Tag Archives: business

Why business should be focused on alternative energy

The future of business is always about survival. Survival however depends keenly on knowledge and knowing what to do with that knowledge, before anything unforeseen takes away your ability to function as an entity. Before even profits, there has to be a way to stay above the waters that threaten to consume all businesses.

One way that businesses could help themselves is actually a way to help the environment: that is, being keenly aware of the developments of alternative energy. This is particularly the case given recent issues around the world involving power, as seen in places like South Africa.

Businesses that depend greatly on having electricity, for example, found themselves in the mud due to not being able to receive and use electricity.

There were solutions of course; the ability to use generators has helped, leading to more businesses inquiring into generator financing to help them manage their own expenses. Yet, aside from generators, there has to be a focus on alternative energy sources and, perhaps, an investment in future products or lines that can beneficial.

One important path has been to focus on solar energy. As ThinkAdvisor notes:

“Solar energy has been around for decades, and has had its bright and dark days. But in the past two years there has been major investment growth. According to the United Nation’s Environment Programme’s “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015” report, global investment in renewable power (excluding hyroelectric power) was $270.2 billion in 2014, 17% higher than in 2013.”

Countries like China and Japan spent nearly $80 billion on solar installations. Even developing countries saw investment increases up by 36%.

The issue is that in order to make solar energy viable there has to be investment from major businesses and investors to make that dream a reality.

GTM’s MJ Shiao, director of Solar Research, said: “solar isn’t just a promising technology. It’s a real, deployable tool and platform for a next-generation electricity grid.”

This is the future of how we’ll conduct our business and how the world will survive; for those that kicked themselves for not leaping into the internet age sooner, now’s the best time to start thinking about how you’ll be driving the future of your business in terms of energy usage.

PR tactics to avoid

No matter how good your business might be in producing a service or product, bad publicity can ruin it regardless. Negotiating the perception of your company is precisely what public relations is about; how do you look in the eye of the public, what comes across and so forth. Ideally, PR would simply be a window into your already effective business – and you would be making sales based on your skills as a business alone. This benefits both PR and you as a business owner, since it’s an ideal to constantly aim for and a vision to keep in your mind’s eye.

But sometimes, promotion will either be detrimental or ineffective. For example, when contacting journalists to provide a story, too often PR people will provide the wrong details, withhold information and do a multitude of other things that simply frustrate the process – journalists are busy and bombarded by many other people. If you don’t make the process as smooth as possible, you will have a higher chance of losing the journalist’s interest and therefore promotion of your company.

CyberAlert spoke to journalists about what irritates them the most – which means what will make the journalists simply give up – and they noted:

“Reporters dislike receiving a pitch on a story they just covered or one just covered by a colleague or competitor.  They may write about the same topic or industry again, but surely won’t report the same angle anytime soon. They are also unlikely to feature your company strongly again, in order to maintain independence, balance and avoid being labeled as a shill.”

The biggest tool for marketing has, of course, been the viral nature of the internet. Yet, as Lori Turner-Wilson, CEO/Founder of sales training and marketing firm RedRover, notes:

“You simply can’t control the viral nature of a campaign, as the stars must be perfectly aligned and many of those stars are far outside of your control. Sure, it is gratifying when you see your work picking up viral steam, but avoid setting out with that in mind or you may lose sight of what matters most – the delivery of valuable, relevant content to your target market.”

Often, businesses lack knowledge about how precisely to promote themselves. It is highly beneficial to hire professionals, people who are knowledgeable about the fickle nature of PR, who’ve done public relations courses. By failing to use professionals, business chance making these blunders more so than ineffective PR firms.

How to improve the experience of modern retail customers

Shopping can be a pleasant experience – even though most people would rather merely acquire the items they need and leave. This is partially why there has been a massive rise in the online retail shopping. Indeed, with the rise of digital, retail shopping in-stores must do more to entice people out their homes and away from the apparent convenience of merely clicking and ordering the items they require.

Competing with the convenience of digital is an ongoing concern for all industries, that have traditionally relied on walk-in customers. But the two need not be opposed; in fact that one can lead to the other. Just as the internet is a tool for customers, it can be and should be a tool for businesses.

Consider for example social media: this has proven a highly effective way to engage directly with customers. As social media experts and designers Hootsuite note: social media can inform you about your audience and their needs; it is also highly effective marketing as it helps you reach audience who might never have heard of you; you can also obtain instant feedback to improve your business. The ease of communication means you will get feedback (both positive and negative) which is often overlooked in walk-in experiences of retail.

None of this negates or ignores in-store foot traffic. It’s important to still maintain efficiency at every point – whether online or instore. You still need excellent customer assistants, you still need up-to-date point of sale software, you still need the best stock and competitive prices.

To do better by your customers, you need to have their input. Though digital customers might be easier to measure in terms of their responses, you might want to find ways to also obtain information from in-store customers. Handing out question cards – as long as they are not long or too detailed – or directing them to suggestion boxes can do wonders. So often, we as business people, might overlook simple changes that only customers see.

It’s important than to take measurements and obtain data – which you can do in multiple ways – no matter how harsh or difficult it might be. We can’t hide from facts and from what makes objective sense to improve the business; our failures shouldn’t be hidden, but faced head-on to overcome, improve and create a better business.

Getting your business noticed online

In the increasingly difficult to get noticed in a world swarming with information. Everyone wants to be at the top and thus needs to find a way to get there. Being good isn’t sufficient any longer and we need to figure out the various ways we can get noticed in today’s furious online culture – where information is instant and consumption is particular.

The first thing people think of is that you need expensive marketing budgets: billboards, TV adverts, giant posters. Some of the most expensive adverts cost in the tens of millions of British Pounds. But, for the average small business, we simply could not afford such expenses.

But your budget need not be about having lots of money – or, indeed, even about money. Primarily, you can market yourself primarily on time and energy. One of the best, and most powerful and efficient, ways to do this is to market yourself properly on social media.

You need to learn how to engage directly with customers, using services like Twitter and Facebook. But just because you’ve signed up and have a profile doesn’t mean you’ll be doing it correctly.

As Entrepreneur notes:

“Just like a person who constantly talks about himself, a company that never stops selling on social media is a bore. Don’t use every post and tweet to tout your product or service. Instead, mix in some links to interesting stories that are relevant to your industry and community, as well as personal posts, such as a fun anecdote about your office culture.”

Another good way is to become a resource for HARO.

“From The New York Times, to ABC News, to HuffingtonPost.com and everyone in between, nearly 30,000 members of the media have quoted HARO sources in their stories. Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for.”

If you or your company is then taken up as an authority, you could find yourself being given a platform in some of the most read spaces online. It might important to keep track of this and then request links back to your site if you are mentioned.

Of course, all this won’t make sense if you don’t have a website. Maintaining your website is essential, as today most of your customers are more than likely finding out about you online – thus will be presented with a first impression with how they are presented to you digitally.

All of this, of course, doesn’t make sense if your own office is lacking. Keeping your equipment up-to-date is essential in order to not lose connection and staying ahead of the game. It might mean you need to consider asset finance, but considering you’re paying to stay connected, it is a priority you must maintain.

How to be more effective at HR

As the world becomes smaller, more and more people from greater walks of life are starting to enter fields previously unattainable. Thanks to widespread and increasing equality, pools are no longer dominated by one kind of group but are, increasingly, finding themselves diverse in who enters: various races, genders, cultures are all meeting and competing to try get the latest, hottest jobs and make a name for themselves to find stability in this face-paced world. To handle such a situation requires engagement with people, management of affairs that understand what various people need.

This is where human resources comes in. As About.com notes:

“[Human resource management] is the organizational function [in a business] that deals with issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.”

It’s clear than what the importance of this role is to a business. But many might scoff at yet. Yet, business people themselves – looking at it from a purely business perspective – are preaching the importance of it. As IOL recently reports:

“Employers should do a lot more to ensure the physical and financial well-being of their employees and ultimately to ensure they retire comfortably, key people in the financial services industry say.”

This was the findings of a recent report. Addressing employees, the article notes experts conclude “Your company has a moral obligation to help you, as an employee, achieve financial stability, and in doing so it will ensure that you remain a productive employee.”

Many key figures note that as the world becomes increasingly competitive, “HR should be doing everything possible to retain every employee possible.”

But HR itself is therefore a viable employment opportunity, so it is advised that you consider human resource management courses. Considering the demand for it right now – and also the demand for good human resources management as it benefits businesses – it might be prime time for everyone to consider this often neglected part of business. But even then, there is work to be done.

As Bloomberg notes:

“Human resource managers should learn some foreign phrases, use public transit and take in local landmarks when they travel for work, efforts that help to bridge cultural differences as companies increase their international presence, said Howard Wallack, global markets executive at the Society for Human Resource Management.”

Again: we can’t ignore that the world is diversifying and expanding – often into areas it has never gone before. This means both business and those who work there will be encountering situations they might not have years ago. This requires a deft engagement with negotiating different people to help retain them and get them to want to work in the first place.

This isn’t just good for people, it’s good for business.