like to work for your company, so make it good. Include details, benefits, options and NEXT STEPS. Especially important are what the candidate will need to bring to the in-person interview or what they will need to send in beforehand.

Headlines: These will go where the entire ad can’t. Think banner ads, mobile advertisement on social networks. You’ll need to capture the essence of the job and very likely low barrier of entry and salary in this short area.

FAQs: Figure out the questions people often ask about the jobs and then answer them for each role. These will come in handy for recruitment communication.

Please note: You may need to translate these, which is why it’s recommended to create them all at once. While it may take a few extra days initially, it will save time when you start a multi-channel recruitment campaign.

Figure out your channel strategy: Recruitment marketing today is a huge field of choices and it can get a little overwhelming. From job boards to billboards, there are a multitude of ways to get your message across. Here are the ones that work best with warehouse positions, particularly high-volume recruiting when opening a facility.

Email campaigns: Your jobs ads go into email alerts right alongside your competitors’ jobs. So tell your own story! This is where the advertisements are valuable. Create a campaign that focuses on benefits, follow up with compensation, inform candidates of upcoming hiring events and more. Many job boards offer custom email campaigns that align with your total recruitment marketing strategy.

SMS text blasts: Reach people where they are in a way that is easy to engage. Auto-responses allow you to start to develop a relationship and answer any questions. Remember those FAQs? Use them to build auto responses and save time. Recruit across the language barrier by offering language support. Send people to a hiring event and ensure they’re equipped with the tools they need to succeed there by giving them prompts and reminders.

Try retargeting: Did you know mobile has now eclipsed the desktop computer for browsing? It has. Time to follow your top candidates around the web and be top of mind during their job search. Remind them of upcoming hiring milestones or openings, referral bonuses and your top pay and benefits while they surf the web on their phone. This is pretty new in recruiting but wildly effective. All a candidate has to do is click on your job ad or visit your site and boom, you’re retargeting them. Since this is far from mainstream, it’s not something everyone is doing, but Nexxt is!

Boost your job ads, recruitment brand and your applies with targeted SMS recruiting and email marketing. Nexxt will help you build a custom campaign, backed with your brand, your message, and your goals in mind. In other words, it’s your arrow, Nexxt takes care of the aim. Start hiring with Nexxt!  

4 HR startups that will boom in 2018 according to Business Insider

Business Insider looks every year at the top startups that will “take the tech industry by storm”. Business Insider lists in total 50 startups that will get a lot of press in the years to come and that will most probably disrupt their industries. Amongst those 50 startups, 4 Startups are operating in the wider field of HR.

Who are those startups?

1)      Reflektive: Ongoing employee performance feedback

In a world where everything needs to happen adhoc. Reflektive offers a solution to give continuous feedback throughout the year. Other continuous feedback solutions often operate separated from your HRIS system and miss the integration. Reflektive integrates easily with HRIS systems and also with productivity apps such as Outlook, Slack or Gmail. Especially for SMB companies the integration into these productivity apps can foster adaptation.

2)      JustWorks: Better HR for small businesses

You are a small company? You think you can manage your employees by using Excel or Spreadsheets? Better not! JustWorks offers an easy HR solution including Benefits and Payroll. That way you ensure you stay compliant and all your employee data is stored in one place. After all it is better to ensure your employee’s data is up-to-speed and always updated.

3)      Crew: The app for hourly workers

In many sectors organizations are struggling with managing their hourly or contingent workers. Often seen in industries such as “construction, retail, field services and hospitality”. These workers they play a crucial role but as these employees are often temporary workers they are not added to the leading HRIS system. Crew offers an intuitive app to manage these employees including shift planning.

4)      Pymetrics: Using neuroscience to hire people and avoid unconscious bias

This startup was founded by two former Harvard/MIT-trained PhDs. Candidates are often looking for the perfect job not knowing what they really want or where they perform best. Pymetrics “uses neuroscience games and bias-free AI to predictively match people with jobs”. Instead of looking at the past and what the resume says it “assesses the candidate based on his potential” and finds the right match.

The HR market is one of the hottest markets these days with a lot of venture capital pouring into it. Also in 2018 new and innovative startups will appear and further disrupt the HR landscape. We are curious to see their developments.

Author: Thomas Dorynek – Manager, People Advisory Services, EY

Thomas is a seasoned consultant with extensive experience in HR Digital Transformation projects. Views are his ownFollow @tdorynek

Is California Still the Best Place for Tech Companies?

Hollywood, red-carpets, sun, and beaches… These are some of the things that come to most people’s minds when you mention California. Despite the recent success of “Silicon Valley,” we’re sure tech startups aren’t really the first thing people think about when talking about California.

If you talk to a California resident, you’ll get something along the lines of, “tech companies should probably relocate somewhere else that’s cheaper.” On the surface level, this makes sense – if you manage to lower operating costs, you’ll be able to raise your bottom line.

There’s no fundamental reason why a tech company needs to be located in Silicon Valley, right?

Operating in California requires money

The biggest downside of starting a business in California is the price of the commercial real estate and housing in some of the biggest markets, such as San Jose and San Francisco. Tech giants like Google and Apple have billions of dollars at their disposal, so they don’t have any problems paying the rent.

Moreover, according to Bloomberg, Facebook will actually pay its employees ten thousand dollars to relocate and live near their headquarters.

The cost of an entire industry working in this place is simply enormous. A recent study conducted by Zumper revealed that for every billion in venture capital that comes into California’s economy, rents are raised up to $99 on a monthly basis.  

However, there has to be a good reason why so many aspiring entrepreneurs from Baltimore, Detroit, and other cities are traveling to California, trying to start a company.

What makes California so good for startups?

The reality is this – if you’re starting a tech company outside California or New York, your chances of success are much, much slimmer. Here are a couple of factors that make California so appealing to young tech entrepreneurs:

  • It takes less to raise venture capital

In the United States, venture-backed companies account for around 11% of all employment. Venture capital is pretty important for small businesses and the US economy as a whole. And it just happens that some of best performing funds are located in California.

  • It increases the odds of being bought

If you’re located in a tech hub, you have much higher chances of networking with notable executives and engineers in your industry. Simply put, being a part of the tech community considerably increases your chances of being bought in a shorter period of time.

  • It increases your chances of success

The last thing on our list is fairly simple – starting a company outside of big tech hubs in the country significantly decreases your chances of success. The percentage of companies established between 2007 and 2010 in either New York or California who’ve received a second round of funding is roughly 15% higher.

Pros and cons of starting a business in California

Everything has its pros and cons, including the question whether to launch a startup in California. In addition to things we discussed earlier, here are a few pros and cons of starting a tech company – or any business for that matter – in the state of California.

  • Pro: Access to large markets

From Southern California to San Francisco, California is home to a few million consumers. Starting a business in California will give you access to a huge market, which is crucial for a small tech company.

And that’s not all. Unlike other states, California’s market tends to purchase services and goods no matter the economic climate. While there’s no new recession in sight, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Con: Complicated regulations

California’s laws and tax codes are at times too complicated for growing businesses. For instance, in order to get a license for your business in California surety bond is a must-have.

These bonds work as a protection for the public and guarantee that you’ll comply with the state regulations. The smartest thing would be to ask a local professional to help you with legal issues.

  • Pro: High earnings

The state has more than 3.6 small business owners. Although starting a business has its challenges, there are simply too many opportunities when you’re operating your business in California.

For example, the state’s disposable income on average is almost $2,000 higher than the US’s average, according to BND data. Moreover, an average small business owner earns at least $60, 000 annually.

  • Con: High minimum wages

Minimum wage hikes could possibly hinder your growth. At the moment, according to data from the Department of Industrial Relations, the minimum wage in California is approximately $10, 50 per hour.

If you’re trying to watch your expenses – just like many other new tech companies do – this can be more than limiting. But with a proper budget plan, you can actually determine your best course of action.

The bottom line

Every company is unique in its own way. And while we’re not claiming you should pack your bags right this moment and head off to California, you have to realize that the state will simply increase your chances of success.

It’s not like tech entrepreneurs outside California are any less talented or hard-working, not at all. But the environments outside tech hubs like Bay Area are fundamentally different.

Until entrepreneurs in secondary markets acknowledge some of the shortcomings of their markets and find a way to address them properly, things are going to stay the same. The matter of the fact is – if you want to build a tech business where you live, you have to be prepared to pay a heavy toll.

Burn! An image from stockio.com

10 Reasons Entrepreneurs Burn Out

Plant on Field. An image from stockio.com

It’s hard to deny that starting your own business requires a significant amount of time, energy and intense dedication to hitting your goals.

As an entrepreneur, you are going to be more susceptible to burnout than most other professionals, which is due largely in part to how many hours entrepreneurs find themselves actually wanting to work, and how hard they push themselves to succeed.

It happens far too often.  Business owners will neglect their own personal needs, moving them even closer to the point of burnout, until they hit rock bottom and wonder how their situation got to be so bad.

As they begin facing burnout, their business begins to suffer, their personal relationships start taking a hit, and they’re left trying to figure out how to recover.

Before you find yourself in this situation, learn some of the more common reasons that entrepreneurs get burned out, and then figure out how you can avoid making those same mistakes yourself.

Below are 10 of the most common reasons entrepreneurs burn out.

1 – Not Delegating

Your business got to where it’s at because you were behind the wheel, and it’s hard to find someone that will treat it the way you do.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to actually do everything, though.  Delegating some of the responsibilities to people who know what they’re doing in those roles can save your sanity.

At the end of the day, you have the same number of hours as everyone else around you.  By surrounding yourself with knowledgeable people, you can increase how many hours are being put into your business from day to day.

You can quit stressing yourself out with the more mundane tasks and put people in place to handle them while you focus on the higher level, executive tasks.

2 – Staying Too Focused

Being in the zone is a great place to be when you’re building your business.  However, staying in the zone too long can cause you to lose focus on other areas of your life.  Tunnel vision is a real problem for many entrepreneurs, and is one of the biggest reasons for them to get burned out.

You can only stay in the zone for so long before you start feeling the effects, and exhaustion begins to take over your mind and your body.  It’s critical that you figure out a balance between your work life and your personal life, to avoid getting caught up in the zone.

3 – Not Eating Properly

Too many entrepreneurs skip meals to make sure they’re able to get more done during the day.  Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, skipping meals and then binge eating unhealthy foods can wreak havoc on your mind.

Not eating properly makes you function at a lower level, destroys your productivity, and affect your sleeping patterns, making it difficult for you to focus when you really need to.

Taking an hour in the morning, and an hour in the afternoon to make sure you’re getting healthy meals into your body can do more for you than you might think.  Avoiding these healthy foods can spell disaster for your productivity, and your business.

Avoid running yourself ragged, causing more problems in an effort to help save yourself some time or thinking that you’re going to get more done.

4 – Setting Unrealistic Goals

Goals are a requirement if you’re going to build a successful and profitable business.  However, unrealistic goals can do more harm than good.

Having unrealistic expectations for yourself or your employees can be a major problem for many entrepreneurs, and will only set you up to constantly feel like either you’re failing, or they’re failing you, leading to even bigger issues down the road.

No business that has become successful ever became successful overnight.  However, business owners that did try to become an overnight success have gone through fatigue, stayed discouraged, and exhausted themselves out.

To avoid this, make sure that you have set realistic expectations for you and the people around you, and that you’re focusing on both short-term goals and long-term goals.

5 – Failing To Maintain Boundaries

Boundaries don’t just exist in your personal life.  The same way that you have certain things that you won’t accept from the people in your personal life, you need to set realistic boundaries for what you will and won’t accept in your business.

When you decide that you are no longer working, you need to completely shut off and avoid work.  This means not letting your clients get in touch with you, and not giving your employees any of your time.

Likewise, when you’re turned on, you need to be completely available to your employees and your clients and customers.  This will help them figure out that when you’re not at work you’re unavailable, but when you are at work they have your full attention.

Taking the time to recharge when you’re not at work is critical to your performance while you are at work, so make sure you have boundaries set for everyone you’re involved with.

6 – Living In Denial

Even though you may understand what causes burnout, you may not necessarily be aware that you are currently feeling the effects.  And if you are aware, you may be completely denying it, pushing yourself even harder to “bust through” the burn out.

Burying your head in the sand and forcing yourself through isn’t going to make the situation any better than it is right now.

If you’re denying that you may be currently dealing with the effects of burn out, or could be on your way to getting completely burned out, you’re going to need to step back now.

Dealing with it “later” will never actually happen and, by then, it could actually be too late.  The damage could already be done.  Step back, take a break, regain your composure, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, then come back with a renewed energy.

7 – Losing Sight Of The Prize

Whenever you’ve buried yourself in the trenches, finding solutions to problems that have been hanging over your head can be difficult to do.

Getting away from the business, even for an hour at a time, can help you recharge your batteries and gain new insights on the problems that you’re facing.  It’s easier to look outside in than it is to try and find solutions to problems when you’re caught up in the day to day.

Losing sight of the prize because you’re focusing too hard can be as dangerous as depriving yourself of sleep or eating unhealthy foods all of the time.

When you feel your energy starting to wane, or are finding it harder to figure out solutions to problems you once had instant solutions for, you need to take a step back and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.

8 – Avoiding The Hard Work

As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to slow down.  Your employees, on the other hand, probably have zero problems taking a few minutes here and there to regain their composure.

While you may want your employees to grind as hard as you do, you could actually take a lesson out of their book and step yourself for a few minutes every hour.

Like everything else on this list, though, the real magic happens when you find a balance.  If you are constantly taking a break to avoid doing the hard work that you know needs to be done, you need to step back into your role and get it done.

On the other side of that same coin, if you’re not taking breaks so you can avoid the hard work, filling your schedule up with the easy tasks, get the hard work done first.  Allowing it to stack up on you can create a situation where you’re burned out and don’t have the energy to get all of the “hard” work done.

9 – Getting Irritated

As you start getting to work, you realize that everything is bothering you, big or small.  Your assistant can’t seem to do anything right.  Your employees are dropping the ball.  Your clients are frustrating you.

When this happens, you have to look at the situation from an outside perspective.  Chances are high that if all of these situations are happening at the same time, those people aren’t the problem, you are.  And you could be burnt out.

You’ve put those people in place around you because they can help you and your clients are the perfect people to work with.  That means they haven’t suddenly changed, something in you has.

If you find yourself dealing with frustrations all of the time, you probably aren’t eating right, sleeping right, or taking good care of yourself.  It’s time to take better care of yourself, relax, take a break, and come back reinvigorated.

10 – Trying To Understand Burnout

If you are trying to figure out why entrepreneurs face burn out, or whether or not you may be facing it, you’re probably knee deep in it, or well on your way to becoming burned out.

Taking the time away from your business, unplugging from your employees and your clients, spending some time on yourself and with your family, and remembering why you are doing what you’re doing can help you save your sanity.

Start setting new priorities in your life, and then remember that building a successful business is like running a marathon.  It isn’t a sprint, and thinking you can be an overnight success will only wear you out even more than you are now.

Focus on sticking around for the long haul, and build long-term plans that help you hit those goals.

4 Things You Need to Know If You Want to Do Business in Asia

Ever since we entered the 21st century a lot of things have changed rapidly in business. The advancement of technology and the global use of the internet has created many opportunities around the globe. Today there are fewer business barriers than ever before as the whole world is completely connected.

Entrepreneurs and companies can easily get in touch with someone across the globe or acquire information that they need to start their business incentives abroad. Asia is becoming one of the hot markets for business investments, as this region is opening up to the West and offering many opportunities, given the fact that the market is still not saturated.

This is why a lot of people are looking to do some business in the East, no matter if we are talking about finding outsourcing partners or starting up new offices in Asian countries. However, there are certain specifics you need to know about Asia from a business perspective to make sure that everything goes as planned.

1. You will have to connect with locals to help you

A lot of people make a terrible mistake by thinking that they can do everything on their own, without anyone’s help. Even if you travel to the country that you want to do business in, you will never be able to make all the arrangements on your own.

There are many reasons for this. First of all, Asians are unlikely to get into business with a foreigner instantly and give their trust right away. You will need a person that knows the laws, the business environment and has the connections needed to “break into” the market

2.  Understand “the concept of face.”

This is a very important thing when it comes to business in Asia. Simply put, this concept means that you need to avoid shaming anyone with whom you do business and blaming them directly, even if they are the ones responsible for the mistakes that have been made.

When someone “loses face,” it basically means that they lost their reputation as a business person and this might mean the end of your cooperation for good. Be mild when telling someone that they are wrong and always take a part of the blame on yourself as well.

For example, if someone doesn’t understand what you are proposing, excuse yourself and say that you are not clear enough and this is how the whole situation can be resolved without the person losing face.

3. Culture is very important

Bear in mind that Asia is culturally very different than the West and that they pay a lot of attention to things that might not even be considered when doing business in Western countries. In Asia, respect and courtesy matter, so you need to have an open relationship with people.

When someone is aggressive and overly ambitious here, they are considered to be inexperienced. Learn some local expressions if you cannot comprehend the language, as this shows that you respect the country you are in. Also, make sure that your business incentives don’t clash with the religious beliefs in the country you are in.

4. Luxurious brands are well-received in Asia

Luxurious western brands which sell “cool” stuff are usually accepted quite readily by the Asian people. Asia is becoming more and more connected to the West, and people there love adopting Western culture and gadgets, as they find them incredibly cool. Still, it’s important that your products deliver the user experience that is promised or your audience will quickly turn on you.

Remember that Asia is a growing market and that there are many business opportunities lurking in this part of the world. In the end, make sure that you respect the country that you want to do business in, and that you never think of Asia as one big country, as there are many differences between all the different countries.

Wheel Gear

What potential HR struggles can early stage start-ups encounter?

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With every great idea and every platform or app that promises to be the next great disturber, there is normally a common challenge faced by many SME’s and early stage start-ups, and that is hiring.

The hiring process can potentially be a long and drawn out process that is both time-consuming and expensive. Here are just some of the potential HR struggles that today’s start-ups face.

They neither possess the skills, tools or networks

Recruitment can be a fine art. Finding the right person is difficult enough and knowing where to look and having the appropriate networks to search for these people is a big initial challenge in itself. Then there’s assessment, in most early stage-ups, many of its senior officials will have to take on different hats and sometimes may have to go on instinct when looking to hire someone.

They don’t have the budget

In follow up to this point, with some early stage start-ups not possessing the appropriate HR skills, there may be need to call up on the service of others. This could be through posting on a job posting site, or hiring agency help which of course means investment. They may also not be in a position to hire a HR Professional full-time in their embryonic stage so don’t have a great deal of options. With Development as we know requiring huge investment, the cost of finding and hiring someone can be a daunting prospect.

They don’t have the time

A great idea can be just that and never see the light of day. Traction is key for the success of any start-up, and this needs to be almost immediate. Looking for someone to potentially hire can be a long and arduous process. Where you may get hundreds of applicants for one role, trawling through the many CV’s and profiles can be extremely time consuming and most senior figures will want their time and energy invested elsewhere.

They don’t have the control

All of these points lead to one issue, control, and the lack of it. Hiring someone is a big decision and something you feel you want to be a part of. Much like buying a house, hiring someone is something you want close control over from start to finish to ensure you’ve hired the right person and there’s no grey area or doubt left in mind. Leaving it in the hands of others isn’t something most start-ups are fond of but something they comply with due to their circumstances.

About the Author:

Chris Henry

Chris Henry-Reeve has 7 years of experience in online content marketing, social media community management, as well as experience in public relations and creative project management. Chris is a regular commentator on retail and experience led marketing, plus societal changes and their impact on industries such as recruitment. He was responsible for the launch of a new marketing insight magazine entitled HATCH which enjoyed a distribution of 10,000 copies and saw it stocked in premium airport lounges and private members’ clubs such as SOHO House, as well as enjoying a live launch event attended by over 250 industry professionals. Chris also has consummate experience in video development and production, being responsible for the management of several marketing video case studies and previously working with an online video focused start-up.

About iContract:

iContract is an online platform transforming the hiring process of contractors in the field of legal, finance and tech.

Talent seekers can be instantly recommended to relevant contractors based on the specific needs of their company and the contract they are posting.

Ensuring more transparency in the contractor market, iContract matches you to contractors that are tailored to your unique needs. Reducing the need for long and arduous assessment processes such as CV trawling, iContract connects you to the right candidate quickly and effectively.

Learn more here www.icontract.co.uk
Referrals | The HR Tech Weekly®

What’s Going Wrong with Employee Referrals?..

We’ve been out speaking to HR teams about our new employee referral platform and one thing is abundantly clear — everyone thinks employee referrals are great! The problem is that, despite us all being more interconnected than ever, employee referral hires are, with a few exceptions, very low.

Do your referral hires account for less than 10% of your annual hires? Don’t worry, our research suggests you are firmly amongst the majority. Even if you’re getting more referral hires, unless you are securing 30% of your annual hires through referrals, we don’t think you are fulfilling your employee referral potential.

So, what’s the problem? We went out and spoke to employees across a range of industries to find out…

1. I’m not told about vacancies at my company

It was surprising to hear how many people cited a lack of visibility as a key reason. To be fair to the employees, there’s not much they can do if they’re not told about roles.

2. It takes too long to refer someone

What does that mean? Well, we weren’t sure either so drilled down a bit further.

Basically, a lot of employees said that, if they receive an email about a vacancy, they simply don’t have the time to draft messages and contact their network. They tell themselves they’ll come back to it later but, of course, they rarely do. Another common gripe was “archaic processes” to submit a referral.

3. No recognition unless a referred candidate is hired

There seems to be a feeling that, while it makes sense to only pay recruitment consultants if a candidate is hired, a company’s employees should be treated differently.

Ultimately, they feel that they have put a lot of effort in and recommended a strong candidate, albeit a candidate not hired for that role, and that should be recognised.

4. Companies could offer more interesting incentives

Are you telling me that a big fat referral bonus isn’t enough..? In fairness, it’s not as greedy as first glance suggests. The point made by a few respondents was that not everyone is motivated by money and their company could potentially offer other awards (e.g. a cookery course).

What’s the solution?

It’s pretty simple really. You just need to use our employee referral platform, Real Links.

While that may be a shameless plug, all the employees and companies that we have spoken to agree that Real Links goes a long way to solving the problems mentioned above and will increase employee engagement.

Find out how we can help you too by signing up for a free trial.


Source: What’s going wrong with employee referrals..? – Sam Davies – Medium

DevScore Introduces Developer Acquisition Functionality

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Finding the right software developer just got a lot easier for HRs, recruiters, & hiring managers.

DevScore’s new Acquisition functionality enables HR staff to easily source and vet talented developers that are actively looking for work.

Recruiters can now literally source, vet, & interview developers in minutes.

3 August 2017 — DevScore, the software developer skills-assessment SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) that launched earlier this year at HR Tech World, has introduced a brand new Acquisition feature — one that complements and works seamlessly with its existing functionality — bringing recruiters, hiring managers, and HR a complete candidate-matching, acquisition, assessing, and digital screening service.

Customers can now make targeted developer searches based on actual coding experience; an industry first — a feature that just didn’t exist before in HR tech. They can also filter results by skills, experience, and geographical location easily; allowing them to cherry pick the exact software development talent they need for their business’ individual requirements.

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DevScore’s unique and rapidly growing database contains millions of developers. The new Acquisition function finds and connects with those that are actively looking for work.

“In the fast-paced world of software development, acquisition, assessing, and hiring great people quickly is business-critical,” explains DevScore founder, Peter Cummings. “With the new Acquisition feature, recruiters can now literally go from initial sourcing to potentially interviewing a candidate in minutes.”

The Acquisition function is a direct challenge to job boards and candidate sourcing companies that lack the depth of understanding needed to make fully-informed hiring recommendations. These platforms largely use simplistic text-based matching software and lack any sort of advanced assessment and selection criteria. However, up until now coding analysis just hasn’t been available to recruiters.

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“There are loads of sites where you can hire recruiters and freelancers,” says Cummings. “But it’s important that you can qualify how good a developer is. There’s always a chance some will exaggerate their CVs, but without any form of code analysis, recruiters can’t get an accurate picture of what a developer can and can’t do. DevScore can literally see what the coder has created and assesses the quality of their code; which enables us to understand how they stack up among their peers.”

Within the Acquisition tool, users can create a customise specific search; filtering developer information by numerous criteria — including experience, flexibility, skills, and location. In addition, searches can be saved and lists can be easily downloaded by users. And where no exact data immediately exists for a chosen set of criteria, customers can create a notification that will let them know when there’s a specific match. Also, API integration makes it easy to pull in DevScore functionality to any job board or talent acquisition tool.

“Everyone who wants to be a developer, can be,” says Cummings. “It’s unlike most other jobs. Your contributions and experience are highly visible. The Acquisition module can help determine which who’s an expert and who’s a novice — reducing the time-to-hire and increasing the quality-of-hire.”

About DevScore:

DevScore enables recruiters and HR staff – even the non-tech savvy – to accurately assess and validate a developer’s skills and experience in an easy understandable format. No need to scan every resume anymore – now you can compile a shortlist with the right candidates in record time.

We scan code repositories across the internet, and analyse the code that developers have submitted. Using our analytics engine we are able to find out how many months the developer has actually used a language, framework, or a development style for. We then assign the developer a score – the DevScore – and from that provide a rank for the developer both worldwide and in the country where they live.