Is It Scary to Do Logistics Remotely?

Is It Scary to Do Logistics Remotely?

With the pandemic creating havoc, remote work for almost every industry came to the forefront.  This creates a gap for companies to employ remote logistics managers.

One of my lecturers always said: “In the world of Logistics, the only constant is change”.

If you are a person that likes consistency, then logistics can seem daunting.  Do not let this fool you.  Logistics are only as scary as what you believe it is.  Anyone with the following skills can be a great Logistics Manager:

  • Be able to adapt quickly to any situation
  • Have the ability to see the bigger picture
  • Be great at problem solving and be calm and collected under pressure
  • Continuously seek to improve systems and procedures
  • And be an effective project manager, with a good ear to listen when problems arise (as this will happen very often)

 

What is logistics?

Before we delve into how logistics have changed the remote work industry, let’s talk about what logistics is.

Logistics management is easily one of the jobs with the most responsibilities in any company.  Effectiveness has a direct impact on the bottom line.  And a profitable bottom line makes everyone happy.  Logistics managers handle the supply chain, implements and control the effective forward and reverse flow of goods, services and information between the point of origin and point of consumption (end user) in order to meet the customers’ needs.

The flow of information between origin and consumption is especially where remote logistics come into play.  Now the employee can work remotely on anything logistics without even being at the point of origin where services and goods are stored.  With effective process systems and applications for logistics and project management, remote work can be handled efficiently and in real time.

Real time management is especially important when it comes to logistics management, information, goods and services.  These functions all need to flow in real time to make sure that the product, service or information is delivered to the customer at the right price at the right time.  When real time management is not handled correctly it can cost a company money, you could lose information and potentially lose a customer.

Logistics managers strive to effectively control the following 6 fields when a company is product driven (remember if inventory is not sourced at the correct price there will be no profit margin for expanding):

 

Control the profit margin

It may seem that the logistics manager has nothing to do with profit, but this is not true. From sourcing, import duties, cost of freight, transportation and the production and how all of this is handled has a direct impact on profit.

 

Reduce operational cost

What is the best kick for a logistics manager?  Being able to save on production or finding that bargain. Finding that great quality inbound product at the lowest price and using that for production.

 

Going global

This is where the logistics manager comes into play in a big way. They handle trade negotiations, transport and delivery negotiations and negotiate the best price for the company and the customer.

 

Reverse logistics

The logistics manager makes sure that warranties and what the product has to deliver, is true.  Maximizing on reverse logistics of unwanted products in the production line, ensuring recyclability and a stable carbon footprint, lets your company stand out and make contract winning easier.

 

Work with the rest of the team

The logistics manager needs to make sure that collaboration between all departments happen efficiently and effectively to ensure that profit margins are made, accounts are paid, and employees know where the products are in the production line.

 

Keeping the customer happy

The logistics manager will make sure that the customer feels like the winner by delivering a great product at the best price at the right time. This process will ensure a greater need to your product which in turn will generate more profit.

Let us get back to the process of remote logistical management.  Remote logistics management provides the function and system for supply chain management from any base point at a remote location. Materials like dry goods, services and many more are ordered to the remote location for the starting of production.

If there is not enough stock to start production, make sure to order as quick as possible. Always have an eye on buffer stock, this will decrease lead times or no production at the worst. All of these processes can be managed remotely through online collaboration tools like Asana; Monday.com; Bitrix24 and Easy Projects.

Remote logistics is especially important in material and product tracking. It is always good to have a reporting tool from the beginning that tracks materials to post point and destination. Make sure to have a status report to document flow in each level of production and delivery.

All of these seem like big words with many moving parts, which is in fact true, but it does not need to be a daunting task. Remote project managers need to stay focused, consistently check process flow and use the team on hand to minimize costs and losses.

Logistics can be fun and rewarding as the world will never stop working. As a business owner you do not need a logistics manager sitting in an office to be effective, you just need someone that is on the ball and great at managing your supply chain.  At the end, if your logistics manager is sitting at home, and your client is happy, no one can lose.

How to reduce stress in the workplace with one simple exercise

How to reduce stress in the workplace with one simple exercise

STRESS, wow this is a word that can be easily thrown around in almost every workplace, anywhere in the world. What if I told you that you could reduce this by almost 70% with just one little thing?

Sound too good to be true? What if I told you that you could do it, by simply practicing something your body and mind is so attuned to and it is a perfectly natural action?

In the words of Mark Twain:

“[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand”.

 

Laughter has several amazing effects on the body.  It strengthens your immune system, reduces muscle tension and stress. It is good for your ticker and some say it can help you recover faster from injury or illness.

We all know the workplace can be a stressful environment and it may not be easy to get that hearty, healthy chuckle in, so I have compiled a short list of how you can make your day a tad happier.

  1. Use the Word: Check out http://www.wordthink.com/; word of the day, then try to naturally work it into a conversation.
  2. Have some Hula Fun: Hold a hula hoop contest with your desk neighbour or on a zoom call with your colleagues.
  3. Pull Yourself towards yourself: write a letter to yourself about how your stress is ridiculous “dear future me, can you believe how I wasted a day being stressed?”
  4. Jam it up: get up and dance, do it in the elevator, at your desk, in front of a mirror, just wiggle those hips for a minute
  5. Jam it up Together: Even better than a solo elevator jiggle, have a 2pm 30 second dance party with your co workers
  6. Halloween scream: put out a bowl of candy at your desk and offer people a sweet in exchange for a story or a joke.
  7. Employ some dark humour : Get a de-motivational poster for your desk or office.
  8. Glam it up: give any colleague (even the men) a new hairstyle with an online makeover.
  9. Poetry slam: Buy refrigerator magnets for the office kitchen.
  10. Pirate Ahoy: give everyone on your team a Pirate name
  11. Pass Notes: pass a note in the office like you did as a kid, better yet, fold it into a paper plane and see if you can land it on their desk
  12. DON’T laugh: have a don’t laugh don’t smile contest with your co-workers, see who breaks first

 

But remember life can’t always be fun and games, so there are some rules to follow when it comes to humour in the workplace:

Know your audience

Don’t use humour to insult or offend anyone. Anything that includes religion, sexuality, ethnic background, politics, or someone’s personal beliefs, is a no-go-zone.

Don’t forget to laugh at yourself

Life is short, don’t take yourself too seriously.

Include company anecdotes

This can make even the most disparaging audience feel involved.

Use humour to diffuse tension

But not at the cost of a covered insult.

 

There is still work to be done, so don’t go overboard!

The number one quality I look for in anyone, be it my manager, friend or colleague, is a sense of humour.  Life is stressful! Let’s all try and turn our frowns upside down, even if it is just for 5 minutes of the day.

Fast Your Way to the Future

Fast Your Way to the Future

For years, I have never been a true believer of fasting. The thought of not eating for 3 days or more is a concept- that I thought to believe –was only for monks up on the hills in Tibet. Why fast when there are so many people starving in the first place?

Well, years later, I found myself a boyfriend, who was well into new and trendy health theories, and who convinced me that this is just the perfect ingredient for a clear mind and healthy body. A couple of days later, and there I was – saying no to food for 3 days in my beautiful kitchen in the middle of Cape Town.

 

Why Fast? That’s a Perfectly Valid Question

I didn’t only begin fasting for the obvious reasons – losing weight. I was healthy and lean but I was curious to clear the so-called “brain fog” and a reboot of the immune system, which promised a true mental benefit and a test to my own strength of self-discipline.

Benjamin Hardy, a psychologist and best selling author says:

“Fasting is essentially the putting-off of the physical to tap into higher realms of meaning.”

To be honest, I didn’t reach my higher realms of meaning or any higher sense of self that is… but what I do know is, that it was an experience I urge every one to try.

Here are my 4 most loved benefits of fasting, which I hope will motivate you to start too.

 

1. Mental Clarity

I was on day 1 of my first fasting experience, and after having my last meal just 20 hours ago, I found myself hiking for 3 hours after just having a black coffee and some water. I never felt better. I was energized, the fog had cleared in my brain, and my endorphins were rushing through me like I was on my way to an exciting music festival. I was sharp, quick, and mentally structured, which I had never experienced before. Need a boost before an important presentation? Here is your tool.

 

2. Self-Control

Every decision one makes is important, isn’t it? If you have a track record of bad decisions, you end up with a ‘not so happy life’. This all comes down to lack of self-control. And if you cant control yourself, then what can you control?

If you need to learn self-discipline, let me tell you, fasting is the way to do it. You are constantly choosing NOT to eat, even when you are hungry. If you get good at fasting, you get good at discipline, you get good at life. Period.

 

3. Weight-loss & Detox

Although my goal wasn’t weight-loss, loosing a couple of pounds and water weight was an added benefit to this whole fasting-thing. (Lets be honest, ladies, who doesn’t love to wake up in the morning and feel like your pants are a little looser?) With that in mind, this brings more confidence in you, thus, more confidence in the workplace. On top of that, scientists say that it is a complete reboot of your entire immune system just after 24 hours. I am sure we all have years of guilty junk food eating habits, so the thought of clearing all those toxins sounded peachy.

 

4. Grit

As Angela Duckworth, psychologist and popular science author, put it in her TED Talk: “Grit is the power of passion and perseverance.” Why is this so important? It helps you focus on long-term and meaningful goals whilst giving you the ability to persist and move through difficult obstacles.

On day 2 of my fasting experience, I had a minor (well it was a major) emotional breakdown. Google said I had severe “carb withdrawal symptoms”. I felt like I was in rehab. I was literally crying on the couch wanting food and begging my partner to get me something to eat. I felt ridiculous. But I guess my ‘Grit’ got me through it, and I never felt better the next day.

Would I do it again? Probably not, but with the benefits I might consider it. Experts say you should be fasting 2-3 times a year. Practice makes perfect, right? I felt incredibly proud when I finished my 72 hours of fasting. This boosted my self-confidence and provided mental strength and assurance that I can deal with difficult situations and temptations. I feel incredibly focused and motivated,and have the willpower to push through anything – and so should you.

8 Social Media Trends to Take your Business to the Next Level

8 Social Media Trends to Take your Business to the Next Level

When last did you sit down and take a look at your social media presence and see what is working for you and what isn’t?

As a social media manager, I try to make sure I am abreast of all things related to social media – because just like anything related to the web and technology, things change daily!

So, it would make sense for me to take a look at what trends are big in 2020 and what is still to come, and I thought it would be very cool of me to share it with you.

As a business owner you would be remiss to not have a social media presence these days as that is where 95% of conversion from lead to purchase generally takes place.

Let us take a closer look at what I do for clients when it comes to social media and then also touch on the trends which we can all take note of and use going forward.

 

How I do social media

Social media for me is in the blood now. It is my main niche when it comes to the work that I do for clients. I love it. I have a passion for it – but it can also be a headache somedays.

So, what is it exactly that I do?

I create thought provoking content for clients ranging from digital marketing agencies through to life coaches and PR companies. I have vast experience in many sectors of social media and have written content with spiritual undertones, information related to the automotive industry, real estate and much more.

Therefore, I know that with each client, with each business type, comes a new way of writing content and showcasing the business as a whole.

I also know that these things change often. What works this week could not work next week, and that is why I am forever looking at what is happening globally and applying it (where able and where relevant) to my clients.

 

So, what is trending?

  1. Brands are reevaluating – Businesses are taking a new look at what works for them on social media and what doesn’t and from what Sprout Social is telling us, 72% of marketers look at Likes and Comments to find out what to run with and what to bin. This makes sense because when you are getting a Like, or especially comments, it means people have taken notice and found what you have to say to be of relevance to them. The close second is 62% looking at shares and retweets.
  2. Interest driven versus “just because” – The trends show us that marketers are looking at making real connections with their actual target audience and not just anybody who engages with them (because not just anybody is who you are targeting). This means that they look at their target market as people and not just figures or sales. Marketers are saying, “What do you want? How are you feeling today and what can we give you or show you that can make that feeling change?” They want to know the real people behind the engagement and make them want to stick around. Just as an example, the new Instagram Threads allows one to share stories only with selected people, this gives a more personal touch and more connection, trust and integrity is gained.
  3. Advertisements – Did you know that Twitter is doing ads as well? I must say I found this to be news to my ears, another reason I like to do research and look around at what is happening in the world of social media. That said, target social ads create major return on investment. When you do paid ads on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you can choose your ad spend and that spend will determine how many MORE people get to see your posts. These targeted ads then get in front of exactly who you want it to, they allow you to either get more reach, have more page likes or even allow you to get more traffic to your website. So, all in all, spending some money on paid social media ads every now and again can be highly beneficial.
  4. The Influencer Conundrum – Influencers on social media are not going anywhere anytime soon, but the way brands utilize them may be changing. Before brands would look at influencers with massive amounts of followers and ambassadors who promoted many other products and brands. Nowadays the trend seems to lean more towards what is called “Nano-Influencers”. These are exactly what it sounds like, influencers with a smaller group of followers. The smaller group again leads back to the more intimate, personalized feeling when it comes to marketing towards a target market.
  5. Stories are still all the rage – Facebook and Instagram have what they called “stories”. These are more fun and more engaging than just regular posts and from what I personally have heard from clients, they definitely get a lot more traction when they post stories. Make them fun, make a video, show off your product and services – you will get people interested and they will come back to check in and see what you are up to.
  6. Moving pictures for the win – Video content is still high up there when it comes to social media content. People like to watch things. We are more viewers than readers now days. And I think again a video or a Facebook Live has a more personal and intimate feel and people connect on another level. Trust and rapport are built and that is key when it comes to sales.
  7. Customer is king – Just like in sales in person, so too you should make your customer your focus when creating content for social media. What sort of customer are you targeting? What are their favorite things which you have to offer? Have they said what they would like from your business? If you listened, you would tap into that and use it to market your brand via your social media content.
  8. Which is better – Now we all know there are a few social media platforms, i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn among the most used for business purposes. But which one should you be nurturing more? The answer is simple really, which one brings you the most business and the most engagement at the moment? It is not that one – you need to be nurturing the one that is not getting anywhere, because maybe you are doing something that does not work on that platform. Take a look at the insights on the platforms and you will see what the trends are and where you need to put in more effort. If after a while one just does not do anything for you – you can drop it!

 

In conclusion

After all that information, I hope that you are able to take some of these trends and run with it.  I am certain that none of these trends will change much in the New Year – but one never knows.

Enjoy your social media marketing, it can be fun and very rewarding, when done right.

Thanks for reading!

The joy of closing my first deal at a new job

The joy of closing my first deal at a new job

Working in the sales environment can be one of the most demanding, rewarding and thrilling workspaces out there. As a salesperson, I do not think that there is anything quite like closing your first deal. Then there is the same customer reordering within a few weeks of their first deal.

The pleasure and stress of joining a new company as a sales consultant can be daunting. Especially when the company is a start-up business in America, and you must virtually create a whole new client base, with the added pressure of achieving sales targets or making any sales at all. When one’s experience is predominantly based on face to face direct sales, adapting to a virtual sales strategy can be challenging, let alone entering an entirely new industry. It can pull at the strings of your self-esteem and capabilities as an experienced salesperson. The timeline of joining a company is always crucial because the longer it takes to close a deal, the less confidence your new employer has in your capacity to be a successful salesperson.

This is exactly how I felt a little over month into my new role, having not closed a single sale for the company. After 6 weeks of nothing, and getting used to the American accent, cultural differences, and colloquialisms, dealing with clients from another country. I began to doubt myself. My self-confidence was shaken. I started to question my experience, and whether I was indeed a good fit for the position. Any salesperson with tell you that having thick skin is a part of the game, but even the toughest salespeople have their outer exterior scathed every now and then.

 

First sale

Nevertheless, like all things in life, it is always darkest before the dawn. Finally, my first lead was easily and quickly closed. It was a small order of 75 units but well enough to give me the boost I needed to push myself even harder. Which also came with a pat on the back from my COO. That, for me, is always a great motivator.

 

Second sale

Then, within the next few days, a second lead of mine closed. A modest 25 units, but still an order. The most vital thing that came out of my second order was a positive review. The client positively praised me on my sales etiquette to one of the business partners.

Another win!

 

Third sale

Staying on my winning streak, after weeks of running email campaigns targeted at various industries, a positive response from one of my email campaigns for a much more substantial order of 250 units.

Two wins here, one from a successful email campaign and my largest order so far.

 

Valuable lessons learned

The important lessons I have learned from my recent achievements:

  • The first is always stay hungry and to stay motivated, even when the initial results show otherwise. Hard work and perseverance never go unnoticed.
  • The second lesson is from my COO, which is to not to be afraid to ask for referrals from clients.

 

As salespeople, we tend to want to achieve results on our own accord, but there is no harm in a little help from your client base.

 

The best way to emerge out of Covid-19? Generate more sales

The best way to emerge out of Covid-19? Generate more sales

Let’s not kid ourselves. This pandemic has ground the aspirations of most businesses to a halt or even forced some companies to shut their doors completely. Nobody could have foreseen the impact that Covid-19 has had on revenue – the lifeblood of most companies. Chances are unless you sell hand sanitiser or facemasks, your revenue has taken a knock too.

 

Putting out fires

When trying to put out fires at present, most businesses turn to reduce costs to survive and keep heads above water. These costs include reducing your workforce, cutting salaries, marketing budgets either kept to a minimum or even scrapped and in some cases working from home to cut out office rent. When the dust settles, however, the only thing that will be able to propel business performance forward is generating revenue and using that to regain momentum.

That is easier said than done of course. Most business owners or leaders are currently trying to hold the fort, multi-tasking, and trying to keep the ship steady. And let’s face it – finding new business in most industries is tough enough as it is. Many people are holding on to the money that they earn with the fear that things could get tougher. Therefore, spending their money on what is now is luxury in their eyes is a big no-no!

 

Free up your time

As the chief business winner in most cases, business owners and leaders should be doing everything they can to focus their energy on establishing new relationships and closing deals. But they face many distractions from that at this moment in time. Dealing with HR issues, finance, and other critical business areas, let alone the restrictions in place from the government. But none of these will fuel growth. Being able to free oneself from these distractions to be able to free up time and focus on sales is possibly the most critical business need.

 

How a virtual assistant will make the difference

Using a virtual assistant service is one such way to be able to do this, without the financial burden of taking on full-time staff too soon, when the road ahead of us is uncertain and inevitably lined with challenges. A VA can offer a range of skills and services, which can all be deployed at short notice on short term contracts, including administration, marketing, accounting, and various others.

  1. Here are some reasons why a virtual assistant is not a financial or HR burden:
    They are not a full-time employee, therefore you don’t have to worry about salaries or the benefits that one needs to provide to full-time staff.
  2. With the current pandemic we are facing, there may be months where a VA is not required as some projects may have come to an end or business is a bit slow. You would be able to have an agreement with your VA to use their services when required. The contract can be flexible.
  3. As the name says, your assistant is virtual, so you do not have to worry about office space or a laptop for them. They can plug in online as and when you need them.

Leverage an agile and scalable team to contribute to your business so that you can focus all your attention on generating sales!

Hiring a virtual assistant would help you achieve your goal.