Category Archives: Career

Things to consider before buying a new laptop

When it comes to laptops, there is such a vast range to choose from.

A few of the most common and influential factors when purchasing electronics are size, space and brand.  Of course, the type of product you buy is determined by its use, but ultimately, it just needs to suit your needs. The first thing you should consider before splurging on a new laptop is your budget.

These items can range from R5000 to R50 000, so if you’re not sure on what your needs are, and the different features you require, it can quickly become an expensive affair. For example, do you plan on using your new laptop for work in a PowerPoint presentation or on the weekends for gaming? These (amongst others) are the types of questions you’re going to need to ask yourself.

Luckily, the latest technological advancements have ensured that each and every laptop produced is equally good-looking, so even if you can only afford something cheaper, it will still look sleek and modern. Here are a few tips to help you wrap your head around your laptop needs:

Size: When you think of a laptop’s size, you usually refer to its actual shell. If the ‘size’ of your laptop is the main concern, you should consider a notebook that is either light in weight or has a small screen. There are various sizes to choose from, and smaller or thinner laptops don’t always mean that it’s slow and offers little space. For future, the thinnest and lightest systems are 11- to 12-inch screens which weigh an average of 1.5 kilograms. The bigger the screen, the more the machine will weigh.

Screen quality: When you decide to purchase a new laptop, you also need to consider your health. You cannot simply buy something cheap because you can’t afford more. This will affect your eyes. Most people who use a laptop will be in front of it for many hours in a day, so you need to make sure that the screen’s resolution is good to look at and comfortable on your eyes. A glossy screen will lead to a reflection, so refrain from buying a laptop which has a touchscreen incorporated into it. Newer technology offers different viewing angles, so experience a collection before you make your pick.

Keyboard quality: Having a notebook is ideal for quick typing sessions, for example, sending off an email here and there. If your job or hobby requires you to spend hours typing away, you will need to have a high-quality keyboard which can withstand all the typing you’re going to be doing. Your keyboard should also be responsive in touch when you type and let the keys go, and the entire board should offer backlighting to help you see the keys better in poorly lighted areas.

Processor and graphics: Now, a little more technical. The processing unit and the graphics card your computer possesses will contribute to its efficiency. Again, if you’re going to be using your laptop to play games or watch movies, you’re going to need to purchase a laptop which is more powerful. (Many laptops come with already built-in graphics cards.) While these two elements are important for visual usage, RAM and storage are more important for the average laptop user who simply wants to store large files and not have to deal with a laptop that freezes every now and then.

RAM and storage: If you’re using your laptop for work purposes to store plenty of files, you might need to consider more storage space in the years to come. However, if you store most of your information on online platforms such as Google Drive or the Cloud, you won’t need to create new storage space. With RAM, on the other hand, the faster your laptop is, the better. These upgrades will come with time.

Battery life: Having a laptop with a reliable battery life is essential. It’s important to know that you can rely on your laptop when you’re travelling around, without having to send it in for repairs after a few months because it’s been overworked. When you research the laptop you are interested in, be sure to find out about the battery life and how much a spare battery would cost down the line.

Conclusion:

As you can see, gone are the days where you simply buy any kind of electronics straight off the bat. Make a checklist of all the features you need, and keep looking out for any laptop deals which could meet your requirements. Try and find something brand new before you delve into second-hand goods, as new laptops for sale will offer the warranty you need.  

Vital leadership skills every small business owner needs

Being a small business owner means that, other than entrepreneurial spirit, you will need to have leadership skills to succeed. You will need to be able to lead your team with ease and have an understanding of all aspects of your business, including financial accounting and marketing. If you are not sure what, exactly, being a leader entails, below are just some of the vital leadership skills you will need as a small business owner.

Organisation

Arguably one of the most important leadership skills you will need is organisational skills, and this pertains to every aspect of your business. Keeping your workspace neat and tidy will help to calm your mind, and keeping your business data in order will help to make your work more streamlined.

Keeping everything organised will help you to quickly access information and make quicker business decisions. You will need to be able to organise your contact information, tasks, sales information, and all the other moving pieces involved in bringing in new business, as well as understand your financial situation. This can be done by taking a diploma in financial accounting. An organised business is one that performs well and provides customers with outstanding service and experience.

Effective communication skills

Being able to communicate with your employees and your customers is essential to the smooth running of any small business. Communication is equal parts talking and listening, with listening being vital for meeting with employees and clients.

As a business owner, you can build your success by being able to communicate your goals clearly to your team so that they are able to implement them. Listening to the opinions of the people on your team will also enable you to become a better boss, and it can improve your business operations. Without the ability to communicate your value to potential clients, you are unable

Confidence

Confidence is more of a personal attribute than a skill, but it is important nonetheless. Without confidence, you are unable to inspire trust and respect in your employees and customers. Leaders need confidence in order to make decisions and stick to them.

Self-confidence is important for small business owners as you will need to convince clients to use your skills and buy your products. If you are not confident in your business and in yourself, this will shine through in your business and will increase your profits. Confidence is an attribute that is inherent in entrepreneurs and can be built on with courses and conferences.

Strategic thinking

Thinking strategically is important to  the success of any business. This means that not only do you have a vision for your business but the ability and drive to move forward with this vision. You are able to think on your feet and use all the information available to come up with a plan of action to reach your goals.

Strategic thinking is a leadership skill that can be applied to your entire business, such as marketing and finances. Strategic marketing means that you will look at what is trending in the media and use this to your advantage in your campaign. Using strategic thinking financially could mean that you take financial accounting courses in order to better understand your bookkeeping process.

Emotional intelligence

Being emotionally intelligent means that you are able to understand and control your emotions. It will help you to understand yourself and those around you, namely your employees and your clients. It also means that you are able to act diplomatically rather than simply following a whim or an emotional reaction.

Having empathy is a part of having emotional intelligence, and empathy is what drives a small business that wants to connect with customers and give them the best customer experience possible. You should be able to effectively demonstrate emotional intelligence and use it to form connections with your employees and clients. Emotional intelligence also means that you are better able to make smart business decisions with your head rather than your heart.

The ability to adapt

Having the ability to adapt to difficult situations is vital for any small business owner. Change in the economic environment is constant, and being unable to adapt to these changes is highly detrimental to your business success. The ability to adapt also means you need to have the ability to embrace change, too.

Leaders are also able to implement changes easily and efficiently in their business. You should be able to do this without disturbing the organisation’s balances and should provide your staff with help as they strive to adapt to these changes too. Adaptability is highly important in this digital world we live in, especially for small business owners.

8 things productive people do before bed

Ever wondered why some people are seemingly more ‘successful’ than you are? Well, it’s simple. They have their own daily habits that contribute to a happier, more organised routine. Productive people understand that their success is all dependant on their mental and physical well-being, which is why they always take the time to reflect and adjust their strategy each night before bedtime. In order to be just as productive as the person you admire at work, perhaps you should consider trying the following tips:

They sit back and review their day

According to Steve Jobs, everyone should always strive to do something wonderful. Hustling through life to be the better than the person next to you is a great motivator, but when you’re so focused on your career you’re likely to become obsessed which is dangerous. When you think, breathe and live your job, you forget about the finer details in life: the part where you contribute to society or your community at large. Understanding and living your purpose are the first two steps to making a difference. Before you go to bed at night, try and think about your contribution to the world and how that effort is directly aligned with your goals for a happier and healthier life. The simple act of laying down and thinking back on your day will inspire you to be better each day, which will guide you to achieving your goals and aspirations

They write down their thoughts

Often times you lay awake at night thinking for hours. If you simply took the time to write down your thoughts and emotions, you will be able to sleep better and it will allow you to analyse yourself and your actions more accurately. Many successful leaders tend to do this because they get the time to review what they did or didn’t do in the day, or how they spoke to someone in the workplace. Writing down your thoughts will help you to clear your mind and slip into a peaceful, much-needed sleep.

They read interesting books

Great leaders and influential people read before bed. More often than not they’re reading self-help and learning books to give them advice on particular areas in their lives, but either way, reading something that provides you with something to incorporate into your life is well worth the time. Reading is also an ideal way to distract your mind and work your brain in different areas.

They set priorities for the next morning

Many people can vouch that one of the first steps to a successful day is making your bed. If you feel disheartened because of your bedroom setup, buy yourself some new duvets and comforters available for sale in South Africa to keep yourself motivated and inspired.

Wake up, make your bed and go over the list of tasks you need to get done for the day. Knowing you have things to attend to the following day will make you feel more prepared and ready to tackle the new day. Every minute you spend planning in advance saves ten minutes in execution.

They spend quality time with people who matter

Whether it’s family or friends, never neglect the people who matter most because of your job or business. While life is about earning a living and being successful, success can be showcased in various ways. Never give up quality time with your family for something that could be completed the following day. There are always going to be times when you need to work overtime, but you cannot be stretching yourself beyond capacity. Life is already stressful as it is. Don’t miss out on ‘life’ because of something temporary.

They get things done

Productive people use their skills and talents to reach their full potential. Simply by planning ahead to get things done, they make it their mission to work hard and commit themselves in every department of their lives. No matter what industry you’re in, there are going to be days when you’re feeling unproductive and slower than usual, but you just need to push through and try your best.

They go on a digital detox

Something that has become extremely popular is digital detoxing. While digital plays an important role in how we operate and do business, coming home and spending time on your mobile is not the way to go. In order to rest your body, mind and soul, you need to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. Spending plenty of time on social media is wasted time that you could be spending with your family.

They spend time outdoors or meditating

Spending time outdoors is a wonderful opportunity to clear your mind. Sometimes when you’re feeling down or stressed, going for a walk or meditating can help you turn off your thoughts for the time being. These activities are also good in moments of anger as they allow you to calm down and rethink a particular situation Taking the time to unwind will leave you feeling focused and rejuvenated.

Lawyers: think marketing isn’t necessary? Think again

As a lawyer, your services are always in demand. You may be a divorce lawyer helping couples come to amicable conclusions or a labour law professional dealing with the CCMA or labour disputes on a daily basis – whatever your speciality, legal services are usually in high demand.

However, many lawyers overlook the power of and the need for marketing in their industry. If you do not market yourself or if your firm is not marketing itself, you may be losing out on high-paying clients. Taking marketing courses will help you to understand just how useful marketing can be.

Why do I need marketing?

You may have studied for years to become a lawyer and can understand complex topics, but marketing is most likely a new and confusing concept to you. There are some pertinent facts as to why you need to market your services, including the following.

Competition is intensifying

Arguably the most important reason why lawyers need to market their practices or firms is the fact that competition in the legal world is fierce. And unless you can come up with a catch-phrase as memorable as Saul Goodman’s, you will need to be creative to beat the competition.

The increase in law students also means that there is more competition in the job market, so you will need to learn how to market yourself to potential employers and clients.

Beating bad press

It is well known that lawyers and legal professionals often receive bad press from the media. Marketing and PR strategies can help you to beat this press or to allay the repercussions. Not having your own publicist is no excuse to ignore your public image, this is what potential clients see before considering you as their legal aid. Use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to market your firm or yourself, but remember to create a professional Facebook profile and avoid using your personal profile for anything business related. If you show yourself to be a professional at all times, bad press will not be an issue for clients and can easily be avoided.

Technology is evolving

Articles and speaking engagements are a great way to become noticed in the legal world, but your clients are most likely more active on social media platforms. You should be more active on these platforms. Using techniques such as podcasting allows you to introduce yourself and the work you have done and are able to do.

It is not advisable to continue using outdated marketing techniques while the current ones are changing on a near weekly basis. Lawyers can make use of content marketing, video marketing and even post entertaining social media pieces to get their name out there to clients and potential employers.

What can I do to market myself?

Aside from hiring a marketing firm or taking marketing courses, there are simple tactics you can use in your marketing strategy.

  • Understand how clients find you: People will only use lawyers they know they can trust, which is why word of mouth is such a powerful tool. However, in today’s modern world, many people do their own further research rather than relying solely on the words of others, which is why it is important to have an online presence.

 

Maintain the relationship with current clients to strengthen the word of mouth referrals, but set up a LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ profile for those who want to be entirely certain that you are trustworthy.

  • Use content to build awareness about your services and/or firm: Other than word of mouth and social media reviews, having professionally written, relevant content on your website or profiles can work wonders toward garnering new clients.

 

If you are unable to write content in layman’s terms or in a manner that is appealing to your audience, you need to hire or reach out to a professional content or copywriter. These marketing experts will craft copy that is on point and that will tell clients that you are the best choice for their needs.

  • Build your social media presence: As mentioned previously, social media is an ever-growing platform that people use on a daily basis. For any company looking to build their customer base, having a social media profile is a highly effective way to do so.

 

If your posts focus on customer service and on articles written by employees or by yourself, you will not be breaking the confidentiality clause between lawyer and client.

Final thoughts

Any law firm or private practice needs to include a marketing or PR strategy in their budget. Using traditional methods of marketing is successful to a point, but if you want to grow your client base and flourish in today’s world of technology and modernity, you will have to implement a marketing strategy that includes digital tactics.

Why marketing management might be the career of your dreams

In the world of marketing, limits does not exist. With the amount of knowledge and opportunity available through a career in marketing management, every skill that you learn is bound to be utilised in everything that you do. So, if you’ve got a way with words, create beautiful images or really connect with people, this could be your dream career. Here are a few reasons why studying marketing is such a brilliant choice:  

Welcome to a very dynamic environment

From traditional marketing to today’s new-age digital marketing approach, the industry is constantly evolving. And along with the ever-changing technology advancement, and the amount of ideas you get to be exposed to on a daily basis, the advertising and marketing industry is mind-blowing.

In the old days, marketing either meant long, boring advertisements, horrible telesales calls or sales people actually pitching up at your front door. But with the internet adding so much value to marketing, social media and mobile have really given us new, unexpected digital marketing opportunities. It’s honestly never been easier to find a digital speciality to thrive in. And more importantly, it’s the way of the future.

The creative exposure is endless

From writing to design and film, the rewards you get from marketing are endless. On top of being creative, your growing knowledge in media and technology advertising will bring new challenges, some of which include messaging and communication. You will need to be prepared for the unknown, and to continually work at new ways to approach a problem and solve it with an ‘outside the box’ solution.

You can expect traditional marketing courses to teach you anything from the basic marketing principles, to marketing communication, sales, market research and more, otherwise the digital world offers a whole lot more. Both will teach you how to incorporate creative elements that few jobs nowadays actually instill.

You will get to meet and connect with loads of fun people

Marketing in 2017 is about effective communication and creating relationships with people beyond the sales pitch. It’s all about communicating with people and convincing them to invest in your product or service. For this, you really need to understand people’s behaviours and what makes them tick.

Each role is specific, for example, an account manager needs to be able to get along with, and engage with clients, a market researcher needs to be in touch with market trends and the needs of their audiences, and a public relations professional needs to be able to deliver news and information.

With customer journey’s playing such an important role in your marketing strategy, in order to effective in what you do, you need to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they think and feel. This kind of thinking also encourages teamwork and development, and teaches you how to develop and nurture creative ideas. If you love collaborating with others, this is perfect for you.
The opportunity for progression is great

Marketing companies can be divided into the agency side and the client facing side. In the client side, you will be working with the marketing department of a business or public sector, where the agency side means that you will actually be doing the advertising and marketing for those businesses and organisations. You deliver the work that was discussed with client service, and then they communicate that to the external client. Each side is completely different and requires a bunch of different skills.

When you start in client service, you can expect to be doing assistant work and helping out with client tasks, at entry level. When you move up, you can expect to manage your own clients, and your responsibilities will become a lot more stressful. On the agency side, the different opportunities available are linked to your skillsets. These positions can range from content and development, to project management, public relations and market research. For individuals who possess strong people and negotiation skills, the ideal role for you would be media buying, account managing or directing.

It’s vital to business and all industries need it

Say what you want, but marketing is essential to all industries and organisations. Whether it’s education, fashion, retail, NGOs or agricultural, every business needs some form of marketing to succeed. By applying for any one of the various marketing courses, you can help drive the success of any business.

Overall opportunity

When you think about marketing, it goes far beyond strategy. Be it traditional marketing or digital, this industry allows you to be passionate about various different roles, some of which include copywriting, graphic design, analytics, account management, web development and more.

The most important thing is to just have people skills. From there, the diversity is endless, and you learn skills that will be needed to most professional environments. If you love creating ideas (and putting them to the test), designing something, or getting technical, the creative world has much to offer. And depending on your current skills, the ability to move within, is certainly a motivator.