Tuesday, June 11, 2013

8 Things Productive People Do During the Workday

Forget about your job title or profession – everyone is looking for ways to be more productive at work. It’s time to set down your gallon-sized container of coffee, toss out your three-page to-do list, and put an end to those ridiculously long emails you’ve been sending.

Experiencing a highly productive workday can feel euphoric. But contrary to popular belief, simply checking tasks off your to-do list isn’t really an indication of productivity. Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.

Recently I spoke with project management and productivity genius Tony Wong to find out the secret to a more productive workday. He provided me with some excellent insight into what he and other like-minded productive individuals do during their work week.

Harness your productivity by taking note of these eight things:

1. Create a smaller to-do list. Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.

2. Take breaks. You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.

3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.

4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.

5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.

6. Pick up the phone. The digital world has created poor communication habits. Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate – don't be a victim of this action. This distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and is a sign of laziness. If you receive an email where many people are CC'd, do everyone a favor by BCCing them on your reply. If your email chain goes beyond two replies, it’s time to pick up the phone. Increase your productivity by scheduling a call.

7. Create a system. If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.

8. Don’t confuse productivity with laziness. While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.

What’s your secret to productive workdays?

About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and '30 Under 30' entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!

Live chat support software: The Pros and Cons

More and more websites are offering live chat support these days.

While some of the benefits are clear, others may not be quite as obvious. We have analyzed the pros and cons of live chat support software and compared it to email and phone support.

Advantages of live chat support

  • More competent service: compared to phone support it's easier for your staff to "know all the answers" because they can just quickly ask colleagues if they get a tricky question. The customer won't even notice it.
  • Instant feedback: chat is usually faster than phone support where you usually have to have to go through cumbersome menus. Not to mention email support where nobody even expects an instant answer.
  • Help more people at the same time: chat agents are usually able to serve three or even more people simultaneously.
  • No more problems with strange accents or bad lines
  • Absolutely no extra costs for the website visitor even when they are from another country
  • Convenient: Support can easily send helpful links to the customer through the chat interface and type complicated names into the chat box.
  • Analytics: use live analytics to find the most relevant visitors to…start chats pro-actively, just like the thoughtful salesman in a store you can offer your help.
  • Switch off chat when you are away -- if you’re a one man show, just go offline and transform the chat bar into a contact form. Big advantage over telephone support.
  • Quality of support can easily be reviewed to get a feeling for the support quality your staff is providing, simply by checking the log files.

Disadvantages of live chat support

  • Not all users will like it: users who aren't computer savvy will probably not be too fond of it. You should always offer at least email or phone support in addition to chat support.
  • Not all users will know how to use it: if your websites attracts mainly technophobes or an older generation, live chat may not be what they are looking for. However “Generation Facebook” keeps growing at a fast rate.
  • Not great on mobile platforms: iPhone users who are not able to type at lightning speed won't have much fun using live chat. In addition, not all mobile devices are able to support live chat applications.
  • “Prank chats”: Just like us you will probably get your fair share of not so serious chats. If this happens frequently you can, however, block the person or make email a mandatory field in your pre-chat form, which should reduce this kind of abuse significantly.
  • Chat agent must react in timely fashion: if your support fails to respond quickly the visitor may leave the site frustrated.
  • Interruptions: unlike email live chats cannot wait for a couple of hours before they are replied to.
Read more: http://www.chattooltester.com/live-chat-software-pros-and-cons/

Monday, June 10, 2013

Using Enforcement to Crack Down on ‘Click Fraud’

Posted by Tim Cranton
Associate General Counsel

I’ve led Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Team for a decade now. In that time, we’ve partnered with government and industry on a variety of preventive, investigative and enforcement efforts to stymie cybercrime and online fraud. As these threats have evolved – growing in complexity and sophistication – so too has our team. We strive to anticipate the next wave of threats to our customers and to Internet users more generally.

Most of my team’s work to date has focused on “classic” cybercrime issues such as child protection, security, malicious code and online fraud. Today, we are expanding that effort to tackle a less traditional but increasingly crucial area for cybercrime enforcement: Click fraud and related threats to the online advertising community.

Earlier today, after a thorough investigation, Microsoft filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington outlining a massive click fraud scheme believed to have impacted Microsoft’s advertising platform and potentially other networks. The case is Microsoft v. Lam, et. al., case number 09-cv-0815.

Click fraud occurs when a person, automated script or computer program imitates a legitimate Web surfer and clicks on an online ad for the purpose of generating a fraudulent “charge-per-click” without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.

In this case, as our complaint alleges, Microsoft gathered substantial evidence that a handful of individuals were likely responsible for these click fraud attacks, which affected online advertisements related to auto insurance and the online role playing game, World of Warcraft.

Once we became aware of the click fraud attacks we quickly took action to address any impact on advertisers and to enhance safeguards to further protect our network. Today’s suit seeks an injunction to help stop this activity and to recover damages.

Consumers and businesses around the world rely on free Internet services and content funded and powered by advertising. Indeed, just last week the Interactive Advertising Bureau released a study that found interactive advertising is responsible for $300 billion of economic activity annually and has created 3.1 million U.S. jobs. Given the sector’s size and strategic importance, it is critically important for the industry to continue working together to help combat fraud against online advertisers and promote a healthy marketplace for online advertising and Internet services to thrive. This marketplace will help fuel technology advancements worldwide and provide a key element in economic recovery and growth in the years ahead.

The vast majority of online advertising activity is legitimate, of course. But like most online activities, there are areas where fraud can be found. The online advertising industry has been making strides in this area for years, implementing technology, best practices and techniques to help address issues such as click fraud. Today’s action is one more step to expand that effort by utilizing the legal system to combat click fraud. Enforcement can play a critical safety role, supplementing technology and industry best practices, by using lawsuits and criminal prosecutions to stop the most egregious violators and hold them accountable for the fraud they commit.

Original post found on www.Technet.com: http://tinyurl.com/olga95b

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to be a great leader

Being a leader is not about having authority it is about much more than just having a power position. if you want to be a great leader then there are some basic principles to follow. The greatest have all lived by them and have moved the masses. Being a leader is about effectively organizing people. Apply and live by these principles you will be able to effectively organize people.

1. Take time to listen
Listening to what your teams are saying is one thing and it is very important but there is another aspect to listening. Learning to listen to the ambiance of your teams is vitally important. As a leader you need to be able sense the subtle changes in your team members, so you can give them the support needed. If you are not a part of your team then you are isolated and miss the heartbeat. The mood of team members can drastically affect productivity, morale and effectiveness. Be aware of what is not being said aloud so that when something is off beat it can be put on track once again.

2. Trust in yourself
When you are in the leading position your team will need to see that you are sure in your choices. In order to follow people need to see that their leader is able to lead and is sure in him or herself. If you do not trust in yourself, how can anyone else? In the leadership role you will need to roll with the punch and have confidence in your decisions. This needs to be thoroughly expressed in your character, charisma and swag. Being confident in your decisions will allow your teams to feel secure, trust in your direction and allow them the freedom to follow your lead.

3. Motivate, inspire and empower others
The funnest part of being a leader is being able to motivate, inspire and empower your teams to produce. There is nothing better than to develop your team members’ personal power. Constructing a strong team, personally and professionally can have the biggest impact on productivity you can imagine. When people are empowered, inspired and motivated they give their best effort. That is what it is all about. Put focus on your team members personal and professional development, inspire them to be the prominent force in their niches and motivate them to realize their personal and professional goals.

4. Be resilient
As a leader there will be failures now and again, it cannot be avoided! If it were possible to achieve perfect results in every situation then the world would be a perfect place but it is not. Since failures are inevitable the way to take the most from them is to take them as a lesson and be resilient. Be able to bounce back and adopt a solution to issues that come about. As Thomas Edison said “I have not failed! I have just found 100 ways that won’t work.”

Moral of the story, be flexible accept problems as challenges to find a solution. Take away the lessons learned, so the same issues do not arise later down the line.

5. Learn to make the hard decisions
Unfortunately, even as you become part of your team members professional and consequently, their personal lives it is still your task to make the hard decisions. As much as we want to develop great teams of people, life in general affects everyone in its own way and as humans we are not gods and cannot control the winds of change. That being said, it is our job to be in touch with our duties and make the emotional decisions. As a leader you are put into a position that requires you to take choices that impact the lives and integrity of people and the organization. it is important to believe in your choices, weigh the options and move forward with courage, all while maintaining your personal integrity.

6. Take responsibility
People you lead become your responsibility, their productivity and performance are your responsibility. The bottom line is your responsibility too, how do you control all of these aspects of responsibility? You TAKE it as your own. You make it yours and you nurture your people, your organization. You accept responsibility for shortcomings and make the effort to lead in the direction that has the greatest positive impact on the overall sphere. It is not easy, for most but necessary to take the responsibility of your leadership. Too often the bottom line becomes the main goal and this can hurt an organization. Recognize that employees are the driving force behind every company, do not neglect them, take responsibility for your teams.

7. Be well spoken
Speak understandably to your teams, speak to them on a level they can relate. If you cannot be understood or your words are not accepted then you will waste your breath and slow forward progress. Social and emotional intelligence plays a huge part in communicating effectively. You should be aware of the emotional state of your teams, so you can communicate in a way that will move them. Being emotionally conscious will significantly reduce conflicts, misconceptions and can drastically increase performance throughout all areas.

Foster, promote and improve on these principles in your role as a leader. The teams of a great leader will be effective, strong and thorough. Have courage and develop yourself emotionally and your leadership will contribute to a healthy, successful and strong organization.

Monday, June 3, 2013

4 tips that will boost your sales!

The ultimate goal for all companies online and offline is to increase sales and secure their market presence. So how do you grow your client base and secure your market share? it is likely that your company has what your target market needs the problem for you though is that your competitors do too. Here are a 5 timeless and fun tips that will help you increase your sales and consumer base. Whether you sell a product or service these tips will help you raise your sales.

Get some reputable partners:
Your prospects want to know that you can be trusted, that your service is good and that you have something in common with them, aside from solving their problem. This is especially important if you sell a service. What makes you so special? Your prospects need to know this and they don’t need you to tell them either, they need to learn about you from someone else. Partners, promoters or supporters are paramount! Nothing beats good ol’ PR, right. Get good sources interested in your product support their product and they will support yours. You do have a great product or service anyway, right? Then it is time to build some great partnerships with companies that share something in common with your target market!

Just remember, that building up a good network of known companies related to your industry takes time and building strong ties to those partners is worth the time spent.

Build awareness about your service or product:
If no one knows about your office, shop, website, product or service then no one will buy from you unless they happen to stumble upon it one night while randomly surfing the net. If you want to grow and expand your client base build your reputation, expertise and quality over through the internet. Work with reliable sources though or building your reputation can go in the opposite direction than you intend.

Don’t be too self promotional or you will lose credibility. Being too self serving is like going up to a gorgeous woman that has all she needs in the world and saying “I am the best because I know so, you need me.”

Chances are she will laugh and turn away just because you didn't give her any real quality information and that’s not your goal! Is it? Give your target market information that they can use and would be worth taking their time to look further into.

Run some “Keep in touch” campaigns:
It is always nice to get an email from a company that you purchased from or hired to provide you a service. The secret is to keeping 95% unrelated to them buying or using your service again. Keep it friendly and caring, be genuine, say Hello without ulterior motives, except that you want to see how they are coming along. Keeping in touch with previous customers will keep you on the top of their mind, so it is mostly likely that just by keeping in touch they will return to your company the next time they need what you have. Well, that is if they were satisfied and if they were not satisfied, find out why so you can take that feedback into consideration.

Keeping in touch isn't just about recycling those previous customers, keep in mind that their feedback is just as valuable.

Segment your prospects (profiling):
How do you know who wants to buy what? Demographics say so say much about your target market and what is grabbing whose attention that if neglected you are literally taking a knife to your sales and cutting them by a percentage. Which leads to having the right tools available to learn which customers are buying what and why. Who can you target for specific products. Proper analytics and monitoring software is something that if added will give you the insight you need into your consumer base. After you have the software tools you need then you can start segmenting your buyers and tailor your sales messages by profile.

Applying these few tips into your organization, you will easily gain more sales. Timeless and tested, proved and in practice techniques such as these can be found all over the net. It is definitely beneficial to run a few small campaigns, to build partnerships, awareness and of your company. Find the right software to monitor your influx of buyers and segment them into different buying groups then stay in touch with everyone for the sake of caring about them. Start turning your customers into your clients... Clients are way better for business!

Generation 2013: SaaS Companies Connecting The Marketing, Sales and Support Dots For Small and Medium Online Businesses

Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) are searching for the software all the giant’s of the internet such as Liberty Media, Zappos, Amazon and the other sharks already have; standalone solutions to connect all the aspects of the sales funnel. Using Multiple applications for controlling several aspects of the sales funnel has infamously led to productivity and collaboration issues and even issues with information loss. Marketing, sales and support all work in an interconnected and not so complex system. SMB’s are left without room to compete or even get close to the level these market mongers have gained.

However 2013 has brought innovative SaaS companies speaking the language small online entrepreneurs can understand and want to hear. SaaS companies of 2013 are focusing on this issue, knowing SMB’s are limited in choices, if they really even have any. Now SaaS companies are providing complete solutions to manage the sales funnels of websites (multiple websites in fact), giving back the power to compete with the giants and they are doing it at small business prices.

The biggest deciding factor for small businesses and home grown online, future enterprises is the price tag of the options on the market now. Enterprise solutions that don’t fit into the small online entrepreneur’s budget.

Should they suffer because there aren't many options for their level of business? The great thing about software as a service is that quality doesn't have to mean price.

Marketo is another popular but more enterprise focused, niche, SaaS provider that tailored their solution to handle a complete aspect of conducting business online. Their target market needing a software that can analyze, optimize and completely transform the marketing automation end of online businesses.

Unbounce is another that is entering the market with the same mindset and many others are sure to follow the trend. The trend is showing that online companies are looking for these solutions so they can once again control the other aspects of their business, such as their products. As we all know in the business world increased productivity and more efficient ways of handling processes leads to generating higher profits.

DeskGod.com, which created a bespoke software solution that is designed specifically to connect the dots of the entire sales process of websites. It could be said “They created a monster that will consume the market” Their solution incorporates Marketing, Sales and Support features into one cloud based software, just as all the big dogs of the internet have and work with everyday. Except for the important fact that they did this to empower the small and medium, up and comers.

The new generation of SaaS companies are listening to what the market is shouting. It has taken long enough but the revolution towards A-Z Solutions is on the rise. Amazon, Zappos and you other titans better prepare for competition!