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“Most entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all,” Sparks says. “That can really stall the growth of the business. By outsourcing the day to day back-office tasks, the business owner has more time to focus on generating income.”

Entrepreneurs have long seen outsourcing as a strategy reserved for big business, but technology has made it a more accessible tool for small businesses–and for some small firms, outsourcing has made a powerful impact on their growth, productivity and bottom lines.

“More small businesses are outsourcing tasks these days because technology has advanced to the point of professionals being able to work from anywhere in the world, coupled with the availability and accessibility of extremely qualified professionals who have decided or been forced to leave the corporate world, [such as] virtual executive assistants, marketing directors, graphic designers, transcriptionists, paralegals, web designers, HR consultants, bookkeepers, PR directors, IT specialists, and the list goes on,” Sparks says. “These freelancers come on board as subcontractors and save the small business owner the burden of paying overhead associated with payroll taxes and expenses such as health insurance and worker’s compensation, as well as the space constrictions that growing a company in-house can present.”

When to Outsource
For every company, the right time to outsource is different. Some businesses have in-house staff to handle daily activities, but may need outside help to undertake new projects that don’t warrant another full-time employee. When you and your current employees are unable to manage the day-to-day business of your company and build the business satisfactorily, it may be time to consider outsourcing. For Tonya Thomas, president of The Small Office Assistant, the right time was when she realized that although she wanted her business to grow, she had no time left in her day to pursue that growth.

“At first I felt like I was the only person who could do the work efficiently; I wanted control over everything,” Thomas says. “But I wanted my business to grow and in order to do that I had to let go and start delegating.” Letting go paid off: The first year she began using contractors to help carry her workload, Thomas doubled her company’s revenue.

For very small businesses, Sparks recommends outsourcing from the very beginning. She suggests starting out with a bookkeeper and a virtual assistant, and growing the team from there. In her own business, Sparks now contracts with a virtual bookkeeper, a web designer, a ghost writer, a graphic designer, an executive assistant and a project manager.

What to Outsource
Chances are you’re already outsourcing some business tasks, such as payroll administration or background and criminal checks for employment. And these days, almost any task can be outsourced, with so many qualified professionals leaving the corporate world to work as freelancers or contractors. However, just because you can outsource a task doesn’t mean you should.

“Don’t outsource something just because you don’t want to do it,” says Jim Lanzalotto, a marketing and strategic outsourcing company. “Sometimes there are things you don’t want to do but they are important to your core business.”

Before choosing which tasks you can farm out, take a hard look at your business and determine your strengths and values. “Small businesses must identify their core competencies and capabilities and focus their own R&D, talent management and resources on being the best in their industry at these,” says Marc Resnick, Ph.D., a small business consultant and director of the Institute for Technology Innovation at Florida International University. “Outsourcing any aspect of [these tasks] would be a big mistake because they would cease to offer anything that their own customers couldn’t get elsewhere. So a small business that focuses on product design should not outsource anything related to developing its internal design talent or their design activities. But they should investigate all opportunities for outsourcing tangential processes like payroll services, IT and so on.”

The types of tasks that are best outsourced fall into three general categories, according to Gregg Landers, director of growth management at CBIZ MHM, the nation’s eighth largest accounting and business services provider. They include:

  • Highly skilled, or executive, expertise. For example, you may not need to pay a CFO’s salary, but you could have a CFO-level person to come in a few times each month to provide financial analysis and ensure that the bookkeeper is handling the books well, Landers says.
  • Highly repetitive tasks. Accounts payable, data entry and shipping inventory could fall into this category.
  • Specialized knowledge. “An example might be the IT support for your accounting system or your network,” Landers says. “You may not be able to afford or need a full-time IT person, and it is easier to change to an outsourced provider with the right skill set as your IT needs change.”

Related: 8 Great Time-Tracking Apps for Freelancers

Finding the Right Contractors
Before handing over the reins, be sure you’re working with the right partner. While technology makes it much easier than it once was to find capable, reliable outsource providers, the selection process is still vitally important. A good starting place is your own network; ask other business owners or your accountant, lawyer, or banker if they can recommend a provider offering the services you need. Online networks like LinkedIn and Twitter make it easy to expand your personal networks and to ask for recommendations.

In the absence of a good recommendation from a friend or acquaintance, there are other options. Thomas located outsource providers by placing ads on a work-at-home website and by submitting requests for proposals to professional trade organizations. Lanzalotto says that while local Chambers of Commerce usually can’t recommend one provider over another, a professional association or trade group will often recommend the right partner for your needs.

Jack Groetzinger, co-founder of SeatGeek.com, a Manhattan-based company that forecasts ticket prices for sports and music events, works regularly with contractors through oDesk to gather photographs and collect ticket price data. Along with a full-time staff of seven, SeatGeek now works with contractors scattered from the Philippines to Pine Bluff, Ark., and Aurora, Colo. When hiring freelancers, Groetzinger says he pays most attention to the feedback they’ve received from other employers.

“Finding the right vendor means having access to the right information about the prospective contractors,” says Zack Fuentes, CEO of BidModo. Outsourcing sites usually allow you to see how previous clients rated prospective vendors’ work, as well as detailed profiles of the vendors.

Whether you use a web-based marketplace, a personal referral, or a personalized matchmaking consultant, the key to identifying the right contractor is to know exactly what you’re looking for.

“First identify exactly what performance metrics are important for each task [you] want to outsource,” Resnick says. “Some outsourcing providers focus on speed at the expense of quality or vice versa. This is fine as long as there is a good match between what the small business wants and what the [provider] specializes in. But many small businesses don’t realize that there are large differences among outsourcing providers and select the wrong ones. An open and clear conversation with potential contractors regarding these key performance metrics is essential.”

Related: 10 Online Invoicing Services for Small-Business Owners

Making it Work
After you’ve found a provider, your work isn’t over yet. Even after you’ve checked references, “don’t be afraid to put a little extra time creating a specific contract that outlines exactly what performance is expected,” Resnick says. “Use incentives to motivate the outsourcer to focus on what is most important to you rather than their own preferences or their assumptions about what you want.”

Communicate your expectations and the steps included in the job clearly; never assume that contractors are thinking what you’re thinking. “When there is a problem [with the work], I am often the one to blame, as my instructions may not have been clear enough,” says Jeremy Belcher, owner of FoxyMelody.com, who has hired numerous contractors through eLance. “It is very important that the requirements and expectations are laid out in the beginning, and that nothing is left to assumption.”

Even when you clearly state your expectations, “there will be a learning curve on the provider’s side,” Belcher adds. “Hang in there. The provider will get better, and you will have the freedom to focus on more important tasks.”

Your final responsibility as a successful outsourcer is to step back, relinquish control, and allow your new team members to do the job you’ve hired them to do. “You need some measure of trust,” Resnick says. “If you are going to micromanage all of your outsourcing, the savings in management attention and time that is the whole point of outsourcing is lost.”

If you’re used to doing everything yourself, consider delegating the management of outsourcing relationships to another member of your management team, a move that may help you let go, according to Resnick.

“It’s less about logistics and entirely about mindset,” Walsh adds. “Many owners take pride in having the world on their shoulders and their entire organization buried in their mind. Knowing your business is critical, but keeping yourself indispensable is reckless and un-scalable. Realize that removing yourself from low-level operations is the smartest investment you can make in the long-term success of your business.”

Weighing the Costs vs. the Benefits

Counting the Cost
So what can you expect to pay a contractor for allowing you to rise above day-to-day tasks and build a better business? It depends on the type of work you’re buying, the skill level and location of your provider, and your own preferences.

For instance, SeatGeek’s Groetzinger says that through online hiring sites, you can find contractors in developing countries who will work for less than $1 per hour. While U.S.-based contractors will likely require higher fees, they may be lower in rural areas than in metropolitan cities where the cost of living is greater.

“‘You get what you pay for’ is true, wherever you go in the world,” Walsh says. “Always pay someone what they’re worth, regardless of location but accounting for and leveraging currency differences that often work in your favor. [Place] value [on] outcomes over hours. If you don’t get the outcome you need, it doesn’t matter how much time your contractor spent along the way. Consider distinct task-based agreements while you’re evaluating new providers, and transition to a fixed-cost retainer once you’re confident in their ability to consistently deliver.”

Facing the Challenges
While outsourcing can yield great advantages for a small company, it’s not without challenges. If you choose to work with offshore providers, language barriers and time zones can be difficult to deal with. However, Walsh says that focusing on making your own communications clear can help overcome confusion for those who are not native English speakers. And “time zones create more opportunity than inconvenience, as you can extend your productive hours by handing tasks over to someone during their workday,” Walsh says. “Assign a task at night, and awake to find it complete and waiting for you.”

Just as when you hire a new employee, there are security risks involved when handing tasks over to an outsourced provider. “The challenge is to outsource functionality securely, in a manner that does not put employee personal information or customer data at risk,” says Jonathan Gossels, president of SystemExperts, a security and compliance consulting firm.

If contractors are handling credit card data, Gossels recommends reviewing their Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance statement; if they are handling health or benefits information, review their HIPAA compliance statement. For a general sense of the contractor’s security policy and practices, review their ISO 27002 compliance statement.

“The most important step a business owner can take to protect his data is to only provide the outsourced service provider with the absolute minimum data necessary for the provider to do its work,” Gossels says.

The Small Office Assistant’s Thomas discovered the importance of protecting client data when one of her contracted virtual assistants stole a client from Thomas for her own virtual assistant business. Now, rather than working directly with clients, Thomas’ contractors communicate with them anonymously through the company’s online system and Thomas herself serves as the sole client contact.

Reaping the Benefits
Although there are risks, outsourcing ultimately offers business owners great advantages. The process allows you to build a team of skilled professionals without adding the expense of full-time employees, and to avoid getting bogged down with tasks that can be completed without your attention, Sparks says. It’s an affordable, proven strategy for growing your business without letting it take over your life.

“Handing off work forces you to objectively, ruthlessly and systematically consider your activities and the steps taken to perform them,” Walsh says. “Defining a process flushes out inefficiency.”

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Why Businesses Need Legal Consultants

For some entrepreneurs, utilizing a lawyer is much the same as calling a fire-fighter or plumber: one does it just when there’s an issue or any major problem. That approach is audacious with regards to legal issues.

Particularly for new organizations, needs such as marketing, sales, staffing and simply getting the business off the ground can take need over legal issues, especially ones that don’t appear to be of quick concern. In any case, brilliant business planning additionally incorporates preventing issues and ensuring the business is secured against potential trouble by working with a lawyer early in the process.

Corporate Governance

While most enterprises will utilize a lawyer to help with the procedure of joining, new organizations once in a while neglecting the on-going legal prerequisites to keep up their company status. Annual investor, director and partner meetings should be held and recording of minutes and election of officers must adjust with state prerequisites. Inability to do as such could endanger corporate status and bring about “puncturing of the corporate cover” in case of a claim or other legitimate activity, exposing corporate officers to individual liability or other lawful issues.

Intellectual Property

Numerous intangible assets of a business ought to be legally ensured. An organization’s name, logo, brand name and particular products and enterprises are qualified for copyright protection. Proprietary computer software, semiconductor chip cover plans, vessel structure plans and numerous different manifestations might be qualified for trademark registration.

Read More: Ways for Effective Evaluation of Employee Performance

Patents are regularly thought to cover just machines and other manufactured products, yet can likewise secure procedures, for example, a strategy for refining oil, or new organizations of matter, such as chemical compounds or mixtures. Trademark, copyright, and patent registrations can help a business ensure the things that give it a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Employment Agreements

Numerous companies, particularly innovation organizations, check the information of their employees as a portion of their most essential resources. However, they neglect to secure those assets through non-disclosure and non-compete agreements with their employees. Unavoidably, a few workers will leave the company, and it’s vital to secure your business against their taking their knowledge of trade secrets with them over to the competition.

Exit Strategies

Entrepreneurs are so focused around beginning a new business that they don’t think about what occurs in the event that one of the principals leaves the business. At the point when a partner or significant investor chooses to abruptly leave, it can possibly compromise the capacity of the business to keep working.

Firmly held organizations need to have sell-buy agreements or buy-back agreement to guarantee that accomplices or real investors can sell their interest without legitimate entanglements or putting an undue financial weight on the company.

Read More: Reasons why Business should Outsource their Payroll

Shouldn’t something be said about the expense of managing every one of these issues? Great attorneys are not shabby, however, on the other hand, some other advisor basic to your business. A concise counsel with an attorney can regularly figure out what a business’ lawful needs are. An investment of a lawyer’s time can help prevent serious down the road.

Find the Right Business Attorney near You

Business ventures involve a few types of legal manoeuvres and know-how. While entrepreneurs need to wear different types of hats in order to achieve a level of success, it’s best to leave the more complicated things and matters to the experts.

REINNC takes care of all your business needs providing the top payroll outsourcing company.

Visit us: www.reinnc.com

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Why outsourcing is important?

.

“Most entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all,” Sparks says. “That can really stall the growth of the business. By outsourcing the day to day back-office tasks, the business owner has more time to focus on generating income.”

Entrepreneurs have long seen outsourcing as a strategy reserved for big business, but technology has made it a more accessible tool for small businesses–and for some small firms, outsourcing has made a powerful impact on their growth, productivity and bottom lines.

“More small businesses are outsourcing tasks these days because technology has advanced to the point of professionals being able to work from anywhere in the world, coupled with the availability and accessibility of extremely qualified professionals who have decided or been forced to leave the corporate world, [such as] virtual executive assistants, marketing directors, graphic designers, transcriptionists, paralegals, web designers, HR consultants, bookkeepers, PR directors, IT specialists, and the list goes on,” Sparks says. “These freelancers come on board as subcontractors and save the small business owner the burden of paying overhead associated with payroll taxes and expenses such as health insurance and worker’s compensation, as well as the space constrictions that growing a company in-house can present.”

When to Outsource
For every company, the right time to outsource is different. Some businesses have in-house staff to handle daily activities, but may need outside help to undertake new projects that don’t warrant another full-time employee. When you and your current employees are unable to manage the day-to-day business of your company and build the business satisfactorily, it may be time to consider outsourcing. For Tonya Thomas, president of The Small Office Assistant, the right time was when she realized that although she wanted her business to grow, she had no time left in her day to pursue that growth.

“At first I felt like I was the only person who could do the work efficiently; I wanted control over everything,” Thomas says. “But I wanted my business to grow and in order to do that I had to let go and start delegating.” Letting go paid off: The first year she began using contractors to help carry her workload, Thomas doubled her company’s revenue.

For very small businesses, Sparks recommends outsourcing from the very beginning. She suggests starting out with a bookkeeper and a virtual assistant, and growing the team from there. In her own business, Sparks now contracts with a virtual bookkeeper, a web designer, a ghost writer, a graphic designer, an executive assistant and a project manager.

What to Outsource
Chances are you’re already outsourcing some business tasks, such as payroll administration or background and criminal checks for employment. And these days, almost any task can be outsourced, with so many qualified professionals leaving the corporate world to work as freelancers or contractors. However, just because you can outsource a task doesn’t mean you should.

“Don’t outsource something just because you don’t want to do it,” says Jim Lanzalotto, a marketing and strategic outsourcing company. “Sometimes there are things you don’t want to do but they are important to your core business.”

Before choosing which tasks you can farm out, take a hard look at your business and determine your strengths and values. “Small businesses must identify their core competencies and capabilities and focus their own R&D, talent management and resources on being the best in their industry at these,” says Marc Resnick, Ph.D., a small business consultant and director of the Institute for Technology Innovation at Florida International University. “Outsourcing any aspect of [these tasks] would be a big mistake because they would cease to offer anything that their own customers couldn’t get elsewhere. So a small business that focuses on product design should not outsource anything related to developing its internal design talent or their design activities. But they should investigate all opportunities for outsourcing tangential processes like payroll services, IT and so on.”

The types of tasks that are best outsourced fall into three general categories, according to Gregg Landers, director of growth management at CBIZ MHM, the nation’s eighth largest accounting and business services provider. They include:

  • Highly skilled, or executive, expertise. For example, you may not need to pay a CFO’s salary, but you could have a CFO-level person to come in a few times each month to provide financial analysis and ensure that the bookkeeper is handling the books well, Landers says.
  • Highly repetitive tasks. Accounts payable, data entry and shipping inventory could fall into this category.
  • Specialized knowledge. “An example might be the IT support for your accounting system or your network,” Landers says. “You may not be able to afford or need a full-time IT person, and it is easier to change to an outsourced provider with the right skill set as your IT needs change.”

Related: 8 Great Time-Tracking Apps for Freelancers

Finding the Right Contractors
Before handing over the reins, be sure you’re working with the right partner. While technology makes it much easier than it once was to find capable, reliable outsource providers, the selection process is still vitally important. A good starting place is your own network; ask other business owners or your accountant, lawyer, or banker if they can recommend a provider offering the services you need. Online networks like LinkedIn and Twitter make it easy to expand your personal networks and to ask for recommendations.

In the absence of a good recommendation from a friend or acquaintance, there are other options. Thomas located outsource providers by placing ads on a work-at-home website and by submitting requests for proposals to professional trade organizations. Lanzalotto says that while local Chambers of Commerce usually can’t recommend one provider over another, a professional association or trade group will often recommend the right partner for your needs.

Jack Groetzinger, co-founder of SeatGeek.com, a Manhattan-based company that forecasts ticket prices for sports and music events, works regularly with contractors through oDesk to gather photographs and collect ticket price data. Along with a full-time staff of seven, SeatGeek now works with contractors scattered from the Philippines to Pine Bluff, Ark., and Aurora, Colo. When hiring freelancers, Groetzinger says he pays most attention to the feedback they’ve received from other employers.

“Finding the right vendor means having access to the right information about the prospective contractors,” says Zack Fuentes, CEO of BidModo. Outsourcing sites usually allow you to see how previous clients rated prospective vendors’ work, as well as detailed profiles of the vendors.

Whether you use a web-based marketplace, a personal referral, or a personalized matchmaking consultant, the key to identifying the right contractor is to know exactly what you’re looking for.

“First identify exactly what performance metrics are important for each task [you] want to outsource,” Resnick says. “Some outsourcing providers focus on speed at the expense of quality or vice versa. This is fine as long as there is a good match between what the small business wants and what the [provider] specializes in. But many small businesses don’t realize that there are large differences among outsourcing providers and select the wrong ones. An open and clear conversation with potential contractors regarding these key performance metrics is essential.”

Related: 10 Online Invoicing Services for Small-Business Owners

Making it Work
After you’ve found a provider, your work isn’t over yet. Even after you’ve checked references, “don’t be afraid to put a little extra time creating a specific contract that outlines exactly what performance is expected,” Resnick says. “Use incentives to motivate the outsourcer to focus on what is most important to you rather than their own preferences or their assumptions about what you want.”

Communicate your expectations and the steps included in the job clearly; never assume that contractors are thinking what you’re thinking. “When there is a problem [with the work], I am often the one to blame, as my instructions may not have been clear enough,” says Jeremy Belcher, owner of FoxyMelody.com, who has hired numerous contractors through eLance. “It is very important that the requirements and expectations are laid out in the beginning, and that nothing is left to assumption.”

Even when you clearly state your expectations, “there will be a learning curve on the provider’s side,” Belcher adds. “Hang in there. The provider will get better, and you will have the freedom to focus on more important tasks.”

Your final responsibility as a successful outsourcer is to step back, relinquish control, and allow your new team members to do the job you’ve hired them to do. “You need some measure of trust,” Resnick says. “If you are going to micromanage all of your outsourcing, the savings in management attention and time that is the whole point of outsourcing is lost.”

If you’re used to doing everything yourself, consider delegating the management of outsourcing relationships to another member of your management team, a move that may help you let go, according to Resnick.

“It’s less about logistics and entirely about mindset,” Walsh adds. “Many owners take pride in having the world on their shoulders and their entire organization buried in their mind. Knowing your business is critical, but keeping yourself indispensable is reckless and un-scalable. Realize that removing yourself from low-level operations is the smartest investment you can make in the long-term success of your business.”

Weighing the Costs vs. the Benefits

Counting the Cost
So what can you expect to pay a contractor for allowing you to rise above day-to-day tasks and build a better business? It depends on the type of work you’re buying, the skill level and location of your provider, and your own preferences.

For instance, SeatGeek’s Groetzinger says that through online hiring sites, you can find contractors in developing countries who will work for less than $1 per hour. While U.S.-based contractors will likely require higher fees, they may be lower in rural areas than in metropolitan cities where the cost of living is greater.

“‘You get what you pay for’ is true, wherever you go in the world,” Walsh says. “Always pay someone what they’re worth, regardless of location but accounting for and leveraging currency differences that often work in your favor. [Place] value [on] outcomes over hours. If you don’t get the outcome you need, it doesn’t matter how much time your contractor spent along the way. Consider distinct task-based agreements while you’re evaluating new providers, and transition to a fixed-cost retainer once you’re confident in their ability to consistently deliver.”

Facing the Challenges
While outsourcing can yield great advantages for a small company, it’s not without challenges. If you choose to work with offshore providers, language barriers and time zones can be difficult to deal with. However, Walsh says that focusing on making your own communications clear can help overcome confusion for those who are not native English speakers. And “time zones create more opportunity than inconvenience, as you can extend your productive hours by handing tasks over to someone during their workday,” Walsh says. “Assign a task at night, and awake to find it complete and waiting for you.”

Just as when you hire a new employee, there are security risks involved when handing tasks over to an outsourced provider. “The challenge is to outsource functionality securely, in a manner that does not put employee personal information or customer data at risk,” says Jonathan Gossels, president of SystemExperts, a security and compliance consulting firm.

If contractors are handling credit card data, Gossels recommends reviewing their Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance statement; if they are handling health or benefits information, review their HIPAA compliance statement. For a general sense of the contractor’s security policy and practices, review their ISO 27002 compliance statement.

“The most important step a business owner can take to protect his data is to only provide the outsourced service provider with the absolute minimum data necessary for the provider to do its work,” Gossels says.

The Small Office Assistant’s Thomas discovered the importance of protecting client data when one of her contracted virtual assistants stole a client from Thomas for her own virtual assistant business. Now, rather than working directly with clients, Thomas’ contractors communicate with them anonymously through the company’s online system and Thomas herself serves as the sole client contact.

Reaping the Benefits
Although there are risks, outsourcing ultimately offers business owners great advantages. The process allows you to build a team of skilled professionals without adding the expense of full-time employees, and to avoid getting bogged down with tasks that can be completed without your attention, Sparks says. It’s an affordable, proven strategy for growing your business without letting it take over your life.

“Handing off work forces you to objectively, ruthlessly and systematically consider your activities and the steps taken to perform them,” Walsh says. “Defining a process flushes out inefficiency.”

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FOUR TYPES OF BUSINESS ANALYTICS TO KNOW

For different stages of business analytics huge amount of data is processed at various steps. Depending on the stage of the workflow and the requirement of data analysis, there are four main kinds of analytics – descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive. These four types together answer everything a company needs to know- from what’s going on in the company to what solutions to be adopted for optimizing the functions.

The four types of analytics are usually implemented in stages and no one type of analytics is said to be better than the other. They are interrelated and each of these offers a different insight. With data being important to so many diverse sectors- from manufacturing to energy grids, most of the companies rely on one or all of these types of analytics. With the right choice of analytical techniques, big data can deliver richer insights for the companies

Before diving deeper into each of these, let’s define the four types of analytics:

1) Descriptive Analytics: Describing or summarizing the existing data using existing business intelligence tools to better understand what is going on or what has happened.

2) Diagnostic Analytics: Focus on past performance to determine what happened and why. The result of the analysis is often an analytic dashboard.

3) Predictive Analytics: Emphasizes on predicting the possible outcome using statistical models and machine learning techniques.

4) Prescriptive Analytics: It is a type of predictive analytics that is used to recommend one or more course of action on analyzing the data.

Let’s understand these in a bit more depth.

1. Descriptive Analytics

This can be termed as the simplest form of analytics. The mighty size of big data is beyond human comprehension and the first stage hence involves crunching the data into understandable chunks. The purpose of this analytics type is just to summarizes the findings and understand what is going on.

Among some frequently used terms, what people call as advanced analytics or business intelligence is basically usage of descriptive statistics (arithmetic operations, mean, median, max, percentage, etc.) on existing data.  It is said that 80% of business analytics mainly involves descriptions based on aggregations of past performance. It is an important step to make raw data understandable to investors, shareholders and managers. This way it gets easy to identify and address the areas of strengths and weaknesses such that it can help in strategizing.

The two main techniques involved are data aggregation and data mining stating that this method is purely used for understanding the underlying behavior and not to make any estimation. By mining historical data, companies can analyze the consumer behaviors and engagements with their businesses that could be helpful in targeted marketing, service improvement, etc. The tools used in this phase are MS Excel, MATLAB, SPSS, STATA, etc.

2. Diagnostic Analytics

Diagnostic analytics is used to determine why something happened in the past. It is characterized by techniques such as drill-down, data discovery, data mining and correlations. Diagnostic analytics takes a deeper look at data to understand the root causes of the events. It is helpful in determining what factors and events contributed to the outcome. It mostly uses probabilities, likelihoods, and the distribution of outcomes for the analysis.

In a time series data of sales, diagnostic analytics would help you understand why the sales have decrease or increase for a specific year or so. However, this type of analytics has a limited ability to give actionable insights. It just provides an understanding of causal relationships and sequences while looking backward.

A few techniques that uses diagnostic analytics include attribute importance, principle components analysis, sensitivity analysis, and conjoint analysis. Training algorithms for classification and regression also fall in this type of analytics

3. Predictive Analytics

As mentioned above, predictive analytics is used to predict future outcomes. However, it is important to note that it cannot predict if an event will occur in the future; it merely forecasts what the probabilities of the occurrence of the event are. A predictive model builds on the preliminary descriptive analytics stage to derive the possibility of the outcomes.

The essence of predictive analytics is to devise models such that the existing data is understood to extrapolate the future occurrence or simply, predict the future data. One of the common applications of predictive analytics is found in sentiment analysis where all the opinions posted on social media are collected and analyzed (existing text data) to predict the person’s sentiment on a particular subject as being- positive, negative or neutral (future prediction).

Hence, predictive analytics includes building and validation of models that provide accurate predictions. Predictive analytics relies on machine learning algorithms like random forests, SVM, etc. and statistics for learning and testing the data. Usually, companies need trained data scientists and machine learning experts for building these models. The most popular tools for predictive analytics include Python, R, Rapid Miner, etc.

The prediction of future data relies on the existing data as it cannot be obtained otherwise.  If the model is properly tuned, it can be used to support complex forecasts in sales and marketing. It goes a step ahead of the standard BI in giving accurate predictions.

4. Prescriptive Analytics

The basis of this analytics is predictive analytics but it goes beyond the three mentioned above to suggest the future solutions. It can suggest all favorable outcomes according to a specified course of action and also suggest various courses of actions to get to a particular outcome. Hence, it uses a strong feedback system that constantly learns and updates the relationship between the action and the outcome.

The computations include optimization of some functions that are related to the desired outcome. For example, while calling for a cab online, the application uses GPS to connect you to the correct driver from among a number of drivers found nearby. Hence, it optimizes the distance for faster arrival time. Recommendation engines also use prescriptive analytics.

The other approach includes simulation where all the key performance areas are combined to design the correct solutions. It makes sure whether the key performance metrics are included in the solution. The optimization model will further work on the impact of the previously made forecasts. Because of its power to suggest favorable solutions, prescriptive analytics is the final frontier of advanced analytics or data science, in today’s term.

Conclusion

The four techniques in analytics may make it seem as if they need to be implemented sequentially. However, in most scenarios, companies can jump directly to prescriptive analytics. As for most of the companies, they are aware of or are already implementing descriptive analytics but if one has identified the key area that needs to be optimized and worked upon, they must employ prescriptive analytics to reach the desired outcome.

According to research, prescriptive analytics is still at the budding stage and not many firms have completely used its power. However, the advancements in predictive analytics will surely pave the way for its development. Hope this article gave you a better understanding of the analytics spectrum.

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Business Operations

What are Business Operations?

Business operations refer to activities that businesses engage in on a daily basis to increase the value of the enterprise and earn a profit. The activities can be optimized to generate sufficient revenues to cover expenses and earn a profit for the owners of the business. Employees help accomplish the business’ goals by performing certain functions such as marketing, accounting, manufacturing, etc. https://reinnc.com/business-operation-support/Business operations evolve as the business grows, and the management should plan to accommodate the changes to prevent glitches occurring in the system. For example, as a small business grows, it must be ready to handle arising challenges such as legal, marketing, and capacity issues. If the business does not evolve with the changes in business operations, glitches such as errors and omissions will emerge.

Business Operations in Different Industries

The operations of a business vary across industries, and they are structured according to the requirements of the specific industries. Mastering the operations of a specific industry can help the business achieve success. Here is an analysis of business operations in different industries:

1. Retail industry

One of the main goals of a retail business is to stock products that customers are looking for and at a price that the customers are willing to pay. This means that the business must maintain an efficient inventory system so that it knows what is in stock at any given time while reducing instances of dead stock. Deadstock refers to products that the company has in stock but that is not in high demand. In order to maximize revenues, the business should stock fast-moving items that customers are willing and happy to pay for. The business should also negotiate friendly credit terms with suppliers so that they can get the required products on credit to prevent stock-outs.

2. Service industry

The business operations of a service business are divided into the front-end and back-end side of the business. The management must ensure that the two divisions are running efficiently to prevent laxity on one side, which can hinder the achievement of the company’s objectives. On the front end, the business should focus on streamlining the service delivery to customers to increase their satisfaction. It should also formulate a means of receiving feedback and complaints from customers to know their expectations and how to improve service delivery.

On the back end, the management should employ the right people in each department. For example, the company should appoint trained and experienced staff to prepare forecasts for client projects to prevent the actual costs from exceeding client budgets.

3. Manufacturing industry

Manufacturing companies are involved in turning raw materials into physical products, which are then sold to consumers. One of the things that a manufacturing company can do to achieve efficiency is to source quality raw materials from credible suppliers. For perishable and edible products, the business should look into how raw materials are stored, processed, and shipped to consumers.

The company can also eliminate bottlenecks that increase processing times to save time during manufacturing and shipping. If the company is struggling with shipping logistics, it can outsource shipping and concentrate on other areas of the business that it excels in.

4. Technology industry

The key to streamlining operations of a technology company is hiring the right staff and training them on how to execute the tasks they are assigned. This means that the company should put a hiring criterion in place that helps them hire the best candidates for the job. The company should also come up with an internal training and mentorship program where senior staff works hand-in-hand with junior staff to help them perfect their skills.

Another way of increasing efficiency is by collaborating the different tools such as apps, websites, and systems that the company uses. The company’s management should continually monitor internal and external processes to spot any glitches and address these issues quickly.

How to Improve Business Operations

The following are some suggestions that businesses can use to improve business operations:

1. Measure performance

A business should come up with realistic and actionable means of measuring its business milestones. The process of measuring performance starts from the goal-setting stage. The company’s management should set achievable objectives with clear targets. For example, the goal of achieving a 30% increase in revenues is more actionable than setting a goal to make more money in the next financial period. The company should then implement a measurement system that determines how well the business is doing against the goal targets.

2. Keep up with the latest trends

A business should stay up to date with what happens in the industry to get ideas on how to get better than the competition. Trends can take the form of new innovation, changing state and federal laws, or changes in the local economy. Knowing the latest trends and changes in operations can help the company find new systems that improve performance and cut costs, or that help the company stay compliant with new regulations.

3. Streamline processes

Another way of improving business operations is to evolve with changes in the industry to increase productivity. The management should continually be on the lookout for new tools, software,  and equipment that improve and ease critical processes.

For example, where the business uses manual methods to manage inventory, the management can acquire an inventory management software program that automates most of the processes and saves both time and costs.

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How Operation Support Helps Business to Grow:

Business operations are more important than you might think. It does not matter how large or small a business is or what industry it is in – it needs to have excellent business operations to be an excellent business.

So what are business operations? The term refers to everything a business is doing to provide a service to its customers. The most important aspect of excellent business operations is how cohesive these operations are. If all the operations in your business can work together smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, then you are effectively maximizing your company’s potential. Your operations will be at their peak levels of efficiency, therefore reducing cost and improving customer satisfaction overall.

If, however, your business operations resemble more of a series of disjointed departments that rarely cross over or work together, then there is significant room for improvement.

Plenty of companies outsource their business operations, which can sometimes make cohesiveness additionally difficult, as simple geography can also play a part if it is not managed well. If, however, you have a company like Reinnc by your side to help you partner with an external business, then it will be much easier to run a cohesive, connected business. You, therefore, increase efficiency and cut costs while outsourcing effectively.

So how exactly will increasing the standards of your business operations improve your business?

Improved problem solving:

If a company is set up to achieve operational excellence, then its employees will be set up to solve their own problems when they arise. Not only should employees have the know-how to solve (or figure out how to solve) potential issues that might come up, but they should also be given the authority to make the decisions that need to be made. Employees will be able to do quite a bit on their own, but, of course, they will also need to consult their supervisor from time to time.

This process allows employees to snag problems before they have time to get worse, and fix them as soon as possible, therefore streamlining the entire process without making the manager or supervisor do everyone else’s work. This serves the dual purpose of keeping employees motivated since they feel needed and are encouraged by that feeling.

Save on time

Companies that have excellence in business operations know that their employees should be able to solve problems themselves. Everyone should have the proper tools, information, and authorization necessary to solve the everyday problems that come his or her way. If they do, this will save time all around. Their time will be freed up because they will not need to track down a manager to solve the issue, managers’ time will be freed up because they will not need to worry about answering said questions. Therefore, employees and managers can spend their time focusing their efforts on what they are supposed to be doing: helping the company climb the ladder in excellence.

Streamlining processes leads to expansion

The beauty of operational excellence is the fact that all of the processes within your business can be streamlined — all the extra fluff is no longer necessary in an efficient system. Processes are defined clearly and concretely, and roles and rules are designed with efficiency in mind. Once your company has eliminated the fluff, it can expand and grow without the hassle and confusion that comes with a company that doesn’t have cohesive, efficient business operations.

Clearly defined expectations and standardized processes mean taking out the extra planning time and effort put into things like training, opening new branches, and so on. When this part is already figured out, much more time and effort can be spent on the most important things in your business.

If you are thinking about expanding and outsourcing and don’t want to compromise the integrity and cohesion of your business processes, why not give Reinnc a try? We will ensure that you are happy with the results.

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Your business plan sets your business

Your business plan sets your business apart from the competition. It’s a clear sign to lenders and investors that you’re taking your initiative seriously and that you are prepared for whatever lies ahead. It’s also a road map for you to follow when things don’t go according to your plan, or when you find yourself pulled in a different direction than you started with. This means that your business may very well depend upon the strength of your initial plan; because of this, it should be taken seriously.

If you’re ready to put together a business plan, consider the following essential elements of a solid plan and start to put it all together. Remember that not all of the parts below will apply to every business because every business is different. Instead, start with what you can, then, build over time.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the “overview” of your business and your plan. It gives readers the opportunity to gain a bird’s eye view of your business and to familiarize them with your ideas. It’s the first place to attract attention.

Your executive summary should include:

  • A mission and vision statement. What do you hope to accomplish going forward?
  • General company information: what you do, what you offer, your target location, and your overall setup.
  • A general look at your products and services.
  • Financing needs and information.
  • Future plans. Where do you hope to go in one year? In five? In ten?

Company Description

This is your opportunity to decide upon and describe various elements of your business as a company. Consider it your elevator pitch. Include the nature of your business and your target customers, the needs that your business meets and what competitive advantage and/or value you bring to the market place.

A Detailed Market Analysis

This is your opportunity to show that you’ve completed the necessary research on your market and are ready to proceed. Your market analysis should include:

  • Who are your target customers? What are their needs? Are those needs currently being met or do you bring something new to the table? What are their purchasing trends and financial situations?
  • How large is your target market? Are they located in a specific region or location? How will you reach them?
  • What percentage of your target market can you reasonably reach? How did you come up with this number?
  • What is your pricing structure? How does this suit your target market?
  • Who is your competition? Where are they located? What is their market share? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your own strengths and weaknesses? How can you improve upon your weaknesses?

Your Organizational Structure

Where are you starting as far as your company’s structure and how will you expand upon it?

Start with a current chart that lists employees, investors and owners, then create a future growth chart that shows how you will expand going forward. From there, include bios for all owners and managers, along with critical information that relates to each of them. This adds depth to your business and your plan.

Service and Product Descriptions

What are you selling? Create a list of all products and/or services along with distinguishable features. From there, discuss how you will expand going forward. Be sure to list any patents or trademarks that are pending or in place along with any other critical information.

Marketing

How do you plan to reach and convert customers? How will you make your business a success? It all comes down to your marketing plan.

Your strategy should include:

  • How you’ll penetrate your market. Which channels will you use?
  • How you’ll grow when marketing is successful. Is franchising an option? Purchasing another business? Product expansion?
  • Your channels of distribution: will you simply market in-house products? Or, will you engage a sales force, other retailers or distributors?
  • What combination of communication tactics will you put into action? Traditional advertising? Social media? Printed materials? Trade shows? Seasonal catalogs?

Financial Needs

This is the section to outline all financial needs and funding requests, if applicable. Be specific and outline what you need and how it will be used.

Financial Projection

After you’ve taken the time to evaluate your market and to consider the objectives of your company, you should be able to compile a financial projection. This outlines what you’re hoping to accomplish financially in the next 5 years. If you have historical data to base you projections upon, this is the best place to start. If you’re a start up, consider your products and growth plan against initial funding needs.

Appendix (optional)

An appendix is not a necessary aspect of a business plan. However, it’s an excellent location for the inclusion of miscellaneous documents like business permits, patents, photos of products, any research documents or references used to gather data and information, credit histories and contracts.

A business plan is critical for all businesses. As such, it should not be taken lightly. Any program that promises a solid plan in a few hours is probably not as detailed as it should be. If you’re looking for ways to create or to improve upon your business plan, start by speaking with an experienced business law attorney, like Michael Hynum of Hynum Law.

A business plan can make or break a business, it’s important to take it seriously from the start. Ready to get started? Contact us today; we look forward to working with you.

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Why you need a virtual assistant?

# Why you need a virtual assistant?

Talking about the importance of virtual assistant, companies can find the following benefits while having a virtual assistant as a team member:

1. To save your time and money

Your time and money both are valuable, you just cannot waste your time by doing the same project for a week and if so then you losing your money. Whereas is time is money. Your time should be spent on important works and your money should be spent on the right work which benefits your business and helps to move forward. Moreover, you should not waste your valuable time in email checking and scheduling.

And, thinking about money, if you hire an employee other than Virtual Assistant, for completing those tasks, they will charge you higher whereas hiring a Virtual Assistant can minimize the overall cost of your business.

2. To Increase Your Productivity

Even if you own a small business there still will be a lot of works to complete within a day, so you hardly can handle everything in 24 hours by a day, or your employee has only 24 hours.

On the other hand, if you hire a virtual assistant, they can help you for not being exhausted because at the end of the day you will feel relaxed as small tasks such as email management, data entry, bookkeeping etc will be completed as an additional help can increase your productivity.

3. Cost reducing than in-House employment

When it comes to, hiring an employee you need to be very sharp figuring out their ability-disability, even more, difficult to find a trustworthy employee and these all are not that easy.
Most likely, you need months/years to find the perfect person for your business and that involves a leaden cycle of hiring and firing. And this can give a negative impact on your business.
On the other hand, hiring a virtual assistant rather than in-house employees, all you have to do is just look out for their profile and what kind of work they have done so far and what they are best for. So with a virtual assistant, you are stress-free.

4. Improve Efficiency by Doing More Work in less time

on the 24 hours of a day, your employee has only 8 hours work shift in a day, also they have sick leave, vacation and more. So, you might find some works pending which is not good for your business.
While having a virtual assistant, you hardly need to worry about all these as there will be no time limit, no leave or no sick.

5. Manage Stress effectively

For entrepreneurs, having a virtual assistant can be very helpful. Entrepreneurs have to go through severe stress throughout the day. So having a virtual assistant can help you in every possible sector which doesn’t require physical existence. For example, if you work for 17 hours in a day, then you won’t be having time for yourself.

Final words

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant that With the blessings of modern technology, people from all over the world can work for companies which are far away from their residential area by the employment of virtual assistant.

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Your business plan sets your business

Your business plan sets your business apart from the competition. It’s a clear sign to lenders and investors that you’re taking your initiative seriously and that you are prepared for whatever lies ahead. It’s also a roadmap for you to follow when things don’t go according to your plan, or when you find yourself pulled in a different direction than you started with. This means that your business may very well depend upon the strength of your initial plan; because of this, it should be taken seriously.

If you’re ready to put together a business plan, consider the following essential elements of a solid plan and start to put it all together. Remember that not all of the parts below will apply to every business because every business is different. Instead, start with what you can, then, build over time.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the “overview” of your business and your plan. It gives readers the opportunity to gain a bird’s eye view of your business and to familiarize them with your ideas. It’s the first place to attract attention.

Your executive summary should include:

  • A mission and vision statement. What do you hope to accomplish going forward?
  • General company information: what you do, what you offer, your target location, and your overall setup.
  • A general look at your products and services.
  • Financing needs and information.
  • Future plans. Where do you hope to go in one year? In five? In ten?

Company Description

This is your opportunity to decide upon and describe various elements of your business as a company. Consider it your elevator pitch. Include the nature of your business and your target customers, the needs that your business meets and what competitive advantage and/or value you bring to the market place.

A Detailed Market Analysis

This is your opportunity to show that you’ve completed the necessary research on your market and are ready to proceed. Your market analysis should include:

  • Who are your target customers? What are their needs? Are those needs currently being met or do you bring something new to the table? What are their purchasing trends and financial situations?
  • How large is your target market? Are they located in a specific region or location? How will you reach them?
  • What percentage of your target market can you reasonably reach? How did you come up with this number?
  • What is your pricing structure? How does this suit your target market?
  • Who is your competition? Where are they located? What is their market share? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your own strengths and weaknesses? How can you improve upon your weaknesses?

Your Organizational Structure

Where are you starting as far as your company’s structure and how will you expand upon it?

Start with a current chart that lists employees, investors and owners, then create a future growth chart that shows how you will expand going forward. From there, include bios for all owners and managers, along with critical information that relates to each of them. This adds depth to your business and your plan.

Service and Product Descriptions

What are you selling? Create a list of all products and/or services along with distinguishable features. From there, discuss how you will expand going forward. Be sure to list any patents or trademarks that are pending or in place along with any other critical information.

Marketing

How do you plan to reach and convert customers? How will you make your business a success? It all comes down to your marketing plan.

Your strategy should include:

  • How you’ll penetrate your market. Which channels will you use?
  • How you’ll grow when marketing is successful. Is franchising an option? Purchasing another business? Product expansion?
  • Your channels of distribution: will you simply market in-house products? Or, will you engage a sales force, other retailers or distributors?
  • What combination of communication tactics will you put into action? Traditional advertising? Social media? Printed materials? Trade shows? Seasonal catalogs?

Financial Needs

This is the section to outline all financial needs and funding requests, if applicable. Be specific and outline what you need and how it will be used.

Financial Projection

After you’ve taken the time to evaluate your market and to consider the objectives of your company, you should be able to compile a financial projection. This outlines what you’re hoping to accomplish financially in the next 5 years. If you have historical data to base you projections upon, this is the best place to start. If you’re a start up, consider your products and growth plan against initial funding needs.

Appendix (optional)

An appendix is not a necessary aspect of a business plan. However, it’s an excellent location for the inclusion of miscellaneous documents like business permits, patents, photos of products, any research documents or references used to gather data and information, credit histories and contracts.

A business plan is critical for all businesses. As such, it should not be taken lightly. Any program that promises a solid plan in a few hours is probably not as detailed as it should be. If you’re looking for ways to create or to improve upon your business plan, start by speaking with an experienced business law attorney, like Michael Hynum of Hynum Law.

A business plan can make or break a business, it’s important to take it seriously from the start. Ready to get started? Contact us today; we look forward to working with you.

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