Articles on how to optimize and be productive when working from home and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of you homoffice. Whether you operate a business out of your home or telecommute occasionally, you’ve probably struggled at some point with the multitude of distractions and temptations a home office offers. There are benefits to working from home, of course: reduced travel time, savings on gas and meals, the comfort of working in your customized environment.
During the B2B sales and
marketing processes, if there’s one question that the buyer is sure to ask, it
will be some variation of “how does your product stack up against X competition?”
Maybe the prospect is interested in a certain feature, price, or benefit –
regardless of the specifics, your reps need to speak intelligently about how
your product or service compares.
The struggle is that
in any B2B sales role, there’s a lot of information to remember. The ability to
retain every nuance of their product or service is no large feat, let alone the
details of every competition.
That’s where competition
battle cards come in. They’re essentially a cheat sheet for your sales reps.
When a prospect brings up the competition, the rep can open the battle card and
have instant access to that company’s product information and disadvantages in
a quick, digestible format.
Instead of the classic
“I’ll get back to you on that one,” the rep can speak with authority on how
your company’s strengths differentiate from your competitions.
How to Develop Your Battle Competition Cards
Step One: Pick the Competition
Maybe you’re in a crowded market, and you have 50 businesses that could be called true competitions. Do you really need 50 battle cards? Maybe, maybe not, but don’t get in over your head. Start with the top five competitions that come up most in conversation. Don’t forget the biggest competition of all – status quo. Use these to test out your battle cards, finesse the design/information, and only then expand to the full sphere of competition.
Step Two: Research
Put on your detective
hat – it’s time to start digging into your competition’s dirt. Try to find out
pricing, service fees, product descriptions, general business data, etc. Some
of the information will be available on their website, but other good sources
for information are any company webinars they offer, Glassdoor employee
reviews, and customer reviews via G2 Crowd or TechValidate.
Step Three: Review
Once you’ve compiled
the research, it’s time to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and best
responses to those strengths and weaknesses. The battle card should include
more than just the company’s pricing structure, for example – it should state
clearly whether or not they’re cheaper or more expensive than your company, and
if cheaper, a clear response for why your higher price is worth it for the
Card Best Practices to Remember
Don’t Stuff Battle Cards with Fluff
The sign of a good
battle card is one that reps actually use, so the goal for anyone creating a
battle card is to fill it with information that’s actually relevant. Especially
when using a template, it’s easy to fill the page with random information that,
while accurate, will not help the reps during sales calls. A lot of battle card
templates include a spot for the competition’s address, for example. If you
think it’s likely that the rep will need that information, then include it! If
not, there’s no reason to waste that valuable real estate on irrelevant info.
Keep Battle Cards Clean
The design that is.
You may be tempted to put every bit of strategic research you were able to find
into the template, but keep in mind that a battle card crammed with text isn’t
going to serve its purpose. The design should be minimal and very easily
scannable so that reps can get the insight they need at a glance. Remember that
the sales rep will likely be multitasking while they access this information –
holding a conversation with the prospect while searching for that competitive
golden nugget that will help him or her close the deal.
Best Practices for
Leveraging Battle Cards
These battle cards are
a resource for sales reps, but they’re also a way for your company to ensure a
unified response to questions about competitions. It’s important that the sales
team knows not only that the battle cards are available, but also that using
them is expected.
Centralize Access and Track Usage of Battle Cards
If you want reps to
use the battle cards, you must make them easily accessible. You may want to
consider uploading all of the battle cards to a cloud-based sales content
library that serves as a one-stop-shop for sales rep resources. One of the
great things about centralized content libraries is that you can see how often
the battle cards are being used (and by whom). It’s a great way to track the
effectiveness of the efforts and see which competitions are coming up most in
Keep Battle Cards Updated
An outdated battle
card is worse than having no battle card at all. If a rep confidently states a competitor’s
prices are higher than they are (based on old data), and the prospect finds out
differently, that prospect will no longer trust anything the rep says. Make it
a standard process to review the battle cards on a regular basis.
Include Battle Cards in Training
Any new sales rep
should have a solid understanding of the competition, so be sure to leverage
the battle cards as a training tool as well as a sales tool.
The concept of working
from home or freelancing is becoming quite popular. As regular jobs become very
demanding and even uncertain, there are thousands of men and women who prefer
working out of the home. While working from home is certainly a great
idea for supplementing the main income, there are many who still do not believe
that it could be the main source of income for earning the bread and butter for
the family. While the debate still continues, we will now be looking at a
different aspect of work from home.
When we are in a regular
nine to five job, we have to follow a rigid routine whether we like it or not.
We need to wake up at a particular time, complete our daily morning chores in a
hurry, and get ready to travel to our workplace. There are specific dress codes
in some organizations that have to be followed. Even otherwise, we cannot
afford to go to our workplace in our nightgowns or other such casual attire. We
do give quite a bit of importance to the way we dress. It does impact the way
we look and the way people perceive and think about us. According to experts,
it also could impact the way in which our work efficiency is in the workplace.
Home-Based Work And Dress Sense
In this article, we will
try and find out how the way we dress could also impact our freelancing work
and work that is done from the comfort of our home. We also will try and find
answers to the question of how to prepare for the day when working out
of the home. This will be useful to housewives and women in particular who are
happier working from home taking care of their children and family. Even many
men find it convenient and less stressful when they work from home on a
freelance basis. Freelancing is also referred to as telecommuting, and those
who belong to this category are increasing quite rapidly. According to some
studies, the number of telecommuting workforce in American has increased by a
whopping 80% from 2005 to 2012. Hence, there is no denying the fact that working
from home has certainly taken roots, and it will continue to grow quite
Should I Dress Up Formally?
When working from home,
many of us tend to take things easily, and often, there is a laidback attitude
to it. While this might look convenient and easy, according to experts, the way
we dress for our work has a role to play as far as our efficiency and
productivity are concerned. Switching from working at an office to working in a
home could be a challenge, and it is a big change. Hence, you should try and
answer the question of whether you should dress up formally even while working
Yes Dressing Does Impact Your Work From Home
Though there is not much of a consensus on our work-from-home productivity and the way we dress, studies have pointed out that there are certain types of clothing that can influence the psychological process of the wearer. It also could alter his or her perception. People who work from home and who are also formally dressed tend to become more serious and more focused on their work. It does not mean that the person has to wear blazers, tie, and shoes, but he or she should look formal when they look at themselves in the mirror. Wearing informal and home-dresses often tends to make a person-friendly, laid back, and this could have a ripple effect and could impact the way in which you work.
Why Being Dressed For The Occasion Helps
The way we look and the
way we dress has a direct bearing on our productivity level. However, this does
not mean that we should be uncomfortably dressed in our endeavor to look
formal. There is nothing wrong being in Pajamas provided it is neat, pressed
and not crumpled and dirty. Getting on to your workstation straight from your
bed should be avoided. There are some basic lessons in the discipline that one
should follow. If you look at workers and even business persons in countries
like India and China, they treat their workplace as a place of worship. Hence,
they believe that they should go to their place of worship neat and clean. They
are of the firm opinion that they should open their computers and their
telecommuting set up after they have taken their bath or after they have
The Proof Of The Pudding Lies In Eating
There are many people
who are of the opinion that being dressed casually does not impact performance
at home in any manner whatsoever. They also do have a point, but one should
know the difference between being casually dressed and being downright lazy and
unkempt. The latter should be avoided at all costs. If there are people who
still believe that dress does not have a role to play, let them try out three
You could try and be in your normal office dress, perhaps without a blazer or tie. You could start working and find out as to how it feels after a couple of hours of work.
You could be in your casual clothes but be sure that it is comfortable and cozy. A T-shirt with jeans is a perfect example of being casually dressed.
You could be in your nightgown or pajamas which you might have used for your nights’ sleep. Try working with these dresses on.
There are research studies to prove that the level of concentration and focus is certainly much higher in the first two types of dresses. This is perhaps because of the subconscious mind that tells your conscious mind to perform better when you are either formally dressed or casually dressed with decent outfits.
In fine, though many
people may not agree that the way we dress in our homes has a role to play in
our freelancing and home-based assignments, science and logic prove otherwise.
Hence, there is nothing wrong being decently dressed when you are at your
workstation. You should learn to respect and revere your work. Yes, there are
also other things like the ambiance and work environment that you have. It
should not be noisy, and the ambiance should allow you to concentrate on your
work properly. It all boils down to individual mindsets and other attributes.
At the end of it all, it does make sense to be decently dressed without going
overboard and imposing strict dressing codes on you while working from home.
Vigorous [strong, effective] writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
Everyone has different sources of inspiration. As a writer, inspiration is not optional; it’s the irresistible force that drags you the computer and influences you to write something that may change the world. As a blog writer, you must somehow find inspiration for as long as you have to keep your blog updated with high-quality content.
There are many benefits to writing when you’re inspired. Finding inspiration for your writing work will help you generate fresh ideas, as well as maintain a smooth flow of ideas. Below are some ways on how inspiration improves writing quality.
1. The Writing and Language Will Flow More Naturally
Although there are several ways you can use to structure your information when coming up with a manuscript, your article will sound and feel more natural if you write it when you’re inspired. Inspiration helps you to write in a natural tone, with a natural flow of ideas. But remember to remain on topic as it’s easy to slip into a comfortable writing style, which may move your ideas away from your target audience.
2. Idea Generation Will Be Easy
Seeking inspiration from your favorite writers will assist with idea generation as soon as their words start rousing your mind. The benefit of writing when you’re inspired by your favorite writers, of whom you’re well versed with their style is that you’ll be able to keep track and relate your ideas. Inspiration will let your mind wander and generate ideas related to whatever your planning to write about with ease. You can list down all the ideas and filter them based on their relevance, connections, and how they relate with your main theme. Being Inspired may even promote the generation of new and unique ideas that are better than what you might have written without inspiration.
3. Inspiration Will Improve the Quality of Your Writings.
If you’ve ever wanted to improve the quality of your writings, the best thing to do is look for inspiration. You don’t need a specific trainer, theme, or topic to do this. Inspiration will help you generate lots of ideas and themes, and it will be up to you to choose the best idea based on your type of audience. The more you get inspired, the more you get ideas that can be developed into something unique and more complete.
4. Inspiration Increases Creativity.
Everyone was born creative, but being inspired will open your mind to a whole new world of creativity. Being inspired will make your mind wander, which will feed your mind with crazy ideas. Letting your imagination wander will give you unique ideas that your readers would enjoy reading. The crazier the ideas, the better. The more you’re inspired to experiment with different opportunities, styles, and possibilities, the more creative you’ll become. Being inspired is a great way to increase your creativity levels.
5. Being Inspired Helps You to Stay Organized.
Writing when you’re inspired helps in keeping your thoughts comprehensible and organized. You can explain in detail the feelings and opinions you had about a specific occasion. You’ll remember the events in detail if you the inspiration to write the article was from a specific event, and you won’t lose track of your ideas even if you continue writing after a few days, weeks, or months.
By writing articles that are particular to certain topics, inspiration can make you achieve and organize your thoughts in a better way. You can seek inspiration from life events, e.g., the time you graduated from high school or even a business you once had that failed, and the reasons behind the failure. Whatever you decide to write about, being inspired when writing helps you organize your thoughts into points and phrases that make sense and relate more to your readers.
6. Inspiration Helps in Maintaining Focus
Inspiration also keeps the writers’ mind focused on the theme. We usually think we can control our thoughts, but a recent study revealed that negative thoughts act as a barrier to self-growth. This is because the mind is prone to doubt and vacillation, which makes it prone to distraction. Often as a writer, you may feel a deep inner sensation to complete your article, the mind will go along with your ideas at first before you run out of ideas and start encountering obstacles in achieving your goal. Inspiration will keep your mind focused until when you achieve your final goal.
7. Being Inspired Motivates You
Having inspirational thoughts while writing your articles motivates you to complete the article in time. Being inspired while writing your articles will benefit not only you but also your audience. Although the reasons or source of your inspiration may vary, the intense need or desire to accomplish your wishes through writing is usually consistent regardless of the drive behind them.
8. Inspiration Gives Writers a Sense of Direction
Inspiration normally has specific needs, urges, or desires, which somewhat predetermine the actions and direction taken in your writing. Knowing what you want to achieve as you write will enable you to focus and compose your article in a more coordinated fashion. This will act as a guide in how you structure and express your ideas.
9. Inspiration Gives Your Writings a Purpose
Having inspired thoughts when writing will remind you of exactly what you want to achieve, you’re your writing and the best way to do it. Without being inspired, it would be impossible to stick to your main agenda. Inspiring thoughts will remind you of the purpose of your writing, which in turn improves the quality of your writing.
10. Inspiration Gets the Job Done Within a Short Time.
When you’re inspired, writing will be faster because the ideas are fresh and already in your mind. Although sometimes generating ideas and expressing them in words might seem difficult, focusing on the reward instead will motivate you to get the job done within a short while. Just think of the reward you’re getting from writing that blog post, or what you’ll lose by not publishing a high-quality blog post, and use them as a source of inspiration.
The need for writing when you’re inspired is important if you expect to succeed in improving the quality of your articles. The ability to think and come up with high-quality articles is critical for the success of an article writer, and finding daily inspiration before writing will help you produce high-quality blog posts for your readers. As you’ve seen, inspiration is the ‘motor’ that propels your content to greater heights. You can seek inspiration from the people around you, music, poems, the natural world, or even from your inner resources.
Having dressed up for a special occasion, did you feel a sense of confidence than normal? This is likely because you unknowingly practiced the psychology of dressing for success. Some might argue: how does something as inanimate as clothing affect your confidence? As it turns out, a lot more than you might think. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss how the way you dress affects your attitude and confidence, as well as the importance of dressing for success.
Outfits and Their Appeal to Yourself
There’s something about looking good that generates levels of confidence no matter the situation you’re in. Consider the way you felt, when you finally mustered the confidence to ask your crush out on a date, you will likely dress for the success of that situation. Haven’t you gotten dressed up and had your hair professionally trimmed and groomed before your date? If you have ever done a task correctly or achieved a personal incentive such as a better-looking body or a healthier diet; it probably made you feel more confident or genuinely happy. Dressing for success accomplishes this same feeling because if you think you look good, then you outwardly express that same energy.
Outfits and Their Appeal to Others
On the opposite end,
the way you dress is going to be perceived in such a way by other people. If
you show up to your job wearing a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, and some flip
flops, you will express a vibe of one that is too laid back and lacking a work
ethic. Not only will others think of you as casual, but you yourself might
think in terms of a casual manner. Thinking casually and not professionally may
hinder your work ethic, produce less of a result, and potentially end the day
on a bad note.
If you dress for
success, it may influence your workmates as well. When others see you actively
trying to look professional and hard-working, some of that energy will cause
them to wonder: “He looks great, he is working hard! Maybe I should step
up my game, so the boss sees!” Though that perception is a working
example, the same idea carries over to many other intentions you and your
outfit may have.
How You Can Start Dressing for
If you like the idea
of your clothes, making you think and feel more successful, then here are some
tips to start dressing for success. In the morning, take the extra time to do
your hair, really make sure you cleaned your teeth for a perfect smile, and
ensure that you did a respectable job shaving. Next make sure your outfit
stands out with an air of professionalism, tuck in your shirt just right, make
sure there are no creases, and when you are satisfied, make sure that you know
you look good. Your success depends on your own psychology of dressing for
success. So, look good, feel good, and own the day with your professionalism –
both your boss and your work-ethic will thank you.
How Being Neat And Organized Can Enhance Your Career Success
Laurence J. Peter asked this question a long time ago, “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?”
You may think you don’t have the time to clear your workspace. There is a deadline to meet. Your supervisor is expecting the report. Oh! There is this client you have to meet by 2 pm. Your desk is littered with documents from the last research, business cards from the last networking events and papers containing vital information of your clients. You are amazing; you have been doing well in spite of the mess on your desk. However, it is important to know that how you arrange your desk and workplace sends a sublime message to your prospective clients, boss and even your fellow colleagues about your professionalism.
“In the scope of a happy life, a messy desk or an overstuffed coat closet is a trivial thing, yet I find – and I hear from other people that they agree – that getting rid of clutter gives a disproportionate boost to happiness.” –Gretchen Rubin
We all know how we judge others based on their physical appearances, the way they move their bodies and how they talk? Yet, we would not pay attention to how others perceive us.
We are in an era where a perception of competence and confidence is a huge currency. We live in a fast-paced world. Volumes of new information are breaking out in megabytes every second. People do not have the time to go through your resume at first sight. They want to look at your well-ironed suit, your desk, how you handle files and give you the job.
Organizing your workplace does not have to be a big-time work. It does not have to take days. When organizing the workplace is seen as an ongoing project, instead of a massive assault, it becomes effective.
It is going to be a massive error on the part of a work-at-home mom to think that tidiness and cleanliness are for full-time employees who have 9-to-5 jobs at massive corporations. For the home-based entrepreneur, the home office can be seen during a video conference. All materials that are not related to the work at hand should be removed from view.
I’m quite an untidy person in a lot of ways. But order makes me happy. I have to have a clear desk and a tidy desktop, with as few visual distractions as possible. I don’t mind sound distractions, but visual ones freak me out.
– Joanne Harris
The degree of tolerance for distraction is different for everyone. Nevertheless, it has been proven across ages that zero mess equals maximum productivity.
Many people are aware of this and they look online for solutions to getting tidy. Others seek answers from their families and friends because they are getting to understand the importance of being neat and tidy to their career.
Are leaders born or made? This is a question that has been a form of serious debate since the industrial revolution of the twentieth century. A similar question that is often asked is, “what are the traits that determine career success?” These questions have led to several kinds of research finding the relationship between neatness, cleanliness, and success.
10 Reasons Neat and Organized People Are More Successful and Have Improved Work Efficiency
There are several reasons to maintain organization and cleanliness at work. Here are the top ten reasons to spur you into developing an attitude of organization and cleanliness:
1. Neat people conserve time.
In the corporate and business world, time is money! The time spent looking for the right papers among a pile of materials sitting on your desk is precious time wasted that could have been converted into preparing yourself for meeting with the boss, investing in making a good first or actually get things done. Moreover, regular cleaning gives you structure.
2. helps in boosting the Morale of employees
Being organized breeds confidence and ultimately, success. A tidy and clean workplace brings a positive outlook and strong impression towards how employees view their jobs. Several research efforts have concluded that workers who take pride in their working environment tend to maintain filing systems, organize their own desks, clean up after themselves and work more effectively together.
3. Neatness and Organization creates a sense of professionalism
A neat and tidy workplace creates an atmosphere of professionalism for business owners, employees, and clients. It shows that a company pays attention to detail, tidiness and meticulous planning to clients and colleagues. A messy office, scattered papers or important files out of place can give off the impression of lack of pride in the job to the boss or potential clients. This may lead to loss of business opportunities.
4. Neatness and Organization at work enhance efficiency
It is obvious that a chaotic environment will hinder efficiency. The amount of time spent on non-work related activities like finding where you placed the management file will be poured into the job. This makes you more efficient. An organized workplace motivates workers to reduce work-related-stress, enhances productivity and saves time.
5. Neatness and Organization reduces safety concerns
A messy workplace can present health and safety concerns. For instance, when an old food is kept in the refrigerator for too long, it can leads to illness when consumed by an employee. The work environment should be spacious for easy movement. Objects that can cause injury should be taken off the floor. Workers’ compensation claims will be reduced when a clean, safe and organized workplace is ensured.
6. Cleanliness and Organization breed satisfaction
You know the feeling you have when you walk into a clean environment smelling fresh? Generally, it puts a smile on the face. The same is for employees. It is often said that satisfaction and success are two different concepts but if the workplace is clean and organized, you can always feel satisfied going to your office after closing a client.
7. Cleanliness and Organization reserves assets over the long term
We have been focused on people. Let us now focus on those expensive assets in your office, such as hard floors and carpets. When they are not being cleaned regularly and with the right cleaning products, the scratch-free shining floors will become old.
8. Cleanliness and Organization saves money
When you maintain a policy of cleanliness and organization, you will stop replacing the same items yearly. Many assets when properly organized and cleaned will be of perennial usage to a firm. However, when they are not properly maintained, they will need to be replaced regularly. This can cause a huge financial toll on a business in the long run.
9. Cleanliness and organization create a success ripple effect
There is a reason while SEAL men ensure that they lay their beds every morning. Success begets success. When you maintain cleanliness and organization, you are sending a message to your subconscious that you are a successful person and capable of replicating that success in your business and career.
10. Protection of sensitive documents
When documents are littered on your desk, you may be leaving yourself vulnerable to intellectual theft. Ensuring that files are properly kept and cataloged is your first step towards security. Many secret corporate data, as well as clients’ information, have been carelessly leaked to the media and competitors due to a messy desk. This has led to cases of several lawsuits. This is why companies now implement the “Clean Desk Policy” (CDP).
Clean Desk Policy (CDP)
A clean-desk policy (CDP) refers to a set of corporate rules determining how employees should leave their working space after the workday is over. The policy requirements generally call for the employee to clear the desk and surrounding area at the end of the day from clutter and papers.
This sometimes implies filing unwanted documents away from view, shredding them, placing folders back on the cabinets and organizing files coming in and going out.
The clean-desk policy is often specific to an organization but the common elements of a CDP include:
Instructions on how the desk and surrounding areas should be kept
Detailed information on who enforces the policy
Punishment guidelines which often ranges from a fine to warnings.
When implementing the CDP policy, organizations create contracts with detailed instructions addressing the above points. Accountability and understanding of the policy is guaranteed when the employees sign the contract.
While the employees are majorly expected to keep their work-desks tidy, the implementation of the CDP is ensured by employers to ensure easy adherence. Simple steps employers can take range from providing adequate storage space to guaranteeing access to a shredder for the employees.
Employees at companies like UPS have been adhering to CDPs for years because there is a culture established by James Casey that encourages employees to keep their offices free of clutter, to strive for order and to portray an atmosphere of professionalism to their clients. CDPs are becoming main practices of many organizations today, because of the information security compliance regulations such as the Data Protection Act and ISO 27001.
Although CDP helps a company is protecting sensitive corporate and clients’ data from being slipped by careless handling of the employees to the privy eyes of third parties, it helps employees overcome distractions which may hamper workplace productivity.
Ten practical steps to improving efficiency and having a successful career by developing a culture of cleanliness and organization
1. Purge your workplace
Empty, de-clutter, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Take a quick look around your office and notice the things that you haven’t used in a while. Pick one area at a time to avoid stress.
2. Gather and rearrange
Gather all items that are out of place and put them where they belong. Ensure the right catalog and filing system for all your files. Hence, you will be able to know where to look when you need a particular item.
3. Establish work “zones”
When you are a stay-at-home entrepreneur, you may sometimes work in your pajamas. You brag about this. While this is cool, it is important to have a home office. Also, decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office.
4. Ensure close proximity of items you use often
Items that are mostly used for the same purpose should be placed within reach. Things that you seldom use should be stored away.
5. Revise your filing system
We are in the digital age and the need to store paper files has decreased. Figure out documents that you can store digitally. This will reduce the need to keep stacks of papers. If you are storing files on your computer, ensure that you are doing regular back-ups.
6. Archive your files
When you are done with a task or a project, put all of the materials together and file them. Your “working folders” should be for projects in progress.
7. Straighten your desk
At the end of the day clean up your desk, so you have aclean start the next day. This tip is very important. You definitely do not want to be doing yesterday’s task today.
8. Control your inbox
We no longer use snail mails and postal services. E-mail is a convenient medium of communication, but it can be a major distraction when not properly managed. Ensure that you empty your spam inbox, unsubscribe from newsletters that are not beneficial and you will take control of your inbox
9. Get your layout right
This is dependent on the nature of your work and the task at hand. Nevertheless, put frequently-used items on your dominant side.
10. Reassess frequently
Keeping a clean and organized workplace requires frequent upkeep and assessment. Ensure that you make a weekly scan of your office to make sure everything still deserves a spot on your workspace.
When you follow these actionable steps to being neat and organized, it may cost a little time, but the rewards of being organized are highly rewarding. Your clients and colleagues begin to have a new found respect for you and your confidence is boosted. Most importantly, when you are neat and organized, you are on a fast-track towards career success.