July 2016

Top Tips for Pay Per Click

If you are trying to get your website listed, it may feel like it takes forever. Luckily, you can use pay per click (PPC) advertising to make everything go a little bit quicker. With good PPC management services, you can have a campaign set up that doesn’t just get you more traffic, but that, in so doing, actually pays for itself!

How to Set Up a Campaign

The best thing to do is work with a PPC management company to set up your campaign. However, should that not be possible, perhaps because you don’t have a large enough budget yet, there are a few things you can do yourself. Setting up your campaign involves:

  1. Researching a keyword list, making one as big as possible but that only includes keywords that are actually relevant to you.
  2. Make themed groups for those keywords and keyword phrases. These groups are known as ‘ad groups’ and will really help you to get more out of your campaign.
  3. Make sure your ads contain the keyword in the headline, and make a minimum of two ads in each group that are essentially the same, changing a single thing in either the ad text or the headline.
  4. Use a dynamic keyword insertion to target your URL. This helps to increase your overall quality scores.
  5. Always include conversion tracking, so that you can see which ads work and which ones don’t.

Managing Your PPC Campaign

  1. First use exact match keywords. Only spend a little bit. This shows you which keywords work best.
  2. Have a negative keyword list, which means the advertiser will NOT show your ads for certain keywords. This is really useful to make sure you don’t pay for irrelevant traffic.
  3. Tweak how much you want to pay for the ads, so that you spend more on the ones that get you the most hits.
  4. Split test your ads by showing them evenly. Once you have more than 100 impressions, you pick the ad that works best and discard the others – or invest less in them if they also work well.
  5. Pause keywords that don’t get clicks after at least 1,000 impressions. Keeping poor keywords live will impact badly on your campaign.

The most important thing is that you keep doing your research. Some people find that PPC is like a natural extension of their regular work, others struggle significantly with it. Either way, it is a significant amount of work, even if you find it very easy. Hence, once your campaign starts paying for itself, or once your business gets off the ground and you have a bit more budget available, it is better to hire a company to manage things for you. They are professional and will spend all their attention on your keywords, making them work for you, and effectively giving you a return on investment.

Once your keywords work in order to improve your rankings and get you traffic, you need to start using them to monetize. This is even more complex, as you will have to calculate at which point you will actually make a profit.

Portable Restrooms on Construction Sites

Construction jobs are long and complicated and never seem to be finished on time. During construction, admin work has to be completed, and there usually is a need for sales trailers, mobile toilets, storage trailers, and more. The portable restrooms element is particularly important. They cannot be placed just anywhere, as they will need a sewer hook, running water, and an electrical service in order to operate.

It is also very important that the restrooms are in fact portable. As construction continues, new utilities are connected and people start to work on different elements of the site, which means the restrooms have to move with them. As such, everything has to be disconnected and reconnected again.

Portable Restrooms

Portable restrooms are perhaps one of the most important job site trailers around. Workers have a right to bathroom facilities, which is important both for their privacy and for the overall hygiene of both your staff and the jobsite as a whole. Luckily, you can get fully portable restrooms to meet just about any needs, and these can then be moved around as construction continues on the site. In many cases, blocks of jobsite trailers are created, with a toilet trailer, an office trailer, and a storage trailer near one another, for instance. However, how you want to organize this on your particular site is entirely up to you.

What does matter is that the restrooms are really well ventilated, and that the air from the restrooms doesn’t get sent to the offices and storage rooms, however. Additionally, as stated previously, you have to be able to hook it up to all the necessary utilities. This all has to be planned properly, as well as being maintained properly. Do so, and they will last you for the duration of your construction project. Customers and employees alike will be able to enjoy the comfort of having clean restroom facilities there for them.

Problems with Portable Restroom Solutions

  1. No existing restroom and no water or sewage. This means you need a full system with all the necessary components. In fact, it can even hold a portable sink. You do, however, usually have to be able to hook it up to electricity.
  2. Existing restroom but no water or sewage. In this case, you have to install the services to the trailers. Installing a large scale water tank may just be exactly what you need.
  3. Limited Space. In this case, you need to ask for a smaller than average portable restroom, which most job site trailer places will have available.
  4. Water connection, but no sewer. You may want to get a chemical toilet to get rid of flushed waste.

Don’t take chances with your portable restrooms. Your employees are entitled to one by law, and your customers will expect there will be a restroom on site as well. And , as you can see, all the common problems sometimes associated with these job site trailers can easily be resolved.

What Can You Achieve When You Ask Someone Else to Do it For You?

Have you ever considered crowdsourcing? It is an innovative new concept, but one that is quickly gaining momentum. However, just as with innovation as a whole, many businesses don’t quite understand it yet. They don’t know what they can achieve through crowdsourcing software. For years, we have been told that doing something properly means doing it yourself, and this goes some way towards explaining why many companies are reluctant to crowdsource. But in so doing, they miss out on a great deal of opportunities and talent.

What Can You Crowdsource?

Simply put, you can crowdsource anything you like. However, it is most commonly used for text, translation, graphic design, and solving various problems. For text, for instance, you can crowdsource:

  • SEO and editorial texts to be used on websites.
  • Product descriptions for a catalog or online store.
  • Software descriptions.
  • Instructions for video of PC games.
  • Travel reports and reviews.
  • Optimization and revision of existing texts.
  • Glossaries.
  • Responses to customer questions and comments.
  • Blog posts.

For translations, crowdsourcing is often used for:

  • Translation between various languages of existing texts.
  • Categorization and tagging.
  • Web content categorization.
  • Product categorization.
  • Archive data categorization.
  • Tagging of videos, images, and articles.
  • Finding synonyms to add to search engines.
  • Web research.
  • The electronic marketing of some of the elements on photographs and images.
  • Researching product information, address data, prices, opening hours, competitor information, and manufacturer data.
  • Tests and surveys.
  • Old fashioned market research surveys.
  • Testing services such as websites, products, software, and online services.
  • Discovering product and company names.

In terms of graphic design, more and more companies now use crowdsourcing for:

  • Website design.
  • Logo design.
  • Web banner design.
  • Poster and flyer design.

Finally, crowdsourcing can be used to solve various problems, including:

  • Search for new, innovative ideas and alternatives.
  • Creating or finding photographs and images.
  • Finding license free or cheap vectors, videos, and photographs.

How Does it Work?

Now that you can see just some of the things that you can do through crowdsourcing, it suddenly becomes clearer how powerful of a tool it actually is. The question then becomes, however, how you can crowdsource a service. This varies greatly depending on which software or platform you use. However, it usually follows the next few steps to a certain degree:

  1. You write down what your full task actually is and then break it down into smaller tasks, jobs, and projects.
  2. The crowdsourcing platform processes the entire order, enabling different online users to put forward their work and ideas based on your personal requirements.
  3. Quality controls are put in place, for instance by sending drafts to you, to make sure the job is carried out to satisfaction.

This is a very simplistic view of how crowdsourcing works, but it really isn’t much more complicated than that. You simply have to decide whether or not crowdsourcing is for you or not and, if it is, what you do and don’t want to crowdsource.

What to Expect from High Quality Business Software

Business often spend millions of dollars managing and perfecting their IT infrastructure, focusing on both hardware and software. However, unless they also have the best possible types of business software installed, none of this infrastructure is valuable in any way. Did you know that research firm Gartner, with support of Infor CEO, Charles Phillip, has shown that companies will spend a total of $114.4 billion on business application software in 2016? This is a 10.2% rise since 2010, and it is showing no signs of slowing down.

Every business that experiences, or wants to experience, high growth will at some point struggle with determining which type of system they need to use in order to be able to manage this sustained growth. It is vital that they properly plan to find an integrated software system that helps them to manage their overall business. Unfortunately, however, most businesses continue to focus most strongly on revenue acceleration instead. The consequence of this is that, once a company does achieve the projected growth, they have a wealth of different applications running that don’t collaborate with each other. This makes the overall business process wholly inefficient, and they have to spend thousands in trying to find ways to integrate the various pieces of software. It is very important, therefore, to have a greater understanding of business systems first, thereby avoiding individual silos that cannot work together.

How Siloed Systems Are Constructed

If a company experiences rapid growth, it often becomes burdened with complex landscape of different applications. When a business first starts, they often start with a single focus: their accounting software. Their bookkeeping has to be properly managed first, after all.

After that, they start to think of ways to get more customers into their businesses. Usually, they will acquire yet another system for this, which will be a customer management system. As the business grows, they will add a customer support system, an order management system, an inventory management system, and a fulfillment system. Plus, everybody will usually work with their own spreadsheets to cross reference things. In a properly running business, however, all of these elements have to work together and this is impossible if many different systems are being used.

This siloed process becomes even worse with further growth. Companies will start to open new offices, and will effectively start the process again. They may, at that point, add even more systems, such as financial consolidation, recurring billing, and ecommerce integration. Interestingly, proper integration is even more important here, because these elements link to the financial viability of your business. The worst siloed businesses actually have applications for every individual vendor, while at the same time building their own spreadsheets and applications.

If a business continues to evolve in this manner, their architecture will be so complex that collaborative working becomes impossible. In the long term, this will hold the company back quite a bit, stopping the growth in its tracks. People become less productive, less flexible, and less engaged in the business. This is why it is so important to have properly integrated business software in place from the word go.

Why Women Are the Business Leaders of the Future

More and more women are buying businesses and taking on positions of leadership. It seems that women, now more than ever, want to be their own boss. They want to not just have their own earnings, but they want to earn more. And they want to be able to pay for their own lifestyle, and make it better than ever before. Indeed, these desires are some of the most popular reasons why women become entrepreneurs and this is something Karen Phillips, wife of Charles Phillips, Infor CEO, fully supports.

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) has stated that there were some 8.6 million women owned business in this country in 2013. These businesses employ some 7.8 million people, and generating $1.3 trillion in sales. Most interesting is the fact that these businesses seem to grow faster than others. By the end of 2013, 28.7% of all businesses in American were women owned.

Men Want to Wait, Women Go for It

The majority of male leaders are ambitious and they hope for a time when they can become even bigger. To achieve this, they often sell their businesses, buying something bigger in its place. Men wait for the right opportunity, however, as long as necessary. A woman, by contrast, is much more likely to instantly purchase new businesses, or even go back into the workforce the minute they sell their business.

Women Have Different Preferences

When comparing the preferences of men and women who want to either buy or sell their business, there are some notable differences. Women are interested in a different type of business than what men are. The most preferred industries for women owned business are salons, barber shops, beauty salons, and retail stores. Because of this, they are able to grow their business at a faster rate, and expand much quicker as well. Men, by contrast, tend to invest in large niche industries, where millions are needed for each transaction. They like the bigger things. While their growth is therefore very rapid when they do make a purchase, they don’t buy as often and therefore grow slower overall. Women, as well, are embracing the concept of online businesses.

Women Have Specific Challenges

It is undeniable that there is an increasing number of women in business. However, the environment itself remains hostile to them, and men are the ones who are favored. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, women often don’t request funding because they know they are likely to be rejected. One of the reasons for this is because few women are educated in the STEM fields, which is specifically what investors are looking for. This is one of the reasons why Karen Phillips is engaged in philanthropic work to encourage people to enter the STEM fields as well.

Women have opportunities waiting for them. They are blurring the gender divide and are starting to be able to access the same resources and opportunities. As always, women are changing the world.

A Closer Look At The Current Business Approach By Charles Phillips

Charles Phillips is currently seen as a huge market innovator. His work has always been envied, especially because of the aggressiveness that is present on the market at the moment thanks to the work at Infor. Everything started with Charles Phillips previous role at Oracle. The acquisitions made then were huge. This is a strategy that continued at Infor and leads towards a constant growth that will most likely not stop in the near future.

Infor is quite different than the other companies that currently operate in the ERP sector, with Oracle and SAP as the main competitors. We can highlight 3 or 4 pretty significant differentiators. It is these differentiators that many see as being the reason why Charles Phillips is leading the company towards a success potential that is much higher than SAP and Oracle, although we are still a long way away at the moment.

An example of the differentiators appears in how many verticals appear or are potential. Infor and Charles Phillips is now interested in healthcare, retail, services and hospitality. We are faced with distribution type markets or manufacturing markets. Then, we have cloud infrastructures that are not approached as with the competition. Instead of remaining focused on building data centers, Charles Phillips, started to use systems that were already created. This is where the acquisition strategy steps in and offers exactly what Infor lacks. Some years ago we saw Phillips declaring that a part of the budget he had was invested in application functionality as opposed to creating brand new systems that would bring in overspending.

In fact, one of the biggest problems that we notice at the moment with ERP vendors is that they invest way too much in data centers. This is because of the fact that not much is obtained in return. The companies still run the data centers in an inappropriate way and end up being undersized without even realizing it that this happens. You want to be focused on making the right decisions in business. With this in mind, Infor is now being guided towards increasing efficiency and sustaining everything that is built for the benefit of the clients. Infor now uses many human services. The company actually shows this off. Thanks to the acquisitions made, we are faced with many interesting opportunities that are simply not available with the competition. This is what sets the work of Charles Phillips aside, even from when he was involved with Oracle. Instead of investing blindly in making everything better, the main focus was put on improving functionality. This brought in huge efficiency and made all operate better from the client’s point of view.

In the ERP industry we see many companies appearing and disappearing. The same can be said about the people that work in the market. Charles Phillips seems to be a name that simply does not go away and no Infor is taken to brand new heights because of the approach that he offers. It is definitely one that is interesting.

Sun Capital response to decrease in private equity transactions

Anyone who keeps tabs on financial news may have seen some interesting information published by Pitchbook over recent times.

Pitchbook were keen to highlight how significant private equity firms have proven to be within retail businesses over the last few years. However, something they also strongly focused on was the fact that the trend seems to be slowing down – not as many private equity firms seem quite as keen in backing retail propositions.

It’s at this point where it’s interesting to look at some of the key points in which private equity firms scrutinize whilst piecing together a deal.

In a recent interview, the CEO of Sun Capital, Marc Leder, revealed that there were several prerequisites a business must meet in order for them to be a viable proposition for the private equity giants. Let’s quickly take a look at some of these:

The business isn’t reaching its potential

Firstly, there’s little point in investing in a business if it’s already reaching its maximum potential. This is the first point Leder made in his interview and said that there have to be obvious ways in which the business can improve and achieve more.

It needs to be a business that can benefit through operational expertise

Something that a lot of private equity firms pride themselves in is their operational abilities. In other words, they are able to step into a business and implement changes based on their knowledge and infrastructures they already have in place.

Similarly to above, if there’s no obvious way that a business can be benefited operationally, it’s probably not going to be considered by a company like Sun Capital.

It needs to be a market leader

Just because a company leads the market doesn’t mean to say that it’s reaching its full potential. In the case of Sun Capital, they prefer to invest in companies which are leading their sector and are proven to be important to their customers. It’s here when they can step in and make the difference which we have spoken about.

However, something that Leder didn’t cover in that interview was when a company doesn’t become a viable proposition for Sun Capital.

This brings us back to the Pitchbook statistics, which claimed that the retail market for private equity companies was slowing.

Sun Capital have since responded with their own outlook on this. Even if a company easily satisfies the three requirements that Leder set out in his interview, they can’t do anything to guard against high valuations.

In other words, even though a private equity firm might be able to add value to a company, there becomes a valuation which means that it’s just not feasible.

This appears to be the main reason for the slight downturn in the amount of private equity-backed deals which are going through for retail businesses right now. Nevertheless, Sun Capital have remained defiant and insist that it’s still a market they will look at – as their huge portfolio shows.

Climate change: How the country is tackling one of the world’s biggest problems

While there might be some huge problems facing the world right now, there’s no doubt that the US government has targeted climate change as one of the biggest.

We don’t need to write about the perils of this topic – books, dissertations and everything else has been penned which highlights just how much damage climate change could cause to the environment for years to come.

Fortunately, the authorities are working endlessly. While some news headlines may portray the issue negatively, if one scrutinizes all of the plans in place it is clear that immense progress is being made.

Let’s take a look at several of the biggest ways in which the country is tackling climate change and easing the problems it is causing.

Data is absolutely key to the future

You may have been expecting to read about all of the initiatives that are in place, which have probably already affected you at some point over the last few years. Trust us, that will come later, but something that is often overlooked is the sheer amount of data that the authorities are attempting to collect in relation to emissions.

It doesn’t matter which industry you are involved in, data is key. Without it, there is absolutely no way to see where the problems lie and what, if any, progress is being made.

It’s one of the main reasons why NEON was created. Funded by the National Science Foundation and led by CEO Russ Lea, this collects data for all around the country about the effects of climate change. It was a $434m investment – highlighting the importance of data.

Science will always play a part

We’ve just touched on science, but really its worthy of its own section. Advancements in science is something that will aid climate change substantially and as is the case with the NEON project, it’s something that will always be invested in.

A lot of this investment comes in the form of research. The U.S. Global Change Research Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are just two examples. In short, if the authorities can find scientific solutions to efficiently improve climate change, it stands to reason that this investment is worthwhile.

Initiatives provide the biggest reductions

It would be fair to say that the previous two issues are almost working in the background – they are something that the average member of the public won’t be privy to.

Instead, most of us know about the initiatives that are in place. These are more likely to impact our day-to-day life and if we were to pick one example, the EPA vehicle greenhouse gas rules are particularly beneficial. This refers to the regulations that promote the production of clean vehicles – meaning that cars are suddenly becoming a lot more efficient. The fact that consumers should save around $1.7 trillion in fuel prices by 2025 highlights just how impressive these measures can be if implemented correctly.

Why Can Corporate Mergers Fail?

Every single business acquisition will be different and will have various challenges that have to be met. However, in all cases we have the same principle that appears. There are two companies that have different ownerships that unite and then operate under one roof. We have companies that help manage acquisitions like Generational Equity. They are normally involved in the process because of all the things that have to be managed. However, if you want to handle it alone, here are some tips that you want to know about.

Assembling An Acquisitions Team

You want to have a special internal team that features representatives from sales, marketing, operations and finance departments. Outside experienced advisors include investment bankers, accountants, lawyers, employee benefits specialists and other specialists. The idea is to have many people involved that can plan everything properly. You cannot simply have one company take over another one and implement the same practices that only one utilizes.

Creating An Acquisition Plan

A plan is very important in any merger. You need to know exactly why the acquisition happens, what objectives exist and how everything will be finances. Many things are taken into account by specialists like cost savings, efficiency, choosing target companies and more. Drafting the acquisition plan is the very first thing that is necessary in order to make a really good process go forward properly. In many cases companies start working on the acquisition too fast and fail to understand everything that is going to happen.

Putting A Price On The Deal

One of the toughest parts of the business acquisition is pricing it properly. There is no real valuation method that is going to highlight the actual worth of the company since value stands out as being subjective. Market value stands out as the general indicator that can be considered but many other facts have to be taken into account. Price factors do include discounted cash flow, earnings, equity, meaning, projected earnings, strategic value and possible new earning streams that could appear. You want to analyze assets like brands, licenses, intellectual property and customer lists.

Remember the fact that one of the common reasons why acquisitions fail is having the two parties disagree to the value of the companies. This makes everything difficult and price discussions are always going to be problematic. There may be some seller cultures that are different and normally, when price problems appear, it is important to focus on getting outside help to deal with the problem.

Acquisition Financing

We always have unique structures in transactions. You need to finance the deal since cash is normally not available at the discretion of the companies involved. In many situations it will be necessary to take out a loan and plan to deal with some future debt. Structure is vital in this situation and financing should be acquired before the process starts. If you do not have all the money, it is a guarantee that you are going to be faced with some problems. Get back to planning and factor in the necessary finances.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION: BREAKING BARRIERS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela. This quote embodies the importance of language both in our personal and professional lives. In an organization, effective communication skills are extremely valuable. Both verbal and non-verbal communication strategies are continuously honed to achieve solution and success for the company. In lieu of globalization, companies should also focus on effectively communicating to international business partners and consumers by availing certified translation services of the highest quality that read as if they were originally crafted in the target language. In this manner, it helps alleviate language barriers and cultural differences in the workplace thereby decreasing errors especially operations-wise due to miscommunication. Translation services can also be utilized during international transactions especially for the export industry. In line with this, employees, managers in particularly should be careful in communicating to avoid terms which are politically and culturally offensive.

Moreover, effective communication promotes efficiency among different departments since trust and rapport are built within teams. Leaders are able to command working standards without being hostile and rude. Thus, productivity, responsibility and respect are valued and upheld. Consequently, the employees’ morale is developed since effective communication produces a conducive and healthy work environment. If the management are able to provide and maintain good communication, employees will appreciate it. It has been proven that effective communication in the workplace is vital in maintaining employee motivation. When professional relationships are improved, management and employees would coordinate better resulting to harmonious decisions. Hence, end goals are easier to achieve. Poor communication streams and skills lead to poor customer service, high employee and product turnover, lack of productivity and even uncomfortable workplace.

Breaking barriers in professional communication

Like other important facets in organizational management, effective communication also has barriers. It is important to identify these barriers in order to avoid these mistakes and

efficiently maintain healthy business communication lines.

  1. Poor listening skills

This is one of the most common barriers in the workplace. Not listening happens when one does not have any desire or concern in the conversation. In addition, differences in ideas and self-entitlement also affects not listen deliberately. To avoid this, ensure that meetings and brainstorming is done in a quiet room. It is also important to maintain professional respect so that listening is easier to do.

  1. Perceptional barriers

We all have different outlooks and perspectives. While its normal that we view things differently, it is important to also remember other views and opinions. In this manner, we would learn new processes and approaches in dealing with problems in the workplace. Keep an open mind for you can also deduce bright and creative ideas from others.

  1. Misunderstanding non-verbal signals

Some body signals such as raising of brows, shaking your head and waving your hands in a particular direction will send negative messages even if you do not intend to. To avoid these, one must be aware of his or her nuances and assess whether they send negative messages.

  1. Making assumptions

Assuming can be dooming; when in doubt, check it out.” This is an important reminder everyone, especially for leaders to not make an assumption more so decide something based on it. Assuming things will most likely make you miss on crucial information thereby increasing your susceptibility to grave mistakes.

  1. Emotional and psychological problems

These problem can distract you to effectively communicate to others, whether personally or professionally. Moreover, emotions play a vital role on our ability to focus. To avoid barriers that can arise due to these problems, it is important to seek help so you can cope healthily. It also pays to make your closest confidants know your situation so they would not misinterpret you.

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