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Preparing Your Website for Increased Holiday Traffic

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The holidays are often busy times for businesses, both those that operate in a brick-and-mortar store and those who offer online retailing. For those who offer in-person sales, measures are taken to ensure that there’s adequate inventory and staffing for the increased foot traffic.

The same logic should apply to preparing your website for the holidays. If you aren’t prepared for the increased traffic, your customers will experience slow loading times, errors, and frustration. This all culminates in lost revenue for you. Here’s how you can get your site ready.

Server and Application Monitoring

Having server and application monitoring in place should be a priority year-round. If, however, you’ve somehow managed to do without until now, it’s time to change that. Putting strong server management and application performance monitoring tools in place will help give you an overhead view of any potential pitfalls when traffic increases, and allow you to fix them with minimal downtime.

First, research the environment in which your servers and applications operate. If you run Dell hardware, for example, you’ll want Dell server management tools for seamless integration. Having application monitoring tools in place can tell you what’s going wrong when a problem arises and where on your website users are becoming bottlenecked so you can make changes to your memory allocations.

Consider this: say your website operates well with 100 people browsing at any given time. At least, as long as you have 50 looking through your product offering, 25 browsing through their cart, and 25 in the checkout process. What happens if the traffic breakdown shifts, and you suddenly have 75 people going through the checkout at once?

Without application monitoring, you won’t know that this is going to cause an issue that will potentially lose you a quarter of your potential sales for the day. With those tools in place, you can fix the issue with minimal interruption.

Use Your Google Analytics

While application performance monitoring tools and server management is the most integrative way to prepare for the holidays, Google Analytics is a close second. Use your Google Analytics to collect information from the previous few years so that you can forecast this year’s traffic. By looking at your data history, you’ll be able to determine:

  • what keywords people are using to get to your site;

  • when holiday traffic starts to pick up;

  • what day of the week your customers tend to visit most frequently;

  • what time of day people shop the most;

  • their behavior once they get onto your site;

  • successful sales conversions; and

  • exit pages.

By knowing when people are visiting you the most, you’ll be able to allocate your resources accordingly. Additionally, this information will give you a competitive edge in your marketing efforts, as you can use it to create compelling landing pages and conversions.

Optimize for Mobile

Every year, more consumers are shopping via mobile phones. Stats show that in 2015, one-third of sales made during the holidays took place on a mobile device. Yet, 84% of online consumers have experienced difficulty when trying to complete a transaction via mobile. What does this mean for retailers during the holiday season? You need to put a renewed focus on optimizing your mobile website or application to handle the influx of traffic.

User experience is everything when it comes to using a web application, especially when it pertains to shopping for consumer goods. If you’ve ever doubted the importance of your user experience for online shopping, consider the fact that Amazon once lost $4.8 million in potential revenue when the site went down for 45 minutes.

To adequately prepare your website for the holidays, you need to have strong performance metrics and monitoring protocols in place. Failure to do so means an increase in downtime and a decrease in profits.


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5 Steps to Rebranding Your Small Business

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If your company is failing to generate a healthy annual profit, or consumer demand is changing, you might need to rebrand your business to ensure your company’s survival and growth.

A powerful rebrand strategy could potentially increase your brand recognition, attract many new customers, all while helping to retain your existing clientele.

If you want your brand to flourish in 2019 and beyond, read the following five steps to rebranding your small business.

Step One: Ask Questions

To successfully rebrand your small business, it is a wise move to ask your employees, customers, business associates and industry experts about their opinion on your existing business. Identify what they do or don’t like about your brand, as well as your goods and services.

For example, they might recommend:

The market research will help you to identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses, which could shape the revamping process.

Step Two: Prepare Your Business for Change

Rebranding requires more than a change of logo and tone of voice. To stand out in your industry, you might need to completely overhaul your operations, partnerships, packaging, services and more.

While the process can be daunting, it might be essential for your company’s longevity. So, brainstorm the different ways to develop a USP and cater to consumer demand. Also, keep your employees in the loop to boost both passion and dedication to the company’s new image.

Step Three: Reconsider Your Customer Base

If your brand isn’t working, it could be a sign you are targeting the wrong audience. To increase sales and expand your customer base, consider targeting a new demographic and develop a brand name, logo, tone of voice and customer service to match.

Step Four: Develop a High-Quality Logo

A brand’s logo will convince customers whether to trust in a business or look elsewhere. It is essential to collaborate with a talented graphic designer to develop an eye-catching logo that complements your company’s new image and mission.

Once your logo is complete, you should incorporate it on your website, product packaging, social media profiles, brochures, flyers, etc. If you are running a bricks and mortar business, you also should also buy premium, custom metal signs that can feature your brand’s logo, which could improve your reputation and highlight your professionalism.

Step Five: Dare to Be Different When Promoting a Rebrand

To officially say goodbye to your old, outdated image, promote your company’s rebrand as much as possible. While it is perfectly fine to publish a detailed press release to generate free media exposure, you also should focus on bold marketing campaigns to grab your target demographic’s attention.

For example, you could create a fun video stating why your company has chosen to rebrand. It will allow you to effectively communicate your company’s change of attitude and direction, which could help you to secure many new customers and increase your annual revenue.


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Everything You Need to Know About HR Due Diligence

Acquisitions has many aspects, but one of the most important is human resources due diligence. When one firm acquires another, it also takes on the human capital behind that firm. A relationship is established between two HR teams as they evaluate human resources policies, procedures, and talent in the team itself as well as the company.

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Due diligence is all about the HR team acquainting itself with new leadership, gaining the trust of new employees, and being empathetic to those affected by the acquisition. It isn’t something most people deal with on a monthly or even yearly basis, however. So, here’s everything you need to know.

Reviewing Materials

The information systems team of the HR department needs to conduct an employee census off the bat. This census contains names, positions, salaries, and the date of hire for every employee affected by the acquisition.

It also contains confidential information related to employee relations, including any issues currently in litigation. This allows the acquiring company to fully understand the employee body they are taking on as well as any potential liability from litigation.

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At the same time, it reveals any agreements the acquired company held with their employees from union efforts to pay raises. The acquiring company can then determine if their agreements and incentives are better, or find a unique path to encourage productivity by combining company efforts.  

Policies and More

It’s highly unlikely that two companies share the same policies, procedures, and training methods. HR’s job is to ensure both companies offer the mandatory employee benefits and make the transition of these new policies as simple as possible.

In some cases, policies and procedures can be combined to create new ones. In others, the acquiring company’s policies must be implemented to new employees hired on by the acquisition. Either way, it is important to integrate new training or orientation to make these changes simpler for employees.

The Audit

The next phase of due diligence is to review all of the employment files from both HR departments, checking for consistency and completeness. Records ranging from emergency contact information to work eligibility documentation and commendations should be reviewed.

This phase requires an in-depth look at detailed timesheets to view attendance, as well as other pertinent employment-related information. Moving forward, the acquiring company needs to understand the working relationship employees held with the former company.

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The audit should ensure that all employee files are in order and meet requirements set forth by the acquiring company to avoid any legal issues like discrimination. HR must ensure that the acquired company’s personal files for employees meet record-keeping laws, as well.

Communication

Finally, both HR departments should discuss successes and challenges held by the acquired company. The new team needs to learn everything they can from the existing HR team in order to make the acquisition a success.

After this phase, all findings from every due diligence step must be reported back to executive leadership. Continuing to work with company leaders throughout the due diligence process is vital, ensuring the acquisition goes as smooth as possible.

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How To Take Your Business To The Next Level

At one point or another, you need to figure out what the best route is for you to take your business to the next level. In other words, how can you achieve the success that you have always wanted to see come to fruition?

This is a must-read for all current and would-be entrepreneurs, as there are a number of steps you can take to grow your personal and professional skillsets.

All of these skills then work together to boost your company’s long-term success and will help you meet your goals. Continue reading for more information.

Higher education

Your very first consideration should be about the type of higher education that you should pursue. As a business leader, it is always in your very best interest to become more knowledgeable in this field and learn the fundamentals of running an effective company.

The good news is that you can now get this education while you are working at the same time. This is thanks to institutions that offer you the possibility to complete your degree online, such as the University of Redlands offering an online MBA degree.

Don’t underestimate the communication and leadership skills you will gain, as well as the fact that you will grow your ability to work within a larger team. Remember, a successful company is about more than one person running the whole show.

Value your employees and listen to them

Your employees are the heart of your organization and you must demonstrate that you value them and listen to them. It is thanks to the work that they do that your business is able to meet its goals in the first place.

The solution is simple, and it’s one where you have to be wise about who you hire and take into consideration your worker’s advice at different stages of the company’s planning.

Be strategic

Everything that you do must be strategic in nature. In other words, to foster this type of thinking, you should also make sure that your office space is conducive to creative thinking.

Consider a layout that is an open-concept, but also offer the possibility for spaces where you and your employees can go to gather your thoughts and work alone. Perhaps offer some rooms that are filled with different types of activities, such as rock climbing, a space with hammocks, and so on.

Learn the art of networking

Learning the art of networking will always improve your business ventures. To start, you must frequent more industry relevant events, and this is also where you will meet key players that you should interact with and learn from.

Who knows, you may even form a business partnership with someone that you meet at one of these events.

Stay on top of the latest trends

Always stay on top of the latest trends, no matter what they are. This includes keeping up to date on technological innovation, and other gadgets that will improve your daily operations within the office. There is no doubt that your competitors are doing this, so why wouldn’t you?

Every single entrepreneur has the goal of making profit, meeting their goals, and overall seeing that their ideas have been proven to be successful. In order to achieve all of this, you must be strategic and think long-term about everything that you do.


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How To Know If You Should Choose An Accounting Degree For Your Career

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Choosing a degree can be tough, and you need to exert time and effort in coming up with a decision. This is a crucial time of your life that can either make or break your future, which is why it is important that you should be able to make a sound and well-informed decision. If you’re still clueless on what degree to choose, include accounting in your options. This is a degree that is presently in demand and will continue to hold the same status in the years to come.  

An accounting degree provides an avenue for students to learn how they can maintain different financial accounts. When you enroll in this degree from a reputable school like New England College, you will be honed to become an accountant as the subjects are focused on the different principles of accounting. Through this degree, you’ll be able to gain knowledge on auditing, budgeting, financial reporting, and tax regulations. To determine if an accounting degree is the right career path for you, consider the points below:

1.    You are a detail-oriented person.

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When you’re a detail-oriented person, the small things matter to you. This means you get bothered whenever you see creases on your shirt or a stain on your jeans. When you’re studying, you want everything in your desk to face in the same direction, and you’d typically prefer to create a list that keeps track of all the tasks you’ll have to accomplish during the day. If you have this kind of trait (and people have tagged you as being a perfectionist), an accounting degree is perfect for you. Since this career is concerned with money, you’ll need to be keen on the details. An accountant should pay attention to the numbers he or she is working with as one small mistake can have drastic effects on the client’s financial standing.

2.    You are a good communicator.

An accountant is a numbers-based profession. When you work as one, you need to make sure that your client has a healthy financial status. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to present yourself simply as a mathematical equation; in fact, an accountant should be someone who is good with words. You should be excellent in oral and written communication in order to explain financial data in front of a crowd. You should also be a critical reader so you’ll be updated with new regulations applicable in your chosen field. Most importantly, you should know how to market yourself so you’ll be able to land a stable job.

3.    You don’t mind being the center of attention.

Gone are the days when accountants are working in solitude in one corner of the room. Small businesses are reshaping in different ways today, and the same is also true when it comes to the nature of an accountant’s job. Today, accountants are called in front of a crowd to make presentations and to explain complex financial data. Accountants are also expected to lead a team, with training and mentoring included. So even if you have the best accounting skills in the world, if you’re not confident and outgoing, you might not have a career in the industry.

4.    You can manage to be on the “hot seat.”

Aside from the customers and employees, money is a crucial ingredient in a business’s success. The financial health of a business can determine the amount of growth it will have in the future. Because of its importance, expect that you will usually be on the “hot seat” when you work as an accountant. The company’s leaders will turn to you whenever something went wrong or why certain strategies worked for the business. Working as an accountant means being the “go-to” person in any kind of business setup—and you should be ready to answer any of the leaders’ concerns.  

Use The Right Resources

There are a lot of degrees available for incoming college students today. The number of options makes it easy for students to choose a degree that suits their passion, interests, and future goals. But on the other side of the coin, these varieties can also become too overwhelming that a student can be clueless about what degree to choose. You can save yourself from experiencing the latter by paying attention to your options, assessing what you really want, and by using this article as your resource. The more factors you consider in your decision-making, the easier it’ll be for you to come up with a sound decision.  



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