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Top 10 Business Podcasts

If you are a business owner then this list of the top 10 business podcasts is a must for you.

As a business owner/ entrepreneur, we all know that maintaining and growing a business can be extremely difficult and taxing at times.

In order to keep growing and moving forward with our businesses, we have to constantly learn and develop new skills. That doesn’t sound too difficult in theory but with the daily pressures of operating a business, it’s not always easy to find the time to learn these new skills.

There’s only so many hours in the day so we need to be smart about how, and what we spend our time on.

A great way of achieving this is to maximize our downtime by listening to podcasts. Even busy business owners have downtime (walking the dog, going for a jog, commuting during the day etc) so it’s a perfect opportunity.

So now you’ve decided to check out some business podcasts where do you start? Well finding the right podcast can be tough, anyone with a microphone and a computer can basically record a podcast so let me show you the best business podcasts so you can cut the fluff and get straight to the gold.

TOP 10 BUSINESS PODCASTS

  1. TED Talks Business
  2. StartUp
  3. Entrepreneurs On Fire
  4. The Gary Vee Audio Experience
  5. Social Media Marketing
  6. Marketing School
  7. Masters Of Scale
  8. The Joe Rogan Experience
  9. The Tony Robbins Podcast
  10. The Tim Ferris Show

There you have it. The best podcasts to get you fired up and ready for action!


The Four Factors That Control Your Managerial Effectiveness

In deciding what makes an effective manager, there are four main factors to consider and not all of them are directly controlled by the manager concerned. They are, YOU, YOUR JOB, THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH and YOUR ORGANISATION.

You

You bring your own knowledge, skills, abilities, talents and experience to the job you do as manager and these things will have an impact on how effective you can be in your role. Managers with greater experience can often remember the mistakes they made as a newbie and so appreciate how their now-seasoned skills can improve their job performance.

Your job

The actual position you hold and the work you do in its duties and responsibilities will affect your ability to be an effective manager, since it may be either a good or bad match for your skills and abilities.

The people you work with

Other employees have a major influence on managerial effectiveness. People are important if a manager wishes to achieve the work he/she needs to do. To a certain extent, effectiveness is measured by how well the manager concerned is able to motivate people and coordinate their efforts to achieve best performance. However, in many settings, a more realistic appraisal of management work is that managers are dependent upon their employees to get work done, so effectiveness will be determined by the skills, abilities and willingness of those people.

Your organisation

Organisational structure and where you are within it will affect the amount of authority you can wield and the responsibilities you are expected to be able to handle. It can also specify limits to what is achievable. Also, your organisation’s corporate culture, with its unwritten norms of conduct and methods of working, will influence your ability to be an effective manager.

So it is not enough to simply improve your knowledge of management techniques to improve your effectiveness. These techniques must be tempered by an understanding of these four factors in order to become practically useful in the corporate workplace.


5 Essential Questions to Ask About Your Business Competitors

Are you thinking of starting a new business or have you done it yet and wondered the crucial questions to ask about competition? America is a nation of entrepreneurs, and small businesses are the leading providers or work opportunities for people. We need great entrepreneurs to continue to propel the economy forward.

If you’re looking to create a start-up, you can’t succeed without understanding what is out there and what the competition looks like; nevertheless, sometimes entrepreneurs don’t know how to approach this task. The way to do it is to identify the right questions to ask.

  1. Who’s Your Competition?

The first question you want to ask is who are your competitors. You might be in a new industry, but the likelihood is that you’re not. The first thing you have to figure out is who your competition is and what they offer regarding products and services. You’ll also want to know how they position themselves in the market. If you were their customer, what would stand out for you about your competitors, their products or services?

2. SWOT

Once you’re clear on your competitors, do a SWOT analysis. List all of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats your company can face in the marketplace. Be as objective as possible and if possible, bring in trusted advisors who can give you third-party insight. You want to understand what others outside of you and your team think about your company and its offerings.

3. Differentiation

Think about your products and services in the context of the offerings of your competitors. Consider each of their products or services, even the ones you don’t intend to provide in your company and understand what makes your products better. If it turns out that your competitors are doing something better than you are, or plan to, then think carefully about how you can improve your offerings for the market. Think about ideas and test them, every time you have the opportunity, in the market so you can stay at least one step ahead of the competition.

4. Customer Relations

Candidly, one of the reasons my companies have had immense success is because we prioritize exceptional customer service and relations. For my team, it’s always about relationship-building, even with our toughest customers. So, as you evaluate your company, think about what your competitors can do better for their customers since this will be an opportunity for you to offer it to them. Be highly thoughtful when you think of how you can develop a customer relations program that will blow away the competition.

5. Price

When you’re taking your products or services to the marketplace, you have to understand how your offerings compare with those of your competitors. If you’re able to offer a product at a lower price point, is it still something that is of high quality? If, however, your prices will be higher than that of your competitors, what are you offering that will always encourage customers to want to pay a higher price for what you have on the market? When you get to the point of determining price, it is essential t


5 Simple Steps to Make a Career Change

With a new school year, many people turn to also look for a new career or work opportunity. Is this the year that you finally decide to break with a dead-end job that’s taking you nowhere or a boss who causes your blood pressure to rise? Are you done giving everything that you’ve got in the tank to a company that doesn’t acknowledge your contribution? Have you thought about moving to a new career, but didn’t know how to get from here to there?

Your opportunity for change is now. It’s here. There’s no time like the present.

If you’ve been thinking about leaving your job for a new career opportunity, now is a great time to look to see what’s out there in the market. The economy is generally good, businesses are feeling more confident, and so unemployment is at low levels. We know that everything is cyclical and there will come a time this will not be the case, and so this is a great environment to see if you can improve your work situation.

Do you need a new job or a new career?

The first question to ask yourself is whether you prefer a new job or a career change. Moving into a new industry will come with all sorts of challenges, such as training, a pay cut, or taking a job that’s at a lower rank than where you are in your current industry. Moving to a new career is a lot of work, and so it requires careful consideration and thought. If you’re not wholly committed to doing everything necessary for a new career, the chances are high that as much as you would like to have been, you’ll probably be okay with a new job.

Take an inventory of your skills.

Even if you’re looking to move into an entirely different industry, you should review and assess your skills, especially those that are transferable to another career. For instance, ask yourself if you’re a strong communicator or manager? Do you have particular skills in marketing, finance or operations? A reason to carefully assess your skills is that you should be keenly aware of your best skills as you begin to transition and go on job interviews. Also, you might be able to ease into a transition to your ultimate career by exploring job opportunities that will get you a step or two closer to your goal, but not yet be the career and job of your dreams.

What’s going to be the effort for a new career?

Once you’ve decided that a new career is in the cards for you, you have to get started on doing your research. Some people who are chasing their career dreams may end up in a situation where they are evaluating more than one industry. Making a career change is more challenging than a job change, so you’re going to have to assess what it will take for you to switch careers. In your research, see if you will be required to attend training or get any certifications. When you make a career change, you will also have to consider if you will be getting a pay cut and starting out a few rungs below where you are on the corporate ladder. Now is the time to prepare your personal circumstances to give you the best chance at success.

Get in touch with who you know.

When you have a firmer idea of what you want to do for your career change, make it a point to speak to the people you know and work yourself out from that point. By communicating to everyone you know, you might have an opportunity, such as an introduction, open up for you. Additionally, the people who know you best will be able to support you and perhaps give you different perspectives and ideas as you begin to search for your new path. Be aware that you might have one or two people who may tell you that you shouldn’t make a career change for whatever reason. We all have one or two of those friends. Take what they have to say with a grain of salt and stay focused on moving along in your career and life.

Get going and make it happen.

Finally, get started. One of the most challenging things to do for so many people is to begin. For many others, once they start and see the additional work demands that come from making a career change, on top of their regular responsibilities, the desire to change a career begins to dim. The way to ensure this does not happen is to create a 90-120 day plan with measurable goals and objectives that you break down weekly. If you need additional training, one of the tasks could be researching schools and then signing up. Another task could be to reach out to a certain number of people you know, as well as professionals in the industry, each week. It’s crucial to keep the passion going so you can make a successful transition.


8 Ways to Show Your Boss You’re Ready for That Leadership Role

According to a report published on Deloitte Insights, 86% of companies interviewed in a survey say that developing new leaders is an urgent or important need. This means that the majority of organizations would prefer to groom a number of their employees who have the potential to handle higher positions than to hire externally.

Taking up leadership training courses is a great way to boost your confidence and gain the additional skills and knowledge you need to be an effective leader. Once you think you’re ready to take on a leadership role, you can demonstrate your readiness and competency through these strategic actions:

1. Bring extra value to the table

When you were still applying for your job, during the interview, you were probably asked the question, “What can you bring to the table?” You probably answered this all-important question by enumerating a list of your accomplishments, skills, experiences, etc. But once you’re ready to take on a higher position, you’ll need to bring more to the table.

This means taking on more work that you’re sure you can do competently and complete. If you have a set of tasks you need to do daily, go beyond the norm and put in more effort in your output.

For instance, if you’re in retail, don’t just aim to close the required or minimum number of sales every day. Work on getting more sales and giving patrons better customer experiences. By going beyond what you and your boss are used to, you are showing that you’re ready for more responsibilities.

2. Solve a big or recurring problem

Problem-solving is one crucial skill that all leaders should have. You can demonstrate that you have this highly prized ability by actually solving a huge problem or one that never seems to go away in the workplace.

Take the time to study certain processes or the office overall. Find out what causes delays in operations, dissatisfaction among customers, and discontent among your co-employees.

Do some research and recommend research-backed strategies or solutions to solve these problems. Work with the HR team, manager or business owner, and your co-workers to know if these are feasible fixes.

Once the new processes will be implemented, make sure you take a proactive stand and take the lead in accepting and following these changes.

3. Take ownership of your work

Humility is another trait people look for in leaders, and it is something that you should have as well. However, you should also own your contribution to success.

When others (especially your boss) notice and praise your accomplishments, accept and thank them. If you took the lead in a successful project, acknowledge your teammates’ efforts, but make sure you are aware of the important role you played in its realization.

4. Generously give credit to those who deserve it

Unless you took on a project yourself, always recognize and call out the efforts of your teammates. This is a crucial element in demonstrating and cultivating great teamwork. Appreciating the work of your colleagues shows your boss that you are paying attention to other people’s input and that you understand how everyone’s work contributes to the success of the company.

Recognition is one of the biggest things employees want to get from their bosses for inspiration. Even if you’re not a boss yet, acknowledge your colleagues’ efforts; they (and your superior) will appreciate you for it.

5. Inspire others

Genuinely acknowledging the hard work of others is a wonderful way to get the respect and admiration of your co-workers. However, take your appreciation a step further by motivating them to be better and to perform at a higher capacity as well.

Aside from leading by example, find different ways to inspire your colleagues. If some of them are experiencing burnout, offer tips on how they can overcome this. In case you’ve already experienced the same thing before, share some things about what you went through and how you successfully managed it.

If some of your co-workers want to become better employees, or are also aspiring for a higher position as well, encourage them to join you in team coaching sessions. All of you will learn something valuable from these programs. It is also an amazing way to let others know you are thinking of their welfare and success too; this, in turn, will encourage them to strive for more.

6. Know how to listen

Listening to another person with an open mind is a highly admired quality. It is essential to building and sustaining quality relationships.

If you know how to listen with an empathetic ear and open mind, you can develop a culture of passion and energetic teamworks. This is a clear indication that you have what it takes to be a leader. These are also traits that employers and managers look for and value in their next leaders.

7. See the big picture

Developing the ability to see and think big now will help you become an effective employee and leader. This refers to the capacity to keep an eye on the bigger vision of successful leadership without getting affected or caught up in various obstacles or issues at work.

Big picture thinking will also enable you to act proactively instead of reactively. When you already have this trait, your boss will know you are ready for a leadership role. This is because this quality is highly helpful in effectively managing people and time, and with turning challenges into opportunities.

8. Find, define and strengthen your voice

Building your personal brand is a by-word in the corporate world today. This is something that job-seekers are encouraged to focus on.

Finding and building up your brand’s voice and standing out from the crowd in a positive way will also help others see you as a potential leader. This can also spill over to your convictions; staying true to what you believe in is a good sign of a remarkable leader.

There is nothing wrong with pulling out all the stops if you’re keen on taking a leadership role. After all, aiming for a higher position is a goal worth working hard for. It is rewarding in many aspects and it is a clear sign that you’re on the right track to achieving greater success.


4 Ways You Can Optimize Your Logistics and Distribution

Undeniably, the most crucial role of a company following the production is the distribution and logistics of the final goods so that they reach the end consumers at the right time. Clearly, logistics and delivery both have an unmatched role to play in the performance of the business. Hence, a steadfast and seamless mechanism for your goods distribution will ensure that your customers are satisfied with you. While the system of logistics and distribution varies with companies depending on the kind of products they deal in, optimizing it means following some discrete approach. However, here are discussed some easy and tacit ways to simplify distribution operations to make sure customers get a satisfying service.

Resource efficient packaging

Most of the times, courier and delivery services companies deploy a uniform packaging system, irrespective of what they are distributing. Many times, we see a simple consumer good, which is not as fragile as an electronic item, arriving with layers of packaging. So, you need to make sure that your packaging do not become excessive and as per the product nature from you logistics service provider. This way not only wastes will be reduced but also the costs of packing.

Bring forth new delivery options

Just not the products but there are many things that matter in delivery like the weight, dimension, nature or type of product, or whether it needs cold storage. While all this have a huge impact on the customers’ satisfaction and state of the product when it will arrive at them, you need to find out whether you own delivery system have options to take care of all the aspects well.

Turning on automated processes for delivery

Another way you can assure that your delivery systems are fulfilling all expectations of customers is automation. Tracking of delivery route, time and vehicles/driver details, will help customers relax back while their orders are out for delivery. This further reduces the random calls and inquiries from the customers regarding their products.

Picking a logistics and delivery partner

The most befitting way to streamline your logistics and delivery mechanism is joining hands with a full-fledged delivery and courier services company who will help you through and out. From special handling of the products to warehousing management, products packaging to dispatch, doorstep deliveries to customers services, they will be in charge of all.

You need to realize that the logistics role is hard and it is that significant part of your business, which can hold back your customers providing them right delivery facilities. Whichever business you are into, just make sure your logistics support is well optimized and automated to get your products aptly to your end customers.


Four Stages of Business Growth

1st Stage-Initiation:

There can be varied reasons for a business start-up but the main values in running the business are of those who are the founders. We can see that company exhibits the main skills of the founder in its spirits, for example, if the founder is an engineer, he will emphasize in production rather than sales and marketing which should not be neglected. Main efforts are centered on the acceptability of the product in the market. If the owner can provide the demands of business i.e. time, energy, and finances, he/she can move to the second stage. Otherwise, he/she will have to wind up their business as there is limited time for the company to stay at one stage. Here the main focus changes to establish the company and earn profits. With this financial push company will need to formalize the system and start record keeping, an unskilled manager can’t handle this all. After this, there will be demand for change in administration’s style because of increased activity in his business.

2nd Stage-Growth:

The moment a company moves forward to the expansion stage it should be able to earn a decent profit, but that profit will not go to the owner. This is because it will be invested in the business in order to assist in the capital demands of the company. It demands time for coordinating functional managerial activities; it demands complicated organizational structure mainly focusing on functional lines. Now research and development will be established in order to increase product range. At the start, it will be on a smaller scale because of lack of capital. If management continues changing its environment, the company can stay at this stage for some time. In many cases, owners sell their business at this stage for substantial benefits. The increase of new markets and product will demand more finances. This stage faces larger competitors who deal the situation by putting stress on emerging firm; this stress can be in the form of very low prices as well. At this stage over trading is the biggest threat if not handled properly it can lead the business to demise. As the company grows it need to extend geographical trading and distribution, so ‘supervised supervision’ will be required at this stage. If new competitors enter the market and the owner wants to maintain his shares, he will have to put more capital by himself or attract some partners.

3rd Stage-Expansion:

This stage demands proper management reports, budget control, and dispersed authority, along with a formal accounting system. Basic adaptation at this stage will be to systemize administrative roles which are keys to survival through this stage. The expansion stage demands stable long term funds which will be important and if there is not plan for partners then this stage must be considered right now. Although retained earnings are major forms of funds but dividends are the special attraction to the investors; at this stage these are inevitable. Now company’s track record will help in gaining long term loans but the company will have to give security in the form of assets.

4th Stage-Maturity:

At this stage main issues are about expense control, search for growth opportunities and productivity. The direction of authority can be towards functional lines or it is reorganized with production lines. As there is severe price competition, therefore, productions department should be the center of focus and authorities should emphasize on innovative moves towards betterment.

Now basic investments are in sales and marketing struggles and maintenance and plant up gradation. The company grows up to a level that income is sufficient to tackle this but occasionally more long term load prove to be a support. At this level firm may limit its operations or move on, normally acquisition or floatation in order to become a large corporation.

Whatever the situation, managers are pressured by shareholders to safeguard the future of the firm. However, the time of great trial falls to the founder. He built his business with great effort and sacrifices, and now he is asked to give it away.

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Using Custom Printed Products So As to Build Your Small Business

Starting a business is one of the hardest times that anyone can go through. This is especially true when you have never tried it before. As such, you need to market your brand and take it out there so that people can know who you are and the products that you are dealing in.

There are many ways in which you can reach your target audience. Making people aware of your goods and services is one of hardest things today in today’s world. However, there are many means in which you can apply so as to sensitize people about your brand.

One method that is widely used today is having custom printed products. There are different types of products that you can go for in this case. You can use car air fresheners, tote bags, disposable coffee cups and even key chains. In this article, we will focus on tote bags and disposable coffee cups.

Custom tote bags

These are ideal for all manner of activities. They can be used for grocery shopping or even collecting materials at trade shows. These bags have got a great branding power that you should take advantage of.

One of the things that have made the tote bags so famous is due to the fact that they are eco-friendly as compared to the plastic options. The bags serve so many purposes. When you distribute the custom tote bags, you are advertising your brand in a very inexpensive way. This is because the bags will be seen wherever the bearer goes thereby creating awareness.

Many companies hand out these kinds of bags at retail outlets, trade fairs and other such areas. As such, advertising is taken to a whole new level reaching far and wide.

There are so many colors, size, and style options that you can settle for when you are creating your bags. This means that you can come up with something that people will easily associate with your brand. So as to do it right, consider the material, the size, and the features.

Disposable coffee cups

This is yet another way in which you can build up your small business. While there has been a lot of debate about the use of disposable coffee cups, it still remains one of the most ideal way in which you can sell your brand. Most of us cannot go a day without several cups of coffee and therefore there is no better way to reach your target audience than to use coffee cups.

Due to the eco-friendly campaigns, there are disposable paper coffee cups that have been created. With these, you can do a custom print of your brand so that people may be sensitized about your services and products.

Coffee cups come in different sizes. You can also choose the kind of color that you want on your cups so that people can associate you with it. This is a very common trend today and it seems to be very effective.


Understanding the Scope of Business Analytics

Business Analytics

Business analytics is a wide area that covers the analysis of data using operations research and statistical analysis. It also has to do with the formation of predictive models and application of optimization techniques. The results are then conveyed to the executives, the business partners, and the customers. This is an area that requires the application of quantitative methods as well as data that is evidence-based so as to model business activity and aid in the decision-making process.

Data Required

Business analytics usually deals with a massive amount of data whether structured and unstructured. It uses the business data collected on a daily basis. Business analytics techniques are applied so as to get to the different insights provided by the data that are needed when making good business decisions as well as smart strategic moves.

The Benefits of the Data-driven Approach

The results of business analytics are typically used in the making of decisions that are data-driven. The insight provided by analytics allows companies to optimize and automate the different business processes. Such companies are in a position to achieve an advantage over the competition.

Business analysis can be used to accomplish many different things including:

· Perform data mining where data is explored so as to find relationships or new patterns.

· Do thorough statistical and quantitative analysis so as to understand exactly why some of the results are achieved.

· Look at previous decisions and test them.

· Use predictive analytics and modeling so as to have an idea of how future results will turn out.

· Support for the making of proactive decisions. With this approach, they can also automate the process of decision making so as to have real-time responses where support is required.

The Challenges

As with any other approach, there are some challenges that are associated with business analytics. There are some concerns about invasion of privacy as well as great financial exposure, especially if one is in a fast-moving market. Determining what is true insight and what is not can be a bit of a problem. You may also spend a lot of money and time dealing with opportunities or problems that aren’t well defined.

To integrate a predictive model into the decision making process, there needs to be a corporate strategy laid out clearly as well as support from the senior leadership.

There is also the involvement of IT. The technological infrastructure and the tools need to be in a position to handle the business needs as well as the data analytics process to maximize effectiveness. The technological infrastructure needs to be considered so as to have the most current, most ideal data available. This will help you differentiate between historical data and real-time data.

The Best Practices

Implementing business analytics cannot be achieved overnight by any one given company. However, a company can follow best practices and over a period of time they will achieve the kind of insight that they are looking for. Ultimately, they will be successful and very competitive. However, you will have to decide on the practices that best fit your organization.