What counts as “debts” and “income” when calculating my debt-to-income (DTI) ratio?

It’s important to know your debt-to-income ratio because it’s the figure lenders use to measure your ability to repay the money you have borrowed.
March 15, 2017 at 01:55PM
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THE LGBT PRO Jobs for March 15, 2017

VP Data Controls and Quality Framework Delivery – multiple locations
UnitedHealth Group
Boston, MA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Maintenance Shop Technician B
Republic Services
Winder, GA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Maintenance Shop Clerk ( Service Writer) 2nd shift (4pm to 12pm)
Republic Services
Melrose Park, IL
Sponsored job from Linkup

Operations Transportation Supervisor Hauling
Republic Services
Fort Wayne, IN
Sponsored job from Linkup

TRD – Wash Bay Technician
Republic Services
Odessa, TX
Sponsored job from Linkup

Safety Representative
Republic Services
Jacksonville, FL
Sponsored job from Linkup

Ops Supervisor Hauling
Republic Services
Momence, IL
Sponsored job from Linkup

Big Data Architect – Eden Prairie, MN
UnitedHealth Group
Eden Prairie, MN
Sponsored job from Linkup

Gate Attendant/Scale Operator
Republic Services
Pecos, TX
Sponsored job from Linkup

Heavy Equipment Operator-Landfill
Republic Services
Euless, TX
Sponsored job from Linkup

Diesel Mechanic-Maintenance Technician-Experienced
Republic Services
McDonough, GA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Landfill Laborer
Republic Services
Dora, AL
Sponsored job from Linkup

MRF Laborer
Republic Services
Wilsonville, OR
Sponsored job from Linkup

Landfill Laborer
Republic Services
Edinburg, TX
Sponsored job from Linkup

Landfill Laborer
Republic Services
East Sparta, OH
Sponsored job from Linkup

Landfill Laborer
Republic Services
Roosevelt, WA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Proposal Pricing Coordinator
Republic Services
Phoenix, AZ
Sponsored job from Linkup

Transportation Operations Dispatcher
Republic Services
Carnegie, PA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Division Accountant
Republic Services
Birmingham, AL
Sponsored job from Linkup

Residential Driver
Republic Services
Chicopee, MA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Commercial Driver
Republic Services
Chicopee, MA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Dispatcher
Republic Services
Houston, TX
Sponsored job from Linkup

Residential Helper I
Republic Services
Shreveport, LA
Sponsored job from Linkup

Residential Helper I
Republic Services
San Angelo, TX
Sponsored job from Linkup

Residential Helper I
Republic Services
Shreveport, LA
Sponsored job from Linkup
March 15, 2017 at 02:03PM
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Don’t Ignore Your Existing Customers. Here are 7 Ways to Market to Them

Originally appeared on Xerox Small Business Solutions.

By Rieva Lesonsky

In their eagerness to attract new customers, small business owners often forget the value of existing customers. But focusing on current customers, and working to upsell and retain them, can boost your business as much as attracting new ones—at a much lower cost. Here are seven ideas to help you market to your existing customers and increase your sales.

1. Engage with customers on social media

A strong social media presence is essential for building and maintaining relationships with your current customers. Take advantage of the two-way nature of social media. Start by listening to what your customers are saying about your business, your products and services, your competitors and most of all, their needs and problems. Listening carefully will give you ideas for new ways to serve your customers and new purchases you can suggest. If customers reach out to you with questions or comments on social media, be sure to answer promptly.

2. Develop helpful information for your customers

Based on what you discover about your existing customers’ needs, create content to help them solve problems, answer questions or do something better. Share your content on your website, in email newsletters and on social media. Maximize its value to you and your customers by sharing content in print form such as white papers or flyers.

Leverage new opportunities with existing customers to help grow revenue.

3. Offer special promotions to existing customers

New customers often get discounts and deals to lure them to buy. Give your existing customers the same types of benefits. For instance, offer a discount for customers who buy in bulk; who sign up for an “auto-ship” renewal subscription on products that typically need to be reordered, such as toner cartridges or pet food; or who use a credit card and auto-renew their memberships with your business each year. Send colorful direct mail pieces with discounts and other promotions to ensure your marketing stands apart from the mass of mail consumers get every day and successfully captures their attention.

4. Reward customer longevity

Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of your current customers’ data, such as important dates and anniversaries. For instance, on their birthdays or the anniversary of their first purchase with your company, send a thoughtful note or greeting card (ideally with some type of gift or discount to entice spending). These Xerox templates make it simple to create stunning greeting cards for a variety of occasions.

5. Take it offline

In today’s high-tech, no-touch world, personal interaction means a lot. Take time to get together with key clients in person—for a meal, for coffee or for a meeting to check in on how well your products and services are performing for them. Of course, you can call or email your clients to extend the invitation, but it will likely mean more to them (and create more customer loyalty) if you make it personal by sending a printed note. Xerox’s PrintShop Mail Suite helps you create personalized communications, both one-offs and multiples, tailored to the recipient’s needs.

Take steps to understand & address your customers’ pain points to gain a long term business relationship via @Rieva

6. Honor them

Celebrate your best customers—those who reach a certain level of spending—with an annual party, luncheon or award banquet for the “Customer of the Year.” Send out invitations to the event (try these Xerox invitation templates) and be sure to tell the local media about it, too. Customers feel special when you treat them like VIPs and will strive to maintain their “exalted” position every year.

7. Give them something to think about

When you meet with current clients, be sure to suggest new products and services that can enhance what they’re already buying from you. Don’t be disappointed if they don’t buy on the spot. If that’s the case, it’s smart to give them some marketing materials as reminders of your new offers. When you use Xerox® ConnectKey® devices, you’ll be able to print in gorgeous color for pieces that get noticed—and remembered. Did you forget to bring your printed marketing materials with you? No problem: Use Xerox® Mobile Print and you can print from anywhere so you can always hand the client a brochure, flyer or spec sheet. (This service also comes in handy when you’re exhibiting at trade shows and need a lot of copies. You’ll save on pricey shipping costs.)

With a strategy that embraces social media, content marketing, direct mail and personal interactions, you’ll find your relationships with customers growing stronger by the day—cementing their loyalty and creating long-term customer relationships.

 

The post Don’t Ignore Your Existing Customers. Here are 7 Ways to Market to Them appeared first on Small Biz Daily.

March 15, 2017 at 12:00PM
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SPI 257: The Incredible Story Behind Kelsey Baldwin’s Business, Paper and Oats

Sometimes, when life throws us a curveball, taking a risk on a brand new entrepreneurial journey is the last thing on our minds. That wasn’t the case for Kelsey Baldwin of Paper & Oats, who rebounded from a major setback by selling digital products and courses online.

Kelsey made the leap into entrepreneurship after learning she was going to be a single mom. It was a shocking turn of events for Kelsey, but thanks to some expert planning, drive, and skill as a graphic designer, she transitioned from her nine-to-five job at a design agency to freelancing and selling her designs online. Today, she continues to run a thriving business educating fellow designers through her online courses and selling digital products through Etsy and PaperandOats.com.

Kelsey’s resourcefulness and resilience is so inspirational to online entrepreneurs like me. Listen in to hear her advice for recovering from life’s setbacks, and how she’s built a thriving online empire one piece at a time.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Kelsey for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • How Kelsey built her successful business selling digital products and courses online.
  • How Kelsey transitioned from her full-time job into full-time entrepreneurship.
  • Project management and productivity tips for solo entrepreneurs.
  • The ins and outs of selling digital products on Etsy.
  • Why and how Kelsey transitioned from digital products to online courses.
  • What Kelsey made from the first launch of her first online course.
  • How Kelsey’s online business impacted her life as a new parent.
  • Kelsey’s advice for embracing entrepreneurship in the wake of setbacks.
  • A free resource for digital product sellers, and more!

Resources

Sponsors

  • 99Designs

    $99 Power Pack of services, free!


March 15, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2msGCfj

SPI 257: The Incredible Story Behind Kelsey Baldwin’s Business, Paper and Oats

Sometimes, when life throws us a curveball, taking a risk on a brand new entrepreneurial journey is the last thing on our minds. That wasn’t the case for Kelsey Baldwin of Paper & Oats, who rebounded from a major setback by selling digital products and courses online.

Kelsey made the leap into entrepreneurship after learning she was going to be a single mom. It was a shocking turn of events for Kelsey, but thanks to some expert planning, drive, and skill as a graphic designer, she transitioned from her nine-to-five job at a design agency to freelancing and selling her designs online. Today, she continues to run a thriving business educating fellow designers through her online courses and selling digital products through Etsy and PaperandOats.com.

Kelsey’s resourcefulness and resilience is so inspirational to online entrepreneurs like me. Listen in to hear her advice for recovering from life’s setbacks, and how she’s built a thriving online empire one piece at a time.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Kelsey for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • How Kelsey built her successful business selling digital products and courses online.
  • How Kelsey transitioned from her full-time job into full-time entrepreneurship.
  • Project management and productivity tips for solo entrepreneurs.
  • The ins and outs of selling digital products on Etsy.
  • Why and how Kelsey transitioned from digital products to online courses.
  • What Kelsey made from the first launch of her first online course.
  • How Kelsey’s online business impacted her life as a new parent.
  • Kelsey’s advice for embracing entrepreneurship in the wake of setbacks.
  • A free resource for digital product sellers, and more!

Resources

Sponsors

  • 99Designs

    $99 Power Pack of services, free!


March 15, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2msGCfj

Avoiding a Cash Flow Crisis, How to Work with Remote Sales Reps, Finance 101 on a Napkin and More Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

9 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky

1—How to Avoid a Cash Flow Crisis

According to U.S. Bank, 82% of small businesses fail due to poor cash flow management. Scott Notarainni, the Managing Director of Corporate Finance at FTI Consulting created the infographic below to help you avoid that fate.

cash flow

 

2—State of the Market: EMV Chip Migration

Earlier this year, the U.S. Payments Forum released a 2017 market snapshot, providing updates on the status of the U.S. EMV chip migration, 2017 priorities for accelerating merchant chip enablement and securing the card-not-present channel, and recently-released resources for the payments industry.

There has been steady progress in the U.S. migration to chip payments. Today, 9 out of 10 Americans are commonly using chip cards at the approximately one-third of U.S. merchant locations enabled to accept chip payments, and an estimated 79% of ATMs will have completed the migration by the end of this year. In 2017, the U.S. Payments Forum will continue to address issues that arise from those parts of the ecosystem that have implemented EMV, and provide education and implementation guidance to merchant segments that have unique and/or challenging migration paths.

Trending Topics: EMV in the Petroleum Environment: At the end of last year, American ExpressDiscoverMastercard and Visa individually announced modified timelines for their respective EMV fraud liability shift policies for automated fuel dispensers in the U.S. The petroleum industry policy changes that were slated to take effect in October 2017 will now take effect in October 2020.

Addressing the Card-Not-Present Environment, Mobile Payments: In addition to aiding the chip migration to reduce in-store counterfeit card fraud, the U.S. Payments Forum is prioritizing the importance of addressing fraud in the card-not-present (CNP) environment in online and mobile channels. In addition, the Forum is launching projects to address the challenges with implementing mobile payments, taking an inclusive cross-industry view to address issues that impact multiple stakeholders.

EMV testing and certification. The Forum updated the “EMV Testing and Certification White Paper: Current Global Payment Network Requirements for the U.S. Acquiring Community.”

The Forum also launched the Mobile and Contactless Payments Working Committee to explore opportunities and challenges, identify possible approaches, and develop practical implementation guidance and best practices for the variety mobile and contactless payments solutions being implemented in the U.S.

To learn more go here.

 

3—5 Tips for Working with Remote Sales Reps

Guest post by Eliot Burdett, author, sales recruiting expert and cofounder CEO,  Peak Sales Recruiting 

The advent of new technology and changing philosophies on work life balance, have created an increasingly mobile work force. Last year, the Global Leadership Summit predicted more than half of all employees will work remotely by 2020.

This will have a profound impact across all industries but perhaps even more so in sales. Sales people thrive on energy, engaging with others and they need to be motivated on a daily basis.

Companies that used to have a centralized sales force have a whole new set of opportunities and challenges when managing a remote team. The ability of sales leaders to solve these will be the difference between a cohesive team that consistently makes their numbers, and one that is isolated, disjointed and hurting the company’s profit margins.

Here are 5 tips to make a remote sales rep connected and successful:

  • Communicate often and on a personal level: Research from the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Managementexplains that workplace isolation negatively effects trust in supervisors and coworkers. Making your reps deal with rejection on an island is a recipe for disaster. This can be overcome with frequent and informal check-ins. Rely on teleconferences or even text messaging to communicate with your team. The constant communication will help lessen feelings of isolation. In addition, we recommend connected with your reps on an individual level. By asking about their favorite sports team or their child’s graduation you will make them feel a strong connection to you, their leader, your company and their mission. It is just as critical to set up peer-to-peer teleconferences. Sometimes, a ‘players-only’ meeting is just what the doctor ordered.
  • Budget for social engagements: A sales rep who feels isolated is doomed to fail. Harvard Business Review reported successful managersof remote sales teams organize face-to-face forums, conferences, workshops and get-togethers. These are planned well in advance and, in addition to building cohesion at work, this gives employees a chance to interact socially, which is critical to building rapport. A good option could be to choose a sales conference to attend together. Plan this into your budget and the investment will pay off in both the short and long term.
  • Make your availability crystal clear:Make it clear to your team via a shared calendar or team project management board when you are available. This sets clear guidelines for how and when you will respond to phone calls, e-mails, or texts. Having reps who feel like they can reach out to you in any given circumstance is crucial for leading a top producing team. This is especially necessary when managing across different times zones. If you are home with your family but it is still office hours on the West Coast or overseas, let your reps know how to reach you with emergencies.
  • Use your reps’ autonomy to develop trust:The lack of face-to-face communications can hinder employee engagement. A study conducted by the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management found that employee engagement is shown to be positively correlated to salesperson job performance. To that point, Forum’s recent Global Leadership Pulse survey revealed that trust has a direct impact on the engagement levels of remote teams. Great sales managers, if handled properly, can use the autonomy of their reps to build trust.  By giving reps the chance to take on additional responsibilities in certain situations they will feel empowered, engaged and connected—despite the distance.
  • Don’t just hire any sales superstar: A common mistake in sales hiring is not hiring based on a certain situation. The assumption is that if someone was good in another selling environment, they will thrive in yours. That is a mistake. Find someone with the right sales DNA who has proven success working remotely.

The bottom line is that the evolution of technology has created an opportunity for businesses to profit from cultivating a remote workforce. However, it is incumbent on you to recognize that the same old rules don’t apply. Tactics such as developing trust, tweaking your communication approach and scheduling social events, can ensure long lasting relationships that will be profitable for your organization.

 

4—5 Tips for Succeeding in 2017

Guest post by Jamie Wright, an attorney specializing in Millennial issues (she’s a Millennial herself), government affairs, crisis communication and conflict resolution.

  1. Network. Many people think it’s a weakness to get help from people. That’s just not true. It takes a strong person to seek out the right kind of support. Get to know successful people in your chosen field, so you can get support and advice from them. If you are lucky enough to find a mentor, take good notes. Take the support and advice now, knowing that someday you will be in the position to provide it to someone else. While you surround yourself with good connections, never cease to be independent. Independence and being strong enough to move forward even if you are taking the next step alone is crucial in being successful.
  2. Think positive. Often, we get in our own way, because our minds are consumed with negative thinking. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want, and immediately replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Use the laws of attraction to bring to you what it is that you want in your life.
  3. Banish excuses. Too often, people are caught up in their own excuses for why they can’t do things. This year, get honest with yourself as to whether something really is a hurdle, or just an excuse. Banish the excuses and keep moving forward. Make individuality a priority, so you leave the excuses behind, define who you are, and stand out.
  4. The Golden Rule. In all areas of life, including in your career pursuits, you should be treating people the way you want to be treated. The way you treat people will always come back to you. Put good things out, so that good comes right back to you. It feels good to treat people with kindness and will open many doors. Having integrity in all you do is important and will help you get ahead.
  5. Forget expectations. It doesn’t matter if something has always been done a particular way, that’s not a legitimate reason why you can’t change it. In other words: Blaze your own trail, don’t feel you need to stick to the ones that others before you have set forth. Use your instincts to help navigate your way.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative and just add to the stories and thoughts that hold people back. Make this the year where you set concrete goals, take steps every day to work toward achieving them, and drown out the noise that can hold you back. If you want it, you can succeed, but you have to stay the course and persevere. It will be that much sweeter once you do!

 

5—The Importance of Business Meals

Guest post by Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., a cross-cultural consultant, international protocol expert and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide

Business meals are more than just talking shop—they are a way to distinguish your demeanor from the dinner table to the boardroom. You can be the best in your field or tops in your company, but if you mess up the business meal, no one is going to be impressed.  What do you need to know about modern table manners to make a great impression?

Here are seven business dining tips to present yourself in the best manner possible.

 1) Invitations: Remember that the person extending the invitation is the host and is responsible for payment of the bill. When receiving or extending invitations, pay attention to special dietary needs. The host may ask about food allergies or sensitivities, kosher, halal, gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free diets. Be sure to RSVP or reply within 24 hours with any dietary restrictions.

 2) Guest Duties: As a guest, observe the host for cues. For example: place your napkin in your lap after the host; the host does so first to signal the start of the meal. When excusing yourself between courses, the napkin is placed on the chair seat soiled side down. At meal’s end, place your loosely folded napkin on the left of your plate after the host does. Don’t refold it.

 3) Silverware & Service Signals: Once silverware is used, including handles, it doesn’t touch the table again. Rest forks, knives and spoons on the side of your plate. Unused silverware stays on the table. If you are resting between bites, place your fork, with tines up, near the top of your plate. To signal the server that you’re finished, place your fork and knife across the center of the plate at the 5 o’clock position. Service signals also include closing your menu to indicate you’re ready to order. If you are browsing an open menu, the server has the impression you aren’t ready.

 4) What should you order? Ask the person who invited you for suggestions on the menu. Ask them to make suggestions or for their favorite dish. Listen carefully because they will provide a top and bottom price range based on the entrées they recommend. Then select a moderately priced item or one of the dishes they recommend.

 5) To drink or not to drink? If the host orders alcohol, and you don’t wish to drink, you simply order the beverage of your preference without an explanation. “I’ll have an iced tea with lemon please” or “Diet Coke please” and continue to browse the menu. You are under no obligation to consume alcohol at lunch or any other time of the day. Polite dining companions will not comment or ask questions.

 6) Connections & Conversation: It’s the host’s job to keep conversation going during the meal; and guests must contribute with courtesy. Just don’t monopolize the conversation, rather ask questions and express interest. Light topics include books, travel, vacation, movies, and pets; avoid politics, sex and religion. If you need to talk to the server, don’t interrupt the flow of the conversation. Rather catch the eye of the server if you need assistance, or slightly raise your hand.

 7) Tipping: The host is the person who extended the invitation, and they are responsible for paying the bill. Consider these U.S. tipping guidelines: bartender: 10-20 % of bar bill, valet: $2.00-$5.00, coat check: $1.00 per coat, server: 15-20% of bill; 25% extraordinary service, sommelier: 15% of wine bill. The tip should reflect the total price of the bill before coupons, discounts, or gift certificates.

 

6—Seeing Green

If you’re an online retailer you might have overlooked the opportunity St. Patrick’s Day brings you. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers projected to spend $5.3 billion to celebrate the March 17 holiday (an all-time high in the survey’s 13-year history), but 7% of adults also plan to make a St. Patrick’s Day purchase online. While it’s likely too late to take advantage of the advice below, file this away in time to prepare for next year’s holiday.

Joey Blanco, the Content & Social Media Coordinator at ShipStation shares some tips to maximize your online store’s St. Patrick’s Day sales:

Go Green: Of those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a staggering 82% do so by wearing green. Sure, bars and restaurants may take in the most money during this holiday, but the vast majority of their customers will be wearing green clothing that they purchased elsewhere. Make sure you have plenty of green inventory and consider offering discounts or free shipping on green products in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

Pass the Corned Beef: Okay, you’re probably not going to sell corned beef in your online store, but more than 30% of Americans celebrating St. Patrick’s Day plan to do so by cooking a special meal in honor of the occasion. Offering holiday-inspired cookware, plates, napkins, table settings, centerpieces or aprons might help you reach these consumers who might otherwise spend all their cash at the grocery store.

Explore Décor: Nearly 23% of people who celebrate the day will add some type of decoration to their homes or offices. Even those who don’t go all-out with parties, special meals or all-green ensembles, might consider purchasing small holiday-appropriate items. Adding some “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” signage, maps of Ireland and leprechaun imagery to your offerings could give your sales an extra boost.

 

Cool Tools

 

7—Quick Money Lessons

Many people struggle to learn about money and finance. To tackle that challenge Napkin Finance set out to “clarify, simplify and translate every day complex financial decisions.”

Napkin Finance teaches you everything about money in 30 seconds or less—in a visual and easy to understand format—think infographic meets Finance 101. The learning tools they provide are designed to help people of all ages better understand finance.

The idea for Napkin Finance came from CEO Tina Hay’s own struggles with finance courses while getting her MBA at Harvard Business School. A self-professed visual thinker, she found the coursework very challenging and found it much easier to understand concepts in a visual format instead of numbers. Check out the website to see how awesome the “lessons on napkins” are.

napkin

 

8—New POS App

NCR Silver has launched a redesigned tablet-based point-of-sale (POS) application, which offers small businesses quicker access to information and faster transaction times via an optimized user interface and improved customer experience.

NCR Silver Version 4 has been redesigned with speed in mind, eliminating 33 taps from the transaction process. Top features include:

  • Vibrant, Easy-to-Use Interface – Version 4 includes a simplified touch-screen navigation menu, new colors, larger buttons and modernized type font to make the system easier to read.
  • Slide-out Menus – The introduction of a slide-out menu gives customers easier access to the main ticket screen.
  • Reduced Pop-Ups –The removal of many pop-up screens provides business owners with faster access to every function.

You can watch a video of the new version here.

 

9—Protect Your Data

Apricorn, a leading manufacturer of software-free, hardware-encrypted USB drives, recently released the Aegis Secure Key 3z hardware encrypted flash drive and the Aegis Configurator. The Aegis Secure Key 3z is a feature-rich USB drive that includes FIPS-level security while eliminating vulnerabilities found in software-managed systems. It also enables security professionals in the most regulated industries, such as banking, government, education, legal and healthcare, to configure and deploy multiple devices simultaneously with the new Aegis Configurator.

Offering the most advanced data protection, the new Aegis Secure Key 3z flash drive offers top-level security innovation (FIPS 140-2 level 3 validation pending) at lower costs and smaller form factor than available before. Combined with the Aegis Configurator, the Aegis Secure Key 3z flash drive provides a seamless workflow for secure storage rollouts.

The Aegis Configurator is Apricorn’s accompanying Windows-based software package that allows 10 or more compatible Aegis Secure Devices to be set up and configured simultaneously. Beyond being exponentially faster than configuring an Apricorn device by hand, the configurator also introduces a host of new features. Automatic random PIN generation, programmable maximum PIN length, master profile creation and storage, and the ability to reformat and pre-load data onto drives at the time of configuration are just a few of the new tools introduced in the configurator launch.

The Aegis Secure Key 3z is available now in a variety of sizes, including: 8GB ($79), 16GB ($99), 32GB ($129), and 64GB ($159). It is available from most online retailers and on the company website.

 

 

 

The post Avoiding a Cash Flow Crisis, How to Work with Remote Sales Reps, Finance 101 on a Napkin and More Things Small Business Owners Need to Know appeared first on Small Biz Daily.

March 15, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2msUg1V

Ask a Resume Writer: How Do I Showcase Transferable Skills?

“I’m looking to make a career change, and keep hearing about transferable skills. Do they matter, and how can I showcase them on my resume?”

Ask any business executive about transferable skills, and they’ll tell you the same thing: not only are they important when making a career change, but essential to getting ahead. Once you reach a certain level, your hard-line training and education take a backseat to things like:

  • Managing Change. Entire industries are being disrupted like never before. Can you navigate these waters successfully?
  • Communication. Can you build relationships, manage conflict, and influence varied audiences?
  • Leadership. Can you coalesce people around a vision for the future?
  • “Just in Time” Learning. Are you skilled at rapidly gathering ONLY the information necessary to execute quickly?
  • Complex Problem Solving. Can you find the opportunity in adversity?

So now let’s break down how to communicate skills like this on your resume:

1. Identify the Key Transferable Skills You Need to Highlight

Use a resource like O*Net to quickly look up your targeted position and get a breakdown of essential transferable skills.

Now spend some time thoroughly assessing the transferable skills you currently possess. In most cases, you’ll have at least 50% of those required by your targeted position.

Ask yourself: What are all the skills I need to do my current job? Write them out.

Now review your list and circle those skills which correlate with your targeted position.

Finally, underline those circled skills which can be proven on your resume. These are the ones you need to focus on.

2. Show, Don’t Tell in Accomplishments

The CAR technique is a great way to to break down transferable skills into accomplishments that really sing on resumes. You must tie down transferable skills with accomplishments, or else it’ll just feel like fluff.

For each highlighted skill, ask yourself:

Challenge. What big challenges did you face in this area? Think entire career, not just your current job.

Actions: What specific actions did you take to overcome them?

Results: What was the impact of your work?

Here are some examples of CAR-based transferable skills accomplishments:

-Managing Change: Mitigated the effects of a $42M revenue shortfall as a result of new policy affecting direct marketing efforts. Led multi-pronged digital marketing campaign which cut a $42M loss into a $5M loss in 8 months.

-Leadership:  Transformed staff retention rates through ground-development of a “Career Pathways” program, initially rolled out across Sales & Marketing prior to company-wide adoption.

3. Utilize a Resume Structure that Plays To Your Strengths

The bigger the career change you’re attempting to make, the MORE important a role transferable skills will play.

If you’re looking to make a more-or-less linear shift upwards, say from Senior Marketing Manager to Marketing Director, then a Chronological Resume Format will be your best best. Here’s its structure:

CHRONOLOGICAL RESUME FORMAT:

Opening Section

Highlight 3-4 key attributes that directly address the pain points of employers.

Keyword Section

Keep this very industry-centric. A Marketing Director would have terms like Brand Management, E-commerce, Social Media, Web Analytics, Direct Marketing, and others here.

Professional Experience Section.

Jobs here are listed most recent to least. For each relevant position, start with a “Scope Statement” that highlights the bottom-line impact you had, then back it up with concrete, bulleted accomplishments.

Education & Closing Sections

Pay special attention here to any advanced training you took in your field, relevant volunteer work, anything else to further establish credibility as a leader in your “niche”.

If you’re looking to transition back to a career path you were previously on, then a Selective Resume Format will probably be the most effective.

SELECTIVE RESUME FORMAT:

Opening Section & Keyword Section

Both of these sections should be tightly focused on what you want, not what you’ve been doing recently. For example, if you’re looking to get back into a high-level Process Improvement role, but have spent the past few years teaching, then what you’re highlighting here is 100% about what you can do on the Process Improvement front. Collect and utilize relevant job postings to help focus your efforts here.

Professional Experience Section

Use the “Scope Statement” and accomplishments approach for only those positions that are directly aligned with your job target. Everything else can be consolidated into bulleted sections (ex. Professional Experience 2008-2014).

Education & Closing Sections

Start by highlighting job target-relevant details here.

Finally, if you’re looking to move into a position that you have little-to-no experience in, then a Skills-Based Resume might be the best option.

SKILLS-BASED RESUME FORMAT:

Summary of Skills Section

This is designed to showcase key skills, and cherry-pick accomplishments throughout your career to support them. Here’s an example:

MARKETING:

  • Developed 5K subscriber email list for XYX College newsletter, significantly impacting turnout for Alumni events.
  • Supported social media advertising efforts on ad hoc basis for [company name], including strategy sessions with Marketing team and regular tracking and analysis of performance.  

Professional Experience Section

Simply list job title, company name, dates and location for each position.

Education & Closing Sections

Think about value-adds here. If you’ve done anything that supports your current target in a volunteer capacity, now is the time to provide some details about it!

in line banner jobs

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March 15, 2017 at 09:36AM
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25 Reddit Life Pro Tips That’ll Help You Hack Your Career

Oh, Reddit. We can always count on you to provide us with crowdsourced wisdom. Whether it’s instructions on how to fix a leaky sink, get six-pack abs or even solve a Rubik’s cube, there’s no shortage of valuable nuggets of information from people who have been there and done that. And naturally, that includes career advice too. But with such a deluge of knowledge available, who has the time to sort through what’s useful and what’s not?

Luckily for you, we’ve done the legwork this time. Below are a collection of some of the best career pointers from Reddit’s r/lifeprotips forum as they relate to the job search, new jobs, communication, and more. Read on, and prepare to hack your way to greatness.

Job Search Tips

1. “If you’re unemployed or underemployed, start volunteering.”

Of course, you’ll want to still engage in all the regular job seeking activities — filling out applications, scheduling informational interviews, etc. — but volunteering can be a great way to expand and tap your network for new opportunities. As the original poster of this tip says, “I joined my local Firehouse two years ago and have met hundreds of people through the firehouse itself, trainings, social events and they all want to look out for one another and help. I have a job, but I’ve seen many many people get an ‘in’ for jobs that they may not have had [otherwise]!”

2. “Write ‘Negotiable’ for Salary Desired in Job Application.”

At this early of a stage in the application process, you need to be careful about what you share around salary expectations. You certainly don’t want to price yourself out of a job opportunity, but you don’t want to sell yourself short either. Putting “negotiable” right in the application lets a recruiter know that you’ll be willing to work with them to find a salary that works for both of you.

3. “Before submitting a cover letter, do a search for the word ‘can’ and change it to ‘will’.

This may seem like a minuscule change, but according to this tip’s original poster, this simple trick “will help employers already start picturing you as an employee while they are reading it… it prompts your potential employer [to] picture you as a member of the company instead of thinking about what you might be able to do.”

New Job Tips

4. “When you start a new job, ask for a copy of your future performance review sheet.”

Everyone wants to make a good impression when they start out at a new company. What better way to do that than going off of the criteria you’ll be eventually judged against anyway? Bonus: “after some time has passed, and you’ve acquired new job responsibilities, you can show your supervisor your job description and then provide a list of your additional tasks in order to negotiate a raise,” says the original poster.

5. “If you’re just starting a new job, know that the first week or so will be an emotional roller coaster. But trust that it will all get better soon when things settle in.”

The new job jitters can hit hard, but don’t mistake that for meaning you made a mistake leaving your old company (or that you’ll never be happy at your new one). Give it at least a few months before you make your mind as to how you feel about a newer position.

6. “When you start a new job make sure to keep the job description. That way you can easily update your [resume] or LinkedIn with the new job at a later date.”

Even if you’re in love with your new job, you never know when a great new opportunity will come up, so hold onto those job descriptions. You won’t want to copy it verbatim — besides being poor form, it’ll likely fail to cover the extent of what you’ve accomplished — but an original job description can serve as a great reference to make sure that you’re highlighting all the key responsibilities of your position to potential employers.

Communication Tips

7. “When making an argument, a single strong point is better than one strong point and multiple weak points. Weak points become targets and weaken your entire position.”

It can be tempting to throw everything you’ve got at the wall to see what sticks, but this is actually a counterproductive move. Keep this in mind whether you’re trying to make the case for a particular business decision, asking for a promotion, or any other instance in which you have to convince a colleague to see things your way.

8. “A real, effective apology has three parts: (1) Acknowledge how your action affected the person; (2) say you’re sorry; (3) describe what you’re going to do to make it right or make sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t excuse or explain.”

There’s no way around it — everyone messes up at work at some point. But if you have an effective damage control strategy, you don’t need to sweat it too much. Just keep this apology format on hand to help things return to normal as soon as possible if and when you eventually need it.

9. “When overloaded at work, ask your boss to help you prioritize your tasks, even if you already know what the priorities are.”

“Telling your boss you are overloaded can bring with it negative connotations such as: you are bad at prioritizing, bad at time management, or just slow,” says the original poster of this piece of advice. “A more tactful way is to… [create] a list of all your major tasks and prioritize them. Then go to your manager and ask them to verify the priorities as you have outlined… This lets them see on paper that you have a lot on your plate. This also lets them know you are thinking ahead and that you are practicing prioritization skills.”

10. “When busy, thank customers for their patience, instead of apologizing for the delay.”

Sorry is a word that we tend to rely on entirely too often. Flipping the script like this helps stop the epidemic of over-apologizing and serves as a nice compliment to whomever you’re talking to — now that’s a win-win.

11. “Write every email as if they will get forwarded on to the CEO.

It’s easy to fire off a one-sentence email without thinking much about spelling, grammar, tone, or even content, but while it may be a timesaver, it can come back to haunt you. Taking a couple of minutes to review what you’ve said and how you’ve said it can not only prevent an email snafu — it can also improve your standing in the eyes of your colleagues.

12. “Use the phrase ‘My understanding was…’ instead of ‘I assumed…’”

“Telling your supervisor you ‘assumed’ something typically results in a reprimand,” says this tip’s original poster. On the other hand, “saying ‘My understanding was…’ will instead be attributed to a miscommunication or a lack of clarity in their original instructions.”

13. “I find the best way to communicate ‘how’ to do something is to explain *why* it’s done like that. The inclusion of ‘why’ creates a mental framework to understand what someone is doing rather than just correctly following steps.

How-tos can be a bit overwhelming. With so much information to distil into a short amount of time, the person you’re teaching often feels pressured to memorize everything you’re saying. But much more important than rote memorization is processing and understanding the task as a whole — and when you provide a ‘why,’ you allow this to happen much more naturally than if you were to just recite the process step by step.

14. “When you are writing a professional email, leave the To: field blank until you have checked it over and are completely ready to send.

Want a sure-fire way to guarantee that email mishaps are a thing of the past? Wait to fill out who you’ll be sending the email to until you’re *certain* that the body of the email is in tip-top shape.

15. “When telling a boss about a problem, propose at least one solution to resolve it. It will show that you are working to resolve it instead of just passing the buck.

Ever afraid that you ask too many questions? This is the perfect solution for you — it allows you to gut-check your response with your manager while still coming off as the thoughtful, proactive rockstar that you are.

Productivity Tips

16. “If you’re already having a terrible day, do as many things that you’ve been dreading that you can.

“At a certain level of bad day, you’re unlikely to feel much worse,” says the original poster of this comment. “After you complete your tasks, you’ll feel better, or you’ll at least keep those things from ruining another day.”

17. “When writing a thesis or a scientific paper, don’t end your day with a completed section. Write at least one or two sentences into the next topic to make it easier for your future self to continue writing the next day.

Don’t let the terms “thesis” and “scientific paper” throw you off — this piece of advice isn’t just for college students. If you’re working on a deck, brief or even substantive email that you can’t finish all in one sitting, writing a little bit extra beyond a clean break can help you organize your thoughts and jump right back into it whenever you’re ready.

18. “Follow the 2-minute rule. If it only takes 2 minutes to do, just do it.

Few feelings are worse than heading home from the office and realizing you forgot to complete a bunch of small, easy tasks. Get these quick but urgent to-dos out of the way as soon as you possibly can to avoid having them pile up or worse, get forgotten. As a perk, crossing these off your list can give you just the feeling of accomplishment that you need to ride a wave of productivity.

19. “Dress well even for the small things- If you look good, you’ll feel good. Feel good, you’ll do well. Do well, you’ll succeed.

The confidence that comes with looking your best gives you a serious advantage towards whatever you’re trying to accomplish — so when faced with an important task, do as Barney from How I Met Your Mother so often says, and “Suit up!”

20. “When you go back to work after having a good amount of time off ([maternity] leave, vacation, surgery, etc) don’t ever go back on a Monday, instead start back up on a Wednesday or Thursday.

Coming back from a long break is a big transition — make it easier on yourself by starting with a shorter workweek. Jumping into the middle of the week also means that you likely won’t be expected to complete as many end-of-week deadlines, which can help you gradually ramp up to your normal workload.

Miscellaneous Tips

21. “Running late to work in the morning? Stop and grab donuts. Then you’re not the guy who’s running late, you’re the guy who grabbed everyone breakfast.

Don’t make a habit of it, but honestly… who can be mad at the guy or gal that brings in donuts?

22. “Don’t recommend a friend for a job unless you’ve seen them work or you are willing to risk both relationships. A good friend isn’t always a good worker.

It may be tempting to go after that referral bonus, but, as the original poster of this tip points out, “Someone who is a good friend doesn’t necessarily translate to someone who has a strong work ethic. Recommending them only for them to mess up reflects badly on you and could ruin the friendship and your relationship with the employer.”

23. “When trying to solve a computer error code by doing a google search, include the word ‘solved’ in your search.

Get on IT’s good side by solving your problems for yourself whenever possible. That way, when you really do need them, they won’t think you’re just crying wolf.

24. “If you’re a manager at work, keep some ‘get well soon’ and ‘congratulations’ cards in your desk for your team to sign. Opportunity will arise.

“After four and a half years of management I have 14 people on my team, and it’s astonishing how often someone goes on medical leave or has a baby,” says the original poster. Stockpiling cards at the office like this is a great way to ensure that you don’t forget to buy them at the last minute when they’re truly needed. Trust us — your employees will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

25. “Treat your own time off work as if it was your second job and you are the project. Invest in [yourself] by doing things to learn new skills, give you a sense of accomplishment, and make you happy. You work hard for someone else’s business; work just as hard to make your happiness your business.

Work is a big part of your life, but it’s not the only part of your life. To truly be fulfilled, you need to make the best of the two-thirds of the time you don’t spend at the office. Vegging out on the couch and binge-watching Netflix has its time and place, but don’t forget to balance that with meaningful and enriching activities.

Also on Glassdoor:

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March 15, 2017 at 09:24AM
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3 Negotiation Traps Every Employee Needs to Watch Out For

Several years ago I was asked to run a negotiation workshop for the sales staff of a major magazine publisher. It was—and is—a much-admired company, so I welcomed the chance to get an inside look at how it operates.

I met in advance with senior management to learn what’s negotiable when they sell their advertising pages and how they judge success. One guy sketched what he described as a typical deal, but the woman sitting next to him said, “That’s crazy. I’d never approve those terms.” The two of them went back and forth about where the company should draw the line between saying yes or no to a deal.

Trap #1: Negotiating without a license.

I got into the exchange. “I think we’ve surfaced a problem here,” I said. “No matter how skillful your sales people are, how can they succeed if they don’t know whether a deal made will get them a pat on the back or kick somewhere else?”

I see other versions of the same dynamic time and time again. Upper management lacks consensus about goals and objectives. Their negotiators in the field have to guess at their peril about what’s acceptable and what isn’t. That’s risky for them and bad for their companies. In any negotiation, the old adage applies: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

Before you negotiate—whether with a client, customer, or vendor—confirming the scope of your authority with your own manager is imperative. The license that you’re granted must:

  • Identify what you’re aiming for, both short and long term;
  • Allow enough creativity to let you craft agreements that meet the legitimate needs of your counterparts;
  • Set your walk-away. (Not everything is negotiable. Coming home empty-handed sometimes will be the best possible outcome.)

You have to nail down all these points. If you don’t, you set yourself up for criticism and second-guessing.

Solid preparation is only part of the story, though. After the negotiation is done, learning the right lessons from your experience is a great way to improve your performance. Doing after-action reviews requires discipline and honest self-reflection, but it’s standard practice in the military and, increasingly, in medical teams.

It’s also a cornerstone of the Negotiation Mastery course that I’ve created for Harvard Business School’s digital learning platform, HBX.

Trap #2: Squandering the chance to sharpen your skills.

In a nutshell, all it requires is doing a before and after comparison of your strategy—identifying what worked well and what, in hindsight, you’d now do differently. If you’re diligent, you’ll soon develop a repertoire of best practices to draw on for future negotiations. A simple journal will suffice. (I’ve also developed an app—Negotiation 360—that provides a structure for self-assessment and learning on Apple and Android devices.)

It’s bad enough to waste this opportunity when you’re negotiating on your own. It’s even worse when companies overlook the chance to collect and share the best practices of all their negotiators.

There’s a third kind of trap that is especially costly in an organizational setting. It’s illustrated by a scenario I present to my on-campus and online students. I’ll pose it to you here.

Imagine that you’ve been negotiating the sale of some property owned by your company. When the buyer made an attractive offer, you orally accepted. Your boss is pleased with the terms you reached, but wants you to back and tell the buyer they have to sweeten the deal a bit “to get buy-in back at the office.”

Which of the three following options is closest to what you would do?

A. Do exactly as he says. It’s a familiar bargaining tactic, after all.
B. Ask the buyer if they can sweeten the price, though make it clear your request isn’t a deal breaker.
C. Tell your boss that you’ve already given your word to the buyer and you’re uncomfortable going back on it.

Trap #3: Betraying your values.

This scenario always sparks a lively discussion. Most people—though not everyone—favor Option C, telling the boss that as a matter of personal integrity, they don’t want to play the good-cop/bad-cop game. That’s easy to say, of course, when the question is only hypothetical. In actual practice, standing up to your boss may be harder. He or she might say, “So, are you working for us, or are you working for them?”

Nevertheless, every time we negotiate, whether for ourselves or on behalf of others, we should consider what—if anything—we owe others in regard to fairness, honesty, and the use of pressure tactics. Reasonable people can debate what principles apply and whether they vary case to case.

Sometimes the choice may be hard—as in this scenario, when the desire to be fair to others must be weighed against the responsibility to serve the interests of those who employ you. Such decisions shouldn’t be made on the fly. They need to be worked through in advance, especially when you’re representing somebody else.

Your boss needs and deserves to know your own moral compass, specifically, what you are and are not willing to do for the company. Having such a conversation may not be easy, but it’s far better to have discussions over general principles, than to deal with them piecemeal. If you take the latter route, over time you risk compromising your values.

 

Michael Wheeler has taught Negotiation in Harvard Business School’s MBA program since 1993. He also teaches in a wide variety of on-campus executive courses, including Strategic Negotiation.

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March 15, 2017 at 09:24AM
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Why You Should Hire an Energy Consultant for Your Business This Year

By Beth Williams

It is an easy thing to forget about your utilities or put them to one side when you are busy trying to run a successful business and manage all of your employees amongst other things, you just might not have the time personally to deal with the all of the different suppliers and the extensive range of deals and types of contracts they offer. Your utilities are very important and shouldn’t be forgotten about or put on the backburner though, in a moment you might think it is just easier to go with any supplier as long as you get your water and energy to run your business. But when your monthly or quarterly utility bills come through the door you might look back at your bills at the heart-wrenching amount that you have to pay and regret not shopping around and searching for a better deal.

If you don’t have to time to manage your business’s energy yourself, and don’t have the resources to train one of your existing employees manage it either as you can’t finance an in house consultant, then you should consider hiring an expert consultant to take all of that work off your hands. If you have never hired a third party to act on your behalf as your energy consultant before it can seem as much of a minefield as choosing energy suppliers, rates, and tariffs, but it really isn’t. Here are a few things you should look out for to ensure that the consultants that you are considering are reputable.

  • Whether they have relationships with and offer contracts with a wide range of different suppliers. If they don’t have a partnership with only one or two different suppliers it means that they will be able to offer you 100% impartial advice on all rates and tariffs from lots of different suppliers because they aren’t loyal to any one company and aren’t working on commission.
  • An up to date website with lots of positive testimonials from a range of different industries is essential to ensure that they are not only professional because they update their website, but that they are trustworthy and are known for doing a good job. You can even ask them if you are able to speak to any of their current clients to get a reference of their work from a genuine client.
  • Make sure they don’t try to offer you any instant prices, and before they even send you any quotes they should do a full check on all of your previous energy and water consumption so they can find a tariff and price that is perfect for and suits your business’s energy needs.
  • They should allow you to request to receive any quotes in writing if they haven’t already done so, and they should also request a letter of authority to act as your consultant when dealing and negotiating with all of the different suppliers.

 

Benefits and How They Can Save You Money

The difference between a consultant and a broker in the energy industry is that one works for commission from suppliers that they work with and one doesn’t, and the consultants are those who don’t. As consultants are not being swayed and biased by their monetary satisfaction from brokering deals with suppliers they are there to offer you completely impartial and independent advice unlike the brokers, both in the first instance when you initial contact them regarding your business energy and ongoing if you decide to hire them as your consultant long term.

Every energy consultant is there to make sure you get the best deal and are on the right tariff for your energy requirements, but they are also there to give advice on your consumption, so they regularly analyse your energy and water usage. This analysis allows you to review and take a look at your current energy demands to understand if you can make any cutbacks in certain areas to reduce your utility spend. An energy consultant should also be able to show you a comparison of your utilities against other similar businesses, similarly to your consumption analysis this comparison can help you to see what you can do to reduce the amount of energy that you use to help not only your pocket but the environment too.

In addition to dealing with suppliers and advising you on your energy consumption and energy consultant also makes sure you stay compliant with all of the necessary industry regulations too. They make it so that you don’t have to stay up to date with all of the many, constantly changing and updating legislation and standards that to you may seem confusing, after all they are the experts, have a great understanding of the industry, and bring their comprehensive expertise to the table to manage everything related to your utilities effectively and efficiently. It is their priority to make sure that your business is adhering to all industry rules so that you don’t get caught out and have to suffer any fines.

They also take care of other little things that you might not have thought of, for example, they make sure that you are paying the correct amount each month as they constantly monitor your agreed rate against the utility bills that you receive. They will check your actual meter readings and usage against what the supplier says you are using and ensure that you’re being charged the correct rate.

Beth Williams is a freelance marketing manager and is currently working with CUB, an Energy Consultancy Company based in the UK that provide a range of energy services to B2B clients including water audit services and advice on renewables and smart metering.

The post Why You Should Hire an Energy Consultant for Your Business This Year appeared first on Small Biz Daily.

March 15, 2017 at 09:30AM
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How To Bounce Back From A Stupid Email Mistake

Everyone’s done it: hit “reply all” when they meant to just hit “reply,” sent a snarky email to someone other than the trusted colleague it was meant for, or attached the wrong file—a confidential one—to an email going outside the organization. In a world where interoffice communication is instantaneous, it’s incredibly easy to make an error when you’re tired, overwhelmed, or unfocused. We’re only human, after all. Because of the sheer volume of emails most people send, it’s nearly inevitable that you’ll have a snafu at some point. The difference between an incident that blows over in 24 hours versus a drawn-out saga? How you handle it. Here’s everything you need to know about how to handle an email emergency, no matter the situation.

If it was a minor mistake:
Not all email mistakes require action, according to Marla Harr, a former HR professional who is now a business etiquette consultant. “If the reply doesn’t contain anything confidential or inappropriate, I would just let it go,” she says. “The last thing people need is another email in their inbox.” Most people don’t even read all of their emails, so if you accidentally cc’d someone on a totally innocuous message, made a spelling error, or did something similarly harmless, don’t sweat it.

If you feel like you need to say something even though the infraction was minor, Harr says you should keep it short and sweet. “If it was just a normal email responding to general business, for example, such as an update on a project or asking a question, I’d suggest you email the person and let them know you added their email address by mistake and to please disregard the email,” she says. This is a considerate way of letting an unintended recipient know that you caught your mistake and will make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

If it was something major:
So, let’s say you said something unkind about a coworker, sent the sales contract for another company to a competing organization, or mistakenly shared something way personal with the wrong person. Harr’s biggest advice in these more serious situations is to fess up as soon as you realize what you did. Why? Because management hates being blindsided. “I would recommend notifying your supervisor immediately to get support and understanding of how serious the mistake could be. If damage control is needed you want to start that as soon as possible,” she notes. Considering how quickly emails can make the rounds, it’s a good idea to take action as soon as possible.

If you get an email you weren’t supposed to receive:
In this situation, it can be tough to know whether you should acknowledge it or not. The best course of action? “Reply and let them know you received the email and ask them politely to delete your address from further streams,” says Harr. If the email contains sensitive information, the procedure is the same, but Harr recommends adding that you’ve deleted the message since it’s “confidential” or “private.” “Using these words lets them know you will not share the content,” she says.

Lastly, Harr emphasizes that you shouldn’t be afraid to say you’re sorry when you’re the one who made the mistake. In fact, that’s probably the most important thing you can do. “When you apologize, you acknowledge that you did something wrong and then work at repairing the damage,” she suggests. And don’t just shoot off a random grouping of words hoping that they’ll have the intended effect. “Apologies should be thoughtfully conceived, clearly stated, and genuine,” she says. Though an apology via phone call is ideal, she adds that if you’re going to do it via email, one to two sentences is a good length. Your message should convey a concise explanation of what you did that was wrong, that you understand the repercussions of your actions, and that you’re not making excuses. It might be slightly painful to go through this process, but the silver lining is that fessing up will probably make you double and even triple check your emails before hitting “send” in the future.

 

Also on Glassdoor:

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March 15, 2017 at 08:54AM
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10 Best Ruth Bader Ginsberg Quotes of All Time

Today should be a national holiday: It’s Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s birthday! She turns 84 years fabulous today and has been on the Supreme Court for nearly 24 years. She became the second female Supreme Court Justice (after Sandra Day O’Connor) when she was appointed in 1993 by then-president Bill Clinton. The Brooklyn-born justice has become an icon and champion for women’s rights, civil rights and was instrumental in Obergefell v. Hodges that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. She’s affectionately known as the Notorious RBG and on her big day, we thought it would only be appropriate to look back at some of her best one-liners and memes.

 

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March 15, 2017 at 08:29AM
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Landing Page Design With High Conversions: Tricks of the Trade

 

By Jared Carrizales

As you set out to market your products, you know that you need a landing page to promote your item and create conversions. Generating conversions is often a challenge because it’s easy to create the “perfect” landing page and then get no results. If you do an online search for “landing page designs,” you are going to find hundreds of examples and solutions. The process can no doubt be overwhelming and confusing. Here are some tricks for creating landing pages with high conversions.

1. Get to Know Your Audience

Who are you reaching out to with your landing page? It’s vital that you pin this down before you create a landing page. Your particular niche should reach out to a specific group of potential clients interested in the products and services that you provide. Remember that your job is to help solve your customer’s problems, whether through a piece of clothing, type of food, lifestyle, or service.

Through your landing page, you can communicate the solution to your unique audience in the most efficient manner. Learn about your audience by joining social media groups and forums where they congregate.

2. This Design Element is Key

You may be relieved to know that there is not a “perfect” landing page template or layout, or one that is guaranteed to give you the conversions you want and need. However, some areas apply to most any niche or industry. The color of your page will affect the emotions and unconscious thoughts of your visitors.

Google design uses vibrant colors to reel in page visitors.

By doing a simple study of the psychology of color, you can get a better idea of what you want to convey on your page. The page should not be too busy, as no one has the time or cares enough to try to understand your message. Instead, it should be simple, straightforward, and leave no doubt as to what you are offering.

3. Keep Your Page Simple & Focused

It’s possible that you offer many different types of services and products. However, on your one landing page, you don’t want to try to sell all of it. Each landing page should focus on a particular product or service and should speak to a specific audience.

If you want to use pre-designed pages, use trusted, responsive website themes. If you’re running an online store, Shopify has excellent eCommerce themes that are ready for your content. If WordPress is your content management system of choice, use only customizable themes – you want to maintain full control.

4. Congruence is Vital

It is most likely that someone came to your landing page from a link on an advertisement or blog post. Every part of your campaign should line up in the colors, design, and content. This uniformity of message facilitates trust for potential clients because they see the same message portrayed across various platforms. Eliminate any elements that don’t align with the overall goal of the landing page as it could distract visitors from the main message.

5. Headline Writing Fundamentals

When someone goes to your landing page, the first thing he or she will read is the headline. Target audiences need to connect emotionally with your headline, and you establish that connection by addressing a problem they are facing and explaining how you can provide the solution. Your headline needs to be detailed enough to be convincing but as short and straightforward as possible.

If you need help with headlines, use tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and AMI’s Emotional Value Analyzer to help you determine potential success of your headline. If it’s not looking like you’re going to be successful with the headline you’ve chosen, let these tools guide you to improve it.

6. Consider This When Creating Lead Magnets

Choose from a variety of valuable assets that you can offer your target audience. EBooks, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, white papers, and infographics are advantageous for your potential clients and will improve their user experience. Research to discover what would be best for your target audience and offer that to them free of charge.

7. Simple Page Elements That Build Trust

Building trust is a vital part of a campaign. It can be difficult to do this on one landing page, but there are some elements that you can use. Here are some ideas:

  • Client testimonials
  • Awards
  • Company logos
  • Trust seals
  • Social media buttons

8. This is How to Use Calls to Action

It’s vital to have a Call to Action (CTA) button on your landing page that is easy to see. The color must stand out, and the words should align with the rest of your copy. Through your CTA and button, you are asking the visitor to take action. The content should be simple, easy to understand, and bold for visitors who land on this page.

There are a lot of actions you can take on Stumbleupon.com. The designers here make it easy for visitors to know what to do next. Their CTAs are basically explained. You don’t have to create such intensive guidance with your website. Do reflect on this to understand how clear website visitors expect your instruction to be.

9. Learn Search Engine Optimization Basics

Optimize your landing page so that Google and other search engines can find it. Your headline text should use the H1 tag, and your subtitles should be H2s or H3s. Google identifies these as reliable indicators of the content of your page. The harder you work on SEO on the backend, the less money you will need to pay for advertising and campaign costs.

10. Enhance Pages Continually Through Trial & Error

As you work through the layout and content of your landing pages, you might want to consider A/B testing. A/B testing will show you what parts of your pages are working and what elements are failing. With your page variations, you can try various CTAs, content, color, design, images, and more. While testing takes time, it provides you with invaluable insights that come in handy as you move forward with future landing pages.

There is no magic formula for creating landing pages that convert. The single most important items are: 1) keep it simple, 2) keep your message clear, 3) research your target audience, 4) trial and error. Creating landing pages is a skill that can be learned, and once you master it, you’ll find yourself with more conversions than you can handle.

Jared Carrizales is the lead of marketing at Heroic Search – a marketing agency based in Dallas and Tulsa.

The post Landing Page Design With High Conversions: Tricks of the Trade appeared first on Small Biz Daily.

March 15, 2017 at 08:00AM
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Less is More: Guide To Becoming a Minimalist

Are you looking to become a minimalist and start minimal living? This blog post will help you manage a minimalist wardrobe, a minimalist house, and more!Are you interested in becoming a minimalist? Or, maybe you just want to get rid of some clutter and extra nonsense in your life?

Whatever your reason may be, cutting back on the number of things you own can help you in many ways.

Here are some interesting facts about how clutter impacts our lives:

  • The average house has 300,000 items.
  • Nearly 10% of households also rent a self-storage unit.
  • The average person spends 12 days per year looking for things they can’t find.
  • Every day the average office worker spends 1.5 hours looking for things.
  • In a recent survey, 55% of consumers stated they would save anywhere from 16 to 60 minutes a day if they were organized.
  • 23% of people pay bills late and have to pay late fees because they are unable to find their bills.
  • In the last few decades, the average home has nearly tripled in size.

If you’re looking for blog posts on how to become a minimalist, then you’ve come to the right place.

The blog posts in this guide will help you to start living a minimalist life, teach you how to declutter, have a minimalist home, maintain a minimalist wardrobe, and have minimalist finances. Enjoy!

Here is how to live a minimalist life:

 

How to start minimal living.

The average person has a lot of extra stuff in their life. Too many clothes, electronics that have been tossed to the side, useless furniture, books and papers you’re never going to read again, and more.

Why not get rid of some of this extra stuff?

Whether you’re looking to make extra cash, save more money, or if your primary objective is to declutter your home, there are many items around your house that you can probably get rid of.

Here are a few posts to get you started with your minimalist life.

 

How to have a minimalist house.

The average home size in 1950 was less than 1,000 square feet. Fast forward to 2013, the average home size has increased to nearly 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are many benefits to downsizing your home. You can possibly save more money, have less clutter, spend less time on maintenance, and more.

If you’re interested in downsizing your home and/or becoming a minimalist, I recommend reading the blog posts below.

 

How to have a minimalist wardrobe.

Clutter sucks, that’s for sure. Clutter can cause you to lose things, it can cost you money, and more. Plus, clutter always seems to get in the way.

A lot of the time, clutter comes from having too many clothing items. The average person has way too many clothes, and this can hold you back. You may spend too much money on clothing or maybe you just spend too much of your time thinking about clothes. Here’s something to think about, the average successful person has a minimal amount of clothing.

 

How to have minimalist finances.

Between managing retirement, paying bills, handling credit cards, saving for things in life you want, and more, managing your financial life can be difficult.

Due to this, I am often looking for ways to make managing my financial life easier, because there are times when handling everything can seem so hectic and stressful.

Making everything simpler and easier means that I can have more time to spend on other areas of my life, while worrying less about what I may be forgetting.

Related tip: I recommend that you check out Personal Capital (a free service) if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital is very similar to Mint.com, but 100 times better, as it allows you to gain control of your investment and retirement accounts, whereas Mint.com does not. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation, your cash flow, detailed graphs, and more. You can also connect accounts, such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more.  Plus, it’s FREE.

 

How to be a minimalist and live in an RV or tiny home.

Have you ever thought about living in an RV? If not, you should!

I didn’t really start my minimalist lifestyle until I started traveling full-time. If you want to travel full-time, becoming a minimalist is pretty much a given!

Check out these blog posts to learn how to become an RVer and a minimalist.

Are you interested in being a minimalist and minimal living? Please share the URLs to your favorite minimalist articles in the comments below!

 

The post Less is More: Guide To Becoming a Minimalist appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.


March 15, 2017 at 04:30AM
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Debt Ceiling

The maximum amount of monies the United States can borrow. The debt ceiling was created under the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917, putting a “ceiling” on the amount of bonds the United States can issue. As of the end of July, 2011 the debt ceiling was set at $14.3 trillion.
March 15, 2017
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