Systemize Your Business With Process Street

What is systemization?

Definition: Systematize – sys-tem-a-tize
To arrange in or according to a system; reduce to a system; make systematic.”

Are you tired of being a bottleneck in your business? Or are you struggling to train new staff efficiently? Maybe costly mistakes are eating into your profits? If so then you’re making life harder than it needs to be and systemization is the answer. The concept is simple – Take the repeatable tasks in your business and write a detailed step-by-step process that (in theory) anyone in your organization can follow. But systemization is also about increasing efficiency – making the most of what you already have to increase profits, drive down mistakes and weed out imperfections from those day to day tasks.

There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” – Henry Ford

Benefits of Systemization

There are many areas of business that systemization can help improve, including these 3 main areas:

Delegation – By allowing someone who earns less than you to complete recurring tasks in your business, you can focus on the important things that provide a higher return on your most valuable asset – your time.
Quality Assurance – By providing a detailed step-by-step guide that staff can follow, you can reduce the costly mistakes and improve the quality of the output from staff. This is important in industries with strict legal guidelines – reducing mistakes here is an excellent way to reduce costs and drive profits.
Employee Training – When you employ new staff, providing standard operating documents detailing exactly how things are done is a great way to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible. This is also an excellent way to manage the continued training of employees as your business grows.

What is Process Street?

Process Street is a new cloud based software, that makes it incredibly simple to create detailed process documents and standard operating procedures. You can make notes and add files such as video or audio to communicate each step in depth where necessary. It’s a team based product, so you can see across your whole organization, tracking as your team completes their tasks and getting notified on important events.

How process street helps systemization
By utilizing a simple, intuitive interface Process Street makes it easier than ever to manage those three important areas of your business:

Delegation – Process Street allows you to create detailed process documents and standard operating procedures. With the ability to add files like audio and video, you can ensure that you are communicating exactly what you expect at every step in the process.
Quality Assurance – Process Street provides a checklist to be ticked off as the process is completed. Team members can make sure that they have completed every step before marking the task as completed.
Staff Training – Process Street’s simple interface means your new employees and team members can get started right away. With the ability to iterate tasks and instantly notify your team, Process Street eliminates the need for lengthy team meetings and means more time spent concentrating on getting the job done.

Optimization – Process Street allows you to track the performance of your processes and operating procedures. Spot inefficiencies and constantly improve effectiveness through optimization.

Process Street is the perfect solution to making the most of your business. Don’t be a bottleneck for your business, forget the huge costs of training new staff and improve the quality of your service. Systemization is the best investment you can make in the future of your business and Process Street makes it simpler than ever before. Try Process Street for free today and let your business be the best it can be. You can create an account and try it for yourself at http://process.st

– BIO

Vinay Patankar is the CEO of Process Street a productivity tool for process driven teams. Find him on Twitter (http://twitter.com/vinayp10) or his Blog (http://abstract-living.com). Process Street is 100% free to use for small teams and freelancers. Create a free account here: http://process.st

Demystifying Sandboxing

Bring your own device is gaining ground in many industries, with Globalscape reporting that 68 percent of surveyed businesses have some form of BYOD policy in place for their employees. It’s hard for security policies and technology to keep up with an influx of personal devices in sensitive data environments, but one method that shows promising results is called “sandboxing.”

What’s a sandbox?

Sandbox image by krossbow via Flickr.

The sandbox application launches a virtual system environment on the device, whether the employee uses a smartphone, tablet or laptop to access the business data. This virtual environment has limited privileges and cannot interact with files located on the non-virtual space on the device. Enterprise mobility management, or EMM, is a significant way to allow the flexibility of BYOD while keeping yourself safe. If you’ve been ripping your hair out trying to stay on top of security threats to your precious enterprise network, take a look at how sandboxing can stop the headaches.

Standardized Environment

Certain sandboxing applications, such as BlackBerry’s Enterprise Service 10, provide cross-platform sandbox containers that give you the option of creating a standardized environment for your employees. Since this application is cross-platform compatible, you can have Android, iOS and BlackBerry users working in the same environment, with the same permissions. This eliminates a major hassle that comes with BYOD. BES 10 provides word processing, integrated email and secure access to allowed applications.

Limited Access

The major benefit of sandboxing is that it cuts off access to many system files and functions viruses use to exploit mobile phones. If a mobile phone is unable to execute a virus code, it isn’t going to spread the virus onto the network. This eliminates a lot of the easier loopholes virus creators exploit, although the sandbox container is still an application itself. If there’s a vulnerability in the container, it can cause security vulnerabilities even when sandboxed. You should run other security features, such as anti-virus software and other security measures, alongside the sandboxing application so you don’t have a single weak spot. Sandboxing technology is a recent development in the mobile sector, so it takes time to work out all of the kinks involved in the technology.

Separated Segments

The sandbox environment keeps the user’s personal and work segments entirely separated. You don’t have to worry about high security documents ending up in someone’s personal folders any more than their party pictures ending up on the network attached storage box. Since sandboxing is a completely separate environment, it’s easy for employees to know when they’re in work space compared to personal space. It’s much harder to transfer files between the sandbox container and the personal phone storage, although it’s not impossible. When you have sandboxing in place, it gives your employees the ability to increase their productivity by using their favorite devices, without sacrificing security or worrying about whether a technical novice is going to unleash a network-ending worm.

What mobile device management measures do you have in place?

Beyond Digital Marketing: Get Your Brand Rolling Offline

There are 3.3 billion brand mentions daily in America that take place in 2.4 billion brand-centered conversations, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), and 9 out of 10 of these mentions occur offline. Is your business balancing its on and offline presence effectively? It’s easy to forget about polishing your persona in a virtual world, but it could end up costing you a client. To poise your brand like the Queen of England is in town, all you need is a tangible takeaway, a tailored non-verbal presence and a perfect pitch.

Build Your Brand Materials

A brand without a business card is like a baseball pitcher without a glove — you have little cred without them. Tangible handouts like business cards are as important for your business as they ever were. A poor quality business card can detract from even the best rapport, reminds Josh Spiro for Inc.com. The same concept applies to brochures, fliers and handouts — tangible collateral can be held onto or passed to a new contact. Kyle Laser of Laser Printing estimates that 9 out of 10 of his company’s largest clients signed because of his business cards. And if you’re worried about the foot print your cards will leave on the environment, business card printing at printingforless.com is a tri-certified green process. If you want to create the perfect business card, but don’t know where to start, WebDesignerDepot.com features a showcase of exemplary business card ideas, like Kyle Laser’s. Once you have your cards ready to go, it’s time to think about how to . . .

Cultivate The Impression You Make

No matter how many times we like to tell ourselves “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” we all know it’s only partially true. A study published in “Psychology Today” reveals that 55 percent of communication is conveyed through body language and 38 percent through tone. And according to Business Insider, people’s first impressions are formed within 7 to 17 seconds of meeting you. You don’t want your appearance, stance or non-verbals to detract from your brand. Alyson Kreuger reminds us that simple adjustments can have lasting, positive results for your brand:

  • Dress conservatively, you want potential clients to remember you as a person, not be distracted by wrinkled clothing or loud accessories.

  • Tailor your tone of voice to be calm, enthusiastic, humble and determined. This may not be easy, but mastering it is priceless.

  • Be conscious of your posture. Uncross your arms, sit up straight, smile and make eye-contact — just like your mother told you.

Practice Your Pitch Until It’s Perfect

A proper elevator pitch can turn heads and change lives, but it will take time and effort to create. Your business card and non-verbal impression should be like a delicious ice cream sundae, and your elevator pitch should be the cherry on top that sells it to the client. When someone asks what exactly it is that you do, you should be able to answer in a few succinct sentences that incorporate your mission statement, goals and brand identity. Entrepreneur.com’s Barbara Findlay Schenck writes about the perfect pitch process:

  • Boil down who you are in five words or less. Use distinctive language that sets you apart.

  • Say what you do in one sentence. How does your brand tie into what you do?

  • Give your demographic run-down. Who is interested in your product and why?

  • Explain your vision. Make it clear enough to stay focused and broad enough to grow.

  • Practice this until your throat hurts.

  • Tailor the whole thing to 20 or fewer words.

Whether you’re walking into an entrepreneurial trade show or you run into an old buddy at the grocery store, being poised and ready to be your own best brand ambassador is a must for making it big.

Becoming the Harvard of the Business World

It certainly should come as no surprise that some of the world’s top universities are using social media to connect with some of the planet’s most sought-after students. Schools such as Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania are turning to several different avenues to inform, entertain and attract the best and the brightest.

The birthplace of Facebook has developed The Harvard Social Media Dashboard, which offers prospective students and others the opportunity to easily browse the prestigious university’s most up-to-date posts, tweets and videos through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, Foursquare and StumbleUpon.

Penn doesn’t depend on outdated brochures to attract the attention of the world’s brightest students, either. The Philadelphia university has a solid presence on Facebook and Twitter and is also expanding its reach through Instagram and Tumblr.

However, high achievers in their late teens and early 20s are not the only group of people who depend on the Internet to communicate with the rest of the universe. Business owners and even job seekers can take cues from the nation’s top universities when it comes to using social media to connect with customers, clients and potential employers.

Learning Online

Here are some ways universities are using social media:

  • The employment market – Using LinkedIn and other options, universities can put their students in touch with employers and recruiters. Live video streaming can work well for colleges that have several campuses.
  • Spreading knowledge – Colleges and universities are supposed to provide an environment that shares knowledge, experience and information. Why not do all this online?
  • Recruiting – A huge number of potential students use social media to connect with one another and learn about the world around them. Why not give them the opportunity to find out what a specific college or university has to offer?
  • Pride in your school – Most people take great pride in the college or university they attended. Colleges now have the opportunity to go online and talk about a wide range of subjects related to the school, including students, athletics, events and conferences.
  • Virtual classes – Online education eliminates the potential problem of overcrowded classrooms and gives students the option to learn on their own schedule, rather than at a specific time of the day.

Landing a Job

Social media can still be an important part of your life even after you graduate from college and make your way into the job market. Here are a few rules to remember when you start using your social media tools to enhance your career:

  • Things change – You should clean up your language and highlight content that is more career-focused rather than personal and casual.
  • Get organized – There are many ways to connect with potential employers and others who can help you find a great place to work. Organize yourself using lists, circles and groups.
  • Don’t stop learning – You shouldn’t stop learning just because your college days are over. Interacting with professionals in your chosen field will enhance your knowledge of your industry and make you a more attractive candidate for a job.
  • It’s about others, too – Never-ending self-promotion is a no-no in the world of social media. Limit most of your posts to conversation and general comments and questions. But don’t hesitate to highlight your knowledge of your industry.
  • Start early – Don’t wait until you are out of school and looking for a job to establish yourself in the world of social media.

Attracting Customers

Whether you are seeking a job or, as an entrepreneur, you’re looking for new business, social media can be a valuable tool. Here are a few tips to help you attract and retain customers:

  • Stay in touch – Connect with your customers by posting on Facebook once a day, tweeting a few times daily and writing a regular LinkedIn post.
  • Bond with your customers – Don’t use language your customers might not understand. Do your best to help them and to develop a bond between you and the people who will be buying your products and services.
  • Special deals – Offer special prices or services available only to the people you are speaking to through social media, which will give your customers and potential customers a reason to follow you on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Don’t forget to blog – This will enhance your presence in the world of social media. You can establish a blog on your website and use it for Facebook and Twitter posts.
  • Tell the world what you know – Join conversations on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – Don’t ignore the people who are competing for your customers and potential customers. You might be able to copy some of the things your competitors are doing in the world of social media. It’s OK to investigate what others in your industry have done, and it’s OK to copy what they have done right.

A study completed last year showed that Harvard had more than 1.6 million Facebook fans and better than 107,000 Twitter followers. If your business depends on your ability to attract new customers by using social media, your goal should be to become the Harvard of the business world.

Allison Rice is the Marketing Director for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of customized pens to order and other promotional products to grow your business and thank customers. Allison regularly contributes to the Promo & Marketing Wall blog, where she provides actionable business tips.

E-Commerce New Wave: Business Trends 2k13

As the nature of today’s shoppers shift, the world of e-commerce is expected to shift right along with it, while experiencing dramatic growth in 2013. E-commerce spending is expected to grow by 13% from $231 billion in 2012, Forrester Research Inc. has stated, to roughly $262 billion by the end of 2013, according to Internet Retailer. This is largely in preparation for major growth in online shopping. The same Forrester study indicates that online spending will hit $370 billion by the end of 2017.

All of this growth has fueled some major shifts in the e-commerce space. Let’s explore some of this shifts and how they will play out in 2013.

Always On

To think about your company in terms of being “always on” may feel like an exhausting approach to e-commerce and customer service, but in today’s market it’s a necessity, not just a commodity. This new era where everything is connected to the web at all times means that your customers expect the same thing from you.

Roughly 83% of all online shoppers expect support during their buying process, according to LivePerson. In other words, your ability to offer continual support for your customers at any time will distinguish you from the competition. This also means that in order to be an “always on” company, you need to stay engaged with users across multiple digital channels to thoroughly understand what their problems and needs are so that your company can address them. Implementing live chat software is instrumental in connecting with customers in an instantaneous and meaningful way.

Migration to Mobile

The mobile commerce trend should not surprise anyone. Most online shoppers and their smartphones are joined at the hip. This is apparent, especially because 2012 saw an 81% growth in mobile sales, which amounted to nearly $25 billion, Internet Retailer notes.

What this really means is that in order for today’s online companies to compete in the e-commerce space, they’ll need to be well equipped to handle the growing mobile commerce trend. The mobile migration means that companies need to have a solid handle on their customers, know the types of devices their customers use and optimize their site content accordingly.

E-Commerce SEO Trends

  • Fast, Interactive and User-Friendly Sites – This may seem like a tall order, but before you even start talking about making your site search-friendly, your site needs to be functional. To be clear, functionality today means something different than it meant a few years ago. Web users are increasingly impatient and accustomed to sites with lightning-fast load times and highly interactive content. This can be done by removing clutter from your site and simplifying its design.
  • Panda/Penguin-friendly e-commerce – It’s not enough to simply optimize your site content with keywords. Your entire site structure should conform to the demands of Google’s latest Panda and Penguin releases. On the Panda side of things, e-commerce sites can suffer simply because they are commercial in nature. If you’re not careful, Panda may confuse your site for a spammy affiliate site. You can avoid this by not using template descriptions, using unique content for all of your products and including a built-in blog to your site. On the Penguin side of things, it’s important to focus on diverse ways of building links. You must focus on clicks rather than keywords for linkbuilding. This also means you must use a wide variety of links and have a solid content marketing strategy in place.