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Posts Tagged ‘business ideas’

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.

 

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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.

How Often Do You Unplug?

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s a chart that’s both surprising and unsurprising.

People in the United States rarely unplug from gadgets according to a survey by CivicScience. As you can see, 43% of those polled say they never unplug. And 17% say a few times a year.

CivicScience seems to have cast a very wide net for its definition of “unplug” with TV, internet, smartphones, etc. counting.

For what it’s worth, I would say I never unplug entirely. I always check the internet even when I’m on vacation. I enjoy it. I like seeing what’s going on in the world. I don’t check email as much, but that’s about it. It doesn’t stress me out too much, unless I see the wrong email.

Anyway, what about you? Do you unplug, do you feel like you need to, or even want to?

Unplug

The story was originally published in the Business Insider.

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.

 

How To Find Focus In The Office

In its simplest sense, mindfulness means balancing the intense pace of life with being fully present in the moment, which many can agree is easier said than done – especially in the office. Employees in North America, for instance, lose 86 minutes per day due to a variety of interruptions in the workplace, and according to a recent study from Steelcase, only 58 percent of workers reported being able to work in teams without being disturbed.

Life is full of distractions, but workers nowadays are still expected to be “always on,” an ironic metaphor given the proliferation of technology in recent years.

Mental fatigue occurs when we’re often at our busiest, and so at Steelcase we’re asking ourselves, how do we design workplaces that offer workers opportunity for moments of rest, rejuvenation or deep focus free from distractions.

My team has recently completed a comprehensive study on wellbeing at work, and found mindfulness to be one of six dimensions of well-being that the workplace can help improve.

As part of our study, researchers identified and developed design concepts that companies can incorporate into their workplace to help encourage mindfulness by enhancing employees’ ability to concentrate and make thoughtful choices amid distractions and disturbances:

  • Offer spaces where people can seek solitude and respite, or connect with others without distractions or interference.
  • Design areas that allow workers to control the amount of sensory stimulation they are exposed to and enable them to amp it up or ratchet it down.
  • Create spaces that help people stay focused as they interact with others one-on-one and eye-to-eye.
  • Offer places that are restorative and calming, which can be achieved through materials, textures, colors, lighting and views.

Take a look around your own office – how many of these principles ring true of the design and environment in your workspace? This issue isn’t distinct to employees alone. It is a bottom-line issue that can potentially affect the entire organization.

Thirty-six percent of a person’s time is spent working. By creating spaces that help people reconnect with what makes their work fulfilling, employers can help ensure that 100% of that worker’s time is helping to build a better work product and a stronger bottom line.

The story was originally published on Steelcase.

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.

 

Staying Connected No Matter Where You’re Headed

In an increasingly mobile world, it’s now possible to stay connected and work from just about anywhere. For many of today’s workers, this means checking into the office during summer vacation. If you’re planning to get some work done on your getaway this year, you’ll need the right tools to do it. Here’s a list of tech gadgets to help you work remotely, no matter where you’re headed.

NuForce Cube
Got a conference call? Don’t worry about not being able to hear your colleagues over the crashing waves in the background. When you plug your headphones into this portable audio station, it bypasses your mobile device’s onboard digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for improved sound quality. It can also serve as a high-performance speaker.

OGIO Covert Shoulder Bag
This slim laptop bag is ideal for air travel. The main, padded compartment keeps your laptop protected and easily accessible, while the secondary compartment is perfect for your chargers, smartphone and other everyday accessories. And don’t worry about damaging this bag at the pool; its water-resistant coating guards against splashes.

Penclic Bluetooth Mouse
No laptop mouse? No problem. Instead of plugging into your computer’s USB port, this Bluetooth-enabled mouse looks, feels and acts like a pen, which allows for faster, more precise navigation. The device features five buttons, a scroll wheel and a laser sensor that operates on almost any surface — without a track pad. With this tool’s two-month battery life, you won’t have to worry about recharging the mouse during your trip.

Booqpad for iPad Air
If you’re constantly searching for paper to jot down memos and thoughts while you’re working, this is the tablet case for you. Made by Booq, it’s a combination iPad Air case, folio and notepad that comes stocked with 50 sheets of eco-friendly paper to make sure you’re always ready to write. The screen protector offers 360-degree protection for your iPad.

Kinivo ZX100 Mini Portable Speakers
Want to listen to some tunes while you work? With these rechargeable mini speakers, you can plug the built-in audio cable right into your phone or laptop for high-quality, 360-degree sound. The speakers’ internal battery lasts for up to 6 hours, so you can spend the day on the beach with them.

Griffin PowerDock 5
Many of today’s workers have multiple mobile devices, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the associated chargers. The PowerDock can store and charge up to five iOS devices simultaneously, with each cable tucked away inside the charging station. You can even keep your iPad right in its case while it charges.

Neptor NP056K Portable Battery Charger
If you left your hotel room for the day and realized you forgot to charge your phone, this dual-port charger lets you power up to two devices at once, without an outlet. With its powerful, 5600mAh battery, you can charge your devices up to four times on just one Neptor charge.

Happy Plugs in-Ear Headphones
Why settle for standard white or black earbuds when you can choose from one of 13 bold colors from Happy Plugs? The built-in microphone makes these headphones ideal for conference calls on the go, while the silicon buds, which come in small, medium and large, fit comfortably in your ears as you listen to music on the plane.

Rapoo E9070 Wireless Keyboard
At just 5.6mm at its thinnest, this wireless keyboard won’t take up much room in your carry-on bag. It features a comfortable scissor-key structure and integrated shortcut controls for audio playback, volume adjustment and Web browsing. The 2.4GHz wireless frequency allows for a smooth, interference-free connection to any computer.

Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp
It may not be the most convenient product to take on a flight with you, but if your vacation is within driving distance, bring along this LED desk lamp. The flexible pivots ensure that the lamp fits into any desk space, and the timer function helps avoid unnecessary energy use. In addition to consuming less power than incandescent and florescent lamps, Satechi’s lamp also has a USB port to charge your mobile devices.

The story was originally published on Business News 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.