2021 Busines Perspective
Who could have imagined the way 2020 would unfold? The speed in which Coronavirus erupted here and globally resulted in unprecedented disruption to the business landscape? Almost instantly, organizations were forced to change most of the ‘routine working norms’ because they were confronted with the challenge of either adapting or becoming irrelevant … or worse, to disappear completely.
At year’s end, most companies have accelerated decision making related to 1). technological advances and 2). new or alternative ways of working while collaborating with colleagues and customers in a more inclusive manner.
So, Where Are We?
Most businesses large and small are challenged operationally. But recent research surprisingly there is also unexpected positivity about the future. This sentiment is shared across industry and geography:
- Diversification – Most businesses considered some form of diversification – either establishing new income streams or changing their focus to alternative ways of delivering the same services. While many stopped or slowed major investments, others continued in profitable business tactics.
- Biz Confidence – Companies view the ‘new normal’ with a level of confidence. Business owners share a degree of positivity in their ‘situation’ and some anticipate they may benefit from it next year.
- Workforce Mgt. – Many companies have experienced recruitment freeze, yet others have seen an uplift in recruitment activity i.e.: shipping. So, in order to enhance organization efficiencies, a degree of structural “flattening” has or will occur… meaning removing excess bureaucracy should help balance appropriate labor deployment.
- Agile Working – The future of ‘working’ is somewhat cloudy. Some managers will support a more agile approach while others will practice ‘normal’ office environment and change nothing.
- Digitalization – Many organizations have accelerated their digital transformation and have diverted funds and resources there to facilitate more rapid change.
The most challenging future business environment may be the impact COVID-19 has on entrepreneurs and start-ups. Even though start-ups are buoyant, there’s a trickle of talent moving away from risky start-ups rather than positions where individuals gain a greater sense of security. The long-term impact from this virus is too early to gauge.
Suggestions: Embrace - Encourage These Practices
Prior to January 2020, mergers grew, and business acquisitions romped with a sense that the future was on track. Today Covid-19 has created the greatest business disruption of modern times. All businesses are grappling with operating in a changing world at an alarming rate.
Opportunities are also evolving. Companies have moved from office-based working to remote or flex working. Service development accelerated. Organizations raced to enable their employees to remain connected, while everyone shifted shopping habits to the internet almost overnight. The virus greatly tested the plans in place before Covid-19 struck; for a few, business operations were agile enough to meet the changes, but others realized how exposed and ill-prepared they were. Trends at year’s end see that organizations are learning to adapt to avoid future chaos and disruption.
The most obvious enabler has been accelerating investment in technology by blending strategy, focused efforts, resources, budget and digital ‘enabling’. The goal is to become as efficient as possible. The organization is that enabler. Back in January the degree of effort to ensure that people felt supported, understood, and engaged was consistently strong, yet over time, these efforts stalled. To survive, businesses must re-ignite support efforts to ensure that employees remain a powerful business enabler going forward.
In times of crisis, organizations have a unique opportunity to revamp their operating model and try new things. These shifts require buy-in from the top down through management ranks if culture and attitudes are going to change.
Employees want better and safer working conditions. So, businesses must review how they balance social distancing and maximize density of office space to keep their staff healthy. Some may implement more flexible working arrangements. By remaining positive, those who embrace the values of empathy, collaboration, honesty, and trust will emerge as positive role models for their organization.
The situation continues to evolve rapidly, with many cities and businesses re-introducing lockdown restrictions due to further virus spikes; this uncertainty makes it particularly hard for organizations to plan for the future. Review the predictions below:
- Fast-tracked Digital – Businesses are now more agile and flexible without impacting operational efficiency which enables this pace change to accelerate as they consider how their employees better serve their customers and clients, drive value from their supply chain and boost profitability.
- Re-Alignment – Efficiencies driven from utilizing a remote workforce is working. The employee experience will become more essential to companies as they seek to retain, develop, and acquire the skills and talent to satisfy this operating model.
- Leadership Change – Covid-19 has created unprecedented leadership challenges … for some a successful passage in leadership careers, for others less so. These successes and failures will bring a shift in the boardrooms of many companies and present opportunities for them to attract the services of those who’ve overcome Covid-19 challenges.
- Legislative Shifts – The e-commerce business uptick has already seen localized legislative changes implemented by government-imposed regulation of a commercial sector. It’s likely that Covid-19 will have far reaching implications for how organizations operate and the way in which they are legislated.
“Unprecedented” for sure yet the world continues to operate. What we remember about this time will be the resilience and tenacity of business. Taking a moment to reflect on 2020, will help ensure that if we face such a challenging environment again, business continuity plans can be dusted off, revisited and re-used.
Looking into a new year there is a level of optimism and anticipation. The business world is grateful for all it learned in 2020 and is optimistic that 2021 will emerge ready and capable to face life beyond the COVID-19.
HQZ Experts - www.hqzexperts.com
The CORONA-19 virus has brought lots of changes. But let’s consider the positive effects on how businesses have been forced to revise many processes as well as how their customers - you and us - have adapted. Will this new approach likely continue to evolve at an accelerated pace?
Adapting: Modify, Adjust to New Conditions, Transition
These are great definitions of our new norm. Almost overnight reconfigured business and personal practices have not only changed – they’ve rescued. Evolving out of necessity, companies and employees who are surviving, now employ a changing digital reality that’s surprisingly shifting long-lasting traditions.
Digital Services Approval
Although embracing digital services has been forced upon us, many businesses and almost all Americans are taking this approach - even some who never shopped online – have fully embraced doing so. A good many are not likely to return to their previous purchasing approach.
Fewer Events/More Incentives
There has been a universal SHUTDOWN of most major business events. Not to worry … companies and people with the right technology and motivation have simply shifted to online versions of “online meetings” which are readily available and likely free for the guests. Even though personal interaction is missing, participants still offer diverse content and new ideas while maintaining connection with their customers and supporters.
The ‘new normal’ continues to gain momentum but since humans highly value social interactions, events won’t disappear. Those that return to trade shows and conventions will need to work much harder to justify their existence, and many have already been replaced by virtual equivalents.
Remote working is finally here. Friends and colleagues, I’ve spoken with really enjoy the new norm. Research studies indicate that working at home has consistently grown by 173% since 2005. Given the imposed shutdown, this statistic is expected to increase even more.
Employers realize that their employees don’t need to be seen all day, every day. The new remote working has shown that it’s possible to carry on the business without employees in the office. Given the technology now being utilized, flexible working has become both viable and essential.
Likewise, responsible, productive employees don’t need to be ‘present’ nor do they want constant oversight. Welcome benefits from this ‘new normal’ methodology has created less commuting (fewer cars on the roads and less congestion), reduced energy in mega-offices (air conditioning/heating and lighting, security, etc.).
New Norm has ended wasteful, costly business practices. It’s forced creatives to be more creative and surprisingly, has resulted in rapidly executed, great work. We’ve seen what can be done with less, and reverting to the big budget, big team model is going to be harder to rekindle for companies and their employees down the road.
On the bright side, the last ten months has made honesty a core value in the workplace. Leaner and smarter has become the new reality … build upon this new perspective and think about the many new possibilities awaiting your business.
HQZ Experts - www.hqzexperts.com
As can be expected companies of all sizes are reevaluating their budgets. The universal option of choice is to eliminate non-business essential marketing spending, which is hardly a surprise since frequently when a real crisis arises, marketing budgets are first to go. And right now, we are experiencing a whopper slowdown!
Successful businesses now face holding onto their pocketbook while remaining relevant. The entire business dynamic has flipped and now being a ‘specialist’ is going to decline. Companies are now looking for cooperative teams to complete multiple tasks to deliver good work. Carried to the next level, this wrinkle pushes marketers to expand their own specialist skillset to broader, more general abilities. Below are things to consider as your career evolves.
Telling A Story
Interestingly, facts are all-well-and-good, but stories actually do the ‘selling’. Think about the last time charts and tables moved you to take some sort of action. Not so much. Research shows that stories are memorable because they trigger an emotion and quickly signal the ‘essence’ of the message. In fact, stories are about 22 times more memorable that a list of facts.
That is why marketers should learn ways of weaving compelling narratives that align with market sentiment, customer priority yet incorporate their brand message. If they do not yet know this, the art of storytelling is now a MUST; crafting engaging, authentic, and credible messaging that both engages and strengthens the intended audience loyalty.
Grasping Data Analytics
Increasingly heightened focus on value, compel marketers to learn how to use data to quickly measure campaign effectiveness. Data-driven insights will also help marketers understand customers better, make the right decisions, and course-correct when necessary.
Design – Go There It is Fun
Statistics reflect that the human brain processes images up to 60,000 times faster than words. Great designs generally draw the attention an ad campaign deserves. With all of the new online technology, the basics of design and the art of using powerful visual storytelling is easier than ever. With a little practice (and fun) adding basic design to your marketing skills portfolio.
Don’t Hide - Embrace Technology
Awareness of the technology used in successful marketing programs includes designing, executing, and measuring - from automation of processes to the customer’s experience. A successful marketer must include the skillset and knowledge then APPLY them to successfully achieve their objectives.
Industry Savvy Matters
Beyond the technical side as defined above, marketers must understand their industry - business, product(s), and customers. Technology marketers should know how to write a basic flyer themselves. And define content and channel strategies that optimize ROI. You gain this expertise when actively listening and learning from cross-functional teams, i.e. (subject matter experts, sales teams, and business leaders). The corny slogan “practice makes perfect” has never been more relevant. Pay attention, become a sponge, ask questions, observe those experts you trust and rely upon in your team then hit the GO button. Your first couple of attempts may be bumpy, but mistakes are not deadly. Everyone learns from their mistakes … and sometimes those lessons help you win big in the long run.
Budget Plans Not Optional
Wise marketers learn budgeting and strategic planning very quickly. Your amazing campaign may be the best thing since sliced bread … but if you have no budget to fund it, well then it was only a great idea. Do your homework on short and long-term costs from A to Z. Know from the beginning what your marketing program entails and ensure that the funding for making it all happen is at your disposal. If you are not interested in the finance side of things, at least bring a competent accounting or finance planner into your universe ... and learn from them!
Thinking about all of the skills you must possess just to handle your job today can be daunting. Well, it is. But your success in this new era depends upon disregarding previous norms where individual team members each brought a specific skillset to the party while contributing to the marketing mix. Seems those days are declining fast!
Business today has many New Norms over which we seem to have little control. You may not want to take a personal assessment of your own skills. But, given all the unfilled time we all find ourselves with use it wisely. Consider ways you can adapt and remain vital to your company. Expanding your skillset makes you more productive and absolutely more effective. Do It!
HQZ Experts - www.hqzexperts.com
Ever had someone write a negative review or article about your company? It doesn’t feel very good. Hope it never happens to you, but if it does, you gotta get proactive in a hurry. Deal with negative article head-on rather than take a “wait to see what happens” attitude. There is no other way.
Negative Search Result Contents Impact the Brand:
- Sales — Potential customers looking for information about your business will leave
- Business Partnerships — Existing or future business relationships could suffer
- Funding — Lenders may limit capital gain access or raise rates if they suspect your business is at risk
- Employee Retention — Employee turnover and hiring costs increase if your brand reputation tanks
- Market Capitalization — A company’s stock price may fall as investors flee for safer investments
Crisis Recovery Plans Explore/Define:
- Internal/external stakeholders
- Primary spokespeople for each communication channel
- Communication infrastructure and redundancies
- Decision-making chain of command
- Access to emergency funds
- Holding statements
- Contingency plans
Digital Marketing Boosts Brand Reputation
To fix your brand’s negative content following a crisis then recover … understand how your search engine is involved. For example, Google’s algorithms use hundreds of ranking signals to determine the most relevant web pages for each search query. One such signal is topical relevance.
- Through repetition, search engines then use topical relevance to draw connections between concepts (even if previously unrelated). So, Google may favor content about a corporate crisis if excessive articles recently published connect your brand with the event.
- One solution is paid content — sponsored posts and earned media such as PR — to generate positive articles about your brand. Starbucks recently used this strategy to shift their brand’s narrative from racial bias training to banning plastic straws.
Reputation Management with No SEO Fails
SEO is labor-intensive and costly, but reputation management doesn’t work without a search engine optimization component. Publishing great content is only part of the strategy; you also must apply SEO best practices to rebuild your search landscape.
Optimize Your Social Profile and Post Regularly
Social networks rank very well for branded search queries. To be effective Google must receive properly coded and ‘active’ signals. Your profiles should include contact information, addresses, as well as a description highlighting your company’s name. Link it back to your website’s homepage, blog page, and other trusted sites.
Promote Your Best Online Content
Determine which favorable company mentions you want ranked on Google’s first page, then share these articles with your social channels to increase visibility and build backlinks to them. When appropriate include your brand name in the article’s title to help improve rankings.
SEO and digital marketing are the drivers of effective reputation management. Taking a proactive approach to brand protection allows you to attract potential customers and stave off negative or damaging news.
Online marketing strategies have really changed in the past five years. Did you even know that Google makes changes to its algorithm over 500 times a year and each of those changes has an
impact on where your business appears in search results? I sure did not.
Remembering when Google discovered “top” websites in organic searches and found old friends, checked out Wikipedia or served as a lazy man’s spellcheck. And now, when it is more important than ever for your website to get found, it is paramount that you make “key” website search terms that rank your business higher which in turn will get your business found!
Tactics to Increase Your Web Visibility:
- Focus on Getting Reviews on the Top 3 Directories: Google, Yelp and Facebook. Even though fake reviews are a growing problem, they remain a leading trust-builder and key factor in consumer research. Remember to respond to both negative and positive reviews; many consumers watch for those responses to determine whether to do business with your company or not.
- Optimize A Google-My-Business (GMB) Profile. While your website is ever important, visiting your website will be the first action taken after reading reviews. Take heed of the little in-search-website that Google provides - your GMB profile answers many of the questions your customers or potential customers ask:
- Are you still operating during shelter-in-place orders?
- What is your phone number?
- What are your business hours?
- What services do you provide?
- What areas do you serve?
Google examines your GMB profile first when a searcher looks for your business or clicks on your business in maps… a good reason to make it a valuable resource your business is a good find. Currently it is a free tool that helps your business attract and win customers.
- Engage Customers on Social Media – Consider Facebook Ads. More people are engaging brands on their favorite social media platforms and using platforms like Facebook to search for local businesses. This is especially true right now as more people are at home ‘glued’ to their computers. So, this is a great time to post engaging content and interact with customers on your business social media pages ... engage, inform, and get to know them. Service businesses doing this are winning via Facebook Ads. And, doing so will be important when Google twilights the third-party cookies that drive targeted ads on its platform.
- Focus on SEO, Not Rankings. Everyone wants their website to rank No. 1 and they tend to panic when Google inserts yet another result before organic results. Not to worry – just ensure that your website is optimized, mobile-friendly, engaging/interesting, and informative. Do not obsess over rankings. Searchers are savvy to ads; they know that even if a website or ad is first, it may not be the best choice.
- Operate Where Customers Are. If your prospects and customers are on Facebook and Instagram (strongly likely), make sure you are active on those platforms, answering questions, replying to messages, and providing helpful information. The point is that your reputation is more than just what your website says about you. And your customers have expectations that you will respond in a timely manner, engage with them, and provide feedback … so think about your online presence holistically.
Suggestions to Explore: Review all your “messaging” right now - check for tone and relevance. As we have all witnessed in the past four months, a sudden world-changing event can destroy the sales pitch that worked so well back then. Remember, your world has changed, but so has those prospects and customers. Consider their frame of mind today vs. what it was two months ago then implement realistic messages that are both appropriate and will benefit THEM.
No, you are not the master of the universe, but you can focus on the things within your control. Doing so will keep you in the game today and be out in front of what is in store for tomorrow.
Sadly, doing a ‘good thing’ by enforcing mandatory work-from-home policies has opened new doors for hackers. As many U.S. companies tell their employees to stay at home to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, home workers are vulnerable of becoming the weak link in the computer security chain.
Now that thousands of our workforce has shifted to ‘telework’ … the hack-attacks have escalated. Employers and newly remote employees should be prepared for a jump in fraudulent emails about COVID-19. Uploading unproven links in random, unknown emails has exploited flaws in popular software such as Adobe Flash and browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge.
Sad but true - cybercriminals have weaponized some vital software - Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map where it now is filled with malicious software,
Home Networks have become a serious challenge/threat for two high-level security challenges brought about by remote work.
- When working within a “security team” you lose control of the environment in which the users work ... for instance, have they secured their own home Wi-Fi?”
- IT team members MUST gain access to resources required to do their job. This means that your [new company’s] network perimeter must now include your employee's home -or- the coffee shops where they work. Some security programs are ready for this, but some just will not be.
Just be aware that home smart devices - many of which are built without security - are a key point of vulnerability for remote workers. In addition, people working from home are easily distracted, since they are used to working in the office, and likely causes mixing work with personal email and web browsing … and thereby potentially increases the risk of clicking on malware links.
Ways Employers Make “Working at Home” More Secure for Their Company
- Implement a multifactor authentication requirement for privileged users accessing the most sensitive/critical access to Internet-facing services. Multifactor authentication is a security measure requiring a user must provide two or more pieces of ID data (factors) to gain access to a device. This second security measure provides a password as well as a temporary passcode too.
- Ensure that the employee understand how to check common modem and router settings to confirm optimum security settings; recommend updating home Wi-Fi passwords.
- Employees must be watchful of receiving increased emails claiming to be from “senior staff” requesting bank transfers or gift card purchases that are illegitimate.
- Understand that self-isolation can cause normally rational people “to let their guard down” and believe scams. The Secret Service warned Americans about “phishing” - a widely-used scam where emails appear to be from a reputable company, such as a major bank or tech company, seeking victims to hand over sensitive personal information (usernames, passwords and credit card information). Cybercriminals are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by sending emails appearing to be from legitimate medical and or health organizations. Some examples of this:
- Victims got a fraudulent email from a fake medical organization with attachments purporting to have important information about COVID-19. By clicking the attachment, malware automatically infected their system or prompted the victim to enter their email login credentials, to complete the task.
- Hackers and cybercriminals are all taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak; especially when there is a public health crisis or catastrophe in which people are desperate to find more information.
- Another scheme uses social media to dupe victims into donating to bogus charitable causes. “Criminals are exploiting the charitable spirit of individuals,” according to the advisory.
- A tragic fraud to watch for is “non-delivery scams” where, frauds pose as a “company” selling medical supplies used to prevent or protect against the COVID-19 … demanding payment or deposits up front but never deliver the products.
Since working from home may become more widely popular for many companies … even when isolation is not as critical, employers will be required to ensure that their employees have all the tools needed to do their jobs as well as have the necessary tools to keep company communications (voice and electronic) secure from cyber creeps.
Choosing to work with a virtual team can save jobs in this uncharted environment.
Be prepared and good luck.
We can assist your business connect with your customers during these challenging times.
Remote Employees’ Survival Tips
Looks as if the immense upheaval our culture and businesses have experienced may be the new norm … at least for a while. The crisis presented by Covid-19 has businesses urging, and mandating, that employees work from home. Approximately 25% of the workforce was already working at home by choice, but the new policies leave many employees — and their managers — working from a home office and separated for the first time. If you and your employees have never worked remotely 100% of the time, doing so requires big adjustments.
Shifting to a fully remote team requires creating and implementing the right practices. From the employee’s perspective, the new working remotely ‘normal’ requires rethinking and adjustment to remain productive and tamping down their stress level.
When working remotely, implementing effective guidelines is critical for success.
- Designate a Workspace: It is easier to stay focused if you designate a specific area in your home to get work done. This ‘office’ should provide you with both quiet and privacy.
- Comfortable Environment: Have the right equipment to remain efficient and productive. You must include a desk, telephone, printer, an ergonomic chair, office supplies and a desk lamp. Basics also include a computer and high-speed Internet connection that can support video conferencing.
- Boundaries: Most likely your spouse, children and pets are all in close quarters so establish signals so they’ll know when to leave you alone … when the door is closed, that means that you’re on the phone and can’t disturbed.
- Overcommunicate: Since your traditional office where seeing and talking to co-workers is changed, communication with them from afar remains very critical. Communicate frequently with your boss and clarify what is expected of you. Beyond that, reach out to co-workers and managers regularly through emails or by phone. Then talk with your clients/customers to reassure them you are there.
- Online Tools: Email alternatives (Slack) help workflow and offer social outlets. Telephone conversations remain important. Video teleconferences add another sensory element to your interactions because they enhance team unity and productivity.
- Do Not Overdo It: When working remotely it is easy to lose track of time. So, give yourself a break and take a lunch break and step away from your computer, walk around or step outside. This helps you feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. Pull yourself away, even if it is for just a few minutes.
Employers’ Remote Management Survival Tips
Since it requires a strong communication system to work well, trust is vital when employees work remotely. Whether you schedule regular calls or use apps for video meetings any scheduled team meetings must be treated as seriously as if it a ‘face’ team event.
Considering your team as “local” rather than “remote” allows everyone to adjust to a virtual team dynamic and quickly shift into an alternative work style meant to improve the general level of trust and strength in this new relationship.
To build and maintain a strong working relationship with your remote team set clear parameters from the start since doing so is essential to achieve the intended results. They must have set deliverables and should be manageable with the same expectations from on-site employees.
Security for all business owners must become more important when you require employees working remotely to access company networks and data. Experts recommend that all connections made to the company are done through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that either leverages SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) which encrypt communications from the remote teleworker’s machine. This absolutely ensures that your system and the end user is protected.
Whether your employees use your equipment or their own, their working environment must be 100% secure. Ensure they have the right software in place to protect their hardware and they are fully versed on dealing with malware issues.
To support your virtual team in doing this, establish an online IT support - whether they choose to work in their own homes or in public spaces. Fully protected hardware is the first step in ensuring a secure working environment for remote workers and guarantees trust between the employer and employee.
Utilize Productivity Tools
Multiple team member projects cannot be slipshod. It is very important to make use of the proven tools designed to make work processes quicker, more effective, and less likely to result in error. Some of the most popular and useful productivity tools include:
- Trello: A project management tool but it can be used as a diary, a way of actioning tasks, sharing responsibilities or even as an editorial calendar.
- Slack: Allows for quick instant messages in the place of long email chains and is a much more reactive option for teams who need quick responses or if you need to speak to a team publicly and collect their responses where all can see. It is easier and much less annoying than multiple emails.
- Google Drive / Dropbox: For managing files in shared folders. The bonus many people find with Google Drive is easily compatible with almost any device and you have full access to the Google suite of software tools.
- Evernote: Organize your thoughts into notebooks, to-do lists and more ensuring you can find what you need when you need it. It is great for brainstorming sessions, writing quick blog posts, and keeping your thoughts in one place to look back on when needed.
Choosing to work with a virtual team can save jobs in this uncharted environment. Virtual employees develop strong and long-lasting team relationships and celebrate successes together. Finally, remote working builds a business that exceeds client expectations while retaining valuable, motivated employees on your payroll.
We can assist your business connect with your customers during these challenging times.
For Those Now or Soon Facing Working at Home
Changes in How We Work & Seek Coping Solutions with Corona Virus Stresses & Risks
Make Calls Over Wi-Fi
Does your ‘new’ home office have spotty cellular connectivity? Verizon, AT&T and all the other U.S. carriers offer Wi-Fi calling, which allows you to make calls over your wireless network with your phone number. In fact, testing a while back showed that call quality was great over Wi-Fi. On the iPhone, you can enable Wi-Fi calling by going to Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Calling. On Android, go to Settings > Networks & Internet > Mobile network > Advanced > Wi-Fi Calling. If this trick doesn’t work for you, you could also try a cellular signal booster.
Position Your Webcam Smartly
Since we are all on video chat now, just remember: Keep a light source on your face (try to avoid sitting with a window behind you.) Frame your head and shoulders in the shot (keep the camera lens at or above eye level—and use a cardboard box to prop up the laptop if necessary.) Lift your head up…your chin will thank you. Finally, grab a microfiber cloth and wipe off the lens from time to time.
Kill Notifications During Chats
During video calls—especially if you are sharing screens—no one wants to see your notifications or hear those dings and rings. So - MUTE! In Windows 10, go to System > Notifications & Actions and turn them off. On MacOS 10.8 Mountain Lion or later, click the three lines in the top right corner, then swipe down, then turn on Do Not Disturb. Just don’t forget to turn your notifications back on once the call is over.
Slack Like a Pro
Don’t let Slack rule your life. Starring your most important chats and channels (top left) puts them at the top of your sidebar, so you don’t have to dig. Enable notifications for them by tapping the gear icon, then Notification Preferences. (Also adjust your overall notification settings in Preferences.) To jump between conversations, hit Ctrl-K (Cmd-K on Macs). Forgetting important messages? Click three dots on a message and hit “Remind me about this.”
Fix Your Wi-Fi
Having Wi-Fi issues? Plug directly into your router with an Ethernet cable. Don’t like being tethered? Move your router to the center of the house to spread the signal. Choose the faster 5GHz network if possible. If your router is over five years old, get a new one. Consider a mesh network like Eero—it uses multiple nodes to kill dead zones.
Track Your Time
Ah, working from home, aka the black hole of time. Time-tracking apps such as Toggl and Clockify (for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and the web) let you count your minutes and hours, so you know when to quit or take a break. Input your projects and calls, then view a graph of where your time went. I prefer to go low tech, by writing it all down on a piece of paper.
Update Your Email Signature
You know where you aren’t reachable right now? That landline sitting in your ‘new office’. Update your email signature with the best place to reach you via mobile phone and chat services, like Slack, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, etc. Link your contacts to all that you and they utilize. Add a little note like “Currently WFH; reach me at [Insert info here].” In Gmail, click the gear icon, then Settings, then scroll down to the signature. In Outlook, go to File > Options > Mail > Signatures.
Author: Joanna Stern – 3-24-20 - WSJ’s Stern offers fixes and advice on Tech frustrations. Visit WSJ daily Tech News Briefing podcast
What’s Your Crystal Ball Tell You?
The survey ‘nuggets’ below reveal a ’50-thousand’ perspective of predicted global business trends projected beyond 2020. See if your industry is likely to prosper or falter.
New Technology Adoption
The top five strategic industry drivers through 2022 are all technology related. Global growth and the new technologies that define it will spur business growth, job creation and demand for specialist skills.
Big Data Availability
According to investment plans of companies surveyed in a “Jobs Report”, 85 percent of respondents will likely expand their big data analytics adoption of both users and providers by 2022.
Advances in Mobile Internet
Smartphones abound; a recent trends study reveals that two-thirds of the global population represents mobile subscribers (which has the greatest reach of any technology). This dynamic is certain to result in life-enhancing services and expand greater access to education and health services.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is already used to increase efficiency, improve productivity and performance in manufacturing, technology, healthcare and numerous other industries. A new AI global study reports that 80 percent of executives believe AI will help their business either achieve or sustain a competitive advantage.
Cloud Technology Advances
According to the stated investment intentions of 2018/19 companies surveyed, 72 percent of respondents will likely expand their adoption of cloud computing by 2022. This step will make businesses more agile, collaborative, efficient and scalable while reducing costs.
National Economic Growth/Shifts
Combined with technology, socio-economic trends will also affect business growth through 2022. National growth trends will have the greatest impact in the aerospace, supply chain/transport, infrastructure, mining and metals industries.
Prosperity in Developing Economic Growth
Enabling access to technology and education is expected to contribute to the expansion of the middle class. Research predicts this growth will have the greatest effect on aviation, travel/tourism, chemistry, advanced materials and biotech, and global health/healthcare.
Increased access to education is a consequence of technology adoption along with the expansion of the middle class. The industries projected to be most affected by this socio-economic propensity are aviation, travel/tourism, mining, metals, and professional services.
New Energy & Technology Innovations
Decarbonization, emerging markets and resilience will continue to propel increased demand in renewable energy worldwide. And, advanced computing power, new energy supplies/technologies will drive business development in countless industries.
Estimates predict the global middle class will likely double by 2020 and triple by 2030. This impetus is attributable to urbanization and will drive greater access to education, technology and opportunity.
Looking into a crystal ball is always speculative; however, given the information from these recent studies, the future looks bright! HQZ Experts continues to examine evolving technology trends that offer new opportunities to our own business as well as those of our clients. Let’s talk about what’s in your crystal ball.
Sources: Deloitte; Flatworld Solutions; Pew Research
Digital Marketing Etc.
The path to reaching business goals works better using a digital marketing strategy. Why? Doing so helps you save money, evaluate vital data from which to make better decisions, and build customer trust. How so? Because it’s more affordable, flexible, and easier than traditional marketing approaches. Regardless of size, industry or geography, digital is necessary for growth and staying power today and tomorrow. The topics below define why.
Digital marketing uses targeted research and analytics to quickly determine which approaches are working well and which aren’t. Most digital marketing channels are less costly from the start and help you avoid overspending on underperforming campaigns.
Digital marketing gives small businesses more opportunities to compete, improve brand awareness, and build an audience. That’s because it closes the gap between large, medium, and small companies and benefits each range with many of the same resources ... it’s about what you offer, not how tall your building is.
Measures Program Results
Single attribution (first touch/last touch) is the method of measurement used by most marketing teams. The theory: it takes an average of seven touches to convert a cold lead to a sale and puts the highest value on the first or last touch. Traditional marketing stats are much more difficult to measure say on the ROI of a print ad than it is to measure that of a digital ad given the print ad audience is much broader. Digital marketing targets specific audiences and can see which advertisement prompted which sale. Imagine.
A/B Testing Works
Experimenting with all aspects of a marketing campaign — A/B testing the location of an email, sign-up, call to action, the color of a promotional banner, a subject line — is much easier to analyze more quickly on digital feeds. Simple changes can be tracked and used to target customers more effectively. The results of A/B testing can improve targeting of print ads too. Example: if a company targets the same audience on a search engine as it does in a print magazine ad, the message will be effective for both.
Mobile Marketing Engagement
Mobile marketing is changing the way we all ‘view’ the world. According to Global Web Index, more than eighty percent of internet users own a smartphone, and ninety percent of the time spent on their smartphone is devoted to applications. Mobile marketing — from email and social ad design to SEO to branded apps —you to reach users in their comfort zone. Great concept.
Analytics Reveal Biz Models
Measuring digital analytics helps companies make informed decisions about where to invest their resources and improve efficiency. Gathering numbers from traditional marketing channels is a manual process, while most digital platforms, including social media and marketing automation, have built-in analytics dashboards with all data automatically available.
Digital Is Personal
Tech marketplaces have led customers and buyers to expect individual, personalized attention. “Click To Tweet” Digital marketing eliminates the “one size fits all” marketing approach by delivering better insight into segmentation. Using customer behavior tracking results to personalize outreach creates the ideal customer experience because you are reaching the RIGHT audience. It also increases trustworthiness, loyalty and a growing team of brand advocates. Which is the whole point.
Email Marketing Is Best
We always assume that our digital marketing strategy caters to the audience’s preferences. Fact: seventy-two percent of people prefer to hear from brands via email. And, email marketing sets targeted messaging right in front of customers and prospects. When automated, “trigger emails” can be sent automatically based on customer activity and personalized interactions … if you utilize that resource.
Building Social Media Trust
A “friend referral” instantly makes a company seem more trustworthy to prospects. Digital advertising leverages social media to make “likes” and other online reviews visible to friends of your customers. And, recommendations highlight your company thereby routinely building a positive impression and likely trust.
SEO Promotes Your Brand
Stats show that eighty-one percent of B2B purchase cycles begin via a web search. That’s likely why search engine optimization (SEO) has the best return on investment of any digital marketing channel right now. For a company to be seen, it must show up on the search engine’s first page. A solid SEO strategy is vital to improving your company’s search engine ranking.
Digital marketing works! Any of these approaches can move your marketing outreach forward. HQZ Experts can help you evaluate your options and implement a strategy to better marketing practices … give us a call (949-454-6149) and we can help you get started.