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Management

Giving Your Travel Business An Edge Through A Call Handling Service

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It is clear that the telephone plays a vital role in the day-to-day running of businesses, especially for a travel agency. With the development of digital technology, the telephone can now be carried by anyone in the form of a small hand-held device wherein you can call, chat or video chat with someone located on the other side of the world in real time, and seek and find information on just about anything through the internet, all at the touch of a button or a click of the mouse. This technological breakthrough has made being connected not only easy and convenient but also a must. But what happens when the calls continue to come even after work hours and even during holidays?

If you take a close look at a business such as a travel agency, this is exactly the type of organisation that can really benefit from a call handling service.

Taking Bookings

The primary role of a travel agency is to make airline ticket bookings, which is a role that a virtual receptionist can carry out from a remote location. Remote bookings are now made easier because of the Internet. The digital platform provided by the Internet makes it possible for a professional receptionist who is remotely located to book flights for clients. Because all travel businesses have to use a cloud-based online booking system, the call centre can easily access this, allowing the receptionist to have up-to-date information on bookings.

By having someone to answer phones for the travel business round-the-clock, none of its clients are left ignored. With just a call at any time of night or day, clients will be confident that a travel business personnel will always be around to book their flights once they decide on the schedule.

When you’re running your business remotely a virtual receptionist service can made a fundamental difference to your customer service.

Providing Information

A virtual receptionist would be able to answer queries about flight availability or enquiries on working out a connection to somewhere on the other side of the world, just as anyone would if they were actually in the travel agency office. This is a skilled job for anyone, yet it does not mean that the person must be located within the premises. In fact, many travel agents use call handling services as this is the most cost-effective way to offer a professional service to their clients.

Booking Holidays

While some travellers like to book their flight and accommodation separately, there are many who take advantage of the package tours on offer and by using a virtual receptionist who is fully-briefed on all available packages, they can make bookings on your behalf and the customer would assume the receptionist is located at the agency premises.

Busy Periods

Holiday season and other festivals are definitely busy periods for travel agencies and if your receptionist is stretched at this time, why not let a call handling provider deal with any extra calls? We all want to get away in the winter months and during the peak holiday season, you can use a call handling service and when things get quiet down again, you can put a hold on the service.

Holiday Cover

Even people who work in the holiday industry need a holiday sometimes and losing your receptionist for a couple of weeks could really put a spanner in the works. With an established call handling company at your beck and call, you are always assured that your customers will be greeted professionally and your business will not suffer.

Customer Satisfaction

If your main goal is to ensure that questions and requests by clients are paid enough attention, then hiring a virtual receptionist will be beneficial for you. A virtual receptionist is trained to handle calls courteously and professionally, so you are rest assured your clients are talking with well-trained people round-the-clock.

Profit Increases

With the top-notch quality of service virtual receptionists are giving your clients, you can increase your profit while saving on labour costs. Satisfied clients can bring in new clients through word of mouth. Plus, calls by those who are only available after work hours are also paid attention to.

Unlike in-house receptionists, virtual receptionists are paid only with the service they provide and once they provide it. They can answer large volumes of calls with unwavering amount of attention to every call.

If you run a travel agency, talk to an established call handling provider and they are sure to have a package that is ideal for your business, and if used as a back up to your directly employed staff, this service is an essential requirement for all businesses.

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Management

Getting started in business

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When you are thinking of starting a new business, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is what business model your company will adopt. Your business model is your company’s blueprint for making a profit. It explains what product or service your company plans to sell, how you will market your product or service, how much your business will cost to run, and how your business will turn a profit.

The best business plan is the one that allows you to fulfill your clients needs at a reasonable cost, while still remaining true to your company values and objectives. Three good questions to ask yourself in the business model planning stage are:

  1. Do you have a unique value proposition that makes your product or service valuable?
  2. Who is your target market, and do they have a need for your product or service?
  3. What makes you different from your competitors? Will your business model be difficult to copy?

Without these essential elements, you don’t have a way of generating revenue for your business. Some other elements to ask yourself when selecting a business model include: cost structure, key metrics, resources, problem and solution, revenue model, revenue streams and profit margin.

Some of the most popular business models include the manufacturer model, which is utilized by Dell Computers and Hewlett-Packard. This business model sees a manufacturer convert raw materials into a product. Another popular business model is the retailer model. Retailers purchase goods from distributors and then sell them to the public. Stores such as Nordstrom and Target have seen great success in this space.

Even companies that are innovating the business world tend to adopt characteristics from more traditional models. For example, Netflix has transformed the way you watch shows and movies but their company essentially runs on the subscription business model. This model asks customers to pay a monthly fee in order to utilize the product or service. In the case of Netflix, you pay a monthly fee to access their app.

You should start writing your business model in the beginning stages of your business plan. This way, you answer some of the most important questions about your business right out of the gates, rather than realizing at the end of your planning stages that profitability is not an option.

There are twelve main business models for you to choose from. Once you’ve found one that fits your business needs, you can begin to adapt it and make it your own. The right business model for you depends entirely on what you are selling, how much it costs to produce, and who you plan to market it to.

If you don’t know where to start, the visual below details the main business models explained with coffee.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Management

Hard From The Start: Which Industries Are Best For Female Entrepreneurs?

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Equality in society is something which is always improving. Rights have steadily been becoming increasingly universal as time has gone by, with more and more people being afforded the same level of living standards. Of course, though, there are still some areas which are severely lacking.

The gender pay gap has been highlighted in media very frequently over the last few years, and what we really want to know – is the wage gap between men and women shrinking?

Gender Pay Gap

The gender wage or pay gap is the average difference in pay between men and women. There are a couple of primary reasons for the gap.

Why the pay gap?

Women have chosen to work less hours, they may choose to work part-time so they can work around the school drop off and pick up times. They also take maternity leave and may extend it longer than the standard number of weeks of ‘paid maternity leave’.

There is also another reason, and it’s not voluntary, discrimination in the workplace and the value of a female worker versus a male worker doing the same job. The good news is the gap is shrinking and while it exists from the shop floor to the boardroom, women are fighting back.

Some industries are more male centric and they have been harder to win around with equal pay for equal work. The good news is there is upwards movement for women in all roles in and saying this, what about the most critical positions out there? How many female entrepreneurs make it to executive levels, and which industries are best for this half of the population?

Females In Executive Roles

In 2018, Fortune 500’s companies list only featured 23 female chief executives. Dropping 25% from the previous year, it seems as though the number of women in high levels of business is dropping, though this may not be the case. Sheryl Sandberg is an excellent example of a COO at one of the world’s largest companies; Facebook. Having been at the company for more than ten years, she is living evidence that it is possible for women to achieve positions which men have traditionally held.

To get a good idea of where women seem to do best in this field, it’s best to take a test sample. In this case, we’re going to be looking at an organization which works towards equality in a range of fields, one of which is business.

Where Are The Women Executives?

You can find Involve’s top 100 Female Executives at list link. While this list doesn’t cover all of the women in business, it offers a good range of different people.

We’ve taken each of the women on the list and put them into one of eight categories; technology, finance, retail, infrastructure, politics/activism, business, health, and manufacturing. You can find the results below.

As you can see, finance and business are the clear leaders when it comes to fields with female executives. Technology doesn’t happen too close behind, though, and it’s good to see that so many types of business make a showing. It makes sense that finance is so prevalent here.

Financial companies make up a vast amount of the world’s trade, and you don’t tend to get a small one, making them all need their executives. Some of the companies on the list are massive, while others were started by the lady in question. M62 Vincis’ Nicci Take is an excellent example of this and is someone who pushes for equality in business.

Which Field Is Best For Women?

It’s hard to say which field is best for women, especially when you break it down like this. If you look at success as working for a large company, someone like Michele Evans could be a good source of inspiration, as she heads the $21 billion giant known as Lockheed Martin. This company makes all sorts of machines, with a heavy focus on those with military applications. This isn’t the sort of work a lot of people would associate with a woman, as war is a heavily male-dominated industry, but this shows that the world is getting better at recognizing merit over gender.

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Management

Home Based eCommerce: Solving the Storage Issue

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How much do consumers spend online? According to a 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, consumers spend a third ($1 in every $3) of their discretionary income online. While Amazon steals the show for the top seller, there are thousands upon thousands of home-based entrepreneurs behind those Amazon numbers. From skincare to books to clothing and other consumer goods, sellers and resellers are not only in the sales game they’re also in the inventory shipping and storage game.

The fact of the matter is, adding storage for an eCommerce business is a common problem that many online entrepreneurs face. Are you facing this issue? If so, don’t stress about renting storage units or renting commercial space if you don’t have the budget right now. If you take the time to make a plan for adding the right type of storage space to your home, you’ll avoid facing hefty storage fees month after month.

Storage Containers, and Lots of Them

The most affordable way to add additional storage to your home is also, thankfully, the easiest: DIY storage containers. If you have a closet that you’re not utilizing, you’d be surprised by how much room you can squeeze out of it just by A) organizing everything, and B) putting everything into a large, multi-tiered plastic storage container. You can find these both on the Internet and at any home supply or container store.

Organized storage containers will enable you to fit more items in the same-sized area, and you’ll also have easier access to inventory whenever you need it. This is the perfect choice for small eCommerce products that have high turnover rates, such as make-up, crafts, or other small niche products.

Convert and Enclose a Patio

Do you have a patio area on the exterior of your home that you don’t utilize? Perfect, you’ve got the makings of a storage room right outside your door.

Get quotes from a few local construction partners to convert and enclose the patio into a usable space. If the temperature for storing your inventory is important, be sure to get a quote for adding heat and AC. If you’re concerned about aesthetics or future use of the room, add windows to give the room a bit of additional lighting.

Once the patio is enclosed, you can follow traditional inventory storage advice or treat it as a garage space and organize accordingly. If you’re keeping resale value in mind as you make changes, Forbes offers a few tips to keep in mind for home improvements that boost value. Although the article doesn’t mention storage, the Mud Room and Smart Features concepts will ensure your investment yields a return.

No Basement? Look Up

Most homes have an attic or a crawl space that is accessible through pull-down stairs or an opening with a ladder. Before you consider this option, call in a handyman or contractor to evaluate the strength of the flooring.

You may have to reinforce the attic floor before you can use it to walk around or store items. There are two main reinforcement techniques available: sistering and engineered floor joists. Sistering involves installing newer, larger floor joists side by side with your existing ones. Engineered floor joists offer an increased level of structural reliability and as a bonus, you won’t have to worry about crowning, bowing or other related problems. When in doubt, call in a professional, as attic storage without proper reinforcement can be a hazard.

If you’re going to be converting your attic into storage, it’s probably best to use it for items that aren’t temperature sensitive. If the space is too good to pass up, you can look into adding extra insulation and heating/cooling options.

Invest in a Separate Building

If you absolutely need additional storage onsite but lack the space in your home, pre-engineered metal buildings are the most affordable way to go.

Even if you’ve only got a limited amount of land, you may still have room for this option. Steel buildings come in a variety of shapes and sizes with many custom options. Prefabricated metal buildings are erected very quickly and can solve your inventory storage problems right away. As an aside, if you require storage for large items, you can also experiment with triple roof structures, carports for covered outdoor work areas, or combinations of the two, depending on your needs.

Regardless of which onsite storage option you choose to explore, it’s clear that you have many options to help you manage growing inventory without paying storage fees to a third party facility. All of these options will add value to your home should you decide to move in the future.

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