There are clear signs to consider before envisioning a work-at-home arrangement.
Be prepared to answer questions that your boss is bound to ask, starting with: Do you need to be on-site to do your job? How does your boss feel about it? And how will you measure and ensure success?
“If your boss is still hesitant about the idea after you’ve made your case, ask for a trial period to prove you can be successful working outside of the office,” says career expert Lisa Quast.
An increasing number of Fortune 500 and other prominent companies have realized the true value of their customers being able to see a human face – and as a result, the call center industry has witnessed an emergence of “video chat” in 2016, a trend that will only continue to grow.
Over the past year, companies such as American Express, Hertz, E-Trade, Bank of America, Target and Intuit (Turbo Tax), among others, have rolled out video chat support options, which has been perceived by customers to offer a higher level of personal care. In fact, video chat has been credited with increasing customer satisfaction and improving customer loyalty.
As most customers prefer to work with a human being, video chat is one of the most important new services in high-level customer support today.
How does it work?
Each company’s video chat option differs. In the case of Intuit’s Turbo Tax, for example, the customer can opt into a one-way video call in the same window the customer is working on their taxes in. In this case, the agent cannot see the customer, but the customer can see the agent in a small inset box on their computer screen.
In his new book, Money. You Got This, Justin Krane says that if you’re ready to shake up your business, ask yourself these five key questions.
First: Why are you in business?
Sure, having a passion and doing what you love are important, but the mindset you must adopt is: “I am in business to make a profit.”
Second: What steps will you take to build a profitable business?
Key factors to building a profitable business are your fixed recurring expenses; how much money you need to live (business owners often underestimate this); and your sales – the top things you sell. You must track all this.
Third: How are you going to track and analyze your numbers?
- Find a system to track your numbers such as Quickbooks & work with a bookkeeper.
- When working with a bookkeeper, set up a customized system. For example, don’t just track sales, but have them break out sales by the top three things you sell.
- Review your numbers each month and look at your profit/loss statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows.
- Look at trends by reviewing current year and comparing to prior year. You can do a rolling 12-month comparison each month.
- Look for red flags. For example, no profit and very little cash in bank. Your sales might be going well, but your overhead is so high, so you are barely making a profit or you could be taking too much cash out of the business to live.
- To get control of money, build up a savings of one to two months of business expenses in the bank. Open up separate bank account and put 10% of sales in that account and pay yourself first.
Fourth: How are you going to scale your business?
The goal for making a business scalable is finding a way to not have to spend a lot more money to make more money.
- Review what you’re selling now and how much time and money you’re investing in it. Are you charging enough?
- Offer trainings, coaching or webinars to teach others to do what you are doing.
- Look for other markets in which to expand. Are there other stores that would sell your product? Is there another business that can sell your service to their clients?
- Collaborate with others to cut expenses. Share office space. Buy in bulk together. Plan a cross-promotion.
- Expand online. For retailers the easiest way is to participate in a specialty website such as Ebay or Etsy.
- If you sell a product online or in a store, consider selling wholesale to other businesses
Fifth: How are you going to hold yourself accountable?
- Write down your goals and review them. Make sure they are specific and set a deadline for yourself.
- Find an accountability partner you trust, then set up a time to check in weekly to keep each other on track.
- Form or join a mastermind group with other like-minded small business owners who have different skills to offer.
Taking these five steps, and monitoring your progress closely, will greatly improve your chances of turning a mediocre business into a winner.
A woman’s path to the top is often blocked by five roles men project onto us in the workplace, Falon Fatemi says. “When men see female colleagues as glowering mothers or tempting mistresses, it’s not just demeaning; it stunts our career potential.” In this piece,
Every company on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies list offers at least a few weeks of fully paid leave (an average of nine weeks, up from eight last year). Companies in the top 10 offer an average of 11 weeks. But in the private sector as a whole, only 26% of employers offer coverage beyond short-term disability leave. That’s quite a gap, and in this piece, Fast Company explains why paid maternity leave is not only good for moms but for business, too.