You Can Turn That Festival Romance Into A Long-term Customer Relationship

With summer well underway, we are now officially into festival season. And, you know what that means? It’s time to take your company on the road.

Whether you’re attempting to grow a food brand or extend your fashion reach, festivals offer fantastic marketing opportunities. People travel from all over the country. And, if you manage to secure yourself a spot, you can reach out to them all in one neat place.

Of course, though the crowds are ready-made, it’s down to you to consider how to impress them. And, if you want to gain the full benefits, you’ll also need to think about how you can turn festival customers into loyal followers. Lucky for you, that’s precisely what we’ll be talking about here. So, read on to find out how to make sure that festival romance doesn’t end once you pack up and go home.

 

 

Offer competitive prices

When companies head to festivals, they often charge above the odds. And, undeniably, you can raise your prices a little. But, don’t get carried away. Raise your rates as much as you need without making them extortionate. That way, you’re sure to stick in people’s minds at a reasonable business. That alone could be enough to see those customers coming back down the line.


Give them a way to remember you

Make sure, too, to give festival customers a way to remember you. Business cards are a fantastic idea here. Include your website and twitter handle, then pop these in each customer’s bag. Equally, you could offer branded bags. It might even pay to get something fun, like a small company badge for each customer. That way, there’s a whole load less chance you’ll blend in with the other stalls in their memory.

Make sure you’re one of the last standing

Over the course of a long festival, many companies may start to struggle. Some will run out of stock while others will find stall generators give up the ghost. Slowly, those still operating will reduce. And, that’s when you can really make ripples. As well as showing you to be professional, this again ensures you stand out from the crowd. And, that can keep those customers remembering you for a while to come. So, develop a delivery system which ensures you never run out of stock. Take a spare generator to ensure you don’t lose power. You could even look out for a crane truck for sale which will allow you to tow broken equipment and hide the evidence from passersby. They’ll be left wondering how you’ve managed to stay afloat when so many others have fallen. And, you can reap the rewards of those soaring profits.

 

 

As you can see, anyone who says festival romances don’t last is wrong. All you need to do is put in a little effort, and make sure you’re thinking of the future from the very start. Then, that festival setting could soon become the backdrop for a long-term relationship you’ll both be happy with.  

 

Category: Uncategorized

Proof Urban Farming Is Big Business

 

The world is now full of social movements, but the one that is (arguably) capturing the most attention can be found in the world of grocery shopping because the ‘buy local’ movement almost seems unstoppable now. It’s a new mindset the consumer has become obsessed with and now agricultural businesses have had to celebrate, every part of the chain accepting it’s the future.

It’s fresher and healthier foods. It’s building stronger local economies. It’s allowing consumers to have direct contact with food producers. And it’s trying to aim for lower carbon emissions, instead of flying a pack of grapes 3,500 miles around the world.

The problem is: most of us don’t have an opportunity to get stuck into this movement beyond shopping at the local farmer’s markets and doing your online shop at FarmDrop. That said, entrepreneurs and businesses are coming up with increasingly amazing ways to make local agriculture a big part of urban living, and here are some of our favourite examples.

 

GrowUp Box

This twenty-foot container in London has reinvented the term “box lunch’. The guys and girls here farm tilapia, the fish swimming about below helping the vertically grown greens above them are getting the nutrients they need to survive and thrive. It’s quite something to behold.

 

Food Forest

Sat in the heart of Seattle, this dollop of public land (read: 7-acre site) has been transformed into an edible food forest full of fruit and nut trees, pumpkin patches, and berry bushes of every variety. It’s becoming it’s very own mini-ecosystem, but one where the aim is less maintenance and higher yields.

Pasona HQ

Pasona is a staffing company in Japan, but their headquarters are like nowhere else on earth. It’s a place where tomatoes dangle from the ceiling, cone bottom tanks have become art features, herbs grow in the meeting rooms and a rice paddy has become the centrepiece of their lobby. Here’s the best bit though: it’s not just to boost the local food message. It’s there to relax employees, encourage creative thinking, and build the community. The food also gets served in the company cafeteria.

Brooklyn Grange

This two and a half acres growing space is hidden at the top of a pair of sky-high office buildings and was designed as a way of increasing food production without increasing the agricultural footprint. Clever. It’s also been a huge success thus far with the project producing 50,000lbs of food it then sells through farmers markets, subscriptions and wholesale. But that’s not all. It also collects a million gallons of stormwater each year, meaning the city’s drainage system doesn’t have to.

Urban Organics

Based in Minnesota, his once-upon-a-time-brewery is now an aquaponics operation that supplies salad greens and fish to local grocery stores and restaurants, and it does so using just 2% of the water used in conventional agriculture. This is no not-for-profit side project though. This is a fully-fledged for-profit farm that has high hopes of proving aquaponics can be commercial viability and even help encourage economic development in the area.

 

Category: Business

This One Thing Could Save Your Business!

 

Let’s be totally honest, running a business can be exhausting. Of course, it’s one of the most thrilling and enjoyable things in the world as well, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not also incredibly difficult. A lot of that difficulty comes from the fact that, as the owner of the business, you’re tasked with keeping a lot of plates spinning all at once. This is a particular difficulty for small business owners and startups. Large companies can have entire departments dedicated to specific areas of the business, but a small startup has no such luxury. Instead, it ends up being your job to deal with every single problem that comes up. Of course, it doesn’t need to be that way. Outsourcing is one of the best ways to take some of that pressure off your shoulders. Not only that but it can also give your business just the boost it needs in order to reach its full potential. Here are a few ways in which outsourcing can be the secret to your business’s success.

 

Finances

Every business owner knows how important their finances are. Without a strong bottom line then a business simply can’t survive, no matter how great your product or service might be. And yet, despite this, plenty of business owners tend to give their finances far less attention that they should. There’s a pretty simple reason for this. Finances are both complicated and boring. They lack a lot of the excitement and engagement that things like customer services and marketing provide. But that doesn’t mean it’s not something that needs your attention. Because of that, outsourcing tasks like dealing with invoices and accounts allow you to focus on the things that you really care about. That way you can focus your energy where it’s going to be most useful without sacrificing the attention that the other side of your business really needs.

 

Recruitment

A business is only as good as it’s employees and finding the right employees can be a real struggle. Wading through applications, setting aside the total duds from those with potential, then going through days of interviews before finally finding the right person can be both exhausting and a serious waste of time. By outsourcing your recruitment to an outside agency then a great but chunk of that work is taken off your hands. The agency will wade through all of the non-starters and will only send you the candidates that they think can really bring something positive to your business.

 

Marketing

There’s a strange assumption in the modern business world that marketing is somehow easy or simple. Part of this comes from the fact that the internet allows businesses to market themselves to more people at once than ever before, even without a huge marketing budget. However, that doesn’t mean that creating marketing strategies is any easier now that it was before. In fact, if anything it’s harder because there are even more ways in which to do it. By outsourcing your marketing to companies like Creed Marketing then you put it in the hands of professionals who understand the importance of crafting creative, innovative strategies that are designed to bring in not only the largest amount of customers but to bring in the right kind of customers as well.

 

It might be hard to let certain aspects of your business go, but it really is the very best thing for it. The key is to try and remove your ego from the equation and do what’s best for everyone, not just what you want.

 

Category: Business

3 Ways To Grow Your Delicious Food Brand

 

The world has gone absolutely bonkers for delicious and nutritious foods. Absolutely bonkers. Thankfully, you managed to get onto the bandwagon and at just the right time and with just the right foodie-product, which is why you’ve been enjoying some serious sales at the local Farmer’s Market. You’ve always got a queue to your stall and you’re always folding away your gazebo before everyone else. You’ve even managed to get a couple of your local grocery stores to stock your products on a shelf. One of them has even dedicated a little room to your growing brand. It’s amazing.

 

But now you’re faced with a rather unique problem: do you try and grow beyond what you have and, if yes, how do you do that?

 

Well, the answer is getting creative. You’re not big enough to throw a million bucks at the answer but you know you want to make this your full-time gig. So, without further ado, here are some amazing ways to start growing your food-company into the realms of success-ville:

 

  1. Take It To A Festival

When you’re still smallish, like you are, one of the best things you can do to get your product and brand in front of more hungry eyes is to take it to a festival or a fair. Go somewhere food is loved and cherished, somewhere you can still interact with your customers, present your infectious passion, tell them what’s in it and, best of all, do some market research. There are so many festivals and fairs you can attend and all you really need is a standout display to grab people’s attention. So many great brands have built their success on the back of shows.

 

  1. Get It Into An Independent Supermarket

This is the dream, right? Getting your product onto the shelves of a retail giant that has thousands of stores across the country. But this is no easy feat. Not just to get in there, but to scale up to manage this kind of demand. Our advice would be to inch your way there. If there is an independent store that’s big in an area, try getting it in there, whether that means looking into reefer trucking to get it across country safely or dropping it off at your local store yourself. Building a recognizable food brand requires baby steps like this. It will let you grow steadily and not ruin your business by growing too quickly.

 

  1. Sell Your Products Online

There’s no better way to get your food in front of the world than to sell it online. To really build your brand, you’ll want to sell on your website and hire a creative copywriter to bring your website to life. You can then start a blog and offer people recipe advice, cooking tips, and all sorts. Don’t forget to show off your delicious foods on Instagram too – that’s where people salivate most. But don’t limit your online presence to just that. Get your product onto other food-loving ecommerce stores too.

 

Growing a food brand is different from other businesses. It’s more personal. It’s more fragile. But it’s totally possible, and it will feel amazing when you pull it off.

Category: Business

Investment Tips For Small Business Owners

 

Running a company is never easy, especially if you have a limited amount of capital. Unfortunately, determination and skill alone are not enough to run a small business. If you are feeling the pressure and you need to raise some funds, investing is a great place to start. With that in mind, read on to discover a few investment tips that can help small business owners get started.

Always do your research – There is only one place to begin, and this is with research. You would not make a critical business decision without putting in the required research, would you? So, why should investing be any different? No matter whether it is cryptocurrency, penny stocks, or you are looking for the best virtual reality stocks to buy, you need to do your research so that you fully understand the market and what you are putting your money into.

 

Align investment and business goals – This is undoubtedly one of the most critical pieces of advice for any small business owner that is considering investing. You need to start by taking a close look at your business plan and goals, as well as financing and debt load. This will then help you to put together an investment plan that makes sense for your business. After all, investing should not be viewed as a way to supplement income, but to enhance it.

Avoid leverage – While it is true that you can enhance your profits with leverages, it can easily go the other way, and it is vital to remember this. Leveraging will amplify your losses just as much as your gains, and when your business is on the line, it is really not worth the risk.

Keep time on your side – It is important to recognise that investing is not a get rich quick scheme. If you are looking to accumulate money for immediate access because you are incredibly cash strapped, this is not the way to go about. Investing is a long-term money making solution, which will help you to continue to grow and develop your business, rather than getting you out of any immediate issue.

Diversify your investments – You will have heard the saying that you should never put all of your eggs into one basket, and this is definitely the case when it comes to investing. You need to have a diversified portfolio consisting of different investments with different risk profiles. This means that when one stock devalues, you don’t run the risk of everything plummeting.

As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to investing as a small business owner. Nevertheless, if you follow the advice that has been provided, you should have no trouble investing wisely and alleviating any financial concerns you have at the moment.

 

Category: Business

Ways to Encourage Better Employee Health

 

Employees are any business’ greatest asset and that means that you should take very good care of them. The healthier your employees are, the better they will perform overall during the time with you, the fewer sick days they will take and the happier and more productive your company will be.

 

So, I think you’ll agree, it makes sense to do anything you can to encourage and facilitate better employee health, right? Well here are a few things that will help you do just that:

 

1.Invite health Professionals In

 

Having doctors and other health professionals come into the workplace to talk about common health issues, particularly those which can arise at work, how to prevent them, and what to do if you think you may be ill is a great way to get employees thinking more seriously about their health. It will also serve to show them that you are a caring employee who is truly concerned about their wellness.

 

  1. Offer Incentives for Vaccinations

 

If you’re concerned about your employees being struck down with flu, which can really do a number on your productivity, invite a health professional in to conduct workplace vaccinations and make getting them attractive to your employees by offering a small bonus, a little time off or whatever you think will encourage them to come along and take preventative measures.

 

  1. Provide More Healthy Options

 

Instead of filling your workspace with lots of unhealthy vending machines dispensing sugary sodas, deep fried chips and unhealthy candy bars, install machines that offer fruits, veggies, water and other healthy snacks. If you have a cafeteria, ensure that as many of the offerings as possible are healthy too. Why? Because a healthy diet is arguably the single most important thing anyone can do for their health, and if you make it easier for your staff to have one, you will all see benefits now and in the future.


  1. Offer basic Cooking Facilities

 

You may also want to offer basic kitchen/cooking facilities for your employees if you have the space. Even just having a fridge where they can store healthy homemade meals will make a huge amount of difference.

 

  1. Give Them Free Fruits and Veggies

 

Staying on the food theme, leaving a fully stocked fruit basket in the office or stocking the communal fridge with healthy free veggies and maybe some healthy dips like hummus or tzatziki will further encourage healthy eating habits in the workplace because who doesn’t like to get something for free?

 

  1. Reconsider Night Shifts

 

Okay, so this isn’t always going to be possible, but if you look at how working night shifts affects your health, you will see that it is one of the worst things for the health of any employee, and if you can get rid of them entirely or ensure that only the healthiest and most capable workers are hired to work nights, you will do so much to prevent health issues in your employees. It’s something to think about, perhaps for the future.

 

  1. Lower Your Emissions

 

If your company uses vehicles or equipment that emits fumes, do what you can to switch to lesser-polluting vehicles because air pollution is one of the biggest killers in the world and something that can make the people who are forced to breathe them in regularly very sick.

 

  1. Offer Mindfulness Classes

 

Stress is a major cause of sick days, and more importantly, it can make employees very sick, unhappy and even afraid to be in the workplace. As an employer, it is up to you to ensure that your employees experience as little stress as possible and that they are adequately equipped to handle any stress that they do find themselves under. One very effective way of doing this is by offering mindfulness classes in-house. These classes will teach your staff how to deal with their feelings, find more peace in the day and even become more productive while doing so – what’s not to love?

 

  1. Provide Fitness Trackers

 

Providing your employees with fitness trackers like the Jawbone and Fitbit is sure to be an investment well made, especially if you encourage your employees to have a little healthy competition to see who can get the most activity in each week, perhaps offering them a small prize as an incentive. Why? Because these devices encourage the average person to get a bit more active throughout the day and the more active people are, the less likely they are to get sick or experience mild mental health issues. They’ll be healthier, happier and more energetic, which is exactly what your business needs. Fitness trackers really aren’t that expensive, so do consider this option carefully.

 

  1. Subsidize Gym Memberships

 

Another thing that you might want to consider doing if you want your employees to be fighting fit is subsidizing gym memberships for your team. Not only will it help with their health, but the gym is a great place to meet up, bond and discuss work matters in a different environment. I mean, how many deals have you done in the gym or the sauna afterwards?

 

  1. Make Walking Meetings Mandatory

 

Walking meetings are so much better than cramming everyone into a stuffy conference room where they get bored and fidgety within minutes and they are a simple way of sneaking in some activity during the working day. Not only that but it has been shown that being in nature and moving around can help to boost productivity and creativity and lower stress levels, which means this is a good all-rounder to implement in your office.


  1. Install Bike Racks and Showers

 

If you install bicycle racks and sowers int he workplace, you will encourage more of your employees to cycle to work, walk or run instead of commuting, which again will help them to be healthier overall.

13. Make Mental Health Days a Possibility

 

Mental health issues have exploded in recent years and they are causing a huge loss in productivity, not to mention a whole lot of suffering for so many people. As a caring employer, one simple thing you can do to fight against poor mental health and show support to your employees who are facing such difficulties is to mention mental health days in your literature, making it clear that they are not only acceptable but positively encouraged when there is a real need. Don’t make mental health a taboo, do what you can to give those with mental health issues a break and you will see that it does not become an overwhelming issue for your business, at least.

 

  1. Make Everything Ergonomic

 

Make everything from desks and chairs to laptop stands and mice, which can be ergonomic, ergonomic and you will reduce the number of employees who are struck by back and neck pain, repetitive strain injuries and a whole hos to f other painful conditions that are caused by the way they sit, stand and work. It might cost you a little to upgrade your current equipment, but it truly will save you so much more in lost productivity and sick days int he future.

15. Ask for Employee Feedback

 

The most important thing you can do to encourage employee health and wellbeing is really to ask them what they think about their working conditions and what could be improved to help them be healthier. After all, they will know better than anyone what issues they are facing. So, actively encourage feedback and listen to what your employees say!

 

A healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce, so make it happen!

Category: Business

Location Losing You Money? Maybe It’s Time To Move

We’re just going to throw this out there; the location of your business is a bit of a big deal. That much seems obvious, right? It’s the reason why shops in towns always do much better than the ones on the outskirts. It’s the reason why prime-location rent is always so much steeper than out of the way spaces. It doesn’t take a genius to work this stuff out.

 

 

But, in the modern business world, many entrepreneurs make the major mistake of thinking that location isn’t everything anymore. After all, a decent online presence and a top-notch web design could still see you dragging in the dollars. Add to that a winning marketing campaign, and it is possible to see some success without the perfect location.

That’s not to say, though, that location doesn’t still matter a little. Unless you plan to operate entirely online, your physical space still matters a considerable amount. After all, renting or buying a commercial space is one of the most colossal expenses you’re likely to face. And, you need to ensure it pays off by picking the right place to set up.

But, how can you tell whether your location is helping or harming your enterprise? In truth, this isn’t always obvious from the onset. It may be that your company’s struggling and you don’t know why. Or, you may just not be doing as well as you had hoped. It might even be that your competitors are outstripping you every which way. This may not seem like the end of the world, but it’s enough to put any company in the ground if they aren’t vigilant.

If you have a suspicion that your space is standing in the way of success, it’s crucial you take action. To help you decide whether this applies, we’re going to look at some sure signs your location is causing you harm.

 

You don’t get much footfall

 

 

Perhaps the most obvious sign of trouble is a lack of footfall. There is now a focus on online sales. But, as can be seen from sites like www.timetrade.com, the reality is that 85% of consumers still choose to shop in physical stores. So, the number of customers you get coming in should still matter. What’s more, online selling relies somewhat on customers seeking you out. By comparison, physical stores in prime locations increase your chances of attracting customers. They may go on to shop online in the future, but your store and branding worked to hook that lead. When you think about it like that, a lack of footfall in your store is more of an issue than you might have considered before. Not to mention the fact this could soon lead to your losing money on that space. And, losing money is never something you want in the business world.

While branding and window displays also have an impact here, location also comes into play. An out of the way shop is never going to pull the crowds the way a space in the center of town will. Admittedly, property prices always reflect this. It may be that you chose this space in the first place because you couldn’t afford anything more central. In that case, though, it’s well worth thinking about gaining financial support for the cause. This might be difficult given your struggles at this stage, but turning to something like the the equity financing found at www.equifyllc.com/equifyfinancial could be the answer. This way, you can take out a loan on the equipment you currently have, regardless of your finances. This may seem like a risk, but your new location is sure to boost your profits enough to pay the difference. One thing’s sure; you won’t last long without taking action.

You’re close to a booming competitor


Of course, merely moving to any prime location isn’t the answer to all your troubles. It may be that your central location is too close for comfort to a successful competitor. If they were in place first, you’re sure to struggle to find success here. After all, customers have to choose between the two of you. And, the other company was established first. As such, it’s unlikely you’ll win this battle. Admittedly, as you can see from articles like this one at www.forbes.com, it is sometimes possible to learn from close proximity to competitors. It may be that you fuel each other to be the best you can. But, ultimately, a location like this won’t work. No matter how much you improve or attempt to outshine the other company, you came second. And, customers won’t forget that. Don’t get confused, either, by thinking that you can do what big companies do. Often, retail giants set up stores purposefully close to competitors in attempts to push them out. But, it takes a big reputation and a lot of money to operate that way. What’s more, most big companies know they stand the chance of a significant loss this way. But, they’re in a position to weather the storm. You most definitely are not. So, accept defeat and pack up. Then, look for a location where you have the monopoly on the market.

The community wants you gone

 

 

It’s not unusual for businesses to come up against opposition from the community they take root in. Admittedly, this is often only the case for larger companies with unethical practices. You don’t exactly fit into that category. But, it’s possible that the community still opposes your presence. It may be that you’re threatening a company they know and love. Or, it may be that you aren’t local to the area, and they’re worried what your presence means for local businesses. Or, perhaps they oppose having a commercial space in this location at all. Either way, opposition like this means serious complications for your commercial space. Over time, it could even lead to you losing substantial amounts of money. The most obvious risk here is that the local community boycotts you altogether. If that happens, the footfall we spoke about at the start will become a thing of the past, no matter how good your location. In extreme cases, local protests may even turn customers further afield against you. And, that has the potential to trickle into your online sales, too. If that happens, your company won’t be long for this world. It is sometimes possible to integrate yourself into the community and overcome opposition. If you manage that, you’ll become a cherished part of the community. But, if you’re taking a real hit because of that opposition, it might be best to move elsewhere.

Your staff have a hard time getting to you


It’s also worth noting that your location has a standing when it comes to your employees, as well. After all, these are the people who have to head to the space each day of their lives. And, if your location isn’t easy to reach, it could do more damage than you realize. And, given employee happiness is crucial for every aspect of what you do, that should be an instant warning sign. After all, as can be seen from articles like this one at time.com, long commutes can do real damage over time. As well as facing health risks, those who travel far to work report decreased feelings of happiness and wellbeing. And, that should come as no surprise, given that they’re adding an extra 40 minutes or so of unpaid time each day. Obviously, you can’t uproot your whole location for one employee with a long commute. But if every member of your team has to hit the road for long stretches each day, a relocation could be beneficial. After all, these are the people who drive your sales. You need them happy!

 

 

There’s no call for your services

Your issues here may come down to the fact that there’s no call for your services in your chosen area. This happens more than you realize, and it’s crucial to recognize before you lose too much money. In most cases, you should do market research into an area before moving. As such, you can hope that this wouldn’t happen. But, even the best business people out there misjudge the market sometimes. And, the best thing you can do in that case is to admit the mistake and move on. It may be that you thought there was a market for your butchers, for instance, but the area’s vastly vegetarian. Or, it might be you thought your trendy clothes store would fit in, but the clientele is older than you anticipated. These are just two scenarios in a long list of reasons for failure here. To make sure you don’t fall foul, do regular research into the local area. Hit the streets and talk to people about what they look for in a company. If you always fall short, it might be best to move on. And, make sure you do thorough research next time, to ensure the same doesn’t happen again!

 

Category: Business

Save More Money In Your Business Today

Most businesses get to the point every now and then of having to cut costs. In fact, you could say that this is something that businesses should do whenever possible. For a lot of companies, it is an ongoing difficulty. For others, it might only be an occasional concern. Either way, it is hugely helpful if you as the owner of the business are able to know how to best cut costs in your own company. This is one of those things that does vary quite dramatically from company to company, so there is no telling exactly what is best for your business. However, there are some choice ways of cutting costs which are always worth looking at and considering, no matter what state your business might be in.

 

Go Wholesale

 

For certain items, you will find that buying in bulk and direct from supplier is going to be a lot cheaper, and therefore a better option for your business in the long run. A good example is anything that you know you are going to use a lot in the future, no matter what. This might mean turning to the likes of Gas Oil Fuelbox for your fuel, or even something as simple as ensuring that you buy your stationery from the supply direct. No matter how big or small the product, if it is something you are definitely going to use then you should consider going wholesale as often as you can. What’s more, you might as well, as you are always going to need them at some point anyway. Make sure to only do this for things where you know you will use them at some point down the line, otherwise buying wholesale might not actually be the best bet. But for anything administrative, you can basically be certain that this is the way to go.

 

Be Green

 

Something that works double well is to consider going green in your business. This works because it usually means you are going to have to take cost-cutting measures automatically – but it also improves your standing with the general public and with your own customers. Clearly, this is beneficial in more ways than one, and it is something that all business owners should think about long and hard if they are to save as much money in their business as they would truly like to. Consider this for a great future in your business.

 

Consider The Options

 

No matter what decision you are making in business, there are always a huge number of options available. You need to make sure that you are always considering these well if you want to save money, as it is only by doing so that you will ever run into the best cost-cutting methods out there. Remember this at every turn, and it will mean that your business can expect a much brighter financial future, no matter what. This is easier than you might think to do, so make sure that you consider it from now on with every decision.

Category: Business

3 Tips for Implementing a Digital Badge Program at Your Organization

This is a great post from Credly, the reason for guest posting here on my blog is that it references two majorly successful programs I created and built.

Here you go:

Today, more than 73 percent of American adults consider themselves “lifelong learners,” according to the Pew Research Center. Increasingly, responsibility for delivering that learning falls upon employers; 89 percent of millennials think it’s important to be “constantly learning” at their job. If they don’t learn, they’ll leave. Faced with the reality that training is a necessity but trainees are highly mobile, companies are struggling to act on Virgin founder Richard Branson’s classic admonition to “train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

As organizations pursue innovative approaches to treating employees “well,” they seek to create thriving cultures of achievement and recognition. Many are discovering that investments in recognition technology pay dividends, with O.C. Tanner reporting that such investments can yield significant improvements in key business outcomes, including a 20 percent increase in revenue, a 26 percent increase in employee retention and a 36 percent increase in customer satisfaction.

To achieve those returns, employers are seeking new ways to memorialize, validate, make use of and share the skills of their employees. They are using digital badges to honor existing employee skills and to publicly recognize new abilities.

Digital badges are portable, data-rich representations of demonstrated skills and certifications. They offer organizations and individuals alike the potential to convert workforce-relevant knowledge and skills into an interoperable currency for the labor market. The best badges offer transparency into the relevant achievement, offering meaningful performance insights that are fully integrated into day-to-day enterprise decisions and activities. Here are three tips to keep in mind when implementing a digital badging initiative at your organization.

Make it Meaningful.

Before getting into the “how” of digital credentials, it’s important to also focus on the “what”: For what skills or competencies will you offer badges? How will you determine when someone meets the criteria to receive a badge? And how can third parties add even more weight to badges through endorsements and standards alignment?

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) engaged regional employers to identify and define the most in-demand skills and competencies in the advanced manufacturing industry. To further solidify the value of the credentials, some are aligned to industry standards, such as the National Institute for Metalworking Standards. In taking this strategic approach, CCCS worked with the people who would ultimately review the badges to ensure they would carry the most value possible in the markets for which they were intended.

Make it Measurable.

Management guru Peter Drucker famously said that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Where a typical resume might list sales responsibilities and even the size of the budget managed, innovative companies like IBM are measuring precise levels of performance and then recognizing that performance with portable, digital and verified evidence in the form of digital badges. At IBM, sales teams review a personal dashboard of over 60 different metrics that track progress toward pre-identified goals and allow individuals to distinguish themselves in the context of a large organization.

PwC has gone one step further with its own “success tracking” program, which makes various employee metrics publicly visible. Team members from both IBM and PwC can be spotted on Twitter on a regular basis sharing their achievements, generating actionable data and marketing value back to both companies.

Make it Interoperable.

Early railways in the U.S. and Canada used six different track widths called gauges. This structure meant tracks were often unusable by other railway operators. As a result, trains – and therefore the flow of people and goods – were limited to certain geographic areas. The standardization of gauges after the Civil War made everything simpler. Trains could travel further, tracks could be shared, and commerce and travel became more efficient.

Standardization in digital credentials provides many of the same benefits, enabling the use of credentials across a wide variety of environments, including social and professional media, learning and talent management systems, and everyday communication media like email and blogs. The IMS Global Learning Consortium today leads the technical specifications for the Open Badges Standard and helps ensure that the emerging labor market currency is accepted wherever opportunity awaits. Make sure the badges you offer your students, employees and members align with these standards, and they will be easily transferrable, providing a plug-and-play experience across a broad digital ecosystem.

Read the original article from Training Industry here

 

Wrapped Up: The Importance Of Secure Packaging

 

Designing a product is never as simple as making some drawings and putting the pieces together. With strict testing law making it hard to release quickly, impatient customers giving you a hard time, and all of the other components taking your focus, it can be easy to ignore something very important, like packaging. This part of a product is one of the most critical, though, and it will be essential that you put some time into making it work for your customers.

 

Protection is essential when your goods are going to be transported in trucks, vans, and on boats and planes. Without this are covered, a large portion of your goods will arrive at your customer’s doors damaged, resulting in loads of returns, along with a drop in confidence surrounding your product. There are a couple of parts of this for most products, and you can find the basic information you’ll need below.

 

 

  • The Box: Cardboard boxes come in loads of different thicknesses and strengths, and this gives you loads of variety to choose from when you’re working on this. Thick-walled options are the best, with some featuring reinforcement, and others using materials like metal to keep them together.

 

 

 

  • The Padding: When you’re choosing your box, it’s likely that the size will be designed to be as little as possible, making it cheaper to move the goods. There has to be room for some foam, though, and you have to be careful to choose the right stuff. Closed-cell foam is great for anything fragile, as it won’t be ruined with the first impact it has to ensure.

 

 

You won’t find many pieces of packaging on the shelves of your local store which don’t have clever designs and eye-catching graphics. To achieve this, there are a couple of areas to consider, and it will be important that you get them both right, or you may struggle to create packaging which people will recognise and want to buy.

 

 

  • The Graphics: Most people don’t have the skills to make logos, labels, and other digital designs. Instead, it’s best to find a graphic designer with a strong portfolio to help your company. This sort of resource will enable you create packaging which people will never forget.

 

 

 

  • The Labels: Getting labels printed for your packaging can be done through a couple of routes. Buying blank waterproof labels and a printer will be very cheap. But, if you want the best results, it will be a good idea to have a dedicated company to print your labels out for you.

 

 

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your company’s packaging. There are loads of products on the market which will never succeed thanks to the poor work which has been done on the boxes to contain them. It never has to be this way, though, as there are loads of resources around the web which can give you all of the support you’ll need; even if you have no experience.

Category: Business