How to Get Best Out of Telecommuters

It’s now beyond doubt that many businesses are embracing telecommuting. The concept is becoming more convenient such that most job seekers today, are likely to embrace jobs that promote remote working. Previously, most business owners have been reluctant to allow working from home due to productivity and supervisory issues. There has been a belief that 8 am to 5 pm routine brings best out of staffs but currently, the merits of telecommuting are overwhelming, and organisations can’t ignore.

Remote working help cut business overheads such as travelling expenses, rent, meals. It also enables the business to engage competent workforce beyond their geographical location. Other than the obvious benefits, telecommuting also comes in with a set of setbacks that must put in check. Workers may feel isolated and disengaged from the team’s activities; from this, staff are likely to be demotivated. Communication breakdown can also easily affect employee-relationships, causing delays or failures in project completion. Getting best out of remote workers must remain a priority for any venture. Here are essential tips to keep in check for productivity;

Regular communication
Communication is a vital element towards the manager-worker relationship in a remote environment. Therefore, the strategies for effective communication is a necessity. Regular check-in video calls motivate the worker and make both the parties take the conversation seriously and adequately prepare for the same. It provides a comprehensive opportunity to discuss the previous day’s work as well as the current day’s agenda. Your staff can understand the apparent approach of the projects and have the chance to question things they felt blocked on. Generally, the conventional video component and virtual meetings bring out the inclusiveness and projects that reflect particular efforts of everyone as an onsite team.

Set clearly outlined expectations
Giving the workers proper guidelines, targets and work structure set out the standards for the job. You should describe the tasks and requests clearly, additionally, explain your expectations to the employee and time limit for undertaking the work. During this time, ensure you make yourself available to remote employees for any assistance they may have. It’s essential to note that setting specific expectations, helps avoids misinterpretations in text-based conversations like emails and instant messages as they block the subtle behavioral cues as the case of in-person chats.

You have to trust your team
Many companies still don’t believe the remote workforce due to the uncertainty of productivity. The managers are uncertain about project completion at the same level as the case of onsite staff or not. To evade this belief, it is essential for you to set up work-from-home guidelines such as time limits for responding to emails, use of text messaging for urgent issues or zero calls between certain periods to ensure teammates aren’t working around the clock. You have to build trust between you and the team to ensure work is done with utmost discipline without strict supervision all the time.

Remember also to consider telecommuters during promotions
Just like the on-site team, the off-site workforce should always come into the picture in your crucial business decisions. Despite improved productivity, telecommuters are likely to miss performance-based rewards. Most managers seem to consider teams within their physical reach while forgetting the workforce out of their sight regardless of their hard work. It affects the motivation and sense of belonging of the off-site workforce. To boost their motivation and productivity in the long run, always consider the remote team as eligible candidates whenever doing inside promotions.

Work towards a close bond and reliable help/support system
Create an environment that’s accommodating and appreciates the life of every member of the team. Take time to talk of family, commonalities or even shared beliefs. It helps you establish bonding and a deeper understanding of your team. On the management aspect, create a regular check-in through collaborative tools, video chats, and phone calls. With time, it helps you build a strong relationship with the workers. Always be supportive of their success by constantly being available for any inquiry to achieve their goals.

Since remote work arrangements vary widely, you need to utilize the best approach that suits your team and organisation. You need to know the communication strategy and other techniques to employ to ensure your team achieve their goals. It depends whether they are partly working remotely or exclusively telecommuting. In all this hassle, it is vital for you to think ahead of drawbacks of remote work and establish a productive and successful team beyond the geographical boundaries.

Why SMEs must consider blogging

Online presence has got a resounding impact for Small businesses. SMEs has the ability to reach a wider market base over time. Nevertheless, maintaining consistent customer’s engagement, increasing customer traffic, and getting clients from online traffic has been a challenge for many businesses. Other than focusing on social networks to display products/services, prices and make sales, SMEs must now widen the focus. Clients need more than usual purchases, they need more informative and knowledgeable content about a product or the business/industry. This extra feature brings more traffic on your site and improves your business Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over time.

Content creation and blogging is the current real-time solution that every SME must consider. Blogging helps you create and stamp authority in your business industry over time. The results may not be instant, but through regular informative and engaging postings, the business stands to gain from this online marketing technique.

Why create a blog for your startup?
A business blog creates an ideal platform to advertise your products/services and attract new potential customers. This is mainly because the blog drives a lot of traffic to your company’s website compared to businesses without blogs. Also, customers who might be seeking information or answers get covered through the blogs. Furthermore, the blog can ignite a conversation with your clients or potential customers translating to more brand loyalty. You also get feedback on the customer’s need.

Through blogs, your website gets a boost towards top search results ranking. When your site appears top in the rankings, it leads to more customer clicks to your site. It means increased potential customers to your business that can be easily translated to sales over time. Consistent blogging and providing fresh contents gives Google and other search engines the chance to feature in the important keywords. It leads to increased visibility of your contents in the search engine results pages.

A business blog will help position your business as an industry leader. Regardless of your business size, it is important to gain credibility and reliability to survive the competitive market. The blog helps you build trust and authority within the industry by posting valuable and expert information. Customers searching for insightful information will always look forward to your blogs. It leads to higher conversation rates with your clients which provides more benefits to your business other than sales.

It is easy to share your blog. Whenever you blog, you get the advantage to share it with your audience. The audience can equally share it within their circles in the social networks. It is an opportunity for free marketing and validation of your business as credible in the industry.

Tips for successful small business blogging
After understanding why you need to create a blog for your business, it is equally necessary to master tips for creating successful blogs. Keeping customers to rely on your blog posts and come back regularly needs more plan to achieve the targeted plan. Here are insightful tips you need to understand to jump-start your company’s blog;

Ensure your blog is optimized for mobile
It is dangerous to have a blog that isn’t optimized for mobile devices as it shut out the majority of your audiences. It will equally negatively impact your search engine visibility. Currently, most people have access to smartphones, therefore your business must tap into this opportunity to provide content that customers can easily view over their phones.

Create fresh and consistent contents
Maintaining fresh and unique content should be your priority over time. The content should always be available and relevant over years since its creation. You can also link your content creation to current trends, news, events, and seasons to help humanize your brand. Having regular content help maintain customer traffic on your website.

Allow guest contributors
Blogging can time-consuming and sometimes you can easily get your site short off content over time. It is wise to engage external contributors to give a fresh content and outlook of your business. This can equally give you a different perspective of your business/industry. You can engage an industry leader to write content for your blog or have an interview with them, then print the question and answer conversation for your blog post.

Conduct keyword research
As much as you plan to write content related to your company, you must also target what people are searching. This will save you from creating content that nobody will read. Keyword research helps you get popular keywords people are keying in search engines. For example, how to book a hotel online is what people search. If you owned a hotel, you can create an article titled ‘5 Quick Steps for Successful Online Hotel Booking’
Incorporate keywords into the title of your article and distribute them throughout the blog post. This technique help boosts your possibility of ranking on the search engines and people can easily find the article.

Address customer questions
Getting ideas for the topic of your blog can be challenging. A better way to overcome the problem is by creating your blog based on customer’s responses and questions. When the client raises anything related to your business, ensure to note it down to help you design the next topic. As you answer the customer’s question you get to solve two problems with one solution. Other customers who might be having a similar question get a similar answer. The answers will also stay to benefit other new customers over time.

A company blog is a long term project that relies on workable strategy and discipline. You need to be patient and stick to the techniques of creating a successful blog in order to get the benefit over time.

Why Airbnb Concept is on the Rise

Airbnb is increasingly becoming a popular option for homeowners who own various properties in tourist areas. Instead of leaving your space unoccupied, you get an option of contracting the free space for an income. Airbnb is an online marketplace connecting individuals looking out to rent their homes with people in search of accommodation in the locality. The concept has risen over time and currently covers 191 countries and more than 81,000 cities worldwide. As the tourism industry continues to grow, most tourists are looking for vacation rentals that will give them local feelings at affordable costs. The new trend encourages most homeowners to sublet more free space, as well as investing in new property developments.

Just like hotels, Airbnb has three categories of rooms to offer to occupants according to hosts options. One is Shared room, the option offers the occupant to sleep on a sofa or bed in a shared room. The second option is a private room, here the occupant gets the whole room for him/herself. It is closely related to the classic hotel. The last is the entire home/apartment, it is all about renting the whole property and free use of the apartment and equipment inside.

Airbnb rise can be attributed to its business model which offers entrepreneurial opportunities to locals. People get the platform to generate income by offering free space. The benefit of this business concept favors all the parties involved from the host, tourist to the society. Here are critical advantages of Airbnb you (host or tourist) need to know;

Understanding local culture
Airbnb gives the occupant the opportunity to live with locals. You get an exclusive chance of direct cultural feelings and interactions every day of your stay. You get the first-hand experience of habit and culture. Also, the hosts are ready to give you any information about the local area, the perfect place to eat or visit.

Accommodative to large groups
For a traveler, finding the perfect accommodation for a large group can be difficult and costly. Through Airbnb, it is easy to get a spacious apartment for a group of twelve people and share the cost among yourselves.

Profitable than Buy-To-Let
For Airbnb, a large and regular turn-over of clients creates more profits than a single long-term tenant. Also, homeowners do cost saving like letting agent fees and avoiding huge deposit fee.

Unique options
Airbnb offers very unique accommodation options that will definitely match the traveler needs. It could be staying in a tree house, sleeping in the castle.

Possibility to cook and laundry
Unlike the hotel rooms, you can cook your desired meals at the comfort of the room without relying on restaurants. Equally, the host may offer to cook for you. In your space, you get all house equipment such as laundry machines to assist in your usual cleanings.

Accommodation where there is no hotel
In places where hotels are unavailable, Airbnb offers the best option for your accommodation needs. You get to enjoy the security and hospitality of the host with little expense. You don’t need to travel long distances to find hotel rooms.

No shortage of customers
Most travelers prefer Airbnb due to the ability to rent out an entire apartment for a cheaper price than a hotel. The foreigners get to live like locals. You can hang around the town and get back to a place you call home. The unique accommodation options and spirit of adventure make Airbnb best choice for many visitors.

Easier labor
Vacation property may not require similar transforming recovery as a leased house. When there is high demand for short-term rentals, the property is regularly maintained. It is an easier and cost-effective approach other than an entire renovation. In most cases, homeowners and property managers avoid surprises since they are in regular touch with the property.

For investors, Airbnb can be a lucrative investment due to the higher cash return than a traditional lease. Before investment ,you need to get relevant information on seasonality trends, occupancy rates, and cash on cash comparisons. In the case of travelers, it is time to get the real experience of local culture at affordable costs.

Can you Survive Toxic Workplace?

Are you happy at work? Do you enjoy getting out of bed every morning just to report to work?
These questions give a tip-off of the true state of many work stations. Interestingly, reports continue to point out many employees aren’t happy at their current workplaces. Employee turnover is on the rise, at least, you may be thinking of hunting for another job or you of a colleague who thinks of the same.

As much the motivation of seeking another job may be attributed to better pay, there are many factors in the work environment that are forcing employees to quit. Some have as well resorted to self-employment rather than looking for other jobs. It is an issue that we must talk about. Lately, social media platform has experienced fireworks and revelations of what many workers go through under toxic workplaces. From the discussions and responses, some doesn’t have any clue of being in the toxic workplace and normalized situations. Many others are opting for a quite as others focus to stay put fight and change the current state of affairs.

A toxic workplace is a disruptive job environment full of drama, mistreatments, infighting, manipulations, and harassments. These occurrences play a negative impact on the employee’s mental strength and productivity. Some other signs of toxic workplace you need to know include;

  • Zero fairness or respect
  • Disregard of work-life balance
  • False accusations and blame games
  • Poor communication
  • A high rate of indiscipline among staff
  • Blatant defiance of bad conduct

How to overcome a toxic work environment
Always remain positive
The disruptive events at work may look inevitable but you can identify and build on the positivity. Look around for those little things that raise your spirits at work. It can be a corporation or fellowship with your workmate, positive compliment you receive from client or colleague. The big or small wins should matter a lot for you. Also, taking time to reflect on what motivates you to get to work every day. It could be supporting your family or planned projects, from these agendas, you get to boost your positivity.

Understand and stick to your values
The disruptive culture has the ability to change your qualities when given space. Even during the adverse events of scapegoating, ruthless competition or lawlessness. Understand who you are and your principles. Be fair, recognize colleagues for their achievements. Always approach everyone with respect and treat others the same way you would require from them.

Speak up calmly
When you accept the poor treatment, it will definitely result in zero change. In fact, the perpetrators will have the confidence to further bad behavior because of the lack of resistance. You can maturely make your objections heard in a calm, collected and private manner. Because you have decided to stay in the toxic work environment, make everyone understand your feelings about their actions. Always stay put and speak up. These bold moves will empower yourself and scare any kind of mistreatments.

Have a future exit plan
Some organization’s cultural disruptions may be beyond fixing. In such cases, you must be watchful of the negative impacts the events may have on your future life. You have to plan for life beyond the work station before situations worsen. Discover a new occupation with another better organization. Remain watchful of your confidence level and redesign your resume. Connect to people and consider searching for a new job.

Organizational culture can have an adverse impact on your daily life. Being able to notice indicators of negatively changing working environment; having a master plan on the toxicity is a win. It has a massive role in your professional satisfaction. Remaining positive and understanding your principles will help you overcome the challenges and evasion of any disastrous loophole.

Why Employees With Side-Hustles Are Good For Your Business

Getting the right people with appropriate skills, experience and competence is a priority for any business owner. It plays a massive role in business success and productivity, as every employee understands and plays his/her role effectively. With the ever-growing side hustling among employees, some business owners/employers have felt the threat on their business productivity. In some cases, such employees have had their contracts terminated or placed under strict supervision. As some of these workers may have intentions of turning their side hustles to full-time careers, others never have such ambitions. With the ever-changing business demands, it’s very critical for employers to stop portraying workers with side jobs as a threat or competition but leverage on their massive potential. Here are the reasons why employees with side hustles are good for your business;

They are creative
Having employees that add up as an entrepreneur is a massive resource to your entrepreneurial journey. You need people that think outside the box and can thrive on a challenge. Such employees when given space, can help you insert fresh idea on various business needs from marketing plan to new product development. You must also ensure the employee’s side hustle doesn’t pose a competitive threat to the core Business.

They aren’t much into a pay rise
Most of these workers are largely driven by the passion to achieve business success. In most cases, they are out to learn and gain experience while also boosting their networking asset. These folks aren’t entirely motivated by money and won’t be constantly on your neck for a pay rise, after all, their side hustles help bridge their monetary needs.

Entrepreneurial traits
Given that side-hustlers also travels similar entrepreneurial journey in their business, they have more experience and skills beneficial to your business. They are problem-solvers, innovative and proactive, traits every business will need of their employees. These people will understand the need to work towards business success and aren’t part of the ‘I don’t care ‘attitude that’s a threat to business profitability. Having workers with entrepreneurial characteristics also make it easy for you to create a good business environment to realize business goals and survive a competitive environment.

They get extra skills and experience outside the business hours
As the employees with side gigs work to build their own empires, they get real-world experience to use in their day job. It helps them bring out creative solutions to the stubborn and stagnant problems your business might have been experiencing. The employee is able to relate to your business struggles and help in problem-solving, additionally, they are transformed to all rounded individuals to your business advantage.

Business dynamics are real, having a team that understands and ready to travel with you through the entrepreneurial journey is critical. Employees who are also entrepreneurs is beneficial to your business is the best way to go. You get a better chance to deal with creativity/innovation, improved morale and higher output.

The art of managing multiple ventures and side-hustles

Entrepreneurs want to be daring, exploring untapped opportunities and dreaming of expansion or diversification. It is increasingly evident that entrepreneurs aren’t ready to settle for a single revenue stream. The urge to create a new product line or tap on new service provision that will satisfy customer`s demands/needs is getting real. The current wave of multitasking is also attracting many people in employment, people want to run a side-hustle and boost on their income streams. Depending entirely on a single traditional job is undauntedly overtaken by events, currently, you will meet an advocate at daytime and a taxi driver in the evening, same person. A professional teacher who multitasks by running several businesses in totally different service industries. How do they achieve productivity? That is a question that many have failed to master, the art of running multiple ventures.

Entrepreneurship is like a jungle, it requires drastic plans and decision making to survive. It drops down to working on viable survival tactics to stand out and keep on exploration. Running a single business has been a daunting task for several entrepreneurs, consequently, they still find it hard to even think of managing ventures. Importantly, learning from others in the industry has a lot to transform your entrepreneurial journey. We have success stories and failure stories/experiences bigwigs and small fish in the industry that offers proper learning script. Some are physically absent from their workstations and are spending time with their families, are always on vacations or other activities unrelated to business. Behind all these, they run multiple businesses. How do they manage all this? What are the secrets?. In this article, I will compile workable tips that you can consider to manage multiple ventures and side-hustles.

The secret lies bind hiring workforce; It is logical that you can`t be physically present to run your multiple ventures every moment due to the time & geographical constraints. A delegation of roles and support from a hired workforce comes in to bridge the gap. The hired workforce can negatively or positively impact your business productivity hence requires close and prudent evaluation. You must strive to group a strong workforce that diligently discharges the business duties even in your absence. It starts by getting professionals that understands and buys in your business vision, people of integrity and focus that wins your trust every single day. Having multi-skilled, independent and the responsible team helps the seamless transfer of skills across the ventures whenever the need arises.

Time management remains critical; Managing multiple businesses and side-hustles brings the greatest test of time management. It demands utmost productivity for every venture without overriding other businesses. The point lies around having proper schedules and being disciplined to every program within the stipulation. You must be very cautious and avoid time wastage, fruitless meetings, and appointments that may have a negative effect on your energy levels, focus and creativity levels. Proper planning and minimizing any kind of distractions when undertaking business duties play a massive role in your success. Taking advantage of technological advancements such as teleconferencing helps deal with geographical and time constraint challenge. It boosts time management helps in controlling and managing your multiple businesses in record time.

Stabilize your first business; before thinking of diversifying your product line and opening other new businesses, it is critical to put your primary business in order. Allowing quality control lapse at the initial store can turn out to be a huge undoing that may be transferred to other ventures. The strong foundation built at the initial store set a good pace to build on other businesses. It will give you the comfort and confidence for more entrepreneurial exploration.

Maintain up to date reports, performance evaluation and accountability; Recordkeeping and data plays a crucial role in every business. You must be able to maintain or access the crucial information for each business and analyze them separately to get a close picture of the business performances and identifying areas of improvement. Continuous analysis of the business data on money spent in relation to budget, time investment and other resources brings considerable insights for steering the businesses to productivity.

Clear and realistic goals; As a team leader you must set clear guideline and objective that pulls everyone in your businesses in a singular direction. It helps prevents chaos and distractions that may affect your operational productivity over time. The workforce must understand the company`s vision and know the objectives that must be met to stay on the track of success even when a problem arises. Have short-term goals: monthly, quarterly & yearly achievable goals for each venture, it will make it easier to achieve tasks that might be overtaken by daily hustles. The goals enable you to prioritize and offers motivation to complete tasks for every business without any overshadowing. Once one goal is completed, you definitely get the boost to face the next goal of another business.

Why united regional market must be a priority for African Agriculture

When people come together great thing happens. The solutions to current problems are easily formulated through strategic synergies and collaboration rather than selfish policies and misguided regulations. Africa as a continent faces drastic challenges from food security, hunger, poverty, unemployment among many other problems in the agricultural sector. Agriculture is undoubtedly the backbone of various African countries economy, nevertheless, it still remains under-utilized. African farmers need much on financial and market accessibility, reliable extension services, land tenure security, viable policies that supports profitable agribusiness instead of pity and handouts. The population is growing rapidly up above the food production, it points out a future crisis if the current state remains unchallenged.

Despite the foreseeable danger ahead, African agriculture has a potential on its growing young population, untapped and vibrant agribusiness markets, a large portion of uncultivated lands, technological advancements, value-addition. It`s the right time for Africa to have a strong belief that it has solutions to its agricultural challenges and have a vigorous plus progressive roundtable to deal with these challenges one at a time. Today in Africa, we have countries that have stiffer policies on immigration and the movement of citizens/traders. The regional trade treaties turn out to be lucrative only on paper. Africa is spending much to import fresh and processed agricultural products as other farmers in the same continent with similar goods find it hard to access the market for their produce. A chunk of local produce is exported and later imported back again after undergoing processing and value-addition. Are we so much incapacitated to think outside the box and engage in a profitable balance of trade?

The major nightmare for many African farmers especially the small-scale sector has been accessing reliable market. They have been left to deal with middle-men exploitation, price exploitation considering the influx of cheap illegal produce, post-harvest losses, sub-standard produce, poor infrastructural facilities, and unprogressive national/regional policies. All these can be achieved regional political goodwill and convergent effort to strengthen regional trading blocs through building bridges rather than creating more walls. It will be refreshing to see more leadership, policymakers conferences geared towards a common goal of addressing Africa`s agricultural problems.

Does Africa has the capacity to provide the desired market for the farmer’s local produce? Can Africa produce enough food to feed its people? What unique practices and policies can African countries benchmark on each other? What can Africa community do towards climate change mitigation, research, and development? What`s the best way to strike a workable political goodwill and consistent evaluations of the agreed policy measures? Truly, the questions can be endless but they form a basis of serious debates and discussion that African communities must continue incorporating going forward. In this article, I will share my opinion on the need to have a common regional market as a way of strategically responding to market accessibility challenges.

Farmers need reliable market access to get a fair share of profits and need not only to be limited to one specific geographical location. Farmers should be able to freely supply goods to regions where demands are high and supply limited. Most of the rice consumed in Africa, for example, is largely imported while there are several farmers that keep lamenting on market access for the same product. Some of the products are substandard for the international market. A large portion of the land remains uncultivated. With such level of opportunity in place, it`s very paramount for Pan-Africa to push individual countries to have a clear framework on infrastructural improvements, land ownership policies, break trade barriers in order to boost food production and support market access and prioritization for African produce as a way of building each other.

Access to market information by farmers in order to access markets offering best price advantages is a progressive way towards scaling trade of homegrown products. A pan-African strategy will work towards facilitating best practice sharing, reduce trade bottlenecks, boost private-public partnerships and free up traffic local agricultural produce across Africa. These countries can have its own way of sharing market deficiency information on various agricultural products, escalate market lobbying within the region and create more trade partnerships for the benefit of local farmers. Opening up borders and encouraging more space for benchmarking and networking will definitely raise quality food production and improved products to meet the untapped market needs.

Bridging the gap between inputs market and product market must be a priority to uplift smallholder farmers. They play a critical role in food production, making 80% of total farmers. Their outcry has always been market access, considering the economies of scale, they must be supported to increase their production through access to financing, extension services, technological support, market information so as to come up market-driven produce. A united common African market will definitely offer enough opportunities for the small-scale farmers to meet the demand.

Common African agricultural trade provides sizeable opportunities within the region to promote specialization among member countries. In addition, it helps strengthen regional value chains in order to increase diversification and competitiveness. Also, consolidation and integration of production infrastructure and movement across borders help in achieving the economies of scale. Pursuing comprehensive regional trade policies will boost sustainable economic growth & development and strengthen Africa`s participation in the global economy and less vulnerability to external shocks.