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Apps That’ll Make You Feel Like There Are 40 Hours in a Day

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Time: it’s a wonderful thing that nobody has these days. Too many meetings and appointments and happy hours and Instagram photos to get everything done.

But stress no more! With a few downloads, you can possess the apps that’ll make you more productive by saving minutes and hours you would otherwise waste away. Ready to check them out?

  • Fetch (free)—Calling itself a “personal buying assistant,” Fetch makes shopping so much faster. Tell the app what you want to buy by uploading a picture, writing a message, or speaking to it, and then real people research the best prices and applicable coupon codes. Plus, they place the order for you using the billing and shopping info from your account. Easy, right?
  • Waze (free)—If you hate traffic (aka if you are a normal human), download Waze now. The app not only tracks traffic, but uses real-time traffic conditions as reported by users able to see the most current road conditions, construction delays, and accidents. It doesn’t get much more accurate than this, and that’s all you can hope for when you need to get somewhere without any hassle.
  • Doodle ($3)—Planning a get-together with friends or meetings with co-workers can be such a pain. How many emails do you send back and forth trying to figure out a day and time that works for everyone? With Doodle, you choose a few date options, send out a poll to the group, and quickly see what works with everyone’s schedules. Your work and social life just got upgraded.
  • Cabin (free)—Great for families or friends, Cabin is a quick, effortless way to communicate and plan with groups. Aside from messaging and photo sharing, you can assign tasks (like pick up dinner) or get reminders to check something off your own list. There’s also location tracking to see where people are if you’re expecting them, so you can cut out all the back and forth texting.
  • Evernote (free)—If you only use one app to kick up your productivity levels, make it Evernote. The app is a streamlined place to take notes, store articles, record memos, snap pictures, organize receipts, and so much more. The best part is it makes it supereasy to search this data, so you can find all your essentials in a jiffy. Oh, and it runs off cloud storage, which means you can access all this precious info from nearly any device.
  • FastCustomer (free)—Ugh to waiting on a customer service call. If you’ve ever spent part of your day listening to an automated voice or pressing “0” to talk to someone, then you’ll appreciate this app. Just enter which company and which department you’d like to talk to, and your phone will ring once a real, live agent is able to talk to you over the line. It’s so simple, it’s genius.

The story was originally published on PopSugar.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

8 Ways Salespeople Can Keep Generating Leads

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

During a client’s sales meeting, we got into a discussion regarding pipeline values. Needless to say, the number of prospects and dollar values were insufficient to achieve the overall corporate revenue objectives.

Several of the salespeople blamed marketing for not generating enough quality leads (ever hear that before?). As the discussion of “territory development” evolved, several of the salespeople simply didn’t feel it was their responsibility to prospect because of the futility of cold calling and event marketing.

In many organizations, marketing is expected to develop leads via a well-messaged nurturing campaign with a quality database and an objective, in order to set up the salesperson with a highly qualified opportunity. In this format, there may be a series of marketing campaigns, tele-salespeople and a well-designed CRM reporting system. In other organizations, there is limited marketing of this nature, with an expectation that sales will build relationships that lead to additional business opportunities. The question is, as a sales manager, how should you structure your sales team’s expectations around prospecting?

First, it depends. What is your sales process? Are you selling large accounts with a complex sales cycle or are you more transactional with short sales cycles selling to small business? Are you territory-based or open territories? Your business type will alter what works.

Second, it is my belief that salespeople need to prospect continually: the real question is how.

Listed below are eight tips for how salespeople can keep prospecting.

  1. Networking: Every salesperson should attend one networking event a month; this should not be negotiable.
  1. Circles of influence: Develop a list of individuals who can influence your sales opportunities or refer business to you. Depending upon your industry, these could CPAs, commercial real estate brokers, contractors, architects, etc. Each of these individuals need to be contacted at least once a quarter.
  1. 20/20 plan: Each salesperson sends two distinct direct mail pieces referring to your products/services to 20 suspects: 20 pieces one week, 20 the next week. The third week, the salesperson calls the 20 suspects. This process is repeated each week.
  1. Thought leadership events: Schedule one breakfast event a month with a topic based upon thought leadership marketing. This event is driven by marketing, but the salesperson is responsible to call and invite individuals to the meeting. This gives the salesperson a reason and message to communicate to their prospects.
  1. Referrals: The salesperson should ask their customers for referrals twice a year.
  1. “Bus-ecosystem”: Each salesperson should develop relationships with three to five other salespeople who sell non-competitive, but related products or services in a common marketplace.
  1. “Who you know” list: Each salesperson should create a list of everyone they know: friends, business associates, professionals. Then hold a sales meeting idea to come up with “titles” of individuals your sales team might know. Make sure these contacts know what you do and what problems you can solve using a personal letter.
  1. Review calendars: Set aside some time to review your calendar for the past 12 months, you might find someone you had forgotten to follow up with.

The story was originally published on Entrepreneur.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Architects Shaping The Offices Of The Future

November 18, 2014 Leave a comment

In what was to be his last public appearance before his death, Steve Jobs detailed to Cupertino city council, California, in 2011 the plans behind Apple’s new headquarters – a 71 hectare (176 acre) campus with an enormous O-shaped building for 13,000 employees at its heart.

Jobs claimed that they had the opportunity to construct “the best office building in the world”, the donut-like plan by Norman Foster hinged not just on aesthetics but also ensuring the possibility for collaboration between workers who would be able to walk around the new campus, a concept which is central to how architects now look at the modern office.

Much like when he scrapped plans for three buildings for a new Pixar headquarters in 2000 in favour of one vast space with an atrium at the centre so that employees had to run into each other and interact, the building is aimed at encouraging collaboration – a trend which illustrates that the modern workplace is no longer just seen as the desk but also the area around it.

Simon Allford, a director of architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), said that when he started his career, design centred around getting from the lift to the desk as quickly as possible. This has changed in the last decade.

“The journey is actually seen as beneficial because as people are working in different ways, you are not expecting them to be only working in one place, therefore work is a kind of continuous activity and you are always thinking,” he said.

The BBC’s new Broadcasting House headquarters in central London has large units similar to American diner booths in common areas where staff can have chance meetings, while the redeveloped headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) at Portland Place will have a “forum” where different parts of the organisation can congregate.

In California, the design of technology firm NVIDIA’s new headquarters takes its influence from computer chip design, where the connections for the flow of information are made before other parts of the chip are added on. With this in mind, stairs were replaced with platforms so that other activities could be carried out there and landings are oversized and used for meetings.

“There are great stories of researchers having incidental space and just bumping into one another and having ideas,” said Stephen Hodder, president of the Riba and chairman of Hodder and Partners Architects.

This move away from the office desk as the main place of productivity is one of the developments in workplace design which has seen the real estate departments of large corporations realise that packing employees tightly into spaces will not necessarily result in greater productivity, according to Philip Tidd from the design and architecture firm Gensler.

“The idea that the desk is a unit of productivity is changing very, very rapidly. Your productivity is not measured by the amount of time you sit behind a thing called a desk. It is what you do. It is about your output,” he said. “It is about getting the balance of specs right so it is not just get everybody in the open, have open plan but have the right balance of spaces where you can get in a zone of concentration.”

This requirement for varied features in office buildings is cemented by the longer hours of many workers, notably in the technology sector, and as a result new offices are now seen to need different areas for working and letting off steam, a tactic most notably championed by Google.

The new White Collar Factory, which is to open beside east London’s “Silicon Roundabout” and designed by AHMM, will have a running track for the companies that take up space there.

“When people work longer hours, you need to escape from work at work and also do different kinds of work in different places,” said Allford. The new Google building in King’s Cross is being designed along the lines of a theatre with the furniture as props which can be moved depending on the needs of the staff, he said.

The all-inclusive use of office space and breakdown of traditional barriers has also been seen in the new BBC building, the interior of which was designed by architects HOK. As all carpets and fabrics have been tested for the screen, filming can now take place across the whole building, according to Andy Baker, who oversees the corporation’s London locations. Radio studios were also rehoused in glassed areas which cut the space they needed and added to the atmosphere, he said.

This breakdown of traditional barriers is also beginning to creep into status and hierarchy, according to Tidd. Those higher up the food chain got bigger offices – culminating in the cherished corner site. But those who usually get the prime spaces are typically executives who are out a lot and do not need them.

“Your seniority in the organisation, your status in the organisation, does not need to be reinforced by how much space you get,” he said, citing a Brimingham law firm which is all open plan where none of the partners have offices.

The Riba says the demand for high-quality workplaces is on the rise constantly and contributes to the recruitment and retention of staff.

“As the country has shifted from being a largely manufacturing base to a service base, I think there is a staggering statistic which is that almost three quarters of the UK’s GDP is generated largely by office service industries. It is incredible to think of that and so the design of those and the optimisation of design of workplace is hugely important to underpin,” said Hodder.

The story was originally published in The Guardian.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

10 Ways To Decrease Distractions In The Office

November 11, 2014 Leave a comment

The Internet is full of gloomy articles about workers who hate their open cubicles and yearn for private offices, where they believe their lives would be full of productivity and peace.

Today’s open environments are designed to foster collaboration by eliminating barriers and making informal interactions easier and more frequent. However, an increase in informal interactions creates distractions, making it more difficult to get the work done.

Susan Cain, author of the book ” Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” says this can be difficult for introverts, since they “are more easily overwhelmed, reacting to what’s going on around them.”

Since it’s unlikely that everyone can claim a private office, here are 10 ways to decrease distractions for the introverts in us all, based on Cain’s design principles for the workplace:

Give employees permission to be alone:

  1. Create drop-in workstations where no phones or interruptions are allowed.
  2. Turn a small conference room into private drop-in space, and add homey touches like a small sofa, a pull-up table, and a lamp.
  3. Give staff permission to select the correct setting for a particular task. Make sure management adapts the attitude that it’s OK to work away from your desk and lead by example — management should use these spaces too!

Allow staff to have control over their environment:

  1. Introduce music speakers in quiet rooms, and allow users to control the playlist.
  2. Give workers a desk lamp for personal control over lighting. Haworth’s LIM desk lamp is slim and energy efficient.
  3. Create boundaries around technological distractions, and set policies and expectations around how frequent you expect staff to respond to email/phone messages. Email, phone calls, text messages, twitter can be just as disruptive as that annoying co-worker, and you can experience this loss of productivity even if you have a private office.

Create sensory balance:

  1. Add touches from home by using different textures and patterns to the workplace like pillows, plants, rugs, vases, books and sculptures. Society6 has an awesome collection of fun pillows at reasonable prices. I especially love the faux books of Bookworm or the geometric shapes in tryypyzoyd. Introduce calming colors with wall paint or add interesting accent lighting – go retro with the Aston by Rejuvenation. Or, add a touch of wood with West Elm’s Bentwood pendant.
  2. Try some acoustical solutions to block out unwanted noise.

Provide psychologically safe areas:

  1. Apply “frosted-look” film to glass windows on private spaces to give workers more privacy. However, keep the bottom 12-18 inches clear to increase a sense of security, and to allow occupants to see if someone is approaching.
  2. Think about the orientation of desks and furniture: Orient desks and seating towards doors and openings so occupants can see visitors approaching.

Don’t forget about the extroverts, either: Make sure you have places in the workplace that have increased activity levels like coffee bars, gathering areas, and social spaces. Make sure you buffer these spaces from the quiet ones.

The story was originally published in Dallas Business Journal.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Sales Lessons Learned From Golf

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Planning A Corporate Event To Remember

October 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Planning a great corporate event is time-consuming. Make your investment work for you by giving your attendees an event that inspires, motivates, and engages. Regardless of its size, any company can host a successful corporate event to promote its brand, motivate its employees, and attract new customers. For example, an online magazine may wish to boost its marketing efforts by throwing an event at a related venue. These sites can include a historic building or an industry-related location such as a classic car showroom or a tech museum. Additionally, your corporate event can reach a new level by highlighting a keynote speaker who can add value, expertise, and innovation to the attendees’ experience. While your imagination is the limit when choosing a theme, savvy planners take advantage of emerging trends to create a memorable and successful event.

Plan an Experience, Not Just a Meeting

With the exception of new hires fresh out of college, most professionals have attended at least one corporate event. Over the years, these meetings may have become predictable events with little new to offer its attendees. Even if the subject matter is new, its impact is muted when attendees spend the entire conference in a hotel ballroom, peering at a PowerPoint presentation while drinking coffee.

One tourism board in the U.K. reports that the country’s many historic structures are popular sites for corporate events. These include sweeping cathedrals and castles, lending an exotic sensibility to an unforgettable conference. Other memorable sites for team-building exercises include outdoor venues such as beaches, wildlife parks, and survival programs.

Hire a Compelling Guest Speaker

Regardless of your industry, a vibrant guest speaker can energize and engage your attendees. The ideal keynote speaker does not need to be an industry expert. Often, a speaker from outside your business sector can spark a reaction from the attendees in a way that an insider cannot. Professional speakers are able to make a variety of presentations that can motivate the audience, challenge their assumptions, and inspire them. For example, you may hire a speaker who can address adversity, conflict resolution, customer relations, and time management. Other relevant subject areas include persuasion, ethics and integrity, life balance, and mentoring.

Your industry may not relate to shrimp boats, but a talented speaker who is able to use life lessons from the movie, “Forrest Gump,” can bring a fresh perspective to the event. Likewise, an Air Force pilot who survived an ejection into the ocean can inspire an audience of telecommunications professionals with a narrative of persistence and resilience. The sky can be the limit in selecting a guest speaker who engages, inspires, and motivates your conference attendees.

If your schedule and budget allows, look for speakers who can offer one or more auxiliary presentations in addition to their keynote address. When your attendees connect with a speaker, an additional presentation on another day injects a sense of anticipation and continuity into the conference.

Break from Tradition

Holding a corporate event at a hotel or conference center may be an expensive proposition. Every aspect of the meeting might be costly, from coffee and meal service, wireless Internet, and a hefty gratuity. Many event planners mitigate the cost of a conference by selling sponsorships to related entities. These sponsorships typically result in a conference room full of banners or an attendee packet filled with colorful flyers trying to out-neon the others. A few innovative and effective sponsorship ideas that can attract the attendees’ attention include:

  • Event apps with sponsored splash pages, banner ads, or show schedules. Be sure you don’t overdo it and have sufficient bandwidth to handle the app traffic. Perhaps a company can sponsor a code that enables the user to access faster connections to improve their user experience.
  • Event sponsors can underwrite the cost of Wi-Fi service within the venue, placing their corporate logo on a handout with the login code as well as ensuring the logo appears on the login page. Sponsored connectivity services also reduce the planner’s budget, boosting attendance and making it more affordable.
  • Industries that require its professionals to maintain a polished appearance can include sponsorship of a portrait photographer and a makeup artist, giving attendees free head shots. These professional portraits add gravitas to professional profiles, website bios, and LinkedIn profiles.

Event planners can present bundled sponsorships, allowing the sponsors to maintain a continual and useful presence throughout the event. These opportunities include blogs, white papers, webcasts, a prominent place on the event’s website, and placement on video walls.

No longer are corporate events a week-long snooze-fest fueled by bad coffee and lit by hotel ballroom lighting. Make your event a memorable one with fresh, uncommon indoor and outdoor venues; a compelling guest speaker to add value and variety to the schedule; and corporate sponsorships that involve and engage your attendees. While some events are mandatory for many employees, optional events will perish or flourish depending on what you offer attendees in exchange for their investment of time and money.

The story was originally published in Small Biz Daily .

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

3 Simple Ways To Build Great Customer Relationships

Organizations with great customer relationships are able to grow their businesses without gimmicks, fee cuts or special treatment. You have to be good at what you do, of course, but having a truly successful business is based on one simple concept: trust.

With trust, you’ll have customers (or clients) for life. Without trust, you may as well pack up and go home.

Building trust takes time and a lot of hard work. But it’s entirely doable if you and your teamwork on three of your most important core competencies: service, consistency and transparency.

Great Service Matters
According to a Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey, when customers trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend a trusted company to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently. While hardly anyone talks about the time you went above and beyond for a customer, you’ll certainly hear from the disgruntled ones if you failed to make a deadline or delivered a product that didn’t do what you had promised.

Earning a customer’s trust starts with giving great service. How would you want to be treated if you were a customer? The reality is that service should come naturally, instead of being strategically planned. The more you plan for great service, the less time you’ll spend delivering it.

Sure, there will be times when you’ve tried your best and can’t seem to make any headway with a particular problem. But you want to strive for responsiveness, timeliness and exceeded expectations.

Consistency Breeds Harmony
Consistency goes hand in hand with providing great service. Internal expectations lead to external results.

From a business perspective, consistency applies to every aspect of what you do:

  • Your employees should provide equivalent levels of service.
  • Equipped with the tools they need, your sales team should answers questions the same way.
  • You should stay the course with your products and services, rather than constantly shifting gears to try new tactics or initiatives.
  • Create meaningful measurement to determine whether something is working. If it isn’t viable, you should have a plan in place to make changes.
  • Consistency puts your money where you mouth is within your organization. From a leadership perspective, consistent performance shows employees what you expect from them. For example, if you miss a meeting without a good reason, don’t be surprised if they do the same.

Transparency Is Clear
Transparency is another competency that should come naturally. Yet so many businesses have trouble coming to terms with what it really means.

Customers and clients are smart. They know when you’re being up front or when they are told a mistruth. If honesty is the best policy, they’ll appreciate and admire you more when you admit to a mistake, rather than playing games or even worse, avoiding the topic altogether.

Don’t try to hide or cover up your errors. Address the issue directly, explain how you will handle it and share what steps are being taken to prevent the errors from occurring in the future. To implement transparency effectively, lead by example. Your employees will also admire you more for your honesty.

Sealing the Deal
Maintaining solid business relationships does not mean your customers or clients have to like you. Everyone wants to be liked. But creating customers and clients for life is more about them trusting you to deliver on your promises. It takes effort, but in the end your hard work will pay off again and again, with repeat business, more referrals and personal peace of mind, knowing you met and exceeded your customers’ expectations.

The story was originally published in Small Business Center.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.