The Top Business Trends You Must Keep in Mind

As you know, we live in an environment where it’s “blink,” and you missed it. Still, there’s always an urgent need to keep on top of what is happening so that you can stay ahead in business. I own several companies and, candidly, I don’t think there’s a single day I’m not thinking about how to make things better and improve our competitive advantage in our industries.

A couple of days ago I read an article about a luxury yacht company that had been in business for generations, and although they had client orders on hand, in the tens of millions of dollars, they fired everyone and shuddered their doors. They were hemorrhaging money and not paying attention to the changing winds.

The reality is that I can sit here today and write what you want to be looking for in business trends and then a year from now, write the same sort of article with different ideas to keep an eye on as business and society evolve. Still, there are some areas that I think will remain constant and you should pay attention to in your company.

Always Pay Extra Attention to Millennials

For decades and decades, the “darling” of generations were the Baby Boomers because of their sheer size and buying power. As the Boomers are now seniors, the same can be said about Millennials. They will be, and already are, a force for years to come and they are the first generation that is pure digital natives. Your products and services should be marketed to them and how they think. By 2020, Millennials will have an estimated $1.4 trillion in spending power.

Get Comfortable With AI, IoT, and ML

What used to be buzzwords such as AI, IoT, and ML, are not anymore. They are not the future; they are the present. Most of you know about AI (Artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), but maybe you have not heard about ML (Machine Learning). Machine learning is when computers do things without being programmed to do it because they are learning it for themselves. Through machine learning, we are given self-driving cars, excellent web search tools, practical speech recognition programs and a host of other platforms. As technology evolves, all of these elements will play a more substantial part in life and business.

Remote Workforce

I have a preference for my team to be onsite, but for some functions and aspects of our work, these elements are outsourced. Currently 40% plus of American workers are doing some work remotely, without having to be present at their place of business all the time. This trend creates demand for adequately training remote employees through video conferencing platforms, especially for social media and programming positions. All that is required is a computer and Internet.

Get Past the Clutter

The way you brand your business is essential. People are drowning in data and information, and you have to be able to cut to the chase immediately. Branding, which encompasses the name, logo, etc., creates instant identification. With excellent branding, you are perceived as an authority, successful and trustworthy because you pay attention to the details. Also it makes prospecting easier. Customers find you. You can hire better talent. Candidates seek you out rather than looking to apply for a position with an unknown company. Because of branding, it is easier to create more businesses under the same name.

Opportunity Exists in Buying Businesses

There are more businesses for sale due to the retirement of the Baby Boomer and Millennials will be buying them and then reinventing the companies they buy. Keep an eye out for your competition because there’s always an opportunity in looking to buy an existing competitor. For instance, you can buy their entire client base, or perhaps they’ve excelled in e-commerce, and you’re able to bring that into your portfolio. I’ve successfully purchased some of my competitors, and it’s only helped my businesses grow.

Emerging Technology Is Changing How You Can Do Business

I love technology, and we’re fortunate to be living at a time when most of us are experiencing the great evolution of technology. For instance, we have cars that are out on our streets driving themselves. We have incredible advances in medicine and have eradicated diseases. And, as the U.S. shifts from government to public and private partnerships, I’m sure that we’re going to see incredible achievements in the space industry as humanity seeks to create a society that will thrive beyond the boundaries of Earth. The success of the reusable rocket by SpaceXin 2017 is a step in the right direction. However, technology can also be straightforward and affect our daily lives and businesses.

Zoom Room

In my company, one of the technologies that have fundamentally shifted how my team, client and our vendors relate to each other and work is Zoom. Zoom is one of the top video and web conferencing platforms on the market.

I love the technology because my team is spread out across the U.S. and even in Europe. Every single week we’re getting online with prescheduled or unscheduled Zoom meetings in our conference room, which we now call the Zoom room. People can join us at a moment’s notice from anywhere they have internet access using their desktops, tablets or smartphones.

OWL Labs

After using Zoom for a couple of months, we went one further for one-touch conferencing, which is supported by OWL Lab 360 degree camera and microphone. What does that mean? It means that attending one of our video conferences is a much more dynamic experience.

Instead of seeing a flat look into the conference room, which is not only dull but can have people outside of the Zoom room miss subtle body language or even missed discussion points, the OWL Lab camera and microphone follows the speaker. That means that the moment someone begins to speak, the camera and microphone immediately rotate and focus on that individual, making the discussion much more animated and dynamic. If you want to see what we’re doing and how it works, take a look at the OWL Labs experience.

What People Are Saying

Our team loves the technology, and everyone is pleased to get on a conference call because it is the next best thing to having people actually in the same room. In addition, the technology is regularly used for screen shares, and productivity has increased exponentially.

However, as an entrepreneur and businessman, one of the best compliments we’ve received come from our clients and partners. Quite simply, they’ve been wowed, and we’re always getting new comments about how “forward thinking,” “ingenious” and “practical” we are in our use of technology.

I’m a big believer that you have to embrace all of the resources at your disposal and in the modern era, that includes technology. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your business is to embrace technology, even something as simple as the platforms you use for video conferencing.

7 Less Known Facts About The Courier Services

Courier industry is winning hearts of the business owners and well as individual customers by its note-worthy service quality. Most companies now rely on this particular service to cut down their company costs. Courier service providers are chosen for their reliability and safety. You feel relax and secured when you need a very important parcel to reach somewhere and you know that you have assigned this job to the most reliable courier service. This article is going to provide you some tit-bits about the background of the courier industry.

#1 It was in the 2400 BC in Egypt when the first standardized courier service began. The monarchs, generally called Pharaohs, during this era, started using this service to deliver their important documents and letters to various places.

#2 Wells Fargo was the first and foremost professional courier service to start in the United States.

#3 The words “courier” and “mail” are somewhat closely related but no one knows where does the word “mail” came from. It originated from the English word “male’ in the medieval period where “male” implies “traveling bag”.

#4 Another fascinating trivia that most of us are still unaware is “Marcophily” is a specialized subject where people study in detail about postmarks, hand or machine applied postal markings, cancellations, and postal system.

#5 Two teenagers established the well-known United Parcel Service in 1907, which was initially named as American Messenger Company. It changed its name in the year 1919.

#6 A postal service company was built up in the United Kingdom in 1516 but the service was unavailable to the public till 1635. It was only after King Charles I came into power and this postal service called Royal Mail was accessible to the people for use.

#7 In London, “Mail Rail” was the only underground rail system that was used by the London Post Office to transport and distribute mails. However, this service closed down in 2003 as soon as it came to the realization that its cost of transporting mails is way more than usual above the ground transportation.

Hope by now, you have gathered and learned something new and exciting facts about courier, postal and delivery services.

However, by far, courier services have evolved and transformed to a whole new level. Introduction of smart technologies are further fueling the evolution. From localized, distant-specific delivery services to long distance, overseas deliveries to same-day deliveries, the industry has come a long way. Moreover, with inception of smart technologies and IoT, those days are not far away when drones will be flying above to provide super-fast and instant delivery of goods.

4 Tips To Pick A Reliable Courier Service Provider For Your Business

In today’s world, high-quality production and efficient employees are not enough to survive the hard-hitting business atmosphere. Business houses need to be the fastest when it comes to delivering the final goods. The faster your products reach the market, the higher will be your profit margin. Hence, depending solely on the company’s labor resources for either transporting the raw materials or distributing the final products would not be a smart decision to pursue by any production manager.

Entrusting the job of delivering your goods to a courier service provider will not only make sure a hassle-free production but will also help you concentrate only on the core manufacturing processes. However, before you select any random courier service provider for business deliveries, make sure that the particular vendor is your correct choice. But how?

Here are 4 necessary factors to consider before moving forward with any courier service provider:

#1 Availability on a single call

If your service provider sets restrictions on its availabilities for picking your parcels or items, then you need to say no and start seeking a better option. A reliable courier company is one who is readily accessible 24*7 and has several local delivery branches. If it has an efficient chain of agents then you can rest assured that you will have on-time delivery of your products.

#2 Know the weight limit in advance

Most of the times service providers do not clarify the maximum weight of parcels they can deliver. This creates a lot of confusion at the time of packaging and final delivery. Thus, one should clarify the limitation of the package weight before signing the final agreement.

#3 Ability to track your delivery

Since time management is the most dominant factor in the process of production, any kind of delay and lack of access to delivery updates are completely unacceptable. As the customer, you should be able to get minute-to-minute updates of your parcels. Tracking your delivery via app, website, email or phone will help you know the exact time when your product will be delivered.

#4 Get insurance for your package

Insuring your deliverables is must to ensure that even in worst case if your package is damaged, is misplaced or goes missing, you can claim for the loss. Also, as soon as a company provides insurance for your package, its accountability towards you is ensured and you know that your products are now in safe hands.

In this tough competitive business world, managing everything single-handedly starting from purchasing raw material, manufacturing goods to delivering the final commodities is near to impossible. According to business experts, managers should delegate the task of transporting their final products to a courier company and focus on other important business functions. However, one needs to compare and evaluate first to pick the best service provider for his business.

New Product Process – Steps 1 – 4

1. Idea Generation (Concept)

The new product development process begins with ideas or concepts. Where do new ideas come from? They can come from employees, vendors, current and potential customers, management, competitors, and yes, family and friends.

ACTION: The Product Development team should have and/or establish a system to capture all of the ideas and score the concepts based on the company’s interests.

2. Idea Screening

Step 2 is idea screening. This step is part of the process to screen the “yes” and “no’s”. This process is important to reduce the concepts and choose the decent ones. The process could take a few days or weeks, depending on the company and the approval review. The concepts chosen are those the company feel will turn into profitable services or products.

ACTION: What happens to the concepts not chosen? They should be stored for possible future opportunities. A company should never throw out ideas; they may be valuable later or for a future customer.

3. Development and Testing of the Concept

The “yes” products move to the development and testing stage. What is the target market, this will determine what concept is developed and tested.

Developing the concept:

For example, if the concept is a widget – is your target market singles; married couples; seniors, etc. If not identified, it will be hard to test and present your business case.

The concepts should be decided to be meaningful. In the next sub-stage, concepts are tested.

Testing the concept:

To test, your target customers must be identified. The potential customers can test a concept many ways, a picture of the product, a physical product test, and use of the product. During the testing, several questions should be asked; including – is there a consumer need or want?

ACTION: Know your customer needs to get accurate testing results of the product.

4. Development of Marketing Strategy

Step 4 is where the team will design a marketing strategy to introduce the product/service to the market. The marketing strategy should be carefully thought out and will work with other teams on costs, resources and timelines:

a) Who is the target market, expected sales and market share and the return on investment/profit forecasted for 1-5 years.

b) Short term plan for the product/service – price (several financial models may be made to price test), budget (include research, launch costs, staffing costs) for the first year.

c) Long term for the product/service – sales, profit expectations, and possible exit.

5 Reasons Why Medical Courier Services Are High In Demand

Demand for courier facilities is rising incessantly in the recent years due to the rapid industrial growth and high competition in the business world. The scenario in the healthcare industry is no different but the reasons behind this high demand are something you should definitely want to know. People involved in the medical sector – be it pharmacy, hospital, nursing center, or pathological lab genuinely understands the significance of this service. They are the ones who feel that a reliable and efficient courier agency can actually save many lives. Transporting life-saving drugs, medical equipment and organs are the three crucial responsibilities of every company.

Here are the 5 key reasons why courier services are demanded highly by the healthcare sector:

#1 Fast delivery

Almost all the courier companies provide same-day delivery service when it comes to medical equipment, drugs or organs. They completely realize the urgency of delivering these items on time. Hence, they make sure that the speed of their delivery is the fastest in these cases. It is the duty of every service provider to transport the medical supplies at their destination as fast as possible.

#2 Efficient and experienced

The companies have the most efficient and trained staff with long years of experience. Their expertise and superior skill make sure that your medical deliverables will reach the right place at the right time without any hassle. In addition to this, they take immense care while packaging and moving the products because they genuinely know their importance to their customers.

#3 Transportation facility and vehicle used

Courier transport companies give special attention to the types of vehicles used for transporting medical equipment or organs. They make sure that medications, organs are kept refrigerated, and they also keep monitoring and controlling the temperature inside the vehicle. The supplies are preserved very carefully so that they reach the destination in perfect condition.

#4 Trustworthy Service

Having access to a reliable delivery support anytime and anywhere is most important. At times of medical emergencies, the services agencies should not only be readily available on call but should be able to deliver the equipment and organs promptly within the required time frame.

#5 Smooth Communication 24*7

Since courier and delivery companies are dealing with life-saving equipment, drugs, and organs every day, their mode of communication is very efficient. Their customer support is reachable all throughout the day and night and the order can be easily tracked by the hospitals, pharmacies, and family of the patients. They keep getting updates of the deliverables via email, phone, app, and website.

Thus, to conclude the healthcare industry is completely dependent on the courier and dispatch services for the timely delivery of the essential medical kits, equipment, and organs. To earn the trust of the industry, the quality of service should be top-notch.

Sanjay Nandy is the Marketing manager of Smart Delivery Service, which is a 28 years old company for delivery service in Minneapolis offering low-cost courier, warehousing and distribution services to businesses of all kinds. It mainly provides same day courier service in Minneapolis, Dallas and Houston. Being experienced in the field, the author likes to discuss about the benefits of courier and delivery services in day-to-day operations of businesses.

7 Ways Generation Z Is Different Than Millennials

Generation Z or “Gen Z” are those who are born after 1998, and guess what? They’re now influencing businesses because the oldest among them are entering university age or heading to work. And, if you didn’t realize it, the shiny new generation is larger than the Millennials, which businesses have been enamored with for years. The time has come to shift our gaze, as hard as it may be, from Millennials and begin to look at Gen Z because they are about to become the next marketing obsession.

Each generation has its distinct characteristics, and Gen Z is no different. Let’s take a look at some of the fundamental ways they differ from the Millennials because it will ultimately impact how your business markets to them.

  1. Give Them More Authenticity: Gen Z picked up on the same interest of Millennials to want to authenticity and transparency; however, Gen Z wants more of it. A great example of this in business is how American Eagle has discovered that it’s zero Photoshop policy has attracted fans from the Gen Z generation than Millennials.
  2. Conversation Comes Through Technology: Gen Z is interested in related to brands and businesses through technology. If you want to reach this generation of consumer, you need to tell them your story in platforms, such as Snapchat. Gen Z must have its devices, and they first relate to businesses through their devices and then in other ways. Think if mobile as the funnel through which you engage for everything with Gen Z, including even offering the news.
  3. Skip College, Straight to Work: Generation Z understands that they are living in a whole new world. More traditional routes, such as going to college, in their view don’t apply to them in the digital age. Gen Z is not interested in massive debt loads with student loans, and economists are expecting a high level of late teens to skip school and go straight into the workforce.
  4. Forget Teamwork: Millennials are known for their desire to be collaborative and work as part of a team in a shared experience. Not so with Gen Z. They are reverting to from earlier generations that preferred to compete with each other. Gen Z is not interested in sharing their workspaces, and the majority are not interested in collaborative “team” working environments.
  5. Independence is The Focal Point: Along with a similar vein of Gen Z eschewing teams, Gen Z is a much more independent generation. Gen Z is not interested in sporting any particular “hot” brands. Instead, they are individualistic, and they want others to view them as unique individuals. Businesses that are interested in marketing to the new generation have to think about storytelling that celebrates the individual.
  6. Business Risk Taking: Millennials were notoriously wary about starting their businesses, and the opposite is true with Gen Z. Gen Z is 55 percent more likely to want to become an entrepreneur in their own business than Millennials. It stands to reason that if many from this generation will not be going to college that many will want to become business owners–particularly because work trends continue to move from employment to freelancing, consulting, etc.
  7. Face-to-Face is Back in Fashion: Millennials have a stronger preference for communication through technology, such as chats, video conferencing or texts. However, Gen Z prefers face-to-face contact (which makes me happy). 53 percent of the Gen Z population favor to meet in person to discuss issues. How about that? What’s “old” is new again.

Generation Z is a significant segment of the population. In fact, Gen Z represents 26 percent of the population. The reality is that with its considerable size, and the fact that they were born in the digital age and think their WiFi connection is more important than even a bathroom, this brand-spanking-new generation is on the cusp of revolutionizing business and society.

6 Powerful Ideas for the Next Corporate Event

Events are all about fun, frolic and inspiration. For the smooth execution of any corporate event it is imperative that there is a powerful idea around which the occasion needs to be organised. Once you devise a doable plan you are almost done with half the responsibility.

So here are some of the statement ideas that can transform even a boring experience to a lively one without calling for a massive effort from your side.

    • Conversation Starters –a Making the guests committed to the program is not only great idea to get them involved on the outset, but it also plays a great role in breaking the ice. You can go for an interactive wall in the front lobby itself. The guests can open the door and then put down their dreams on the wall. This can turn out to be a thoughtful and interesting conversation starter.
  • An Exciting Entrance – An interesting entrance is capable of transforming the gusts right from the commencement of the affair. You can create a range of ideas for creating an immersive experience and depict the complete transformation of the venue right from the time the guests start entering the venue. You can arrange for a customised bed for covering the reception desk while the reception area was transformed with sleep signage of neon. The pyjama clad models greeted the guests while pillow fighting.

This helps in creating a surreal experience and getting the visitors excited about what awaited them inside. You can use the spherical shape which lends the feeling of continuity that is not limited to the walls. You can give it an amicable effect by combing a butterfly moon décor with lowered ceiling to amaze the attendees.

    • Customised Lounges – Lounges are a great way for the guests to encourage networking and be comfortable. Throughout the venue, you can organise different lounges to suit the ambience of the room and themes that they are part of. For instance, you can arrange for luxurious bed for suiting the luxurious themed contact.
    • Themed Uniforms for Staff – There is a proficient team behind every successful event for organising and arranging the affair from inside. The staff actually can wear a uniform that goes with the primary theme of the event. Like if it is about the launch of a dream project, the staff can wear pyjamas and shirts so that they stand out and can be recognised as hosts. You can arrange for uniforms for the team in each room.
    • Varied Activities for Participation – Participation of the guests is hard to achieve and yet it is absolutely necessary. And that is why you should organise activities that will appeal to the different types of attendees. Ensure that they get spoiled for choices with various options. You can opt for custom-built photo opportunities and rope in 3D effects for providing memories of the evening. There were also glam stations that offer hair braiding, henna tattoos and temporary lashes for eccentric preening. Apart from that, you can also opt for peep show rooms and arrange for a listening station in there and listen to music as they watch the risqué peepshow.
  • Entertainment that is Eccentric – If the budget permits you can opt for live entertainment with drummers, dancers, duelling DJs and stilt walkers. Apart from that, you can also add up specific form entertainment that accentuates the theme of the program so that the guests can totally relate to and can have the time of their lives apart from discussing vital points.

The above are some of the ideas that you can try for ensuring that your corporate event stands out and is remembered by the attendees for all the right reasons for years to come.

The author, Derek Alam is a prolific blogger who has been working in the event organizing field since many year now and has relevant experience with furniture rental company. He has written extensively to benefit readers with the right information and tips regarding event organisation so that they put together a great one within their budget.

15 Business Etiquettes Professionals Should Know

“A man without a smiling face must never open a shop” or so the Chinese proverb goes. Truly, smiling goes a long way to lighting up the mood for a friendlier, more understanding conversation. This is true in business as well, especially when trying to make a business partnership. However, there are more business etiquettes beyond smiling and demonstrating these will show others that your customers and your business are worth respecting.

* Introduce everyone, even when in doubt – There is a proper way to introduce people to each other. First, introduce the person who is the most senior, using their full name and their job title or responsibility. Next introduce that person to the person who has lower authority. Make sure to also mention his or her full name. To end, you may mention some details about each other as a topic of common interest. When being introduced to someone, always stand up if you are sitting.

* A firm handshake – The way businessmen shake hands more often than not sets the tone between them. Giving a good, firm handshake will set a good first impression as it may eventually end up in a successful business partnership. If you are the host or the senior member, you should be the one initiating the handshake.

* Admit if you forget their names – Forgetting the names of people you were recently introduced to is not uncommon. If it happens, admit it and ask for it again as this shows that you give them importance.

* Sitting down for a meeting – Whether the meeting is in a restaurant or in an office, in a group or a one-on-one, it is best not to pull out the chair for anyone. In a business setting, everyone should dismiss social gender rules and treat everyone equally. When seated, never cross your legs as it may be distracting and disrespectful.

* Meeting in a restaurant – Contrary to business instincts, do not use your knife to break bread. Tear it off with your bare hands as this signifies your openness to your potential business partner. When finished with the meal, never push your plate away nor stack the plates. Try not to have any left overs as well. If your guest orders appetizers or dessert, you should be ordering as well. This avoids the potential awkwardness of having other people in your party eating and you have nothing on your plate. If you are the host, you should pay for your guest unless he or she insists otherwise or is against their company’s gifting policy.

* Dress properly – The way someone dresses is a form of nonverbal communication. Dressing appropriately for a meeting shows an automatic sign of respect for either the guests or for the host. Additionally, always check the dress code for an event as some events may require either more or less formal attire.

* Keep cellphones in your pockets – Never place phones on the meeting table and don’t use them during the meeting. Only answer calls that are urgent and excuse yourself from the meeting and take your call outside so you don’t interrupt the meeting.

* “Please” and “Thank You” – These two phrases show politeness in any conversation and it is all the more important in a professional setting. Saying “please” can be used as much as needed. “Thank you”, however, should be used once or twice as saying it too many times may lower its impact. As much as possible, give thanks to everyone individually after a meeting.

* Stay sober – Businessmen have lost reputations and careers because drunken behavior. Although none of the things said or done while drunk were meant, it is a clear sign of disrespect towards either the host or guests. Don’t embarrass yourself or your business. Know your limits and control your pace.

* Be genuinely interested – Always make eye contact in a conversation and make sure to pay attention to every detail the guest says. Take the time to ask questions as this shows that you were listening and interested.

* Double check emails – Simple mistakes can be made to derail a meeting or blow a deal. You may have date and time wrong for a meeting, left out some paperwork to be signed, or worse, your emails were sent to the wrong person and may potentially endanger the company.

* Use professional photos – When using your or anyone’s photos for business matters, always use a proper headshot. Businesses would need to look credible to other businesses.

* Greet everyone anywhere – Regardless of seniority, always greet people. You may never know that he may actually be your next business partner. When people greet you, it is imperative that you greet back.

* Don’t forget to smile – Just like the Chinese proverb, smiling works wonders in any occasion, whether in a meeting, during introductions, or in a business social gathering.

End on a polite note – When you need to leave, make sure you exit politely with either, “It was nice to meet you” or “See you at the next meeting”.

5 Benefits Of Hiring An Errand Running Service

Who can use an errand running service?

Who wouldn’t appreciate a helping hand in today’s hectic lifestyle? Bachelors, Bachelorette’s, Single mum’s, Dads, Youngsters and Seniors alike appreciate the idea of someone getting their errands done on time. Busy business owners are now able to focus on work rather than worrying about getting their mundane tasks done.

5 benefits of hiring an errand running service:

1. Saves Time

Errand running service will take care of all your daily tasks and allow you to spend time to do what you like. Be it watching soccer, a day at the Spa, enjoying a movie night with friends or building your business, having someone take care of your chores saves your precious time.

2. Reduces Stress

Getting timely help reduces your stress level. With someone taking care of all the tedious jobs like fetching a medicine that you run out of, or fetching your weekly groceries, you can be at peace; with the assurance that your worries are taken care of.

3. Increases productivity

Having someone to take care of your daily tasks gives you all the time you need to focus on the jobs that require your attention. If you work from home, you can have someone run errands while you can fulfil your business goals each day. Usage is high compared to other benefit programs, so the value of the program is greatly enhanced.

4. Affordable

At one time it was only the rich that used this service, but not anymore. More and more errand running startups make their move in simplifying lifestyles and their service charge has also become affordable that almost everyone hoping to get a helping hand love the idea of getting errands done.

5. Increased Quality

Trusting your friend or your neighbour to take care of your tasks may not be a good decision as you could burden them with your tasks. On the other hand, an errand running service has its reputation at stake. So hiring a professional and experienced errand running service may be the best solution for you to tackle your daily issues.

A new mother running out of baby essentials, your aged parent who counts on you for their medical supplies, or even when you realize that you have not paid your bills, or you need to deposit a cheque, if you are quite familiar with such situations, then you can definitely understand the vital role played by errand running service.