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Reasons a Business Phone Number Makes Sense for Freelancers, Solopreneurs, and Startups

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When you are just starting in a new business endeavor, there are a few things that can wait and a few that can’t. You might think that having a business phone number is on the list of “something that can wait.” Since you already have a mobile phone number, you can use that for work, right? Yes and no. Sure that could work, but it makes you look unprofessional, it becomes harder to separate work and life, and it’s more likely that you’ll miss important phone calls. If you intend to watch your business grow, then reasoning that you can get a business phone number later when your budget is larger can cause many problems. First, it is hard to switch over from one to the other because when your business is progressing, the worst thing to do would be to change your phone number. Secondly, because you would be missing out on many features, it may not be a good option. If you are a freelancer, a solopreneur, or a startup, there are many reasons why a business phone number makes sense for you; here’s a look:

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1. Professional Appearance

If you are a freelancer or beginning a startup, you’re most likely working from your home or a coffee shop and not a highly-equipped office. This could turn some people off. They may not think that you are capable of running a business properly without having a permanent office location. With a virtual business phone number, you can give the appearance of running a larger company. The variety of features available to you, such as personalized voicemail, call forwarding, customized greeting menus, and call transfer services make it highly appealing and easy to accent your appearance.

2. No More Dropped Calls

Virtual phone numbers work on a cloud-based system, which means that no call will be lost. Not only can you set up your preferences to be forwarded to the right person during business hours, but after hours you can set up phone calls to be sent to a voicemail feature that you can personalize to your preferences. In addition to that, with call forwarding and voicemail to fax or email, you will never miss a voicemail message either.

3.Clear Calls

Cell phone signals can be tricky, but virtual phone numbers, which work from the Cloud, work on a fixed network. Plus, they are dedicated to your business and were created to handle large call volumes.

4. It’s Affordable

If the main reason you aren’t springing for a business phone number is because you don’t think your budget will allow for it, think again. Virtual phone number sites offer several different plans for all stages of business. From freelancers to corporations, you can find an affordable plan that comes with all of the professional features, but you’ll only have to pay for the minutes you use.

5. More Personal Time

When you are a freelancer, solopreneur, or a startup, it can be hard to create boundaries between your burgeoning business and your personal time. But personal time and self-care are just as important as your business. If you find yourself spending all of your extra time thinking about and working on your business, the company could suffer. It’s good to take time off and enjoy life in between work periods. Cut out time in your day to spend with friends and family. Having balance in your life is the key to success. With a virtual phone number, you can set up business hours where customers can call you and reach you directly, as well as out of business hours where they have access to your voicemail. You can get back to them as soon as you are back in the “office.” Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you won’t need a break.

6. No Robocallers

One of the best features on a business phone number is that you can choose an automated greeting where your customer can then select an option of where they would like to be directed. Robocallers will get stuck in the menu options and eventually will be timed out and hung up on. Instead of having your phone line clogged with robocalls, you can spend more time talking to your actual customers. Robocallers have become a massive issue in the past few years, and a majority of phone numbers have been compromised. At United World Telecom you can also sort phone numbers into black and white lists. The Black List blocks unwanted callers from reaching you which means once a robocaller tries to contact you, they won’t be able to call again from that number.

Amazon H2Q Has Been Announced; What Does This Mean for the World?

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After much anticipation, Amazon finally named its two new locations for the HQ2 project.

Amazon will be taking their business to both Arlington, Virginia and the borough of Queens in New York City. It has been predicted that these two new locations will bring around 25,000 new jobs to the cities. However, Virginia and New York aren’t the only two locations benefitting from Amazon’s expansion. Nashville, Tennessee has been chosen as the new location for a “center of excellence.”

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The Income and Jobs Outlook

All three locations will begin hiring in 2019, and there are plenty of incentives for all the jobs in each location. While Nashville offered up 102 million for its 5,000 jobs, Virginia upped the ante with $573 million in incentives. However, New York offered up an immense $1.5 billion in incentives, and as part of these incentives from each city, Amazon has agreed that the salary for these jobs will be an average of $150,000/year.

Amazon is also reciprocating with the other cities and even plans to fund a green space in New York and donate a site for either a primary or secondary school. Many of New York City and Virginia’s public officials have come forward to applaud the move by Amazon because they believe that thousands of new high-paying jobs will be beneficial to both cities.

Amazon decided to build the new HQ2 so that it would be able to tap into new job pools and continue to expand and develop. Going outside of its original headquarters in Seattle means that it no longer has to compete with other Seattle tech markets like Microsoft and Boeing for job candidates.

Amazon Aimed for the East Coast

The tech giant received 238 bids from the US, Canada, and Mexico, but had been longing after the east coast for quite a while. It came as no surprise that Amazon chose Arlington, Virginia as one of the new headquarters. When Amazon was originally narrowing down candidates, several were around the DC area. Interestingly, Jeff Bezos, the owner and CEO of Amazon purchased the largest home in Washington DC in 2016 for $23 million and spent an addition $12 million on renovations last year, so it comes as no surprise that this area was in major consideration.

Amazon had said initially that it would bring $5 billion to one primary site where it would then hire 50,000 people. Now, the two sites are being split up, and Amazon is spending 2.5 billion at each location. The size of this project has spurred some critics to call these two new sites simply regional offices instead of new headquarters like the original Seattle office which spans across 45 different buildings.

The Dark Side of Amazon’s Expansion

Despite its popularity with local politicians, who bombarded Amazon with incentives and other gifts, working-class citizens of both cities are expected to take a hit. Seattle was plagued by a surge in homelessness after the cost of living shot up due to tech giants monopolizing the town. Not only will the move bring new jobs, but it will also bring higher rent prices and more traffic. This may be the reason that Amazon decided to split its new headquarters between two cities, but the problems will remain. Industry critics have also called the announcing of an HQ2 a publicity stunt and a way to get incentives from several states. Because of the bids made by several cities and states, Amazon also gained a lot of valuable data and it will be able to use that data to gain an edge over their biggest competitors.

The two locations are drumming up questions, such as why two sites instead of one? HQ2 has initially been a plan for one site, but splitting up the areas might be easier on everyone involved. A 25,000 person site is easier to handle and create than one giant place that has to hold 50,000 people. Also, as previously mentioned, neither city will suffer the same amount of pitfalls with traffic and housing costs as Seattle did, although those two things aren’t entirely unavoidable. However it goes, things are definitely about to get interesting!

Email Marketing Tip: How to Write Emails that Get Opened

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Keeping in constant contact with your customers is an important part of developing your business. Email marketing can be a wonderful tool for reaching out to your customers and providing them with information about your business like special deals, events, expansion, and more. You’ve probably spent a good amount of time crafting a great email only to check your stats later on and find that the emails you sent out have gone unopened. It is challenging to get people to open up and read your emails when they are constantly inundated with tons of emails. So what’s the secret to getting your emails opened and read? Check out these 12 tips for writing emails that get opened.

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Make it Personal

People receive emails from corporations all the time, so the best way to stand out among them is to mention the person by name instead of calling them a “valued customer” or some other impersonal title. And if you really want to make it special, sign your name at the bottom, that way they know that there is human life at the other end of that message.

Space Out Your Emails

Unless you have something to let your customers know about your business, you won’t need to send out constant emails. Only when there is an actual event or information that a customer would like to know should you be sending out emails. If they receive an email from you every day, that can get really annoying very quickly and you’ll find your “unsubscribe” number reaching new heights.

Reward Your Customers

When a customer opens an email from you, they will be receiving information about your company, but every once in a while you should reward them for opening the emails. This can be done by offering a special discount code or a free gift with purchase. If your customers don’t benefit from opening your emails, they will stop opening them all together.

Write An Appealing Subject Line

Your emails are not going to get opened without catching someone’s eye first. Read on for more tips about writing a great subject line

Add Numbers

Putting a number in your subject line stops skimmers from passing over your email because the human eye will stop to focus when digits are placed in the text.

Make A Promise

Making promises piques curiosity. For example, you can make your subject read something like, “Spin the wheel for an exclusive discount code inside. Get 10, 25, or 50 percent off!” Inside of this email should be a link that will take your customer to the website where you can spin a randomized digital wheel and receive a discount code for the amount you land on.

Keep It Simple

Don’t get overly clever with your subject lines. When something specific and simple is promised, a customer is more likely to open the email. Don’t try to confuse your customers; they want to know what they’re opening before they open it.

Use Your Humanity For Appeal

Your subject lines should get people interested through their emotions, whether that emotion is to save money, a fear of missing out, or a line that evokes curiosity.

Make Your Emails Interesting To Read

Write with enthusiasm: if you’re not excited about what is in the email, what makes you think anyone else will be? Writing quickly is an easy hack that allows your personality to show through your writing.

Cut Your Text In Half

It is 2018; people are short on time and long on information, so keep your text concise and to the point.

Switch Up Your Greetings

Using the same greeting in every email gets boring after a while. It makes the message you’re trying to convey seem boring and impersonal if the emails start to look alike.

Give Your Company a Personality

Email marketing is a great way to add a touch of humanity and flare to your company’s image. Always write your text to sound humanizing and be sure that your message sounds like the natural voice of your company. For example, a young woman’s fashion site should read as if your hearing about the latest styles from your sassy and fun best friend.

Care About The Customer

Before sending an email, ask yourself if what you’re writing is going to benefit the customer? Is it truthful? Is it interesting? If the answer to one or all three is no, then don’t send it. You want to build a relationship with your customer on trust. The best way to do that is to write personalized and beneficial text from the heart.

How to Keep Remote Teams Connected

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The information age has created a new shift in how people work. Before, millions of people had to make their way to the long-established “office” every day, from Monday-Friday, 9-6. Now, because of the invention of smartphones, laptops, and faster home internet connections, a growing number of people now telecommute to work. As remote work becomes increasingly more commonplace, more businesses are forming teams across states and countries. However, as the remote workforce grows, there are a few challenges that begin to pop up from not working in a traditional office setting.

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Things like productivity, time management skills, and lack of social interaction become problems. If you have cultivated a strong remote workforce and want to ensure that they can keep up from remote locations, then read on to learn how to keep remote teams connected.

1. Work from the cloud

Cloud technology allows all of your employees and managers the opportunity to access a variety of tools, share content, and collaborate in real time. The Cloud can also send updates out to your team, set reminders, and list tasks.

2. Social Media

Social media networking sites offer your team the chance to show off their creativity and collaborate effectively. You can find a whole list of niche social media networking sites you might not know about that offer places for your team to show their work and chat. Social media is an excellent tool for groups that are working all over the world as well because it allows them to maintain contact despite their various locations.

3. Virtual phone numbers

If your team is working remotely, consider getting virtual phone numbers to keep your team connected. Virtual phone numbers come with a variety of features and do not work on one specific phone line. Therefore, if you are dealing with similar clients, you can provide one virtual phone number for them to call and you can then have the call forwarded to an available person on the team. This is especially important for employees working from different states or countries because virtual phone lines can be local and therefore callers will not have to pay a hefty international fee to make a business call.

4. Plan get-togethers as often as possible

Meeting in person from time-to-time if your resources allow you to is the best way to get a bunch of employees to work as a team. Whenever possible, bring everyone together for a face-to-face meeting. It doesn’t have to be all business either; plan special outings together like an annual trip or a bonding expedition.

5. Train your team in time management

It is vital that your remote team is working in an organized way and consistently meeting or exceeding expectations. If possible, set up an opportunity for your remote team to take part in a time management training session to learn tips on how to organize and plan out their work days. You shouldn’t assume that just because someone is right for the job they are good at time management. And for employees who have mastered managing time, it wouldn’t hurt to participate as they may have the opportunity to learn new tips and tricks to make them even better at what they do.

6. Check-ins and using technology to interact socially

Set a time to check in with your remote employees, whether that is a daily, weekly, or monthly phone call. You can also keep in constant contact through email or GChat. When you have to schedule meetings, and some workers cannot travel to the location, be sure to set up a video conferencing call so your remote employees can feel as if they are in the same room.

7. Check on your management regularly

Managing a remote team comes with its own set of issues. It is essential that the manager of a remote unit has a trusted relationship with its employees, which can be hard to cultivate when they do not work in close proximity to one another. The best way for a manager to keep their long-distance relationships strong is to train your managers on the many tools available for remote working, such as being able to connect through virtual phone numbers and video conferencing. A manager should also be in charge of setting up digital networks, as this can help employees bond with one another over personal stories and sharing fun memes. It may not seem like remote workers need this kind of connection with their coworkers, but a good relationship with management and others can keep a great employee with your company for a long time to come.

Social Media Networks You Need to Know About for Business

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Social media networks can be for work or play, and some can be great for finding new business contacts. There are many big-named business social networks like LinkedIn, but have you ever heard of Sportifico? Depending on your business, you can find a social networking tool that fits just what you’re looking for. Whether that is for networking opportunities, jobs, or learning about an entirely new industry, meeting the right people can be done using the right platform. Check out these business-focused social media networks that are tailored to specific industries to expand your company’s reach.

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AngelList

The AngelList was created to help startups find investors, or “angels.” To get started, you or your company must apply and be accepted first, which is no easy task. (Less than 2 percent of startup companies are allowed onto the site.) Once you have been approved, however, like several other matchmaking apps, you can swipe left or right on investment opportunities or investors! You can also filter based on things such as market and location.

Spiceworks

If you’re into IT or digital marketing, then Spiceworks is the social media network for you. Spiceworks is dedicated to connecting these professionals with each other, and the site offers project management and planning apps as well as academic content. Tech companies can join in on the fun, too, and create content like tips and advice for the Spiceworks users. Anyone can join, so even if you’re not an IT professional and you’re only looking to learn more about it, you will still be accepted to the site.

Mixer

Attention creatives! This app is for you. Mixer was created with one thing in mind: to provide creative professionals with the opportunity to network with other creative professionals in entertainment, fashion, art, and music. Mixer users pay a monthly subscription fee, and in return they receive the opportunity to network, to import their work into an online portfolio, and post and apply for jobs with other creatives.

MeetUp

Meetup has a little something for everyone. Whether you are looking to connect professionally or personally, you can find a group to do so here. It is a popular and well-known platform, but it is a straightforward tool to use to find things that you are interested in and to connect with other people. There are plenty of writer meetups, professional happy hour meetups, and even meetups for people who just want to enjoy brunch. If you don’t find any meetups you are interested in joining, don’t worry, you can always start your own group.

ResearchGate

ResearchGate is a strict social networking site for researchers and scientists. There are more than 15 million users worldwide, but the vetting process for making it into the networking site is scrupulous. For example, if you do not have an institutional email address, you might not get admitted. But once you are accepted, you have the opportunity to connect with scientists worldwide and collaborate on projects as well as share research findings.

Sermo

Like ResearchGate, Mixer, and Spiceworks – Sermo is a networking site catering to one group of individuals. Doctors around the world can connect on SERMO once their medical credentials have been verified. Once verified, doctors can ask questions, converse on different topics, and they can even discuss confidential information anonymously.

Opportunity

Opportunity is a social networking site for nearly all professionals and can be used to find employment or professional contacts. Opportunity allows users with a LinkedIn account to integrate both sites, and with all of its information, Opportunity uses an algorithm to find you new opportunities.

Sportifico

Another niche networking site is Sportifico. This one is strictly for soccer athletes and coaches. Whether you want to build your own team or start a career in coaching or playing soccer, Sportifico can connect you with the people that can make your dream a reality. Once you have applied and are accepted, Sportifico offers a place to show off your resume, your skills, stats, and a way to send messages and search for connections and opportunities.

How to Successfully Communicate with Your Customers

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Communication is one of the most critical pieces of a business model. It has a much more significant impact on sales and general workplace energy than most people recognize. Poor communication in a team project will always result in failure, and poor contact with clients will always result in dissatisfaction.

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If you want to make a difference between the satisfaction of your clients and customers, you have to be able to speak with them with knowledge, confidence, and positivity. These essential communication skills will make the difference in your success and give you a massive edge over your competition.

If you want to learn how to successfully communicate with your customers, read on to learn more tips and tricks.

Respond swiftly to customer inquiries

Don’t respond in a timely fashion; get to them right now! Although the typical business day is from 9-5, many of your customers will want answers outside of those traditional hours. If you are busy running the business on your own, you may be unavailable at all times. While that may seem entirely understandable, it may not be to your customers. Having a 24-hour customer service line, online chat service, or an email made exclusively for answering customers’ questions are the best tools for responding quickly. Purchasing a virtual phone number for your business will give your customers a direct line to your customer service representative or business, as well. The best part of virtual phone numbers is that they can be forwarded to any line at any time, so if you aren’t in the office to answer questions, their phone calls can be sent to someone that is, or to your mobile, if that works. That way you never have to miss a phone call. Plus these virtual phone numbers come with automated menus, and features that allow you to convert voicemails into emails. If you absolutely must let a phone call go to voicemail, be sure that you are clear in your voicemail responses. Voicemail messages should include your business hours, the best time to reach you, and what details they should leave in the message so you can have the problem resolved by the time you get back to them at a more convenient time. For your email, set up an automatic response that their request was received and that you will get back to them as soon as possible, or direct them to a phone number that they can call in the meantime if it is urgent.

Get to know your clients

Your company may be what attracts your clients and customers at first, but it is the people that you employ that gets them to return. Building relationships and hiring people that can turn small talk into conversations are crucial to making your business successful. After all, without customers, your company will fail.

Treat your customers with respect

While the customers are coming to you with questions about the product or you are selling them services based on your expertise, respect should be the foundation of your interaction. Because although they want your product or service, they ultimately decide whether or not to buy. When you are working with a client on a project, take time to discover their goals and keep in constant touch with them. That way you can avoid any confusion with the final project and flush out any roadblocks that may come out during the planning process. Also, never deviate from the plan without informing the client first. And when you present your ideas, it is a good idea to introduce any ideas with a list of pros, cons, and associated risks. That way you can lean them towards what you think will work while still giving them a variety of options to choose from.

Use a project management tool

There are many project management tools available for businesses to choose from that will help your business exponentially when dealing with multiple clients. These systems are set up to put your clients first and to ensure that project details don’t fall through the cracks. Project management tools provide a way to lay out a plan, and they make collaboration easy between project members. This is especially useful if you are collaborating with partners across time zones. When looking for software for a project-management tool, be sure that you choose one that allows you to share the process with your clients and team members directly. When a client has access to the process, such as meeting times and scheduling, in real time, this builds trust and shows that your business can be transparent and truthful with their clients.

New Telecom Tech Helping Companies Expand Internationally with Very Low Cost

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More companies are beginning to realize that the global market can be tapped into at a very low cost. And since the majority of the world’s economic output is located outside of America, it’s a smart business move for any company. The best part is that acquiring an international virtual phone number from almost any country in the world is as simple as placing an order online.

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Because of the advancement in telecom technology, businesses have several options when it comes to choosing a provider and because of this, virtual phone numbers are more affordable than ever. This combined with the rise of globalization, there are virtually no borders or barriers in place where you would not be able to successfully market and sell your product.

That does not mean that international expansion does not come with its fair share of problems, though. You still need to have a strong plan in place before purchasing your first international phone number. For example, understanding the culture, language, and taxation laws in the international country of your choice are foundational steps before expanding your business overseas. Many large corporations have failed when expanding into other countries because their teams did not properly research the nuances of the country.

In the past 20 years, many telecommunication advancements have been made. These include 5G mobile networks, the ability to share WiFi connection from your cell phone to your computer, the invention of smartphones and tablets, mobile entertainment, GPS tracking, and probably the most important – VoIP communication services.

VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol.” VoIP is the technology used to make services like Skype and international phone calls work. VoIP is a result of cloud computing and it provides the ability to transfer huge volumes of information through a network of servers. This huge step in technology gives businesses the ability to communicate globally, instantly.

Virtual phone numbers are a powerful tool for businesses because even though the concept of the virtual phone number is simple, the rewards are abundant. A customer located in India can dial the international virtual phone number that you have provided for your business and they will be instantly routed to the destination phone number of your choice. There is absolutely no delay during the forwarding process which had previously been a major problem for businesses in the past.

International virtual phone numbers are expanding globally and can be found in almost every country. Most providers will allow you to choose from local phone numbers, mobile numbers, or toll free numbers in that country as well. These numbers match the exact area codes and country codes of the international territory of your choosing. As previously mentioned, it is very simple to find a virtual phone number service provider and the set-up is fast. You will be ready to begin making calls instantly.

At United World Telecom, we offer a number of features that are included or can be added-on and augmented to the needs of your particular business. For example, add-on features include “roll-over minutes” in which you can keep your unused minutes and add them on to your next month for no additional charge, and SMS. SMS is a text messaging service that is a popular way to get into contact with your customers and vice versa.

It is important to understand the country that you are marketing to before making the decision of which add-ons you would like to have. In places such as America, most people prefer to communicate over text message, but in China, they prefer to use voice messaging and most people will not be impressed by a long text that they have to read.

One of the best features of virtual phone numbers is “time of day routing.” Time of day routing allows you to choose where and when your phone calls will be directed. Since you are doing business in an international country, there will be time difference issues. By using the time of day routing feature, you can be sure that you never miss a phone call by re-routing the call to a call center that is open when your business is closed for the night.

Cloud Communications in 2018 with Virtual Phone Numbers

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Cloud communication is one of the best digital advancements made in the past ten years. It is an evolution of the VoIP infrastructure and it delivers data and voice communications on a network of powerful servers that allows your information to be delivered instantly. The information is stored and delivered by a third-party that allows multiple organizations access to a single hosting site.

This hosting site is also run through the internet, which was not possible in the not-so-distant past. Internet communication was not as reliable a decade ago as it is now in 2018, and previously, many hosted telephone companies had to rely on expensive data. These new strides in technology have made virtual phone numbers more convenient for businesses as well as individuals. Interested in learning more? Read on to find out why cloud communications for virtual phone numbers is one of the best digital trends for 2018.

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It’s Affordable

Cloud-based phone systems are among the most affordable options from virtual phone providers since customers only pay for what they use. Your money goes towards the Broadband charges and a subscription fee. Everything else that you need for your virtual phone number, as well as any handling of problems or issues that may arise, are provided by the subscription service. Also, just because you are cutting costs using cloud-based technology services does not mean that you have to sacrifice features.

Nearly all Businesses Can Benefit

Cloud communications have been generally used for e-commerce, payment processing, advertising, and human resources. Cloud-based communication is also a wonderful tool for operating multiple call centers, meaning that you can expand your business to nearly anywhere in the world.

It’s Good for Small Businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from cloud communication technology because of its affordability and the expertise the business can receive from its phone provider. Whereas a larger business can use their indispensable capital towards an in-house VoIP setup, a smaller business most likely does not have the capital to maintain an expensive telecommunication setup full-time.

You Can Shop Around

There are plenty of places to purchase a virtual phone number working on cloud communications. In the past, you might have had to choose a local or regional provider, but because of the way cloud communications work, you can now choose from any virtual phone provider.

You Can Access the Cloud From Any Device

Traditionally, IT communications were not able to handle serving multiple devices. Cloud communications can be accessed from where you are with any device that has a WiFi connection or data, such as your iPhone, computer, or tablet. New cloud technology has also helped many new businesses grow quickly while working from home because the only thing that is required is a strong internet connection.

Some Devices Don’t Work Without it

A lot of new devices are designed to work with cloud communications and aren’t compatible with older methods of communication. The iPhone, VoIP handsets, and modern printers need to be able to access cloud networks in order to function.

Cloud Does it All

Cloud communication has grown so rapidly in popularity because of how versatile it is. These communication services are so diverse, offering video, voice, and data. In the past, telecommunications systems were only built around voice. The Cloud now allows all three of these necessary modes of communication to work together, as well as separately in a single place.

Collaboration Across the Globe

One of the most important aspects of the Cloud is that it allows seamless communication between people in different parts of the world. This is why the Cloud is great for international businesses; communication across cultures has never been easier. Even if your business is located in New York and you have several clients in California, you will have instant access to them through the Cloud at any point in the day. This includes video conferencing, call forwarding features that allow you to forward calls when you are out of the office, and group messaging between team members.

Infrastructure Matters: Is Your Business Building a Solid Foundation?

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So you have an idea to start a business. Unfortunately, every successful entrepreneur will tell you that it is not an easy task to build a business. After you have developed your idea for a company is when the real work begins. Building a successful business can make your dreams come true, and all you need to do is start with a plan. Sit down and think out how to turn your dream into a reality, by being meticulous in your approach, and leaving no stone unturned. If you start with a strong foundation for your business, then you can weather any storms and come out on top of any ups and downs that your future business may one day see. Things are lurking around every corner that can threaten to take down your business, but if your infrastructure is strong, then you can go on with your days without worry.

So what are the different parts of a company that are utilized to create a secure infrastructure? Read on to learn how you can build a solid foundation for your business.

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Manage Your Time Wisely

Time management tops this list because you not only need to be realistic about the time that you plan to put into your business, you also need to learn to prioritize tasks. Set goals and create lists.

Then, follow those lists. Be sure to put the most critical items on the top of the list and don’t move on to the next task until you’ve perfected the job. Everyone has the same 24-hours in a day, but those who prioritize their most meaningful tasks will always be the people that achieve more. Managing your time takes great personal discipline, and if you are serious about building your business, you might find yourself unable to participate in things that you enjoyed doing before you started. If you are building a business from the ground-up, let your friends and family know that you won’t be available for a short time while you build up your company.

Utilize Your Talents

Grab a pen right now and write down everything that you are good at. Once you’re finished, you can begin to formulate a plan on how you are going to utilize these skills to build-up your business.

These skills are what make you unique and give you an edge over your competition. Once you’ve compiled your strongest assets to a list, you can begin to use them to your advantage. For instance, if you are great with money, then you can do all the accounting for your business. Maybe you’re bad with money but great at talking to people; if you can talk to people, you can convince investors to invest in your company or talk customers into purchasing your products.

Invest In Your Employees

Having good employees is one of the essential pieces of having a strong foundational business. Hiring people that you trust can do the work and believe in your product or service are crucial for the success of your company. A company whose employees are unhappy won’t be doing as good of a job as another company whose employees love to come in early and work late because they truly are passionate about the business they work for or for the product that they sell. Use their skills in the same way that you utilize your own and make sure that they are working on the right tasks where their talents will shine. Reward your employees when they have done an excellent job and educate them through seminars, classes, and mentoring. When an employee is treated well, they will return the favor to the business in the form of profit.

Monitor Your Cash Flow

Businesses send and receive money through many portals; it is up to you or someone that you have hired to locate the best spots to spend your money, resources, and time. This could mean switching to another supplier, choosing a different material to make your products, or put a stop to a marketing campaign with no ROI.

These four tips can take your business from having many loose ends to being a tight-knit company that makes it work in any situation. As a leader of a new business, it is up to you to remain diligent and to care for those that you have hired on to your team. If you start your business with these suggestions in mind, your company will be able to stand the test of time.

A Virtual State of Mind – Tips for Building a Virtual Office

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A virtual office means that you can work from anywhere in the world. The internet has made it easier than ever for businesses to be built from the ground-up, all from the comfort of your own home. Many workers can telecommute to work because of the ease and reliability of the internet today. However, working from home or anywhere outside of a traditional office setting has both its advantages and disadvantages. Many businesses are choosing to take advantage of virtual offices because of the savings on office space rentals, tech, food, office supplies, and insurance.

office virtual system
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Some critics of virtual offices believe that working from home makes workers more susceptible to distractions such as family or friends, and they think that workers won’t be as productive as they would be if they were to work in a regular office environment. If you are thinking about taking your business into the virtual world, or if you already do telecommute, then check out these tips to help you create a productive virtual office space that will guarantee efficiency, creativity, and an increase in cash.

1. Get a phone system

In business, you will inevitably need to be able to connect quickly and efficiently with your employees, co-workers, clients, and customers. Many virtual phone systems offer forwarding and routing services to anywhere in the world. These phone systems help customers and clients get in contact with the right person in the business that they need to talk to. The phone system can often greet the customer automatically and then offer them a variety of options so that they can get into contact with the right department. It doesn’t matter if your sales manager is in Florida and your customer service agent is in Iowa.

2. Meet new-hires in person

If you are the boss, you should make it a point to try to meet everyone you work with at least once. It might not be financially possible for some companies to fly out managers to meet new employees or vice versa. Be that as it may, luckily, technology exists and if you can’t meet “in-person” you can still meet “face-to-face” kinda. Through Skype, Viber, Google Hangouts, and a host of other video calling apps, it is now possible to connect with and see others without leaving your living room.

3. Hold meetings

If your co-workers or employees are located within the same area, then you can hold in-person business meetings as much as you think necessary. Whether these meetings occur on a monthly, bi-monthly, or yearly basis, there are plenty of places that can host your group. Since you do not have access to your office building, you can set-up a meeting time at hotels with conference rooms, coffee shops, and you can even find some companies who are willing to rent out their free spaces to other businesses for meetings as well.

4. Communicate often and effectively

Since you can’t just walk over to Susan’s cubicle to talk to her about a marketing campaign, you need to have the next best thing. Staying in constant contact on Google Chat is an easy way to get answers fast from your employees. If something can wait more than five minutes, then you can always send an email. Be sure that your employees are aware that they need to be plugged in and ready to answer questions, emails, and phone calls while they are at work.

5. Establish a time management policy

The best thing about telecommuting to work is that you can typically make your own hours. However, it’s important to know when your employees are working so that you can quickly get in contact with them. Virtual offices also need to establish how long each person will be working a day and what is expected to be completed of them. This way everyone can plan their days accordingly.

6. Foster relationships between co-workers

It is highly encouraged to set up team building events for your employees if they can all attend. If your team is located all around the world, then it may be a bit harder to meet up for happy hour after work. Instead, you can set up a non-work-related Facebook group or chat group. It also helps to remember birthdays and share personal news and special occasions. If you know that one of your co-workers or employees is getting married, be sure to send them an e-greeting card or shoot them a congratulatory text. A little bit of effort goes a long way in creating relationships.

7. Encourage productivity with competitions

To make sure that your team is being as productive as possible, offer incentives for hard work. This can be done through bonuses or contests between employees. Set goals for the team and award prizes to those who reach milestones before everyone else. You will soon see your profits rise and your employees get excited about work.

8. Set boundaries

Working from home can genuinely be distracting if you live with a spouse, roommates, or children. When you decide to start working for the day be sure to let your family and friends know that you can be reached after you’re done. Shut the door to your office, if possible, and shut out any distractions that aren’t work-related. If your office is the kitchen or another high traffic area in your home, consider heading to a coffee shop.