Benefits of Business Dashboard

Dashboards provide an easy, universal way to view company data within host analytical software that helps with projections, profits, expenses, target category details, employee data, and more. Overall, they offer a visual way to see the current status of a business. Oftentimes, they are comprised of charts and graphs, but can also be imagery with textual details. No matter what types of dashboards your company uses, you need more than just the use of them.

Taking Action

A company can view dashboards without any problem, but success is dependent upon the employees and the experience they have. Charts and graphs can say a lot. However, the employees need to know what to do and how to do it. If sales in a category are down; the owner, managers, and employees need to know how to respond to that.

For example, the manufacturing and sale of a multi-product category within a manufacturing plant is down and you need to find out why and what you can do to improve the numbers in that category. Simply saying that you have competition taking it away or that you have businesses purchasing other products from other categories is not the answer. Perhaps you need a new version of a product with new features and a good price point. Or perhaps you need new packaging that looks valuable and attractive. Or maybe you need to review employee performance in the sales department and/or train them to be better equipped to sell. Dashboards lead the way and are very important business entities, but you also need to know how to improve the results you see.

How to Use Dashboards

Company dashboards are an excellent tool within host analytical software for successful business operation. But you must know what data to build them with and what filters you need to apply to view the needed data. You need to know what information is most essential and what isn’t. You will also need to know how you will get your employees to understand the charts and graphs being viewed. It does no good if you are the only one who understands them and knows what to do. Lastly, you also need to know when you have the need to obtain the data so that you don’t waste time always reviewing unnecessary information.

Benefits of Dashboards

As previously mentioned, company dashboards are part of a whole data integration scheme with host analytical software and can provide valuable, visual information and data when you need it. This can include item sales comparisons and tracking, categorical profits, expense category comparisons, employee productivity mapping, utility usage reports, and category summaries. The list can go on forever, but you decide what you need, as well as when you need it.

Simple and Effective Ways to Nurture Customers Into Lifelong Supporters

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. You can come up with the most innovative and the most competitively-priced product, but without customers to buy it, your business won’t last long. Thus, one of the secrets to building a strong brand from scratch is coming up with ways to nurture customers into lifelong supporters.

Getting new customers is fairly easy. Each time someone introduces a fairly innovative product, the sheer novelty of it induces people to buy a few units for themselves. Over time, however, these same customers tend to move on to other competitors or to other products.

What exactly drives a customer to remain loyal to a brand’s product and/or service? Surprisingly, it’s not all about product and/or service quality (though you shouldn’t neglect that either). A recent survey has discovered that nearly 70% of customers move on to a different competitor or provider when they perceive a business’ indifference to them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the business owner is indeed indifferent, but rather, how the customer perceives such.

Clearly, to convert lukewarm customers into the sort of devoted, lifelong fans that can bring your business into the next level, you really need to step up your customer care game. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy and inexpensive ways to nurture customers into lifelong supporters, and they are as follows:

1.) Start with creating a service-oriented culture. Screen your employees carefully. Hire only those who have a genuine desire to serve the customer as best they can. Experience is always a plus, but opts for attitude over skill when hiring if you need to choose between the two. You can always train your workers to improve their skills, but adjusting for attitude is more difficult. Conversely, don’t be afraid to let go of those who aren’t committed to servicing your customers well.

It also helps to create incentives for employees who deliver exemplary service. You don’t necessarily have to give cash bonuses, at least not while your company is still finding its feet, but you can offer recognition. Naming an employee of the month regularly helps, and you can incentivize this further by giving them a non-monetary benefit, such as an additional paid vacation day and so on.

If you have employees who consistently perform well, you may also want to sign them up for training programs that will teach them how to nurture customers into lifelong supporters in new and inventive ways.

2.) Wow your customer from the very beginning. Make their first transaction with you as pleasant and as memorable as possible. You and your staff should always present them with a smile and a greeting, along with a listening ear and a ready mind to help them address whatever need or want they’ve come to satisfy. Some of the best businesses even go the extra mile by including handwritten thank you cards in a customer’s purchase. These things cost next to nothing, but go a long way towards ensuring that your customer will remember their transaction with you fondly and thus become a return client.

3.) Don’t forget to take care of your existing clients. One way to make a client feel special is to create a dossier on them. Keep their names, birthdays, and previous orders on file so that you can familiarize yourself with their tastes and preferences. This way, you can not only greet them by name when they come in, but you can also be more accurate in recommending products that they would like or use.

Sending out small gifts (preferably those that have to do with your business’ product or service) on a client’s birthday or during the holidays is also a great way to make him or her feel special. Furthermore, the client will be reminded of your presence when you send them a little gift and they will be more likely to place another order as a result.

4.) Ask for feedback. If and when you have time to converse with your clients, probe them for constructive criticism. Ask them what they like best about your product and the sort of service they’ve received so far, and ask them about what they consider to be areas of improvement. Pay close attention to what they point out, and then come up with a plan to address all such areas.< to are clients who will keep you in business for life, so make sure you don’t neglect this particular step.

How to Go From Worker Bee to Gutsy Thought Leader

If senior management was subject to surprise inspections while planning for major projects, behind closed doors you would find them vetting through a short list of select team players, asking one question of their trusted wingmen on the ground: is this guy or gal a worker bee or leader? Leaders do everything it takes to navigate the company in order to achieve each project milestone. They can effectively matrix manage people not necessarily their direct reports and consistently communicate the business needs up-front giving the team direction. A worker bee steps up when duty calls, hits the ground running to execute. They know their jobs so well, they are considered the subject matter experts in their functional area. They can perform the step-by-step of their role in their sleep, be exceptional team players and are fulfilled by being relied upon to “get the job” done.

While there’s nothing wrong with being the trusted go-to player, as a career coach, what I often hear of around this career stage, is that the thrill of just producing can eventually peter out, eventually causing them to feel black boxed into just one category. They simply become bored. What’s next then? You can step up and morph into a gutsy thought leader. They no longer wish to be the one who just executes but the person who gets paid more for their opinions based on all of their experience from being a worker bee for so long.

Consistently Push back

Remove the need to please and be-liked gene. While as a worker bee, you loved producing results churning out your best product whenever called upon, as a gutsy thought leader you set boundaries and ask questions around the business needs before executing. You don’t sit in every meeting and protect your time fiercely declining drop-in visitors who ask for five minutes of your time at every turn. Instead of pushing other people’s agendas, you stop time leaks and push your own agenda to reinvent yourself with a leadership mindset.

Bundle your expertise into a package

Take your years of experience and lessons learned and package your expertise as a product when sitting in meetings. You pitch your ideas based on the pitfalls you learned the hard way and become the credible resource raising the red flags during the project because you know exactly how things should be run, the right way. You go from being 1-2-3 task-oriented to looking at your job from a higher level lens, wired to see the full picture versus just your previous corner of the world. A gutsy thought leader drops a bomb in a meeting challenging the status quo when needed and is recognized for their creative approach to solutions.

Manage and Mentor someone

Flex your leadership muscle and find someone who is anxious and willing to take on more to grow in their career, whom you can easily mentor and train. This can be a consultant, an intern, a recent college grad who needs someone to take them under their wing. This not only establishes your leadership chops but also gives you more credibility when larger projects open up and management is hunting for someone who has the entire package: delivering service with value. You have the expertise, understand the business but can also manage and motivate people well.

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How to Select a High Quality Freight Broker

There are several reasons to use a freight broker, perhaps you have purchased an item across the country or need to get an item (s) shipped to your customer and you’re looking for an easy, cost effective way to get it done. Whatever the reason may be, this guide has been put together to help you select a high quality freight brokerage company.

LEGAL

Do they have a Freight Broker Bond and operating authorities?

As of October 1st, 2013 Freight brokers are required by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to have in place either a BMC-84 or BMC-85 freight broker bond in the amount of $75,000 U.S Dollars in order to maintain an active operating authority. The BMC-84 is a surety bond provided by an insurance company who is willing to guarantee the 75K in case the broker defaults on payments. The insured (broker) will pay a yearly premium of $1,000 to $12,000 in order to get this insurance in place. The BMC-85 removes the insurance company and is put in place by the broker themselves or a bank by putting $75,000 into a trust fund. The main benefit to a trucking company is that they have a bit more of a guarantee that they will get paid and that a less reputable broker isn’t going to take the money from the customer and run without paying the trucker. The benefit to the shipper is very similar in the idea that they don’t have to fear that after they pay the broker the trucking company is going to come after them later if the broker takes off. This has helped reduce the amount of fraud in the industry as the broker now has to be financially stable before they even start. This is all fine if your in the USA or using a U.S. based broker but if you’re in Canada its a little different story. Currently the only province in Canada that regulates freight brokers is Quebec, who requires brokers to be registered with the CTQ. However in order to get active authorities the FMCSA stated that Canadian Brokers need to obtain the bond as well. This has left many brokers Canadian brokers in a grey area as the U.S. says they need it while Canada says they do not. Even if a Canadian broker wanted to get a bond it is very tough to find a U.S. or Canadian insurance company to quote it or offer it for a decent price. In conclusion, it is a good idea for all brokers to have it as it is beneficial to everyone and chances are if a Canadian broker has obtained a bond they are extremely financially stable.

INSURANCE

Do they have proper insurance to protect your goods for transport?

Chances are that the trucking company the freight broker or Freight brokerage company hires for you will have more than enough insurance to cover the value of your goods in the case of an accident but it is a good idea for the broker to have insurance as well. You will want your broker to obtain proper insurance l just in case the trucking company is running with expired insurance or the broker forgets to check the trucking companies insurance in the first place. Either way you want to make sure you are covered. A reputable freight broker will have this insurance in place and will likely provide a copy of it before you have a chance to ask for it. You will want to see a minimum of 1 million liability, 250k cargo (unless the value of your goods is higher of course) and an errors and omissions policy is always a good idea.

REFERENCES

Can you find non bias references or referrals?

A good freight broker will likely have reviews on Google about past shipments, however keep in mind that these may be higher on the negative side as a person who had a good experience is much less likely to take the time out of their schedule to write a review in the first place. The best place to start would be from a friend or college who is in the shipping business. Chances are they have used one or more freight brokers before that should be able to point you in the right direction. The broker may also be able to provide references but unless it’s from a big reputable company it is likely not going to be very useful.

Experience

Has the freight broker ever done this before?

Another important part to look for is if the broker has any experience brokering freight. You will want to make sure they know what they are doing as moving freight isn’t as simple as calling a trucking company and sitting back. They may have experience in moving dry van freight but no experience moving Agricultural equipment. Different types of freight have a lot of different requirements to get it shipped. If the item is crossing internationally you will want to make sure the broker has experience doing that as mistakes may end up costing 1000’s of dollars. An experienced broker will be able to answer pretty well any question you may have about moving freight.

These are just a few of the key areas to look at before choosing a freight broker to move your freight. A broker that scores well in the above 4 areas will ensure your shipment is moved fast, on time and on budget.