Monthly Archives: November 2016

Manage Your Business with Teamwork Projects

It’s not without reason that Teamwork Projects was voted one of the best project management services around. In a sea full of solutions promising to take the pain out of multi-member collaborations, Teamwork Projects stands out, first and foremost, for its simplicity.

Especially relevant to small businesses, Teamwork Projects employs an intuitive and easy to use interface particularly suited for smaller teams.

The following tools highlight the practical power of the platform.

A Look at Teamwork Projects

Gantt Charts

At it’s core, Teamwork Projects is designed to make your project, whatever it may be, easier to manage. Whether the project is the day-to-day operations of your small business or a specific client-based job.

Teamwork Project’s Gantt charts provide a color-coded snapshot that’s marked according to your timeline and chosen parameters.

Assigning or adding new tasks, updating progress and making changes are done with a drag and drop format.

One of the many convenient shortcuts, a simple hit of the “G” on your keyboard, will pull up your chart — giving you quick access to the flow of your project.

The “Help” icon at the top of your chart provides tutorials and answers frequently asked questions — encouraging you to take advantage of Teamwork Project’s features.

Probably most helpful, every team member and collaborative partner involved has real-time access to the project, keeping everyone on the same page. The seamless connectivity means that access across all devices and every browser is not a problem.

Connectivity

Your project Gantt chart and Teamwork Projects as a whole operate on the cloud and are accessible anywhere — anytime.

Teamwork Projects also integrates with a long list of tools that your team is probably already using. The app allows you to have one interface, making them all easy to use and organize.

Tagging

Team members, responsibilities, files and messages can all be tagged. Hover over anything, click the tag icon and instantly it’s labeled with your chosen color and action.

This easy to use feature ensures that everyone can easily stay informed. Tag titles include: approved, denied, invoiced, review and pending — as well as custom tags that you can name yourself.

With the help of charts and tags, everyone involved remains connected and up to date.

Status Updates

Real time status on everyone involved, increases productivity and keeps the project moving forward.

The chat-stream type flow can also double as a communication tool for those working from different locations. Check-ins and status updates are sent to every intended recipient, with privacy and permission options to omit the ones that aren’t.

Knowing the Weather Forecast

Your small business is connected to the weather whether you work online or in a brick and mortar location. Knowing what’s going on outside affects everything from sales to marketing and of course profits.

Understanding that relationship is just as important as ordering stock and deciding which social media platform best suits your marketing purposes. Here are 10 ways knowing the weather forecast can boost your small business profits.

How Weather Affects Businesses, and What You Can Do About It

Understanding Your  Buyer’s Mood

AccuWeather, a leader in global weather information, and Spotify, a music streaming service, understand this well. They’ve collaborated on a new site called Climatune. The site analyzes the effect weather has on the music people like.

Mark Ebel is Vice President of Business Services for AccuWeather. He knows the implications for small business well.

“ You need to understand how weather affects the moods of your specific customers,” he says adding sunshine, clouds or even severe storms can affect the number of patrons you get on any given day.

Matching Your Labor Needs

Knowing what you can expect as far as the weather goes can also help you decide on the size of the workforce you’ll need during any weather event.

“You can ask yourself questions like how a fast approaching storm can influence your breakfast business if you own a small restaurant and how many people you need to have in,” Ebel says.

Juggling Your Inventory

“Hyper local accuracy is what you’re looking for,” says Ebel noting forecasts can be pinpointed for every location on Earth. Being able to predict when a bout of unseasonably warm air will pass through can be a great help.

“If you own a ski lodge, it can help you order the right number of hamburger buns for a weekend.”

Running Promotions

Running Facebook ads? You need to know when your target market is most likely to be online to see them.  Ebel uses a spring time example to highlight how the weather is important to getting  promotions right.

“The temperature has to be warm and the ground can’t be frozen to sell fertilizer in the United States. Small business owners can use the forecast information to decide which areas to run marketing programs in.”

Making Quick Decisions

The weather facing today’s small business can be unpredictable. The predictive analytics offered by AccuWeather is indispensable for making quick decisions. Even an unexpected snowstorm can send a small business scrambling to call an overnight crew in an hour early.

Tyler Dewvall is Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.

“It’s great when the managers can make those kinds of calls early, but it’s also good for employees to know their company is taking advantage of weather warnings and forecasts,” he says.

Keeping People Safe

“Making the decision on whether or not to take shelter can be costly,” Dewvall says.

For example, if you own a small manufacturing company in St. Louis and decide to shut down operations and shelter your employees because of inaccurate storm warnings, profits can suffer.

On the other hand, small business has a responsibility to keep their employees safe from disasters like tornados and the threat of physical injury or death.

Handling Supply Chain Issues

Another advantage to this technology is in the ability to juggle real-time scenarios by using predictive analytics. It’s an invaluable tool for small businesses who rely on supply chains in different geographic areas.

For example, by being able to look at state-of-the-art weather forecasts, a small construction company in Pennsylvania can see if supplies and shipments from New York are going to be held up by advancing nasty weather patterns that can wash roads out and knock down trees.

Delivering as Promises

One of the bigger challenges for ecommerce sites is battling the free shipping offer made by bigger competitors. Being able to gaze into a crystal weather analytics ball helps these smaller firms keep the delivery promises they make in this highly competitive space.

“We have services that can analyze how one or two or three inches of rain over a period of time will impact important things like road traffic,”  Dewvall says.

Industry leaders in weather forecasting often have the ability to present their clients with hypothetical small business consequences of different factors.

Getting The Right Insurance

A small bakery in Alabama can look at long term weather patterns in their state to decide on the right kind of insurance. Once again, predictive analytics plays a central role. Of course small businesses all across America need to be aware of the rising tide of unpredictable and sometimes costly storms.

It’s good to know that some insurers have websites for filing claims quickly. However, you’ll still need to document any damage by taking pictures. Knowing as much as possible about the weather patterns affecting your small business is an invaluable first step.

“In 2016 there were 16 separate events that cost over 1 billion dollars in damages and sadly death,” Mark Ebel says.

Being Green

Finally, a big part of selling any goods and services is the responsibility of knowing how much of a carbon footprint you’re making. Being able to access weather patterns and forecasts in your locale can help you to see the big picture. With that information, small business owners can make any changes necessary to increase sustainable green models.

Energize Your Team and Grow Your Business

To make your small business as productive as possible, you need a great team behind you. But it’s not always easy for small businesses to get the most out of their employees.

Luckily, members of our small business community have plenty of experience in this area. Below are some tips for getting the most out of your team and out of some popular online tools to make your business as productive as possible.

Boost Happiness Among Hourly Employees

If you want to get the most out of your team, it helps to keep them happy. Even hourly workers tend to get more done and stick around longer if you can provide some little things that make them happier at work. William Harris elaborates in this When I Work post.

Learn How to Hire Consultants Online

Adding to your small business team doesn’t necessarily have to mean hiring hourly employees. You can potentially grow your business by utilizing the help of consultants. To learn more about hiring consultants online, check out this SpareHire post by Julie Stewart.

Look for These Traits When Hiring for Early Stage Startups

Growing a small business team is a different process than growing a team for a large corporation. In this Noobpreneur post, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share some of the most important traits you can look for when hiring for startups.

Know These Small Business Marketing Deductions

Tax season often means extra expenses for small businesses. But if you know all the deductions you’re eligible for, it can help with your tax bill. This post by Zeenath Haniff on the Overnight Prints Blog includes some marketing tax deductions you shouldn’t overlook.

Avoid Distractions and Consistently Hit Your Targets

It’s easy to say that you want to get more done in your business. But there are tons of distractions out there that can keep you from reaching your goals and targets. In this Process Street post, Adam Henshall shares some tips for avoiding distractions and getting more accomplished.

Maximize Your Team’s Productivity

You can also get more done by focusing on the productivity of your team. There are some key things you can do to make sure that your employees get as much done as possible, as outlined in this SUCCESS Agency blog post by Mary Blackiston.

Create a Sales Page for Your Online Course or Product

If you want your online customers to be able to complete their purchases easily, you need a great sales page. In this Blogging Wizard post, Elna Cain offers tips for creating a sales page for your first online course or product. And BizSugar members share thoughts on the post here.

Avoid These Mistakes During a Website Audit

You can also get more done in your business by making your website work for you. A website audit can be helpful in making sure all the features are working as intended. Just make sure you avoid the mistakes in this Marketing Land post by Pratik Dholakiya.

Get More Traffic from YouTube

In addition, you can use platforms like YouTube to bring in more potential customers to your online business. In this Basic Blog Tips post, Ileane Smith shares some tips for how small businesses can bring in more traffic using YouTube.

Use Social Listening for Your Business

Social media isn’t just for promoting your business. You can also use it to learn from your customers and followers using social listening. This Search Engine Journal post by Danny Goodwin explains how you can use social listening to benefit your business.