Underfloor Air Distribution

In our houses, we have vents in the floors and ceilings that shoot out cool or warm air depending on what season it is and whether we have the furnace or the air conditioner on. Because the vents are in a set position on the floor, it makes furniture rearrangement that much more tricky and doesn’t allow for you to re purpose rooms as easily as you may imagine, but it gets hot and cold outside and we want our homes to be cooled or heated at will and this is how it is done.

More and more buildings on a bigger scale however have underfloor air distribution built right in as they are constructed making floor plans more flexible and without the need for static vents in strange places.

This technique is used in areas like data centers that produce a lot of heat from computers and equipment that is constantly used. In this application, isolated air conditioner zones are associated with raised flooring. Perforated tiles are placed under the computer systems to direct air to them, cooling them down in the process. The computing equipment is designed to draw the cool air from below and get rid of the warm air into the room. The air conditioner unit will them draw air from the room, cools it and forces it again through the raised flooring for the cycle to be complete.

Of course, raised flooring and underfloor air distribution go hand in hand and it is all part of the HVAC system in a building. This system makes for improved comfort for individuals in the building, better ventilation for equipment, machinery and of course, staff and improved energy efficiency for the building itself. It also results in reduced life cycle costs and is used in places like museums, schools, churches, offices and airports, all places where lots of people gather and lots of equipment is continually used.

One of the best parts about underfloor air distribution is the fact that reconfiguration of the space is a lot easier, it is also great for computer rooms as they are constantly cooled, reducing the effect of over heating on their operating systems. The only place this newer technology isn’t effective is for wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms, pool areas, gymnasiums and dining areas but it is widely used in common buildings around the country like the New York Times Building and the Bank of America Tower to name just two.

Plans for Your Business Venture

Whatever the health and condition of your business venture, it will benefit from planning. Business planning of all types provides a road-map that guides the leadership team to successfully achieve business goals.

I’ve taught business plan writing for more than 10 years and I’ve also developed a one-day business plan writing workshop. As I see it, the process of business planning gives company leaders opportunities to see the big picture and remove “magical thinking” from the process. Business planning first reveals if the proposed goals are potentially viable and second, requires that we devise strategies that will make them a reality.

What your team wants to achieve will shape the plan that is written. For example, if the mission is to launch a start-up that will require significant outside investment, then the plan will include detailed financial projections. Additionally, marketing strategies that delve into customer acquisition, the competitive landscape, the logistics of the product or service launch, messaging and sales distribution, along with operational aspects such as manufacturing, staffing and quality control, must be thoroughly detailed.

Solopreneur consultants will focus heavily on marketing, in particular defining the target clients and client acquisition; providing services for which there is adequate demand; and appropriate pricing. Financial planning will focus on allocating the budget to support promotional strategies and marketing campaigns.

Whether the plan will be used to launch a big venture and attract outside investment money or open a boutique-style consulting service, include the following elements:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Present the business mission statement here. Include as well the date the business was formed; the leadership team and other key management personnel; the credentials or experience that make you and the leadership team uniquely qualified to launch and successfully run the venture; the business legal structure (LLC, Sole Proprietor, or Corporation); the products and services; one or two key competitive advantages; a concise overview of sales projections; and the amount of capital needed if recruiting investors or obtaining bank financing is a goal.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION

It’s traditional to present a brief description of your industry and its outlook, nationally and regionally. Give the details of your products and services and briefly discuss how they’ll be used by target customers. Identify whether the venture is B2B, B2C, or B2G. If the organization holds a patent, review the competitive advantages that it will convey. Have there been any technological advances that will help or hinder the enterprise? Divulge the details here.

MARKETING

This element is a big tent that encompasses sales, product or service distribution, competitors, advertising, social media, PR, networking, branding, customer acquisition and pricing. Plans written for a small organization will spotlight the role of marketing because for Solopreneurs, success hinges on identifying and reaching paying clients, as well as pricing the services advantageously.

FINANCE

Whether you’re wealthy enough to self-finance or the venture is small and not especially demanding of capital investment, the leadership team nevertheless needs to know with a reasonable degree of certainty how much money will be required to achieve important goals.

The plan might be written to support financing for the acquisition of new office space, additional staffing, or manufacturing equipment. Bank loans typically require a business plan to demonstrate how the investment money would be used and how the organization will generate funds for loan repayment.

If the goal is to attract investors, they’ll need to be convinced by the projected sales revenue figures (as will the bank), so they’ll know when their investment will be repaid and when to expect profits if they are made co-owners of the business. A break-even analysis, projected income statement, projected cash-flow statement and projected balance sheet are required by those who will need significant money.

OPERATIONS

How will day-to-day business processes function? Tell it here, along with providing the organizational chart, the business location, the method of producing that which you sell (if you are, for example, a freelance book editor or graphic designer, you produce the service yourself), your usual sub-contractors (if you are a special events organizer, who are your preferred caterer, florist and limo service?) and quality control methods. This element is about logistics.

Your Business Need A Sales Funnel

It may sound obvious but often a business will forget the fact that the only way to make money is to get customers to buy. And the best way to get customers to buy is to have am effective sales funnel.

A sales funnel is set of steps where you guide a prospect through a series of communications that results in them buying from you.

But what happens after that first sale is made? Existing customers are the people who are most likely to buy from you again.

How Does A Sales Funnel Work?

At the top of the funnel, you offer something for free in return for getting a prospect’s contact information. This could be a report, checklist, video or eBook. Then you begin marketing, following up with emails and other communications to attempt to make a sale.

Throughout your sales funnel process, you should have several offers that complement each other. For instance, before you buy a car, you take it for a free test drive. If you like the car and buy it, the salesman doesn’t just hand you the keys and then vanish. You’re offered extended auto warranties, enhancements like upholstery and wheel options.

After a couple of months the salesperson will contact you to see if you’re happy with your new car, and let you know about a discount or sale going on.In the future, you’ll be contacted with opportunities to trade in your vehicle and the sales process goes on and on.

How Many Levels In The Sales Funnel Process?

As you can see from the example above, there can be many different levels in a sales funnel. A one level funnel is where after a customer buys from you, you move onto the next prospect.

But this a critical error.

It costs 6 to 7 times more to get a new customer than keep an existing one. It makes sense to market to someone who has already purchased one of your products, rather than try to convince new people to buy your services. An existing customer already knows you and your business. If they have received excellent value from you once, they’ll be more prepared to spend money with you again, rather than somebody who has never heard of you.

There is no “ideal number” of sales funnel levels. Each business, product and service is different. Just make sure you are continuously providing your prospects and customers opportunities to improve their lives or solve their problems with future purchases from you.

Finding a Great Job

Many businesses have high turnover rates due to unhappy, unsatisfied, and/or unappreciated employees. There are several ways a company can create loyalty, happiness, and more positive attitudes towards employee’s jobs. One such approach is through increased company functions and gatherings that help develop office friendships throughout the company. Also, the creation of management teams and developing a teamwork mentality will help employees gain the feeling of ownership in their company. Instead of an us versus them attitude between departments, friendships throughout the company will also help build a complete team attitude. Many prominent companies create outlets for their employees to volunteer, fundraising, and help their community. The following suggestions will also increase employee pride, happiness, and ownership of their responsibilities at work.

• Family Atmosphere – This type of environment creates a climate of fairness, equality, respect, and makes it safe to express dissent. This atmosphere is welcoming and creates a friendly environment to introduce new ideas. Employees teams may encourage a challenging but supportive environment and strengthen loyalty and teamwork throughout the organization.

• Recognition Programs – Company programs that recognize hard work, commitment, effort, and contributions breed organizational success and loyalty. The recognition program should include monthly awards and gift cards or a free lunch. Recognition from a supervisor at least two ranks above an employee makes a meaningful, engaging difference in employee morale.

• Organizational Pride and Belonging – Promote activities that development and establish pride and loyalty which is the backbone of any businesses long-term success. Employee turnover is extremely expensive and productivity and product or service development suffers. An engaged employee is a person who is enthusiastic about their work. Improving employee engagement directly impacts measurable business outcomes. Employees who are committed to success, emotionally attached, and socially involved with a company demonstrate qualities that business managers thirst to have. Engaged employees are more productive at work, take less sick days and exhibit other favorable behavior, promote the business to others and show their happiness to customers.

• Mentor Programs – Thinking long-term for future company success. A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser that assists in developing competent employees and future leaders. Mentoring program train and encourage seasoned employees to be mentors. A mentoring program can facilitate dynamic skill growth throughout an organization. Informal learning can be as important as formal learning programs.

• Volunteering Options – Look for opportunities for your company employees to get involved in the community. Allow your employees to volunteer their time or fundraising for a good cause. It is good public relations for companies to show their communities they care about their customers. These activities will create good-will among the local community and your employees. Create a team to decide what cause your company will offer financial support for a charity or cause.

Employee engagement can be improved by aligning the goals of individual with the goals of the business. Employee motivation should be associated with traditional rewards, such as pay and compensation, but also with emotional rewards such as personal growth, working for a common cause, being part of a high-performance team, and being recognized for achievements.

Creating Clients for Life – Thank You

As a parent of four daughters, my wife and I have focused our children on the art of sending thank you notes. We started them at a young age that included a cute piece of paper with crayons through their teens with a formal card and well thought out hand written message. It included birthdays, graduations, recent wedding, and the unusual when a nice gesture was done for them.

As we move into our business careers, many of us forget about that lost art and the powerful impact it still has vs. an electronic email. It is definitely a strategy that can set you apart. As real estate professionals there are many opportunities to drop a thank you card. I have even seen some studies that indicate a person who receives a thank you card will share it with 3 other people.

Make it part of your daily routine to send out at least 5 thank you cards per day and increase it as your business increases. Types of Thank You notes include:

  • Purchased a Home – This is the most obvious and the start of the process to create that long term referral. Don’t forget to offer your availability to help them if they have needs for recommendation for local services etc
  • Home Showing – Working with buyers requires time and patience. Why not send that thank you for the opportunity to show them a home and reinforcing your skills and enthusiasm to continue to find the client their dream home
  • Listing – Thanking that home owner for selecting you and remind them on why they did select you along with some of the marketing already in place.
  • Referrals – We all work for referral, so thanking that customer for a referral, whether or not that referral selected you will continue to bear future fruits
  • Listing Appointments – Meeting with homeowners that are looking to make that decision to sell their home requires the thank you be sent immediately. Timing becomes critical. Pick that one moment from the meeting that you felt you connected with the home owners and include that in your note
  • Cold Calling/Prospecting – When meeting someone for the first time, and follow-up with a thank you for their time and offer them a personal contact method.
  • Rejection – There will be times that you do not get the home listing or do not find the buyer that home. A thank you and keeping in touch for future developments may lead to future business.

Make sure each thank you note is hand written, has a stamp (not metered), is signed, and includes your business card

Business Package Become A Casualty

Every holiday season, from late October through January, finding a reliable courier or shipping company can become a nightmare. Time sensitive packages are not always given top priority by the big courier services because of their high demand for deliveries during the holidays.

Businesses who rely on courier services throughout the year know the holiday season will become a problem for them due to the overwhelming of daily consumer shipments. Whether it’s a gift being delivered across the country or a medical lab needing sensitive packages transported a few miles away, all packages are treated the same. That means without proper care!. How many times have you seen “FRAGILE” on a package only to receive it smashed. It almost seems some courier services enjoy damaging packages. They think tossing it into the back of the truck is careful. Or rolling it like a bowling ball is fun. Well, not to the medical labs, dental offices, hospitals or other businesses that hope their package is treated with care.

Unlike a consumer who can pre-schedule their package to be delivered, many businesses do not have that luxury. Flexible delivery dates are not part of the business world. Too often a special delivery package needs to be sent within a few miles. It could be within a 100 mile radius or just a 10 mile distance. No matter how far, the package needs to get there NOW.

Don’t wait for your packages to have these issues with your existing courier service during the holiday season. One reason why this happens is they hire temporary drivers and those drivers might not be familiar with the area. And more than likely, they are paid by the hour, so what’s another hour or two on the road to them it’s more money! Managing time-sensitive packages like medical supplies, medial lab tests, or legal documents can get lost easily during this busy season. Local same day courier services are small enough yet large enough to give you the personal care for all same day deliveries.

Isn’t it be time you find a local courier service that is reliable and doesn’t hire temporary drivers? If your business has packages that need to be delivered within 100 miles, ask your business friends on who they use for their deliveries and if they are satisfied. Be sure they have a solid reputation with medical labs, hospitals, pharmacies, dental labs and other businesses that require sensitive packages to be delivered on-time. Many businesses require same day delivery!

Bring Your App Business on the Right Track

Every entrepreneur seeks to know the secret recipe for success. What strategies are made to increase the conversion rate? What are the exciting ideas that can be implemented to make the company grow? It is super strategies that create opportunities for a company. There are always some brand new ideas that you can implement to grow your business. However, not all the existing tricks will give your business a boost. It is only when the right strategies are followed at the right time and the right place that you end up having a revenue-generating business.

If you have an app business, here are 5 strategies you can follow to make sure that your business climbs the ladder of success. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Know the Purpose

To start with, in your mobile app business, it is vital to know the purpose behind the creation of an app and the audience for whom the app is created. The advantages and the true value of the app shall not be confined to the number of features it has and rather on how the user experience is. One of the most significant factors in creating compelling apps is close collaboration among developers, the quality analysis team, and designers.

2. All About Planning

It is the business plans that earn you profits. Only with clear objectives can you come up with the most suitable solutions required by customers. When it comes to creating successful apps, it definitely requires sharp focus. The complexity of a mobile app can be huge but fundamentally, an app must be designed by having an understanding of the real world. Moreover, to come up with engaging apps, it is also important to identify the exact expectations of users. So you see that accurate planning is vital for creating successful apps.

3. Choose Your Platforms Wisely

A significant part of sales depends on how you reach out to your target audience and you basically have to connect with them in the best way possible. Unlike websites, mobile applications are designed for various platforms. These days, there are multiple devices and multiple vendors. For instance, most smartphone users make use of iOS devices and others go for iPhones. Thus, the process of app development completely depends on how customer engagement can be carried out on different platforms.

4. Cross-Check the Intuitiveness of the App

Do you think that the app that you design will help in making your client’s life easier and happier? Once you design an instinctive app, it can end up giving an amazing experience to its users. Apart from integrating notable UX designs and streamlined functions, it is equally important to check whether an app is responsive enough and provides suitable performance to cater to the needs of the user. Also, ensure that the app is free from bugs.

5. Promote Your App

Promotion plays an integral role in boosting your app business. One of the most significant factors behind the popularity of an app is the way it is promoted. Adequate promotion of an app through reviews, ratings, video teasers, recordings, and social media posts helps to create a buzz among the target audience.

When it comes to the app business, the competition is stiff and if you fail to follow the right strategies, you may end up causing your app to lose its visibility among an extensive range of audience. So, follow the sure-shot strategies stated above and ensure the success of your app.

A Virtual Assistant

In this year and age, everything is related to the internet. From shopping, banking, bills payment, social interaction, communication and every bit of actions we humans do nowadays was somehow linked to the use of the internet. For several years I had been working a very traditional job in retail. However, personal circumstances made me re-think my current situation. A part of me always feels that traditional jobs here in the Philippines are very time-consuming. With a standard 48-hour work and a 1-day off per week, quality time with family and peers seems unlikely. So if work schedules are eating much of our time, is it after all worth it? This question bugged me for a lot of months. Then one day I came across KOM Academy’s Facebook posting for a free seminar on “How to be a Virtual Assistant.” Curious, I immediately inquired and pre-registered for this event. That’s when I realized that there are a lot of opportunities outside the traditional work environment.

What is a Virtual Assistant by the way? These are smart individuals offering administrative, creative and technical skills to remote clients. So what made me think this virtual job is kick-ass better than my old job? Reason number 1, “I am my boss”! As VA, as they call it, you work as an independent contractor to the client. Which means that you don’t work for a company or an employer, but instead they outsource you to render them the services they require. About this, you are not limited to work for a single client. Hence, the second reason – more clients, more income. By this I mean you can are not limiting yourself to only one source of income. You have the control to expand your financial gains as you deem fit. The third reason, it is home-based. What is not to love working at the comforts of your space? No hassle from commuting, dealing with worsening traffic situation of the city, increased transportation expenses, annoying amnesiac office mates who always borrow your things but never bothers to return them are just a few to mention.

If there is a convenience in the environment, work schedule is something that is flexible as well in this industry. That is the fourth reason why I considered engaging into this business. The chance to be given a schedule that is favorable to your liking is something that is highly unheard of in traditional jobs. Often you must be employed a full-time job to get a decent salary. Whereas in VA, even part-time jobs can still get you good pay. Mainly because you are paid based on the quality of your work output and not just merely on the number of hours you spent. Furthermore, output-based jobs present more opportunity for workers to get promoted as evaluation is real-time.

The fifth reason I seriously consider is that this job is never boring. As mentioned earlier, VAs provide different service from administrative, to creative and even technical for those highly-skilled individuals like the programmers. Thus, this job can present you wide range of tasks that you can explore and hone your skills.

These things cited above are just a few of the factors why I considered becoming a Virtual Assistant. To have the convenience of time and place in your hands is a privilege that an ordinary worker won’t be able to experience in a traditional work setting. As I go along my journey into this business, I am looking forward to discovering more things to love and enjoy.

To be successful in business, sometimes the wisest move to make is to ask for help. Remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. Get a co-worker from a distance!

How to Reply to a Freelance Writing Gig Ad

If you search online every day, you will find hundreds of ads seeking a freelance writer. Along with these hundreds of ads, come many people wanting the gig. There could be hundreds of applicants that want to work the gig, but the person looking only needs one person. This is why it’s important to stand out when you reply to an ad.

When you reply to an ad, make sure you give the person exactly what he is looking for. If the ad says it wants your resume, samples, and a cover letter, make sure you send all three of them. If you don’t follow the directions, you have a pretty good chance of not getting the gig.

When sending your resume, make sure most people won’t have trouble opening it. Send it as a Word document or in text form. You don’t need it to be fancy. You need it to give information about your knowledge and skills.

The samples you provide should be some of your best work. It should also be relevant to the topic you’ll be writing on for the gig. People want to know how well you can write for them, and the only way to show them that is to give them a sample of that writing.

The cover letter is probably the hardest part. You should never copy and paste your cover letter. It should always be unique to the gig you’re applying to. You should start with something intriguing about yourself. You can then go into the reasons you are perfect for this gig. Don’t make it too long because people won’t read it all. You need to state what’s important and end it with a polite conclusion, which is usually information about how you can be contacted.

Always Be Professional

Don’t take shortcuts because the only person you’ll be hurting is yourself. The first impression you give people looking for a freelance writer is through an email. It could be your only shot at getting the gig, so put your best forward first.

When you receive a reply, don’t get lazy. Respond with the same professionalism as you did with the first email. People can turn you away at any time, so don’t risk it by not responding to their emails with the information they need to make a final decision.

Now that you have this information, go out there and start to apply to freelance writing gigs. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of work coming in to bring in a decent income.

C.A.R.E. To Improve Your Real Estate Business

Do you need more business? Want more money? Want more market share? It’s simple: give more. If you remember anything from this article, let it be those two words – give more. Why? Because it works.

I read recently about research by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who studied 30,000 American families. Brooks discovered a family giving $100 more to charity earns about $375 more income than a non-giving family that is similar in every other factor. For every dollar they give, they earn nearly $4 more. Who would have thought it? In giving, we receive.

But Realtors shouldn’t be giving just because they get something in return. You should give because you earn your living from your community.

But Bob, what should I do? There are so many causes out there.

Let me share some examples. A few months ago NAR highlighted several Realtors making heart-felt differences in their communities:

Bernice and Troy Helman, of Coldwell Banker REALTORS® in Terre Haute, Ind., joined two dozen other business leaders who pledged to live on $4.57 a day for one week (thousands of Hoosiers live on that amount of money every day). It generated tons of local media coverage on the prevalence of hunger. She also launched the “Grillin’ and Chillin'” picnic for local real estate pros that raises $10,000 to $15,000 annually for the poor. And as the 2011 fundraising chair for the local United Way, the Helmans led the charity to a record year of donations — more than $1.8 million.

When Tina McDonough of RE/MAX Select in Renton, Wash., lost her friend, Michelle Brown, to breast cancer in 2008, it touched her deeply. “I watched her 12-year-old daughter and her husband fall apart,” McDonough says. “I had to do something, so I started a team to walk in her memory.” Today, it’s the top fundraising team for the Susan G. Komen organization in the country — it has raised $1.4 million. McDonough also includes the Komen logo on all of her real estate signs.

Joel Pratt of J.L. Pratt, REALTORS in Canton, Mass., raises money and awareness for MatchingDonors, a nonprofit that has saved more than 500 lives by matching kidney donors with recipients. Pratt says every life saved keeps the memory of Lynda, his beloved wife of nearly 25 years, alive. She died in 1998 after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

Kristina Rhodes with F.C. Tucker Emge, REALTORS in Newburgh, Ind., has helped make more than 80 children’s dreams come true with her support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Rhodes learned of Emily Jones, an 11-year-old fighting an aggressive form of cancer, and her dream of taking a Caribbean cruise, she acted. Sadly, Emily’s health never reached a level to allow for the trip. So Rhodes brought the cruise to Emily by arranging a pontoon ride on the Ohio River. “Emily taught me about what’s really important in life and helped me keep things in perspective,” Rhodes said.

So what’s the next step for you? Follow the acronym C.A.R.E. to get started today as a real estate agent who, well, cares:

C – Commit yourself to a cause. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: The day you truly commit, your whole world changes.

A – Act on your commitment. The only way anything gets done is through action.

R – Reward yourself. Humans do things because there’s something in it for them. After you act, do something nice for yourself.

E – Enjoy the rewards. I promise, once you start giving back to a cause you care deeply about, you will enjoy your life (and your increased business) more.

Let me hear from you. Are you involved philanthropically in your community? If not, why not? Do you believe if you were to give back to your community your business would grow?