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3 Strategies to a Better Business

5 May

Business Ideas from Finally Fast

Every entrepreneur wants to improve his or her business in some way. Who wouldn’t want their business to make more money, or be valuable enough to sell off completely? Improving your business starts with a change of mind. A simple change in your perspective then gets fleshed out and articulated in to form of a business strategy, and finally executed in the form of an implantation plan. Here are three proven strategies to improve your business.

1) Kick your Cash Cow over the Moon

It’s easy for a business for focus on one or two important clients in the early phases of its growth. The client is happy with the service that your business provides, and slowly hands over more and more of their business to you. Before you know it, you’ve assigned more and more of your resources to your contract with this client. They’ve become your cash cow. Unfortunately, the problem with a cash cow is that you find yourself in big trouble if the client ever stops doing business with you. You find yourself with a big company on your hands and no way to sustain it. What you want to do is spread your bandwidth and resources over a number of clients, so that each client is responsible for no more that 10% of your income. That way your business will survive in the event of a breakup.

2) Sell Less to Sell More

Another problem with focusing on the your early customers is that your business will often evolve to better cater to their needs, increasing the range of services that you offer to suit them. The problem with this tendency is that your business develops a wider range, but your brand becomes too generalized. Your business needs to be known for being great at doing something, not merely okay at doing several things. To turn this tendency around, reduce your offering to a few core products, backed up by the same services and customer policies.

3) Redefine Your Business

How others perceive your business starts with you. How you describe your business to others – through word of mouth, print, and the web – is ultimately how they perceive it, essentially boiled down to a kernel of information. So you have to redefine your business in a way that’s not only soundbite-friendly, but also valuable. Valuable to them. When you define your business to others, emphasize the thing that both makes your business stand out among your competitors, and also makes you valuable to your customers. Whether it is a lifetime guarantee, free estimates, or 24-hour customer support, emphasize your business’s special trait for a strong brand and maximum impact.

How To Give Sales Performance Reviews

7 Apr

Business Ideas from FinallyFast

A sales performance review is a review of an employee’s performance when they sell a company’s product or service. Businesses use these types of performance reviews to analyze their sales techniques and presentations, and look for areas which require improvement. Although some people may think the beginning of the year is the best time for businesses to review their sales performance, you can actually generate noticeable results by giving the reviews at any point during the year. Feedback can boost morale, improve performance, and can also help resolve issues and get to the bottom of factors effecting employee performance.

 

When To Give The Reviews

Although many businesses give their sales performance reviews on an annual basis, a monthly or quarterly review might be your best bet. With an annual review, problems in accounts sit on the books for months, and low productivity flies under the radar, creating more loss. Your employees may find the different approach for sales unusual at first, but the more frequent reviews will actually yield regular spikes of high volume sales, and improved morale.

 

How To Construct The Reviews

 

  • Compare recent profit and loss statements to your short-and long-range goals in order to see how you measure up. Use the comparison to determine your sales goals for the upcoming year. These goals will also help you determine the top salespeople on your payroll.

 

  • Communicate to your sales staff the sales goals for the upcoming year. In addition, note that periodic reviews will be performed in order to reach these goals.

 

  • Have your staff compile a list of individual accomplishments achieved since their last review. This will this make them feel as though they are going into the performance review with a good measure of their actual performance, and help to refresh your memory when it comes to deals they have closed and projects they have worked on.

 

  • At the end of each quarterly or monthly sales period, determine the amount of sales that each member of your sales staff made, ranking them by their achievement.

 

  • Give each salesperson their review for the period. Go over the salesperson’s list of individual accomplishments, and point out the ones that have contributed to business. Communicate to them whether they have met the sales goals or not, and discuss bonuses, raises, or promotions according to their rank if necessary. If the salesperson did not reach the sales goals, discuss how the goals will be achieved in the next sales period. When you are offering your feedback, positive or negative, be sure to provide concrete examples that illustrate your point. Finally, have the salesperson sign the performance review, and keep it in their personnel record.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps You Can’t Live Without

8 Mar

From FinallyFast:

When it comes to smartphones, it’s impossible to ignore the impact of the iPhone. With the arrival of the iPhone, apps have sprung up left and right, for any need you can imagine. But not all of them cost money. Here are ten of our favorite free apps for the iPhone.

The iPhone App for Twitter includes a Tweet Details page which makes it easier to reply to, retweet, or favorite a tweet, and a Pull To Refresh feature, which allows you to simply pull down your old tweets to load new ones.

The facebook app for the iPhone, is, like facebook, free, and just as addictive.

The business traveler’s favorite friend, Skype allows you to make free Skype-to-Skype calls worldwide. In addition to being the most popular VOIP app in the world, Skype also allows you to make calls to regular phones with inexpensive international phone call rates.

Fring allows users to make free mobile calls using Instant Messaging with MSN Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk, SIP, and Twitter Contacts.

The Google Maps app helps you find local businesses, view maps, and pull up driving directions. The app also offers a route planner for when you travel by foot, car, or public transport.

Another favorite for travelers, the app from The Weather Channel delivers weather forecast to your iPhone, plus ten-day forecasts and animated radar.

Lose It! is a weight loss app for your iPhone that allows you to record your food intake and exercise in order to slim down and reach your weight loss goal. You can also pull up Calorie listings from major fast food chains and restaurants.

Ebay Mobile allows you to participate in your favorite bidding wars when you’re away from home. This app allows users to search for auctions, bid on items, update item information, and track ongoing auctions.

The Capcom Arcade app gives you three free tokens a day to play such arcade favorites as Street Fighter II and Commando.

Film and TV buffs can check out the IMDb app, which allows user to watch movie trailers and pull up movie showtimes in their location.

Gmail Bug Exterminated

3 Mar

From the FinallyFast Help Desk:

On Monday, Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar (24×7) posted on Google’s Blog that an update to e-mail storage software led to an unexpected bug Sunday that left tens of thousands of Gmail users without access to their messages:

“Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That’s what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we’re very sorry. The good news is that email was never lost and we’ve restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we’re making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon.”

Treynor goes on to expose the culprit:

“So what caused this problem? We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.”

Luckily, the emails in question were not lost forever:

“I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That’s what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue. 

To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds.”

Treynor went on to say that a detailed report outlining what happened would be posted to Google’s Apps Status Dashboard, with notes on corrective actions they would take to avoid this happening in the future. He also pointed out:
“it’s important to note that email sent to you between 6:00 PM PST on February 27 and 2:00 PM PST on February 28 was likely not delivered to your mailbox, and the senders would have received a notification that their messages weren’t delivered.”
The post was later followed up with an update on Tuesday explaining that data for the remaining 0.012% of affected users had been successfully restored from tapes and is now being processed. Google would eventually migrate the data back plan to into mailboxes, and in the hours that follow users will eventually regain access to their data. Accounts with large amounts of mail will probably require a longer recovery time.

HBGary Federal CEO steps down, Anonymous claims victory

1 Mar

 From the FinallyFast Help Desk:

HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr recently announced he is stepping down from his position following an embarrassing battle with the Anonymous hacking organization.

“I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation,” Barr said in a phone interview with Kaspersky Labs’ Threatpost. “It’s been a challenge to do that and run a company. And, given that I’ve been the focus of much of bad press, I hope that, by leaving, HBGary and HBGary Federal can get away from some of that. I’m confident they’ll be able to weather this storm.”

Barr and HBGary Federal previously collaborated with the FBI on an investigation into the hacking organziation known as Anonymous. Barr claimed in an interview with the Financial Times that he obtained the identity of two members of Anonymous residing in the United States, and scheduled an address at this month’s RSA Security Conference in which he was expected to reveal these identities.

Before the conference began, Barr’s personal Twitter account was breached, through which a hacker posted a statement on Anonymous’ motives. Meanwhile, both domain names used for the HBGary Federal website were hijacked and the home page was replaced with a similar statement from Anonymous. Then, news broke that Anonymous stole 60,000 company emails and immediately began publishing them on the internet.

“Today we taught everyone a lesson. When we actually decide to bite back against those who try to bring us down, we bite hard,” the hackers posted from Barr’s Twitter account.

HBGary Federal proceeded in light of the data breach, with Barr still scheduled to speak at the RSA Security conference. However, after the first two days at RSA brought hecklers to the HBGary Federal showcase tent and death threats against Barr and his family, the company vacated the conference. Shortly after, in place of an HBGary Federal sign explaining its sudden departure, a large white sign claiming victory in the name of Anonymous was found in the place where HBGary Federal’s tent was set up.

Now, after Barr announced he is stepping down, a Twitter account by the name of Topiary, which claims to be an “online activist” and “supporter of anonymous operations, WikiLeaks and maintaining freedom on the internet” declared “victory” in a Tweet with the link to news about Barr’s departure attached.

Anonymous has grown into one of the world’s most influential hacking organizations in a short time. The group emerged shortly after the international persecution of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, defending both by lashing out at the organizations that condemned either. Anonymous has claimed responsibility for distributed denial-of-service attacks that have successfully brought down the MasterCard website, as well as targeted online payment service PayPal and Visa, after each declared they would stop processing donations to WikiLeaks.

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