You're ready to start moving to a paperless office environment, but you're not quite sure how to do it. Do you throw away your files? Force everyone to use iPads? Burn your reams of copy paper?
Here are the right first steps you need to take.
Create a Plan
Going paperless is not something you want to do in a haphazard way. Get the key people in your business together. Create a map of the workflow and dependencies that happen in your business.
You need to know the dependencies, because shifting one area of the workflow will affect all the areas that depend on it. Get input from your senior team members so that you don't miss important parts of the process. The goal is to have a thorough picture of how the work happens in your business, which will allow you to make smart decisions about how to change it.
Cloud services are a major improvement in standard business practices. Not only do they offer increased security, specialization, and peace of mind (thank you, automated back-ups), they can also offer significant cost savings for small businesses.
A single office worker uses as many as 10,000 sheets of copy paper in a year. Ouch. Even buying paper at bulk business rates, you are looking at a hefty amount spent on paper. Imagine what would happen if you migrated all of your paper-heavy business functions to the cloud. All invoicing, forms, documentation, training materials, quotes and estimates, drafting, and financial records would no longer be dependent on reams of paper and toner refills. Moving paper-based functions to the cloud eliminates the paper cost, of course. It also eliminates maintenance cost for in-house printers, toner refills, and outsourced printing work.
Martin White is one of the most respected intranet experts who founded IntranetFocus.com in 1999. An information scientist by profession he has been a Visiting Professor at the Information School, the University of Sheffield since 2002 and authored 12 different books, including The Intranet Management Handbook. We talked to Martin about why so many people choose Microsoft products for their intranets, what happens when you treat your intranet as information dumping ground and why intranet is morphing into a digital workspace portal that includes clients and suppliers.
When it comes to intranet, 'social' is the buzzword that's mentioned most often with it. Is 'social intranet' a rebirth of intranet in the workplace or is classic idea of intranet dead for good and enterprise social networking going to replace traditional intranet as we knew it?
Your team works well together, solves problems, and comes up with innovative, unique ideas. Except when they don't. If your team is in a creative slump, here are five ways you can end it.
1. Identify the Blocks
Denial is your enemy. Awareness is your friend. If everybody is sitting around, pretending like everything is going just fine, you need to step in. Open the discussion so that they can be open about their difficulties. Ask questions and listen to their answers. Chances are, they already know a few issues - or, perhaps, many - that are causing blocks. Set up a team meeting and talk about what is blocking the normal creative flow you have come to expect from them. The goal of the meeting should not be to destroy all creative blocks, but to figure out what they are. Sometimes, talking through the issue will prove to the solution. If communication problems, personality conflicts, or internal stress is the source of reduced creativity, an open and supportive discussion can do a lot to resolve it. If, however, the issues are different, you will know how to start addressing them once you know what they are.
In March 2014 we added duplicate control to Bitrix24 CRM, alerting users that lead, contact or company they are trying to add to their database may already exist. This summer we expanded this feature to include searching and merging duplicate entries that can be performed at any time, not just data entry.
Michael Leander as a direct marketing pro with over 20 years of experience. He also he is mostly known as a permission based email marketing guru, he is a firm believer in multi-channel promotion and a RoMI (Return on Marketing Investment) advocate. We caught up with Michael to ask him a few questions about email marketing, its past and the future.
What is the biggest email marketing mistake or mistakes that you see companies make every day?
Procrastination is the deliberate act of delaying, unnecessarily, what needs to be done. Some delays are necessary: waiting on permission, waiting on information, waiting on collaboration. But many delays are optional We choose to delay because we are avoiding something else. If you are holding back on work that you are able of begin, you are procrastinating. And when you or others in your business procrastinate, the costs to your business start adding up.
The Potential Cost in Time
Time-cost is one of the first things that comes to mind when we think about procrastination. When we procrastinate, we may be doing useful things, such as organizing the files or returning phone calls. But useful things are not always important things. Time spent on non-important (but useful) tasks is time we do not spend on the important projects. Maybe you did reach inbox zero. Maybe you do have a really organized office. But how about those billable hours? Did you log any of those in by the end of the day? You know what makes money for your business: finished work and billable hours.
Research shows that up to 64% of employeeswaste time daily on the Internet, using non-work related sites. Procrastination is nothing new, but the Internet has made it so easy - and so interesting - to procrastinate anytime. For your business, let's estimate on the low end, and assume that you - and your employees - only waste 2 hours a week surfing the web. That's 2 hours a week per person. How many people are involved in your business? 10? There's 20 hours a week down the drain. Could your business have profited from those 20 hours being used to help clients, finish projects, and bill hours?
Bob Thompson is an international authority on customer-centric business management who has researched and shaped leading industry trends since 1998. He is founder and CEO of CustomerThink Corporation, an independent research and publishing firm, and founder and editor-in-chief of CustomerThink.com - the world's largest online community dedicated to helping business leaders develop and implement customer-centric business strategies. His new book Hooked on Customers reveals the habits of leading customer-centric firms. We talked to Bob about why so many CRM projects fail and what can be done about it.
What CRM mistakes do you see companies make most often, other than not having CRM at all?
Probably the most common mistake is the perception that CRM is a technology project. Thinking that a software implementation is all that’s needed is a source of many CRM failures, because behind the technology are people being asked to change how they do their jobs.
Another big mistake is not thinking about how everyone “wins.” CRM projects tend to be focused on company and management goals. The sales rep or service agent can feel there’s not enough benefit for them to get behind the initiative, thus undermining it. Customers can feel the same way, if a CRM project is designed to make them the “target” of an efficiency effort, rather than a beneficiary of an improved experience.
Finally, “having” CRM is not a black or white proposition. Every company has some kind of process to acquire new customers, sell to them, and service them. Executives shouldn’t think that once they’ve installed software or launched a project that they’ve “done” CRM. Instead, think of CRM as a journey where there’s always room for improvement.
We are continuing our interviews with cold calling and inside sales experts. Today we are talking to Ron LaVine of ColdCallingTraining.com who's been teaching others how to sell over the phone for over 17 years
1. What is the biggest mistake or mistakes people do when they try cold calls?
They make a call to someone without doing any pre-call research and planning about the person, their company and industry.
2. Skype, Viber and others are replacing traditional phones quite rapidly. Are there any important differences to keep in mind when making cold calls via messengers vs regular phones?
Getting better at what you do isn’t something that just happens; it’s something you make happen. By understanding and incorporating the principles of deliberate practice, you become more adept in your work. And practice makes it easier to slip into the state of flow: intensely focused and enjoyable work.
What Is Deliberate Practice?
Deliberate practice is a term coined by psychology professor Anders Ericsson, and it refers to the habit of consciously putting planned time and effort into building your skills. The essential elements of deliberate practice, according to Ericsson, include, “specific goals to improve performance, successive refinement through repetition, feedback and instruction.” (Source: http://www.amazon.com/The-Road-Excellence-Acquisition-Performance/dp/0805822321) In other words, deliberate practice is not about working more or even working harder. It is a process:
first, identifying the skills that are key for doing your work,
then identifying the weak areas you have in those skills,
then deliberately working on getting better at those weak areas in your key skills.
Working on-the-go can be more of a hassle than a help if you don’t get savvy about mobile productivity.
Mobile Productivity Don'ts Don’t try to make mobile work like office work. You simply can’t work mobile the same way you do at home or in the office. You don’t have the desk space, the elbow room, and sometimes you don’t even have the wifi or the power outlet. Instead of trying to make mobile productivity conform to your office expectations, embrace the challenge of working lean. Save the bulky, complex work for office time. Focus on what you can do quickly. Let go of the need to get everything set up the way you like it. If you spend much time “setting up” a home away from home, you’ll barely get any work done before you get interrupted or realize it’s time to board your flight.
Note - this article has been originally written for TheNextWeb.
PR is hard. And expensive. Most of the time, you get nothing out of it. And when your company finally is mentioned in an article, even in a big publication, the results can be disappointing. Like that time when we got a whooping 169 visitors after getting into ZDNet.
Over the past two years, I’ve made a lot of PR mistakes. I’ve also got Bitrix24 into Forbes, VentureBeat, ReadWrite, PCWorld, PCMag, TechRepublic, CIO, ITWorld and 200+ other tech publications. I’ve learned that what you do with the article AFTER it’s published is frequently a lot more important than what do you before. And I am happy to share my insights with you.
1. Pay for LinkedIn Inmail.
LinkedIn Inmail is the cheapest and most effective way to pitch journalists. My account cost me $100 a month and at least 50% of all mentions of Bitrix24 in the press are results of LinkedIn pitches. The most amazing thing about LinkedIn is that once you find one or two journalists, their network will actually show you who else to contact –editors in the same or other publications. It saves you a lot of time. Also with Inmail the results are guaranteed, you pay only for those messages that got read by their recipients.