Archive for the Uncategorized Category

5 Morning Rituals to Keep You Productive All Day Long

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2014 by wolfwomyn

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  Getting computers in order and such.  Anyway on starting back out on this blog again I decided to put something up to help us get started with our days.  I know that sometimes it is a challenge to go into the day with a positive attitude, so here is a little help.   Enjoy!

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Most of us work long hours: 40, 50 or even 60 hours each week. But chances are, given distractions like online entertainment, office snacking habits and ill-designed time management, we’re only churning out high-quality work a portion of each day.

Here are five practical steps to incorporate into any morning routine to optimize your time at the office and maintain productivity all day long:

7 minutes of exercise. Yep, not 10 — just seven. Why? It’s short enough that it won’t impact the rest of your morning routine and long enough to shake off any residual sluggishness from the night before — including that extra glass of wine.

There are endless fitness routines to turn to, but the one I like best is called the 7 Minute Workout (and yes, there’s an app for that). In just seven minutes, it works all major muscle groups with 12 total exercises.

Start your day out green. Sure, we’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s pretty easy to reach for a bagel, bowl of cereal, egg sandwich or cup of yogurt to get your metabolism going.

While all of these options are fine choices once in a while, you’ll be shocked at the morning lift you can get from a green smoothie. And healthy juicing requires less time in the morning than toasting a bagel and slathering it with low fat cream cheese.

I go quick and easy, blending (for about a minute): one apple, one banana, one orange, a handful of spinach, half of a cucumber, any juice or coconut water on hand, a few cubes of ice and some flax seed. It’s cheap, easy and energizing.

Pick 3 wins for the day. While you’re waiting for that smoothie to blend, get ahead of the evening’s conversation with your significant other — you know, the one that starts, “How was your day?”

Decide on the three things that you’d like to accomplish in the next 12 hours in order for you to feel like the day was a success. Sure, not every day will be an epic win, but strategizing in this way will help to move the ball forward.

Block your calendar to achieve wins. One of the most common mistakes people make at the office is not turning to-do lists into time-bound, effective project lists. I’ve found that people who have mastered this hack are far more likely to deliver tasks on time

It’s simple: For each of the big things on your list, block off the amount of time on your calendar that you estimate the task might take — and then add 33% more time just to be sure.

If a project is multi-day or has dependencies, break it up into digestible chunks. Use one block to plan and a second or third block to accomplish.

This simple method will help hold you accountable and immediately help you refocus on the tasks you’ve prioritized when you do get distracted. Too often, we let one distraction steamroll an entire morning — now you don’t have to let that client email derail you from your winning plan for the day.

Power up after lunch. Take the 15 minutes right after lunch to refocus on the day — a kind of professional meditation. Get away from your computer, turn it off, go sit in a conference room and determine what you have on tap for the rest of the day.

Think about how the list you set in the morning is shaping up. Are you ahead of schedule? Behind schedule? You’ll find that these 15 minutes help you identify how you got derailed, what’s causing you distractions and help you to rediscover a rhythm to be productive all day long.

Give this simple formula a try for a week and I think you’ll be pleased with the results. Here’s to a more productive 2014!

Source: Entrepreneur.com /James Reinhart

 

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Make or Break it, customer service

Posted in Uncategorized on November 1, 2012 by wolfwomyn

This has been a very hard year for business, especially the small businesses. What will make the difference is your customer service. I went into a store yesterday and was greeted by a very gruff person who made it very obvious that she was not happy assisting me, or answering my questions.

What was my reaction, the first thought was that I wasn’t going to shop there again. Fortunately another employee had heard the interaction and come over to me and apologized. I will say that he saved the day. So pay attention, talk to your employees about expected perfect customer service.

What does “perfect customer service” mean ~ simple:

1. Greet customers by looking up, making eye contact, and saying hello.
2. Respond quickly, and positively, to questions.
3. Thank the customers for stopping by, whether they make a purchase or not.

Simple, basic, person to person interaction. Treat your customers as you would a friend or family member and they will more often than not return to your business.

3 Personality Types That Can Harm Your Business

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2012 by wolfwomyn

With the economy actually starting to look like it is picking up, many companies (large and small) are starting to hire new employees.  The hard part about this is getting the right person.   If our companies are Team based, we look for someone to be part of the team.  How do we find the right person.  Looking at and being aware of the type of persoality is extremely important.  If one can catch the responses and be aware, ask the right questions, many of the mistakes in hiring the impossible employee can be avoided.  Here is an article that I found interesting about some personality types to watch out for.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

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The candidate Pierce Howard interviewed for a sales position at his consulting firm, CentACS, won him over with her work experience, friend-of-a-friend connection and good looks. But it didn’t take long after she started working at the Charlotte-based firm for her to prove herself a nightmare employee.

She refused to write sales proposals even after Howard sent her to a $5,000 training session on the topic. She didn’t meet sales quotas and grew abrasive at any kind of feedback. Within months, she’d managed to convince an intern at the eight-person firm to quit. Company morale was suffering. Employees would gather behind closed doors to complain. “There was an element of the narcissist in her,” Howard says. “She did not question her own personal judgment.” After a year, Howard finally gave her the pink slip.

Related: Need Help Retaining Employees? Some Apps for That

What makes Howard’s situation particularly compelling is that his company CentACS–the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies–specializes in personality assessment and training. It shows that even the most perceptive business owners can make a bad hire when they don’t pay attention to the right signs. Howard learned his lesson. “We hired her against our better judgment,” he says. “There’s a solid body of knowledge out there about the traits you should look for. You should not ignore that.”

Here, three personality types that can bring down your business and how can to spot them in an interview.


1. The Narcissist. One of the most dangerous personality types in the workplace is the narcissist, says Robert Hogan, president of Hogan Assessment Systems, a Tulsa, Okla.-based personality assessment firm. It’s easy to make the mistake of hiring a narcissist–they are often charismatic and radiate self-confidence. But a narcissist will manipulate others in the office, be careless about commitments, and will refuse to admit or learn from mistakes. In fact, they have some of the same personality traits as psychopaths, Hogan says. The trouble is that “narcissists always do beautifully on an interview. They can’t get along with anybody. It’s all about them.”

How to spot them: A narcissist will have a swagger, so watch a job candidate’s body language closely for signs of cockiness, Hogan says. When you ask candidates about their experience working in teams, do they focus exclusively on themselves or make deprecating remarks about teammates? Those are red flags that you might have a narcissist on your hands.

Related: Telltale Signs You Have a Workplace Bully

2. The Social Loafer. While this individual’s behavior is far more passive than that of a narcissist, it’s this very passivity that will drive you and your employees insane. People who are inordinately lazy when it comes to working in teams–what Howard calls “social loafers”–can be just as damaging to your business as narcissists. This personality type is particularly problematic in a small business where every individual counts. Social loafers let others do their work for them and take on a passive-aggressive attitude in the office. Such behavior will create resentment in others who feel they have to pull more weight. “It’s a morale-beater,” Howard says. “It’s extremely important that people perceive everybody as doing their share.”

How to spot them: You need to assess a candidate’s energy level during the job interview. To get a sense of how much energy people have, pay attention not only to what they are saying, but also to how they are saying it. Howard suggests taking a prospective candidate to get a cup of coffee during the interview. It’s a subtle way to get them moving and see if they can keep up with you.

Related: How to Give Employees Independence Without Losing Control

3. The Hyper-Emotional Hire. While most people can keep their emotions in check during a job interview, they may be keeping feelings of aggression under wraps, says Michael Mercer, a Barrington, Ill., industrial psychologist and author of Hire the Best and Avoid the Rest (Castlegate, 2011). “They might act charming and delightful, even if they are a monster on wheels,” he says. “They know how to control that.” Hyper-emotional personality types can be resistant to rules, pessimistic and whiny. This is the type of employee who slams doors and is constantly complaining. Other employees will feel the need to tiptoe around them, and all that explosive negativity can be contagious.

How to spot them: Even hyper-emotional job candidates will know better than to complain during an interview. Ask them what they didn’t like about their previous job or boss, and you’ll likely get a rehearsed response. But if you press them for two such examples and challenge them to be more specific, you’ll force them to have to answer on the fly, Mercer says. Watch for their reaction: Do they get huffy when you challenge them? Do they offer lessons learned or focus only on the negatives?

 

Source: Entrepreneur.com ~ Jane Porter

 

Pay Attention To Your Customers

Posted in Small Business, Uncategorized, Websites on April 10, 2012 by wolfwomyn

You know the more I have contact with potential customers out there, the more I hear that they are angry, frustrated, and just plain tired of hiring people who don’t listen to what they want.  Instead they put their hard earned funds into a person who is insistent on doing what they want and not what the customer wants.  Now this philosophy, doing what I want and not my customer, is applicable (maybe) if you are doing your own thing, creating your own products.  It surely doesn’t apply when you are in a service industry.

When you are in a service industry, one that is there to “serve your customer”, your responsibility is to your customer.  It doesn’t matter if you agree with their ideas, or their style.  You are there to create what they want.  Giving advice is definitely called for, but it is up to your customer if they want to take it.  If they don’t, it is up to you to “serve” them.  And, in the case of websites, it is important that you get their approval before launching it.  Too often websites are put up live before the customer has the option of approving it, which leaves them with something that they potentially didn’t want.  And to make it worse it is out there for the world to see.

So if you are in a service profession remember  the old saying, “The customer is always right.”   It is their time, their energy, their funds which are paying for your services, and that is what will keep your business going.    Listen to your customer, give them the benefit of your wisdom, and design something that works for them.  In the long run you will have happy customers, which means that you will have customers that are more than happy to refer you to their friends which will expand your business.  Word of mouth is one of the biggest reasons that businesses succeed.  And in this time of the world wide web their words go a long long way.

 

Happy New Year

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 by wolfwomyn

Another year has gone by and we are embarking on the New Year.  I’ll start again with the interesting articles that I find next week.  With all of the ups and downs of the economy many small business owners, actually everyone, have been struggling.  It seems as though things are turning around, I sincerely hope so.  I wanted to take today to wish you all a very profitable, and happy New year!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Websites on July 14, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Your About page is one of the most important pages on your site, says Lisa Banks in a post at the Site Reference SEO blog. Done right, it can help boost rankings and stimulate inbound links, she notes.

Banks’ interest in About pages was recently stirred by influential blogger Chris Brogan’s discovery that most of his site’s readers were visiting his About page. And from Chris Lake’s post at eConsultancy, Banks further learned that missing About pages are a major reason for visitors’ choosing to leave sites without conducting business.

This all makes sense to Banks: You can’t expect people to do business with you without getting to know you first, she argues—and many of them don’t know about you when they land on your site.

To help, Banks offers tips from Web-usability authority Jakob Nielsen on how to develop useful About-page information that draws clicks and keeps users interested. Nielsen recommends presenting your information at four levels of detail:

A descriptive tagline. On the homepage, briefly summarize what your organization does.
More detail. At the top of the About page, offer one to two paragraphs about the organization’s goals and main accomplishments.
A fact sheet. Following the summary, develop a section that elaborates on key points and other essential facts about the organization.
Additional information. Add subsidiary pages providing more in-depth or specialized information about the organization.
To develop useful content, Banks suggests, formulate a list of questions a potential customer might have about you, and address them. A starting point? Answer the journalist’s 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why.

The Po!nt: Take the time to be transparent. The more information you provide a prospective customer about yourself and your business, the better. You can help site visitors easily learn about you by creating an About page with levels of info.

Source: Site Reference SEO blog.

Graphic Formats

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Although hundreds of graphic file formats exist web browsers only support a few of them. This article describes the different graphic file formats that are available to web designers and when they should be used.

The graphic file formats supported by most popular web browsers are Graphic Interchange Format (GIF), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), Portable Network Graphics (PNG) and vector graphics. Some of the properties of graphic files are:

  • Transparency – this property allows the image to be varying degrees of opaqueness from solid to completely transparent (see-through).
  • Compression – this property allows the image to be stored in a much smaller file by using a mathematical algorithm to handle groups of pixels as a single item.
  • Interlacing – Interlacing allows the image to be loaded by first drawing the odd rows and then going back and drawing the even rows. It allows the visitor to see the picture sooner.
  • Animation – Animation gives the appearance of movement by using a series of successive still pictures. Animated gifs do not require a browser plug-in and can work on almost all devices.
  • Progressive loading – Progressive loading is similar to interlacing in that it only loads a portion of the picture initially but is not based on alternating rows and allows the user to see the picture quicker.

GIF

GIF was originated in the 1980 and was adopted by web designers in the early 1990s as the preferred graphic format for web pages. GIF files use a compression algorithm that keeps file sizes small for fast loading.

They are limited to 256 colors (8 bits) and support transparency and interlaced graphics. It is also possible to create animated graphics using
the GIF format. All browsers can display GIF files.

GIF Advantages:

  • Most widely supported graphic format.
  • Diagrams look better in this format.
  • Supports transparency.

JPEG

JPEG files are compressed but support “true color” (24 bit) and are the preferred format for photographs where image quality matters. JPEG supports a progressive format that allows for an almost immediate image that will improve in quality as the rest of it loads.

Unlike a GIF file, the compression for JPEG files can be controlled by the web designer, which allows for different levels of picture quality and file size. All browsers can display JPEG files.

JPEG Advantages:

  • Large compression ration mean faster download speeds.
  • Produces excellent quality for photographs and complex drawings.
  • Supports 24-bit color.

PNG

PNG is a fairly recent format that was introduced as an alternative to GIF  files. PNG supports up to 24 bit color, transparency, interlacing and can hold a short text description of the image’s content for use by search engines.

Unfortunately, most browsers do not support PNG and the ones that do support it, don’t support all of its features yet. But that will change in the future.

PNG Advantages:

  • Overcomes the 8-bit color limitation of GIF.
  • Allows text description of the image for search engine use.
  • Supports transparency.
  • Diagrams look better than they do in JPEG.

Vector Graphics

Most web graphics are raster images or bitmaps, which consist of a grid of colored pixels. Drawing and illustrations should be created as vector graphics which consist of mathematical descriptions of each element that makes up the lines shapes and color of the image. Vector graphics are created by drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand and are the graphic artists choice for creating drawings. Vector graphics must be converted to either GIF, JPEG OR PNG format to be used on a web page.

Which Format Should You Use?

A web designer could choose either the GIF or JPEG format for most uses. But, since the file size of a GIF is usually small than the file size of a JPEG, most web designers will use the GIF format for backgrounds, boxed, frames and any other graphical element that look fine using 8-bit color.

Most designers will select the JPEG format for photographs and illustrations where the compression doesn’t compromise the visual quality of the image.

As PNG becomes fully supported by most web browsers, it will probably replace GIF as the web designer’s choice for non-photographic page elements. However, GIF will still be used for animation.

Bottom Line – GIF and JPEG are universally supported and the web designer’s choice is determined by the graphic element being used.

Source
Warren Baker
http://articles.webdesigners123.com/graphic_formats.php