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Four Types Of Business Tools You Haven’t Tried – But Should

Four Types Of Business Tools You Haven’t Tried – But Should

It’s a new year, which means it’s a new chance to take your business to the next level. Now that the initial resolution rush is over, you’re likely left staring at a long list of tasks and goals, without knowing where to start. Don’t worry–this list of business tools has you covered, even in areas you may not have thought about before.

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    Communication

    Communication can make or break your company. The way your business is perceived by customers or clients and potential customers or clients is one of the defining factors in whether you’ll fail or succeed in the long term, and how you and your employees interact with and are reached by people is a huge part of that. Most tips for this area focus on social media and email communications; phone tools often get left out. So with that in mind–

    Free: Google Voice is probably the most useful free solution out there–it will let you create a business number that will redirect to your phone(s) of choice, without you having to plaster your personal phone number all over the internet. It also transcribes your voicemails, which is very handy (when it works right–sometimes the effect is more comical than useful).

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    Paid: Grasshopper is something like a more full-featured version of Google Voice, with the added ability to make the default phone number that people call a toll-free number. If you’re looking to go 110% pro with your business communications, the Hastings Humans are a good place to start–you can have them handle receptionist duties, answer calls 24/7, and take orders from your customers, among other things.

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      Delegating

      Communication is all about how customers are perceiving you; delegation is all about making sure your business is running as efficiently as possible. If you’re trying to do everything, chances are that you’re not getting near as much done as you should be–and the work you’re doing that’s outside your zone of genius is definitely not going to be your best work.

      Free: Unfortunately, free delegation tools are pretty thin on the ground. Delegating is all about getting someone else to do the things that you’re not good at or don’t want to do, and that means you have to pay them.

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      Paid: Two great places to start are FancyHands and Zirtual, both of which come with multiple plans to fit different peoples’ needs. FancyHands is a little more focused on life-related outsourcing, Zirtual is a little more focused on business-related outsourcing. Both of them are geared towards general needs–if you need a specialized task done, check out the contractors at Upwork, oDesk, or the old standby: Craigslist.

      Not sure where to start? Check out these 9 tasks you should be outsourcing and the lazy geek’s guide to outsourcing everything.

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        Security

        Data breaches are big news when they happen to big companies (like the Target fiasco this last Black Friday), but small businesses aren’t exempt by any means. Cyber crime is on the rise and if your business gets attacked, it could be expensive.

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        Free: There are a lot of free ways to increase your security–here’s a list of ways to secure your online privacy. If you and your team members follow all of the steps, you’ll be at least a little bit ahead of the hackers. And if you use WordPress, the Better WP Security plugin is a great place to start.

        Paid: If you manage a team and work largely out of the cloud, CloudEntr can save you from the dreaded “login credentials” spreadsheet that’s rarely updated and is a huge security risk when a team member leaves. One click lets you remove their access, without you having to change every single team account password. Carbonite can help you securely back up your data, and Prey will let you find lost devices before someone uses them to access sensitive data.

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          Productivity

          You probably have tried productivity tools before, of course–what business owner doesn’t want to be more productive? But the usual productivity app lists focus on task management tools, which are great, but not the be-all end-all of productivity.

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          Free: SelfControl will let you block distracting sites (including the productivity black hole that is Facebook) and your email inbox for a predetermined amount of time. IFTTT‘s slogan is “put the internet to work for you,” and it can streamline and automate a lot of your processes using “if this, then that” rules (hence the name). For example, you can set it to email you every time there’s a new result for a search on Craigslist. FocusBooster is a free Pomodoro timer that works on both Mac and Windows, and makes it easy for you to utilize the Pomodoro method of productivity.

          Paid: Zapier is similar to IFTTT, but with more business-related apps available in the library. Concentrate is similar to SelfControl, but lets you set up different routines for different activities (for example, a “writing” routine vs. a “designing” routine). VitaminR is a full-featured tool intended to not only train you into better productivity habits (reducing task switching, for example), but also letting you see data about what conditions lead to peak productivity levels for you.

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          Last Updated on March 12, 2019

          20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

          20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

          There is normally a lengthy list of things you need to consider when starting a business, and if you don’t manage them properly, your excitement can quickly turn into overwhelm. What can support you to stay inspired and on the right track when starting out? You guessed it: this is your vision statement.

          What Is a Vision Statement?

          A vision statement is like a photograph of your future business, which gives your business shape and direction.

          A vision statement provides the direction and describes what the founder wants the organization to achieve in the future; it’s more about the “what” of a business. It is different from a mission statement, which describes the purpose of an organization and more about the “how” of a business.

          If you were to take a photo of your future business now, what would it look like? What do you want your business to be recognized for one day?

          You need to have a crystal clear vision when you start out, otherwise you can get easily lost in deciding the best way forward. When you are making strategic decisions for your business and even daily operation decisions, your vision statement will give you the inspiration and targeted direction you need.

          The Importance of a Vision Statement

          Without a vision statement, your business will lack motivation to keep going.

          If you don’t aim for anything, you might not hit anything. The more specific and clear you are, the better your chances are at seeing your vision turn into reality.

          The importance of a vision statement cannot be overlooked; not only does it provide long term direction and guidance, but it also gives you the inspiration and the necessary energy to keep going when you feel lost.

          Always keep your vision statement alive by revisiting it regularly and communicating your vision with other members of the team, to inspire and motivate them as well.

          How to Craft an Inspiring Vision Statement

          1. Dream big and use clear language

          An inspiring vision statement should inform a clear direction and priorities for the organization, while challenging all the team members to grow together. Based on our expert sources’ advice, we’ve got some great tips for you:

          • Imagine how you want the business to be like in five to ten years.
          • Infuse the business’ values in the statement.
          • Make sure that the statement is implying a clear focus for the business.
          • Write your vision statement in the present tense.
          • Use clear and concise language.
          • Ensure the statement is easily understood.

          There are many different types of vision statements and there is no wrong or right way to do it. The most important thing is to resonate with it. It will always inspire you and give you a clear targeted direction.

          2. Get inspirations from the successful companies.

          Having researched on a number of successful companies’ vision statements, I’ve shortlisted 20 good examples for the new startups:

          Short vision statements made up of a few words only:

          1. Disney

          To make people happy.

          2. Oxfam

          A just world without poverty.

          3. Ikea

          To create a better every day life for the many people.

          Quantitative statements are based on numbers, quantities:

          4. Microsoft

          Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

            5. Nike

            Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)

              Qualitative statements are based on qualities that you want to have:

              6. Ford

              People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people’s lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.

              7. Avon

              To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally.

              Competitor based statements – this type is becoming less common, but famous examples are:

              8. Honda – in 1970

              We will destroy Yamaha.

              9. Nike – in 1960s

              Crush Adidas.

                10. Philip Morris – in 1950s

                Knock off RJR as the number one tobacco  company in the world.

                Role Model Vision Statements – using another company as an example:

                11. Stanford University – in the past

                To become the Harvard of the West.

                12. Reach for Success – in the past

                To become the next Tony Robbins in self development.

                Internal Transformations vision statements:

                13. Apple

                To produce high-quality, low cost, easy to use products that incorporate high technology for the individual.

                14. Giro Sport Design

                To make sure that riding is the best part of a great life.

                15. Tesla

                To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

                16. Sony

                To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.

                17. Facebook

                To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

                  Longer and more detailed vision statement:

                  18. Walmart

                  To give customers a wide assortment of their favorite products, Every Day Low Prices, guaranteed satisfaction, friendly service, convenient hours (24 hours, 7 days a week) and a great online shopping experience.

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                  19. Coca Cola

                  To achieve sustainable growth, we have established a vision with clear goals:

                  Profit: Maximizing return to share owners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.

                  People: Being a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.

                  Portfolio: Bringing to the world a portfolio of beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy peoples; desires and needs.

                  Partners: Nurturing a winning network of partners and building mutual loyalty.

                  Planet: Being a responsible global citizen that makes a difference.

                    20. Heinz

                    Our VISION, quite simply, is to be: “The World’s Premier Food Company, Offering Nutritious, Superior Tasting Foods To People Everywhere.” Being the premier food company does not mean being the biggest but it does mean being the best in terms of consumer value, customer service, employee talent, and consistent and predictable growth.

                    The Bottom Line

                    Remember, always keep your vision statement up-to-date to direct your company’s actions.

                    Remember, once you reach your vision, it needs to be changed. General Motors overtook Ford as #1 automotive company in the world because once Ford’s goal was reached, they never updated it.

                    Keep your vision statement alive and visibly in front of you, revisit it and let it help direct your actions and activities. This is the fun part: this is where you get to dream really big and allow your imagination to fly as high as you want.

                    Don’t hold back, let your creative juices flow and give yourself permission to explore what is possible for your business.

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                    To your success!

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