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  • Patrick Dixon is one of the world’s leading Futurists. Check out his latest book - The Future of Almost Everything - is published on August 27th by Amazon. Patrick Dixon has been ranked 1 of 20 most influential business thinkers.

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    You wrote “Building a Better Business: The Key to Future Marketing, Management and Motivation” back in 2005 & your new book is called “The Future Of Almost Everything”. What are the most important trends for us to think about right now.

    P.D.: Every trend connects to every other trend, and the greatest mistake is to focus on only one area, while the rest of the world spins ahead. Here are a few really big ones that will dominate our global future:

    1 billion children are alive today, all of whom will be adults soon, wanting a middle class lifestyle, and 85% of the entire world will be living in emerging markets in 10 year’s time. 1 billion people will move over the next 30 years fr om rural areas in the poorest nations to cities in their own nations, or will migrate to cities in wealthy nations. At least 800 million people with no bank accounts will gain access to payments, savings and insurance using a smartphone, over the next 5-8 years.
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  • Handling unhappy customers is a necessary, if unpleasant, part of running a business. The more you know about customers, and what they care about, the better you'll be at handling their complaints. Here are several common complaints, and solutions, that you might face in your business.

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    Customer Complaint 1: “You didn’t do what you said you would do.”

    This complaint is about a lack of dependability. Customers want to be able to trust what you say; if you claim that your product will grow hair, your service will solve all their problems, or delivery will happen at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, then you need to make sure it happens.

    Ambiguity, exaggeration, hidden terms, or failure to follow up on guarantees leave your customers feeling like they’ve been swindled. Of course, they’ll avoid doing business with you again; nobody likes to feel cheated.

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  • MAKE Interactive, Bitrix Gold Partner, Netherlands.

    IMPORTANT. This integration is currently available for self-hosted Bitrix24 only.

    A few additions to Bitrix24 to facilitate the main activities that your company performs can make a very big difference in both adoption and return on the investment that you put into your intranet. There is always a give-and-take in the implementation of any technology, but finding the pain points for users and alleviating them can have big rewards.

    For an experienced Bitrix partner, it’s not hard to make minor adjustments that avoid the notorious “work-around” -- the adjustment that your employees have to make in order to accommodate the way the software works. The reverse is how it should be: your software should be adjusted to the way you work.

    Below are some minor adjustments that have been placed into Bitrix24 onsite intranets which are small in scope, but great in effect. The following specific examples, we hope, will help to trigger ideas for improvements in your Bitrix24 – and we’d love to hear about them!

    Support ticket widget.

    At an IT service company, the majority of employees that interact with clients need to use the ticketing system. That means getting it on the front page and getting it looking good.
    1. Sits next to Activity Stream on main page
    2. Lists tickets in various statuses / responsibility
    3. Links to ticket list view filtered according to Point 2 above
    4. Customized skin on ticket list

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  • Designing A Workflow To Boost Your Productivity

    Yana Prokopets 20 July 2015 110
    The work you do, no matter how creative, almost always has some repetitive elements. Designing and using a workflow allows you to do that work efficiently and effectively. It reduces wasted time, unnecessary decisions, and disorganization so you can be more creative and more productive.

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    Pay Attention to How You Work Now

    The first step to designing a workflow is to simply start noticing how you already work. You probably have a routine you already follow; it just might be an inefficient or incomplete routine.

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  • Alf Rehn is a writer, a professor of management, a ginthusiast, a keynote speaker, a fan of Ethel Merman and a strategic advisor, although not necessarily in that order. He can be stalked at www.alfrehn.com or on Twitter at @alfrehn.

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    Let's get to the point. Your book is called 'Dangerous Ideas'. How real is BYOD problem? Is there really any danger in employees bringing their own phones, tablets and laptops to work and working with company data?

    AR: I’m not sure that specific book of mine has too much to add to the BYOD issue, but it might serve as a framework to understand the same: The notion of employees bringing their own devices will in most cases will a CIO and an IT department with a sense of foreboding and doom. “–They’re bringing in unsecured machines! –They’re ignoring protocol!” But maybe this is the best thing that can happen to an IT department! Rather than seeing themselves as an armory, BYOD could get corporate IT to start seeing themselves as teachers and ambassadors – regardless of platform. So there is of course some dangers, but also the potential for renewal and transcending an IT logic that, frankly, is stuck in the 1980’s.

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  • Not all marketing is created equal. There are different marketing methods, and some work better than others depending on your business and your customers.
    The question, then, is how to know which types of marketing will work best for you. There are three foundational marketing types that can be applied to almost any business successfully. Take a look, and check out the two marketing types you should avoid.

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  • Jones Loflin is a motivational speaker and author with primary areas of focus being work/life balance, time management, and change.
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    A lot of teams nowadays are distributed. People are telecommuting, working fr om home and relying on other forms of non-traditional employment ranging fr om (freelancing, temp work, short term contacts). How do you build a strong team when people don’t see each other every day in an office environment?

    JL: Three things come to mind:
    • Clarity of work and outcomes. When people are working in non-traditional environments, it’s easy to get so focused on your own work and forget how it connects to what others are doing. As a manager of leader of virtual teams, it’s critical to keep everyone focused on the “big picture” and what each member is doing to contribute to the outcomes.
    • Maintain “face time.” Part of what makes a strong team is positive emotional energy. Interacting with others through some type of video conferencing on a consistent basis is important. If at all possible, physically meet from time to time as well.
    • Keep everyone informed. As the leader or manager of the virtual team, keep other team members abreast of what others are doing. It prevents team members from thinking, “I wonder what _______ is doing?” which can lessen the trust they have that the other person is fully contributing to the desired outcomes.

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  • Your desktop app chat can be now viewed in a separate browser page. Simply add desktop_app/ at the end of your intranet name link ( so that the full address will look like https:// yourcompany.bitrix24.com /desktop_app/ )

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  • Tyler Hayden a keynoter, team builder, and author of over 16 books. His business is personal development and non-traditional team-building programs.

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    A lot of teams nowadays are distributed. People are telecommuting, working from home and relying on other forms of non-traditional employment ranging from (freelancing, temp work, short term contacts). How do you build a strong team when people don’t see each other every day in an office environment?

    T.H.: So true the face of todays work teams are so different then they were only a few years ago. Ironically I'm preparing a full day event on this very topic for project managers. Here are a couple tips fr om that presentation for you to build a strong team when you are distributed:

    1) Where financially possible get your team together at the beginning of the project in a face-to-face environment. This helps to build those essential relationships.

    2) Set clear guidelines with your teams around communication requirements. Agreed to SOP's early on can reduce confusion, stress, and feeling left out … plus will help the manager live "life" too and not receive phone calls at 3am from team members overseas.

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  • Working when you feel worn out and burned out is not a great way to operate. You have to push through low points, sometimes; but you don't want to have to force yourself to do your work all the time. Powering through without any joy or internal motivation is a great way to start hating your work and resenting your goals.

    Instead of mustering up willpower, take some time to remember what you're really doing and why it matters to you. This simple three-step technique can help you pull yourself out of that slump when you're just not feeling motivated, or amp up your productivity when you feel yourself settling into a rut.
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    Step 1: Connect the Tasks to a Goal

    Stop slogging through a list of tasks that has no connection to anything you care about. Remember why you're doing the work, and the work will be easier to do.

    Sure, not everything relates directly to a big goal. Some tasks simply exist to keep the systems running, but asking why can help you connect the need for the task to a real goal or desire in your life.

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  • Kaihan Krippendorff is a leading business strategy keynote speaker, founder of Outthinker, former McKinsey consultant, and author of four business strategy books. Kaihan Krippendorff has over a decade studying corporate conflict. Blending Eastern philosophy, military theory, and modern business strategy, helping ambitious companies outthink their competition.

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    What is the number one mistake (other than having no strategy at all) that companies make when doing strategic planning?

    KK: My favorite quote on strategy is “vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare.” To avoid the dream and the nightmare each reach strategic clarity: knowing where you want to go and being confident you have a strategy to get there. The problem is that most strategic planning processes are not designed to create strategy. They are designed to create consistency and predictability. They were developed in the 1950s when businesses evolved into larger multi-business corporations and leaders like the Rockefellers needed to better coordinate unwieldy organizations. So, the biggest mistake in strategic planning in my view is that we confuse the active coordinating our actions and priorities of design and innovative, differentiating strategy.

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  • The halfway point of the year can be a bit of a shock. The stark reality that a full half of your year is gone can be painful, especially if you're working toward big goals and aren't sure of your progress.
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    Don't Avoid Honesty
    Sometimes you'd rather shuffle those grand plans under the rug than face up to failure. But don't give in to the temptation to avoid a close look at the progress you're making or not making.

    Ignoring your goals, and the work you've done or haven't yet done, is dangerous. Even if you're way behind, it's much more productive--and, ultimately, much more satisfying-- to take an honest look at where you are, evaluate your options, and make some decisions about how you will proceed.

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  • Customer service is an essential part of business, not a back-up plan. Everyone on your team, no matter what their role, can benefit from developing their customer skills. You'll get more satisfied customers, fewer complaints, and happier, more productive employees.
    Employee Satisfaction Leads to Customer Satisfaction
    To start improving customer service, first try to improve your employees' experience. What do your team members want? Are they happy, challenged, and engaged? Research shows us that engaged employees are the key to successful businesses, in almost every area.

    When it comes to customer service, all interactions are person-to-person interactions. A team member who is passionate about the business, interested in its growth, proactive, and self-motivated is going to share that energy, expertise, and professionalism with each customer. And customers will respond positively.

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  • MAKE Interactive, Bitrix Gold Partner, Netherlands.

    Unique features of this implementation include:
    • High-level scheduling tool (task and absence chart modules)
    • Flexible interface for logging time into multiple tasks
    • Workgroups and their tasks strongly linked with CRM Deals
    • Dynamic filter in CRM report relating workgroups and Deals
    • Large number of custom CRM reports.
    The task at hand was to integrate the CRM and project groups such that tasks could be easily assigned, tracked, and billed while maintaining smooth organization and assignment of tasks. This sounds perfectly easy given Bitrix24’s standard equipment, except that the scope of work performed for each client in this case is dizzyingly large and the number of tasks can reach into the hundreds. Thus, the work for each client is distributed among several workgroups, bespoke interface components for scheduling and time reporting are provided, hard limits on budgeting are implemented, and a couple dozen highly customized reports were created.

    In the end, all of the activity related to a single client needs to be gathered up in one place and reported on. That one place is customized CRM reports which themselves are granular at the workgroup level.

    The customized interface features (timesheets, reporting in the CRM, and the scheduling tool) allow dynamic selection of Client > Workgroup > Task via pull-down lists.

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  • Online reviews have become a major factor in how consumers make purchase decisions. If you've been ignoring them, now is the time to start getting proactive. Gathering and promoting online reviews can help you gain customers, build brand awareness, and increase sales.

    How Much Do Online Reviews Matter?
    In 2010, Forrester Research found that approximately half of consumers use online reviews to research local entertainment options and big purchases (such as cars and household appliances).

    Just three years later, a BrightLocal survey found that 85% of consumers check online reviews to research local businesses. According to the BrightLocal Survey summary, "Consulting reviews is now a logical step in the purchasing cycle for all types of products and services." The good news is that "the path from reading online reviews to purchasing from a business is short."

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