Manage Employee Leave Requests via PayrollHero Leave Management

leave managementWe have been busy expanding the PayrollHero Leave Management add on functionality so that it is a complete tool that lets your employees ask for time off and give your team the power to mange the requests.

What can PayrollHero Leave Management do?

  • Employees Can
    • See their leave balances
    • Request time off as paid or unpaid
    • Review leave history
  • Managers Can
    • Approve/Reject leave requests
    • Leave comments for their decision
    • Add unlimited leave types (vacation, sick, maternity, national service, etc)
    • Manage leave balances
    • Review past leaves
    • Review upcoming leaves
    • Enable/Disable employees ability to apply for leaves beyond their balance
    • Enable/Disable auto-approval of leaves
    • Enable/Disable unpaid or paid leave requests

Here is a quick video showing you around PayrollHero’s Leave Management add on;

If you are not a PayrollHero client and want to learn more… you can see our offerings here:

Philippines | Singapore | Canada | USA | International

Leave Management Custom Leave Type

Custom Leave TypeA few weeks ago, we rolled out our leave management application. After receiving feedback from our clients, we are releasing a new feature to the application – custom leave types.

When an employee is applying for leave, she needs to enter a type of leave – maternity, child care, leave, etc. Previously, we added all the most popular types of leaves that were applicable, as directed by the ministries of manpower (or their equivalent) in Singapore and the Philippines. However, Singapore and the Philippines each have 8 different types of leaves. Moreover, individual companies may record the same leave under a different name.

To make the system more flexible, the app now allows you to set your own custom leave type. Employees may choose from these custom types when they apply for leave. This benefits the manager when there is a change in the rules and leave types are added or removed. It also allows managers to set what leave types are most commonly used by their employees instead of a long list of types that the government has stipulated but no one actually uses.

A manager can add an unlimited number of leave types. Every type must be unique. Leave types can also be renamed at any point of time. Finally, if a leave type is not used anymore, it can be archived and accessed later.

We hope the custom leave type will be helpful and we’d love to hear feedback on it!

Top 12 Apps to Help You Run Your Business in Singapore

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Running a business is tough. If you are in Singapore, where the labour crunch is putting a strain on your resources, you cannot be spending time on administrative work.

Leveraging on technology has multiple benefits: you can access your work wherever you go; saving your work on the Cloud means that you have less chance of losing it if your computer crashes; you will be more efficient and less error-prone.

Using apps is the way to go in a place like Singapore where everyone is tech-enabled.

We have brought you 12 apps that can help you run your business:

1.Evernote

Evernote is an app that helps you record text, audio recordings, notes, reminders and pictures on the Cloud. You can access it from any device and it is free up to a certain limit. Evernote also allows you to collaborate by sharing files with other Evernote users.

The app can be used offline and when you connect to the Internet, the app will automatically upload your files to the Cloud. Evernote is a great way to organize your thoughts now, and take action later.

2. Google Apps for Work

If your company is using Gmail, Google Drive is a must. You can share documents, spreadsheets and presentations within the company or among a few members by customizing permissions to files.

While Google Apps for Work is not free, the range of products available to you make the subscription worth your while.

3. Trello

This is an awesome project-based software. It’s free and does away with meaningless sticky-notes, spreadsheets and email chains. Trello is a great app to collaborate and track progress in a project. Trello allows you to integrate with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and OneDrive.

You can set notifications and make checkists to stay on top of your work. You can also create team to manage people working on Trello. Altogether, Trello makes for a great app that can boost productivity at the workplace.

4. CamScanner

Oftentimes, you need to file and submit forms for administrative work: whether you are incorporating your business or filing taxes. A great way to scan and store your official documents is by using CamScanner.

The app is free and lets you scan documents on your phone. You might be wondering why this is a step up from taking a picture of the document. CamScanner adds filters to the picture and automatically makes it look like a scanned version of the document. You can email the document to anyone as a JPEG or PDF file. You can also just save it on the app and access it online from any device.

5. Tripit

For business owners who travel frequently, Tripit saves your itinerary in one place and lets you access it easily. Tripit also gives you weather updates and maps to your destinations. Tripit is free for a few features like saving your plans in one place, syncing plans with your calendar and editing plans manually.

The paid version allows you to track frequent flier miles and share your plans with friends.

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6. Hipchat

Hipchat is a communication platform for your employees. It is free if you use the basic service where you can have chat rooms based on the functions of your business (marketing, sales, operations, etc). Hipchat is user friendly and only $2 per user per month for the full service. That includes video chat an screen sharing.

7. Rescue Time

This is an interesting app, mostly useful for you as a manager. The app runs in the background and tracks what you are working on. It sends weekly and monthly reports.

This helps you compare what you plan to prioritize on and how much time you are actually spending on a task. The Lite version is free and has limited features. The full version blocks apps that are distracting you and send more detailed reports to measure your productivity.

8. Mailchimp

If you send emails to a list of subscribers, then Mailchimp is a must for you. It is free up to 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers. Mailchimp gives insight into how many people have opened the email, how many have clicked on the links you have sent them and which emails have bounced.

Another cool feature is that Mailchimp integrates with other apps like Google Analytics, Slack, Salesforce and more.

9. LinkedIn

Everyone knows about LinkedIn but how to use it is more important. It is a social networking site for professionals. It is free with limited features. LinkedIn is essential to help you stay on top of the latest events in your field of work. It has a number of groups where people in similar careers discuss opportunities and challenges.

LinkedIn could just be the path towards improving your business or finding new avenues for your personal career growth. It is also a great tool to use while hiring people.

10. Expensify

Expensify is an app that helps you track expenses, scan bills and more. It is a free app that is incredibly useful for a business owner trying to separate personal and business expenses. It also helps your employees to report expenses clearly. The expenses are exported into your accounting software making a seamless transition between different applications.

Expensify integrates with Salesforce, Quickbooks and a host of other software apps.

11. Insightly

Insightly is a CRM software that helps small businesses take charge of the CRM. It has a mobile app and a web app that integrates with Google, Mailchimp and more. Insightly helps you stay on top of leads, partners, vendors and suppliers.

It also gives you reports and data on how your CRM based project is progressing: with data on your sales funnel and forecasts on the closing date for a deal. Insightly is not free but you can sign up for a free trial.

12. Dropbox Business

If you haven’t realized it already, Dropbox is a force to reckon with. You can share, collaborate and store files securely on the Cloud. It is easily accessible on any device. Dropbox helps in collaborating by notifying you on any changes made in documents and saving different versions of the document.

Dropbox Business is not free but offers unlimited storage space, ability to make groups and third party app integration, among other things.

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Conclusion

Most of these apps facilitate teamwork and remove barriers like difficulty in communication, unclear task delegation and poor management of data. What it leaves you with is time to focus on bigger tasks that are more pressing for your business.

These recommendations are also free or with minimal initial investment. We hope they serve you well and we would love to hear about more apps that can improve efficiency in your business!

What Does It Take To Make Remote Work Work?

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As a business owner, you are bound to look towards expanding your business at some point. In which case, you will have multiple offices at different locations. While you are in one worksite, you will want to stay in touch with employees in your other store locations. Staying connected is essential when your employees are spread out over the map. It’s even more important if your employees work remotely and do not often physically meet you or other employees on a regular basis.

Apps

At PayrollHero, we use a number of apps to facilitate remote work. These apps tie our employees together. We use the apps for face-to face interactions and for quick chats instead of spamming employees’ inboxes. The following apps might be useful for your company too:

SlackThis is the center of all our communication through different departments and offices. Slack allows you to create chat rooms and invite people to them. We use this feature to separate different functions of the team: engineering, business development, etc. Slack is also our metaphorical grapevine. We have chat rooms for random news, general musings and articles or books that anyone wants to share with the team. Slack also allows for private chats, thereby removing the need for emails to coordinate work. Slack is flexible in the sense that it has a number of integrations: Twitter, Mailchimp, appear.in.

Appear.in, Skype, Google HangoutsTeams can’t function without face-to-face meetings. Bosses benefit from meeting their employees face-to-face in order to gauge their emotional state and general well-being. The app features and video quality differ but essentially they help you conduct online meetings.

Asana, TrelloTo ensure that all tasks are tracked and accountable to the relevant employees, we use Asana. These apps are built to suit remote work. Asana allows you to assign tasks in a checklist format whereas Trello breaks down work in the form of projects in which tasks are outlined using cards. Both apps can be accessed online. So you or your employee can work from anywhere in the world and still stay on top of things.

Google Drive, Dropbox for BusinessKeeping track of all the documents and sheets created by multiple departments across different worksites is essential. These apps are tailored towards businesses’ storage needs. With a subscription fee, you have access to unlimited storage, data analytics (for Google) and more. Both apps allow you to track who is editing files and what kind of access you want your employees to have for each file or folder.

It’s More Than Just Apps

Making remote work successful is more than having a suite of apps at your disposal. It requires a shift in the way you and your employees think about work. It requires trust in your employees to work even if you’re not monitoring them at the office. We have inculcated some practices that help maintain discipline and structure even when employees work at different locations across the work. Here are some that have helped us:

Morning catch ups: Every morning, at a time suitable to your employees in their respective time zones, each employee summarizes their work in 60 seconds. The format is: what they accomplished yesterday, what they couldn’t complete, what they will do today and roadblocks to completing their work. From the head of the team down to the entry-level employee must be able to summarize their work in under a minute. The meeting is helpful in understanding where the team is going and what can be done to remove roadblocks.

Handbooks: For new employees, or employees that have changed departments, it is hard to catch up to how things are done when the entire department works remotely. Writing down the steps to each task in a handbook and storing it in Google Drive/Dropbox cuts down on confusion and time wasted in connecting with the employee who knows how to do the required task. Handbooks remove any misunderstandings or errors. It is a fool-proof way of ensuring that the business continues in case someone is not available to lend a helping hand.

Slack-logoUsing Slack to integrate the team: While Slack can be used to create chat rooms and do work, it is often a great tool to include everyone on the team and talk about common interests. Our chat-rooms like #random and #general are great spaces for employees to share ideas and talk about things outside of work. It is a place to plan outings over the weekend or share movie reviews. These conversations pull the team together and allow for cross-departmental interaction; something that could be missing while everyone is focusing on work.

Finally, making remote work possible is about using apps to their maximum capacity and reviewing if they work or not. Managers need to be more mindful of their employees. Employees in turn need to make a conscious effort to stay on top of their work because remote work often results in the blurring of personal and professional life. Altogether, making remote work work is hugely beneficial to employees. All it takes is a little tweaking of the way things are usually done.

5 Hiring Tips for SMEs in Singapore

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Why Take Your Time Before Hiring

Since small businesses share a lot of work among fewer people, the stakes are higher. Business owners need to take their time and figure out who they are looking for before hiring.

Not only, does it risk handing responsibility too someone who is not ready for it, it could become a financial burden as well. Even without severance pay or lawsuits, firing someone is an expense. You would much rather spend that time and money creating a thorough and fool-proof recruiting process.

If you’re an SME in Singapore, we have a 5 actionable tips for you:

1. Make a List of Tasks That Need to be Done

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As a business owner, you might be taking up more than your share of work to keep things moving forward. It is a good idea to write down the tasks that fall by the wayside because you are focusing on the next most important thing. Go through the list and figure out if tasks can be pooled together to make a new job position. This also makes it easier to write an accurate job description while posting your ad on job boards.

2. Sell the Uniqueness of Your Business 

Big companies have a strong brand name to sell the position. This makes it easier for them to attract talent. They can offer higher pay and better benefits than a small company could.

SMEs in Singapore will naturally find it harder to create attractive job positions with that kind of competition which is why you have to showcase what makes you special.

Business owners need to find a new angle to attract top talent. This could be in the form of perks like working from home, flexible schedules and more autonomy. Free lunches and a Kindle book monthly stipend are simple perks that can attract millennial employees.

These are just a few of many ideas that can make working at a small company look attractive.

unicorn-unique-business-payrollhero

– What makes you unique — like a unicorn!

Remember, a small business can make decisions faster, is more agile and less bound by rules and regulations. These are attributes that business owners should rally behind in order to attract talent.

Find your ‘unicorn’ quality and sell it to job applicants!

3. Training

An important way to ensure that your new hires stay in the company is to spend time and money on training them. Either a written manual or a program over a few days where the new hires interact with people in the company will help the new hire understand the way things work and align expectations with reality.

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It would be best if this were done before solidifying the position. The mantra “Hire slow, fire fast” may be useful for small business.

4. Learn from your Competition

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Your competitors are in the same boat as you. Try and learn from the way they sell the same position your are hiring for. Fresh ideas are always welcome, even from your competitors. Don’t forget that this includes multiple platforms: newspapers, online job boards, LinkedIn, everything.

You should be on top of all sources of media to learn from other companies on how they are hiring top talent.

5. Don’t Stop Searching for New Hires

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Always stay on the lookout, even if you are not actively looking to fill a position. It’s always great to hire people who show spectacular skills or drive to work. You will be able to find work for them or at least keep their resumes with you so that you can pull them out later, when you really need to fill a position. Staying on the lookout also keeps you updated on what the hiring scene looks like at any point of time.

The most important thing to remember for SMEs trying to hire talent is that the cost of hiring and then firing an employee is too high to go through the process multiple times. It makes sense to spend time, develop a program and go through the recruiting process deliberately in order to be efficient.

If you want to learn more awesome tips to help your business, feel free to subscribe below. Get fresh tips weekly, straight to your inbox!

What Payroll Period Suits Your Business Best?

employees-getting-paid

Payroll periods are generally categorized into 4 types:

  1. Monthly: Payroll is generated and usually paid out on a monthly basis. It occurs 12 times a year
  2. Semi-monthly: Payroll is generated twice a month and paid out either on the 1st and 15th of the month, or 15th and 30th of the month. It occurs 24 times a month.
  3. Bi-weekly: Generated and paid out every two weeks, bi-weekly payroll sounds a lot like semi-monthly but runs 26 times a year. We’ll go through the differences further into the post.
  4. Weekly: Payroll is generated and paid out once a week, leading to 52 cycles a year.

Type of Business

Why are there so many different payroll periods? Depending on the type of business, employees and employers find it easier to keep tabs on over time, social security contributions and erratic work schedules if the payroll period is shorter than the usual one month period.

Generally, as a business owner or a payroll head at your business, you generate reports monthly so it seems practical to generate payroll on a monthly basis. However, this may not be suitable to employees, especially in the construction, F&B or retail business where work is valued on an hourly basis.

Type of Employees

Frequency of payroll depends on the type of employees in your business. Usually, full time employees are open to monthly salaries because they have a stable income.

However, part time workers with erratic schedules prefer a shorter pay period so they can manage their finances better. Since hourly workers are most prevalent in industries like F&B, retail and BPOs, markets that we work with very closely, we know that employees favour biweekly or even weekly pay in order to stabilize their finances.

For example, if an employee works 50 hours one week and 10 the next, she might want to be paid weekly in order to cushion the next week’s dip in work.

Costs of Generating Payroll

As a business owner, you also need to track how much it costs to pay all your employees, Many payroll vendors charge on the frequency of payroll generation, in which case, monthly payroll makes sense. But, if the costs are not too high, it may be prudent to generate payroll more often.

It is easier to calculate over time over a shorter pay period. You are less likely to make mistakes. Another cost that is important to look into is the opportunity cost of calculating social security deductions more frequently.

Usually, contributions are calculated monthly, so it is definitely a hassle breaking it down to a semi-monthly, bi-weekly or weekly basis. The most error-prone would be bi-weekly, with 26 weeks to account for where payroll may be generated twice or even thrice a month.

Finally, the frequency of payroll generation depends on a set of factors: the share of employees working part time versus full time, the costs of generating payroll and the kind of business that you own.

Weighing the costs and benefits and communicating with employees on what suits them best are the first steps to take before settling on a pay period. Do let us know what kind of pay period has worked best for your business!

29 Ways To Grow Your Singapore Business

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2016 is a ‘leap year’, meaning you get ONE extra day, February 29th, to grow your business in Singapore.

We’ve done the hard part and listed down 29 ways on how to grow your business in Singapore. You can grab your kopi and take down some notes because this is going to be a bit lengthy!

Let’s get started, shall we?

29 Growth Tips for Your Business in Singapore

#1 Take Social Media Seriously

Having a dormant Facebook account for your business, and an egg account on Twitter won’t cut it.

2016 is the year where Social Media is evolving at such a rapid state that if you still aren’t taking it seriously, you will be very much left behind.

We’ve written about how you can leverage social media to grow your business this 2016 to help you get started.

If you’re running a restaurant or retail store, now’s the best time to establish a presence on Social Media. The best platforms to use for restaurants and retail businesses is Facebook and Instagram.

Set up your accounts if you haven’t already, and check out our blog post to help you establish strong social media presence in Singapore.

#2 Embrace Technology

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Tech can be intimidating, especially for non-millennials. But it can’t be denied just how much technology makes everything easier for your business.

READ: Embrace Technology, Grow Your Business

Imagine going from manually sending emails one by one to automating everythingusing tools like MailChimp. Or sharing worksheets easily with teammates usingGoogle Sheets rather than using Excel – saving the doc – sending an email to your colleague – editing the doc – sending back to you. 

There are so many ways for you to get ahead and embrace technology. We’ll be discussing them in more detail in other items.

#3 Leverage Customer Reviews

Whether you’re running a restaurant in Singapore, a hotel, retail store, or a startup, one thing that you can’t ever have enough of is positive customer reviews.

For restaurants in Singapore, HungryGoWhere is one of the top platforms you want to have positive reviews. Yelp is also another platform you must have a strong presence.

More than that, you should consider giving incentives to your customers to write a positive review on these sites. Ask them to share their experience online, so that when others view your restaurant in the app, they’ll be more enticed to dine at your place.

For hotels, the same works with Agoda, TripAdvisor, and similar sites.

#4 Know Your Numbers

If you’re not the type of business owner who is a certified Math Wiz, then I’m sure you’ll agree that sometimes keeping everything organized ‘numbers-wise’ can be quite tricky.

But for your business to truly take off to the next level, you must know your numbers. Whether it is your internal stats like Google Analytics for your website, or your financial numbers (sales, costs, etc.) you have to be on top of it.

Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

#5 Better Inventory Management

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Sample Dashboard of TradeGecko

A small business owner should keep close track of inventory in relation to seasonality because inventory costs can run up to exorbitant amounts despite the fact that it can be managed.

TradeGecko is an app that can help you with that. The cool thing about this app is that it gives you real time data on your phone. You can access your inventory data from anywhere in the world with a few clicks.

It’s highly important that you monitor your inventory because being prepared is always best for business. It might not seem like a powerful way to grow your business, but sometimes even the dirty work that you don’t love to do is key to get ahead.

#6 Cut Down on Meetings

Another quick growth hack for your business is to clearly evaluate the time spent on meetings. Here’s an excerpt from one of our earlier blog posts:

Meetings can often be directionless and unreasonably lengthy. You may find yourself spending an entire day running from one meeting to the next and ending the day having done nothing significant at all.

 

Whether the meetings are with your subordinates, potential clients or investors, it’s worth pressing the pause button, going through the goals for the meeting and deciding whether they warrant a meeting at all.

It’s important to cut these meetings down if most of the time is spent going back and forth on decisions that have already been made.

A good way to do this is to outline the goals of the meeting beforehand and go back to these goals at the end of the meetings and check if they have been met.

The more time you save on dodging or cutting down irrelevant meetings, the more time you have to actually do things that scale to grow your business.

Read here for more ‘time management hacks’ for business owners.

#6 Keep Your Employees Happy

PayrollHero Singapore Payroll Team

One of the biggest business secrets in the world is also the most obvious.

Happy Employees = Good for Business

That’s one simple equation that can literally make or break your business. Virgin’s CEO Richard Branson seems to agree.

And because we love you, we’ve made a quick guide to help you crack the formula in making your employees happy. Check it out!

#7 Learn from your Peers

The best way to scale your business is to learn from others who’ve done it. You can achieve this by reading articles from influencers in your space.

Medium is a really nice platform where you can find articles that is related to your industry.

If you want to get started right now, we’ve compiled a list of 16 Entrepreneur Interviews that can give you inspiration and further knowledge to grow your business.

#8 Build a Website for your Business (skip to #9 if you have one)

Did you know that even a completely fake business that has a nice looking website looks more legit than a REAL business that has no website.

Seriously — read this story on how a completely fake business that had no product / real service attracted ready-to-pay customers.

That’s how powerful having an online presence is nowadays. People are more likely to trust a business that has a website and active social media pages than a brand that has no online presence.

So if you’re one of those who still don’t have a website for your business, it’s about time you get one built.

You can head over to Upwork or find a local freelancer if you want to outsource everything. You can find really talented people who are willing to work at an affordable rate.

Go get your website done now!

#9 Build an E-Mail List

Now that you have a website, it’s time to use it to generate more SALES for your business.

Have you checked your email inbox lately and saw tons of emails from a bunch of fashion brands or some restaurants you like? You’re getting their newsletter and promotional emails because at some point in time, you signed up to their email list.

Believe it or not, these businesses are generating a lot of revenue via email marketing — and the best part is that you too can join in on the fun!

You don’t need technical skills to have it set up on your website. Just signup with SumoMe, a free suite of tools that can help you get more emails. It’s 100% free to use, but for more power, you can always upgrade to their PRO version.

With SumoMe, you can start building email up your email lists. You can set up a Welcome Mat just like one of the few that we use in one of our PayrollHero websites.

Here’s a sample:

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There are more variations that you can use to collect more emails using SumoMe. Once you’ve built up a list, you can then send strategic emails to market your product and drive more sales.

#10 Start A/B Testing

Okay… now this is a term that isn’t usually thrown around in brick and mortar businesses. It’s much more common in the tech space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t A/B test in your business.

Before we go deeper, here’s a quick snippet on what A/B Testing means.

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Yeah, it says ‘web page’. But A/B testing can be done in literally anything you can imagine.

You can A/B test your restaurant menu, your window display, your Customer Support replies on Twitter; the list goes on!

The objective of doing an A/B testing is to make a data driven decision to grow your business. Whether it’s to generate more sales, or to improve how you treat your customers, the main objective is to get the best possible iteration and stick with it.

If you’ve been using the same menu in your restaurant for years, you can start mixing it up and put out new menus. Just distribute a few pieces and observe how your customers react to it. You can conduct a survey on what they think of your new menu to give you more context.

Obviously, the more data you can get, the better. But you can start testing out small things, and eventually you’ll be able to appreciate what it can do to boost your business.

#11 Use Slack

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Here @ PayrollHero, we use a ton of tools at work. Aside from email, one of our main communication tools is Slack.

If you haven’t heard of it, check out their website to learn more. But basically, Slack is a communication platform where you and your team can start conversations, share files easily, and host meetings. The true power of Slack though is through it’s various integrations.

You can have a bunch of tools integrated with Slack to help streamline many of your day to day business processes. Here’s a short article on how we use Slack at work to give you a better idea.

If you’re thinking that Slack may not be a fit for your business, then let me tell you that I’ve personally seen a local barbershop using Slack. I was surprised at first, then I realized that it’s just a really powerful tool that allows businesses that operate in multiple work locations to be able to communicate and work together.

Try it out and improve your team’s productivity!

#12 Run Social Media Contests

Remember Tip #1? If you’ve invested enough time building your brand pages and community on Social Media, you can start giving back to your fans.

Who doesn’t want a freebie? Everyone does, and social media platforms are the perfect venues to hold a contest. If you’re kinda on the fence about social media contests, these statistics from Hubspot prove that contests are a huge boost to customer engagement and carving out a loyal following:

  • Contests can increase new audiences by 34 percent on average
  • A third of entrants don’t mind receiving email updates from participating brands
  • Running your contest on mobile increases the number of entrants by eight times
  • Sweepstakes (e.g. Instant Win apps) is the most effective way to hold a contest if your goal is to increase fan base (entrants can turn into subscribers) while photo contests work best if you wish to boost customer engagement.

By and large, a social media contest can provide you with these two game-changing benefits:

  • Whether you get 50 or 500 entries, contests will generate buzz and drive people to your restaurant’s social media page.
  • Once you have this people’s attention, you can collect valuable data (such as email addresses for future newsletters or mobile phone numbers for weekly special reminders) from the entries. Be careful not ask for too many details though.

Running social media contests for your business is a great way to boost your following, increase brand awareness, and attract more customers to your store. You should definitely try it!

READ: Here’s One Cebu Restaurant Who Is Nailing It On Social Media

#13 Organize / Attend Meetups

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A quick way to attract more customers to your business is by networking.

Events such as conferences, industry meetups or seminars is a great avenue for you to meet other people and network.

By building relationships with likeminded individuals, you’ll be able to share experiences with each other and learn new strategies to growing a business. You can even take things a notch by collaborating with other business owners in launching cross-branding promos and the like.

A good way to get started is by downloading Meetup. It’s an app that helps you connect with groups / individuals in your space. You’ll be able to attend regular ‘meetups’ and meet new people in the process.

#14 Give, Give, Give, for FREE

In the words of the very successful entrepreneur / marketer Gary Vaynerchuk, you have to ‘Jab, jab, jab, right hook’.

This means that as a business, you have to give, give, give, before you ask. Giving away something valuable for free can go a long way in building customer loyalty. You can’t expect customers to just buy from you all the time if you don’t provide them value.

For restaurants / hotels, this could mean giving out discount coupons, or better yet, giving away free accommodation or a romantic dinner for two. If you can build excitement and give back to your customers, you’ll definitely get some positive reviews online and the word will spread quickly.

And when people start talking about your business in a positive light, you’ll be attracting more and more customers.

So yes — don’t be afraid to give out something for free because you’ll reap the rewards later on.

NOTE: We’re practitioners of this concept, which is why we always do our best to create valuable content and tools that we give away to our valued readers forFREE.

You can check out our Restaurant Knowledge Kit here, and our Service Charge tool here. All yours for FREE!

#15 Exercise Regularly

Seriously.

A study shows that entrepreneurs who exercise regularly are more likely to be successful. So don’t take it for granted and start allocating 30 minutes up to an hour a day for exercise.

You can hit the gym, or take a 30 minute swim; whichever you prefer. The healthier you are, the better decisions you make at work.

#16 Use Snapchat

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Snapchat is one of the fastest rising social media apps of all time. It hasn’t reached Facebook’s level in Singapore yet, but Snapchat is trending upwards quickly.

Snapchat users are primarily teens up to 26 years old. If your business is targeting this age range, then you should be making efforts to market your business on Snapchat.

This trending app isn’t widely used by brands yet, so you have a chance to be one of the top pioneers of Snapchat marketing in Singapore. It’s definitely worth a try.

#17 Attract Top Employees

If you want to grow your business in Singapore, then you definitely need a huge dose of talent to help you get there.

We made a blog post on how to attract top employees for your business. Be sure to check it out and apply some of the tips when you start hiring people.

#18 Ask your Employees for Advice

Ha! Why would a manager do that? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Social psychologist and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Robert Cialdini offers one seemingly counterintuitive yet effective suggestion to making your employees like you: Ask them for advice. This could range from personal advice like book recommendations to professional advice such as asking their opinion about social media platforms that they deem are ideal for your digital marketing campaign.

By and large, this gives the impression that you, as a manager, value their opinions. Bonus points if you follow their advice and update them that you’ve done one of their suggestions!

#19 Business Cards – Give and Receive

It’s 2016 and yes, business cards are still a thing. Although there are now apps that can house business cards in the cloud, the act of giving and receiving physical business cardsare still appreciated by entrepreneurs / execs.

The idea of business cards stem from networking. Building relationships is still a very important part of growing a business. You can’t expect to take off and grow at a rapid scale without having built strong business relationships along the way.

Image from – http://www.cardfaves.com

Image from – http://www.cardfaves.com

Now… how exactly can this help you? First, you have to make sure that you have a healthy stock of them.

Next, make sure your employees have business cards too!

They have lives outside of work — they go out for drinks and meet people. Wouldn’t you want them to hand out a business card with YOUR LOGO and YOUR BUSINESS NAME to new people they meet? It could open up a door of possible opportunities for your business.

Isn’t that much better than just having yourself do the networking for you?

We’ve prepped up a nice little guide to help you make your business card stand out.

#20 Empower Your Employees

There’s no better brand ambassador for your business than your employees. Make sure that they are heard and empowered in your company.

Motivate them, understand them, and hear them out. Sometimes employees aren’t as engaged and focused because they don’t feel that you trust them or they’re not being given a chance to showcase their skills.

READ: 3 Reasons Why Employees Get Bored

The best you can do is to talk to them and motivate them. Ask them what you can do for them.

Once you know what’s on your employees’ mind, you can then help them reach their full potential. Sometimes, growing your business should start from within.

#21 More Days Off 

landing-stage-sea-holiday-vacation

This applies for both you and your employees.

Now, before the pitchforks start coming in, understand that in order for you to be at your best, you also need to unwind and relax a bit.

You can’t keep up the 24/7 grind and not burn out. The same goes for your employees.

So if you want to grow your business this year, you MUST take vacations.

You can even organize a company-wide retreat so you and your employees can bond, relax, and clear their minds. After that, you can expect a more vibrant and rejuvenated team that’s ready to work harder than ever!

VIDEO: PayrollHero Leave Management in Action

#22 Sponsor Events

lights-party-dancing-music

Depending on what industry you’re in, you might want to consider hopping into Events Marketing.

There are more and more rave parties and events happening almost every day. There are beach parties, club parties, you name it.

Being a sponsor in one of these events can give your brand huge exposure from potential customers. Not only that, you can also generate sales in these events because most event organizers will allow you to put up your own stall in the event venue or play your marketing video in front of thousands of attendees.

You can easily recoup whatever amount you spent to get into the event just on on-the-ground sales alone. And after the event? You can expect more prospects checking out your page / website thanks to the exposure you got.

#23 Maintain a Record of Expenses

As mentioned in tip #4, you can’t grow your business if you don’t know your numbers. This is why it’s very important to maintain a record of your expenses.

All too often, we start the year enthusiastically, taking not of expenses and filing them meticulously to find ourselves a month later struggling to keep up with our expense records.

It is easier with some help. Apps like Expensify or Mint help you keep track of your accounts, expenses and income. If you are a small business owner, these apps are a good place to start.

Of course, as you grow bigger, you will have to move to accounting software that can keep up with the growth of your business.

#24 Join the Conversation on Twitter

twitter-photo-payrollhero

Twitter is a great platform to learn more about your customers. If you use it right, you can really take advantage of its powerful search tool.

You can join any conversation on your space and attract potential customers.

Imagine an angry customer of Restaurant X. The angry customer didn’t enjoy the super expensive burger he ate. Now, as a burger chain yourself, you can then hop right in and tweet the said angry customer — offer him a free burger if he visits your store on the same day.

Doing that not isn’t only good for publicity… You can also potentially earn a loyal customer for life!

That’s just one way of using Twitter for growing your business. We’ll go deeper into this in future blog posts.

#25 Use Chat Apps for Customer Support

It’s 2016, and by now you should be more accessible to your customers more than ever.

People naturally hate waiting, so a displeased customer isn’t too happy waiting for an answer to their concerns via email.

A good way to make your business more accessible to customers is by using Chat apps. You can either set up a Zopim chat box on your website, or use Facebook Messenger so that customers can chat with you in real-time.

If you don’t really have staff who can man the Chat account 24/7, you can use Twitter instead.

#26 Automate Your Internal Processes

If there’s anything at all that your company is still doing manually, it may be time to reevaluate your processes.

Thanks to technology, a lot of internal processes can now be streamlined and automated. So if there’s still something in your business that takes up too much manual labor, such as doing payroll, it’s best to outsource it or simply use a service to make your life easier.

payrollhero-cool-logoPayrollHero offers a complete end-to-end solution to your time, attendance, HR, and payroll processes. We help businesses grow by giving them back one of the most important assets they have.

#27 Trimming the Fat

No, I’m not urging you to lose weight…

What I mean is that you should start re-evaluating your company from top to bottom. This doesn’t mean you have to fire your employees left and right. What you should be doing is really taking time to look into the different challenges that your employees are facing.

Are some of them doing work that they’re not supposed to do? Should you be cutting down on a few tasks that can easily be outsourced? Is there someone who is unhappy in your organization? 

You have to wear the HR hat and clean things up because there might be something going on internally that is hindering your company from getting to the next level.

#28 Incorporate Great Graphics using Canva

For your business to stand out this year, you need to produce more visually appealing content.

Thanks to Canva, you don’t need elite photoshop skills or a Graphic Designer on your payroll to produce high quality and visually appealing images.

Canva-PayrollHero

Canva in action.

As you can see in the image above, there are lots of free templates to choose from. You can also upload your own image, and add your own caption with tons of fonts to choose from.

PayrollHero-Blog-Ads

Here’s me adding a caption to an image I uploaded. It’s simple and easy, you can do it in less than 5 minutes!

Canva-PayrollHero-2

And the best part is that all of that is 100% FREE. Canva does offer a paid business version if you want to take things up a notch, so do check out their website for more details.

 #29 Take Action

Reading through this blog post won’t get you anywhere unless you take action.

One bad habit of people is that we tend to consume too much content, but get lost in the shuffle at some point. We either don’t follow through and take action, or we simply forget it altogether.

Now for you to truly grow your business in Singapore, you must learn how to act fast and take action. This doesn’t just apply to following the tips laid out in this article, but moreso in making business decisions.

You have to be decisive, smart, and ready to get your feet wet. The only thing that’s standing between you and success is not taking action.

So go out there and take that leap you need to help your business grow! 

Okay, that’s the last pun I promise!


Please tell us your thoughts on this! We’d love to hear from you.

Good luck with your business and may you make the most out of this 1 extra day of 2016!

29 Ways To Grow Your Business in the Philippines

growing-business-payrollhero

This February 2016, we all get 1 extra day thanks to this being a Leap year. And since we’re getting one extra day, it’s high time that we all use it to grow our business and make it count.

Because we want you to make the most out of your year, we decided to push out 29 Ways to Grow Your Business in the Philippines.

Yes – 29!

This is quite a long read, but if you can just use some of these tips, you’ll have a great chance to make a tremendous ‘leap’ this year.

Okay, enough with the puns and let’s get started!

29 Growth Tips for your Business

#1 Take Social Media Seriously

Having a dormant Facebook account for your business, and an egg account on Twitter won’t cut it.

2016 is the year where Social Media is evolving at such a rapid state that if you still aren’t taking it seriously, you will be very much left behind.

We’ve written about how you can leverage social media to grow your business this 2016 to help you get started.

If you’re running a restaurant or retail store, now’s the best time to establish a presence on Social Media. The best platforms to use for restaurants and retail businesses is Facebook and Instagram.

Set up your accounts if you haven’t already, and check out our blog post to help you get your social media presence in the Philippines’ space up high.

#2 Embrace Technology

technology-payrollhero

Tech can be intimidating, especially for non-millennials. But it can’t be denied just how much technology makes everything easier for your business.

READ: Embrace Technology, Grow Your Business

Imagine going from manually sending emails one by one to automating everything using tools like MailChimp. Or sharing worksheets easily with teammates using Google Sheets rather than using Excel – saving the doc – sending an email to your colleague – editing the doc – sending back to you. 

There are so many ways for you to get ahead and embrace technology. We’ll be discussing them in more detail in other items.

#3 Leverage Customer Reviews

Whether you’re running a restaurant in the Philippines, a hotel, retail store, or a startup, one thing that you can’t ever have enough of is positive customer reviews.

For restaurants, Zomato is one of the biggest apps in the Philippines for food reviews. If you’re not on Zomato’s radar, you need to be on it ASAP.

More than that, you should consider giving incentives to your customers to write a positive review on Zomato. Ask them to share their experience on Zomato, so that when others view your restaurant in the app, they’ll be more enticed to dine at your restaurant.

For hotels, the same works with Agoda, TripAdvisor, and similar sites.

#4 Know Your Numbers

If you’re not the type of business owner who is a certified Math Wiz, then I’m sure you’ll agree that sometimes keeping everything organized ‘numbers-wise’ can be quite tricky.

But for your business to truly take off to the next level, you must know your numbers. Whether it is your internal stats like Google Analytics for your website, or your financial numbers (sales, costs, etc.) you have to be on top of it.

Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

#5 Better Inventory Management

sample-dashboard-of-tradegecko

Sample Dashboard of TradeGecko

A small business owner should keep close track of inventory in relation to seasonality because inventory costs can run up to exorbitant amounts despite the fact that it can be managed.

TradeGecko is an app that can help you with that. The cool thing about this app is that it gives you real time data on your phone. You can access your inventory data from anywhere in the world with a few clicks.

It’s highly important that you monitor your inventory because being prepared is always best for business. It might not seem like a powerful way to grow your business, but sometimes even the dirty work that you don’t love to do is key to get ahead.

#6 Cut Down on Meetings

Another quick growth hack for your business is to clearly evaluate the time spent on meetings. Here’s an excerpt from one of our earlier blog posts:

Meetings can often be directionless and unreasonably lengthy. You may find yourself spending an entire day running from one meeting to the next and ending the day having done nothing significant at all.

Whether the meetings are with your subordinates, potential clients or investors, it’s worth pressing the pause button, going through the goals for the meeting and deciding whether they warrant a meeting at all.

It’s important to cut these meetings down if most of the time is spent going back and forth on decisions that have already been made.

A good way to do this is to outline the goals of the meeting beforehand and go back to these goals at the end of the meetings and check if they have been met.

The more time you save on dodging or cutting down irrelevant meetings, the more time you have to actually do things that scale to grow your business.

Read here for more ‘time management hacks’ for business owners.

#6 Keep Your Employees Happy

PayrollHero Singapore Payroll Team

One of the biggest business secrets in the world is also the most obvious.

Happy Employees = Good for Business

That’s one simple equation that can literally make or break your business. Virgin’s CEO Richard Branson seems to agree.

And because we love you, we’ve made a quick guide to help you crack the formula in making your employees happy. Check it out!

#7 Learn from your Peers

The best way to scale your business is to learn from others who’ve done it. You can achieve this by reading articles from influencers in your space.

Medium is a really nice platform where you can find articles that is related to your industry.

If you want to get started right now, we’ve compiled a list of 16 Entrepreneur Interviews that can give you inspiration and further knowledge to grow your business.

#8 Build a Website for your Business (skip to #9 if you have one)

Did you know that even a completely fake business that has a nice looking website looks more legit than a REAL business that has no website.

Seriously — read this story on how a completely fake business that had no product / real service attracted ready-to-pay customers.

That’s how powerful having an online presence is nowadays. People are more likely to trust a business that has a website and active social media pages than a brand that has no online presence.

So if you’re one of those who still don’t have a website for your business, it’s about time you get one built.

You can head over to Upwork or find a local freelancer if you want to outsource everything. You can find really talented people who are willing to work at an affordable rate.

Go get your website done now!

#9 Build an E-Mail List

Now that you have a website, it’s time to use it to generate more SALES for your business.

Have you checked your email inbox lately and saw tons of emails from Zalora or Lazada, or some restaurants you like? You’re getting their newsletter and promotional emails because at some point in time, you signed up to their email list.

Believe it or not, these businesses are generating a lot of revenue via email marketing — and the best part is that you too can join in on the fun!

You don’t need technical skills to have it set up on your website. Just signup with SumoMe, a free suite of tools that can help you get more emails. It’s 100% free to use, but for more power, you can always upgrade to their PRO version.

With SumoMe, you can start building email up your email lists. You can set up a Welcome Mat just like one of the few that we use in one of our PayrollHero websites.

Here’s a sample:

sumome-tools-by-payrollhero

There are more variations that you can use to collect more emails using SumoMe. Once you’ve built up a list, you can then send strategic emails to market your product and drive more sales.

#10 Start A/B Testing

Okay… now this is a term that isn’t usually thrown around in brick and mortar businesses. It’s much more common in the tech space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t A/B test in your business.

Before we go deeper, here’s a quick snippet on what A/B Testing means.

ab-testing-payrollhero

Yeah, it says ‘web page’. But A/B testing can be done in literally anything you can imagine.

You can A/B test your restaurant menu, your window display, your Customer Support replies on Twitter; the list goes on!

The objective of doing an A/B testing is to make a data driven decision to grow your business. Whether it’s to generate more sales, or to improve how you treat your customers, the main objective is to get the best possible iteration and stick with it.

If you’ve been using the same menu in your restaurant for years, you can start mixing it up and put out new menus. Just distribute a few pieces and observe how your customers react to it. You can conduct a survey on what they think of your new menu to give you more context.

Obviously, the more data you can get, the better. But you can start testing out small things, and eventually you’ll be able to appreciate what it can do to boost your business.

#11 Use Slack

Slack-logo

Here @ PayrollHero, we use a ton of tools at work. Aside from email, one of our main communication tools is Slack.

If you haven’t heard of it, check out their website to learn more. But basically, Slack is a communication platform where you and your team can start conversations, share files easily, and host meetings. The true power of Slack though is through it’s various integrations.

You can have a bunch of tools integrated with Slack to help streamline many of your day to day business processes. Here’s a short article on how we use Slack at work to give you a better idea.

If you’re thinking that Slack may not be a fit for your business, then let me tell you that I’ve personally seen a local barbershop using Slack. I was surprised at first, then I realized that it’s just a really powerful tool that allows businesses that operate in multiple work locations to be able to communicate and work together.

Try it out and improve your team’s productivity!

#12 Run Social Media Contests

Remember Tip #1? If you’ve invested enough time building your brand pages and community on Social Media, you can start giving back to your fans.

Who doesn’t want a freebie? Everyone does, and social media platforms are the perfect venues to hold a contest. If you’re kinda on the fence about social media contests, these statistics from Hubspot prove that contests are a huge boost to customer engagement and carving out a loyal following:

  • Contests can increase new audiences by 34 percent on average
  • A third of entrants don’t mind receiving email updates from participating brands
  • Running your contest on mobile increases the number of entrants by eight times
  • Sweepstakes (e.g. Instant Win apps) is the most effective way to hold a contest if your goal is to increase fan base (entrants can turn into subscribers) while photo contests work best if you wish to boost customer engagement.

By and large, a social media contest can provide you with these two game-changing benefits:

  • Whether you get 50 or 500 entries, contests will generate buzz and drive people to your restaurant’s social media page.
  • Once you have this people’s attention, you can collect valuable data (such as email addresses for future newsletters or mobile phone numbers for weekly special reminders) from the entries. Be careful not ask for too many details though.

Running social media contests for your business is a great way to boost your following, increase brand awareness, and attract more customers to your store. You should definitely try it!

READ: Here’s One Cebu Restaurant Who Is Nailing It On Social Media

#13 Organize / Attend Meetups

Meetup_Logo_2015

A quick way to attract more customers to your business is by networking.

Events such as conferences, industry meetups or seminars is a great avenue for you to meet other people and network.

By building relationships with likeminded individuals, you’ll be able to share experiences with each other and learn new strategies to growing a business. You can even take things a notch by collaborating with other business owners in launching cross-branding promos and the like.

A good way to get started is by downloading Meetup. It’s an app that helps you connect with groups / individuals in your space. You’ll be able to attend regular ‘meetups’ and meet new people in the process.

 #14 Give, Give, Give, for FREE

In the words of the very successful entrepreneur / marketer Gary Vaynerchuk, you have to ‘Jab, jab, jab, right hook’.

This means that as a business, you have to give, give, give, before you ask. Giving away something valuable for free can go a long way in building customer loyalty. You can’t expect customers to just buy from you all the time if you don’t provide them value.

For restaurants / hotels, this could mean giving out discount coupons, or better yet, giving away free accommodation or a romantic dinner for two. If you can build excitement and give back to your customers, you’ll definitely get some positive reviews online and the word will spread quickly.

And when people start talking about your business in a positive light, you’ll be attracting more and more customers.

So yes — don’t be afraid to give out something for free because you’ll reap the rewards later on.

NOTE: We’re practitioners of this concept, which is why we always do our best to create valuable content and tools that we give away to our valued readers for FREE.

You can check out our Restaurant Knowledge Kit here, and our Service Charge tool here. All yours for FREE!

#15 Exercise Regularly

Seriously.

A study shows that entrepreneurs who exercise regularly are more likely to be successful. So don’t take it for granted and start allocating 30 minutes up to an hour a day for exercise.

You can hit the gym, or take a 30 minute swim; whichever you prefer. The healthier you are, the better decisions you make at work.

#16 Use Snapchat

snapchat

Snapchat is one of the fastest rising social media apps of all time. It hasn’t reached Facebook’s level in the Philippines yet, but Snapchat is trending upwards quickly.

Snapchat users are primarily teens up to 26 years old. If your business is targeting this age range, then you should be making efforts to market your business on Snapchat.

In the Philippines, Snapchat isn’t widely used by brands yet, so you have a chance to be one of the top pioneers of Snapchat marketing in the Philippines. It’s definitely worth a try.

#17 Attract Top Employees

If you want to grow your business in the Philippines, then you definitely need a huge dose of talent to help you get there.

We made a blog post on how to attract top employees for your business. Be sure to check it out and apply some of the tips when you start hiring people.

Speaking of hiring… One of the best ways to do that right now is through Kalibrr.

Hiring top talents is made easy with Kalibrr. You can get started and post your first job for FREE.

Try it out and watch the applications come in.

#18 Ask your Employees for Advice.

Ha! Why would a manager do that? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Social psychologist and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Robert Cialdini offers one seemingly counterintuitive yet effective suggestion to making your employees like you: Ask them for advice. This could range from personal advice like book recommendations to professional advice such as asking their opinion about social media platforms that they deem are ideal for your digital marketing campaign.

By and large, this gives the impression that you, as a manager, value their opinions. Bonus points if you follow their advice and update them that you’ve done one of their suggestions!

#19 Business Cards – Give and Receive

It’s 2016 and yes, business cards are still a thing. Although there are now apps that can house business cards in the cloud, the act of giving and receiving physical business cardsare still appreciated by entrepreneurs / execs.

The idea of business cards stem from networking. Building relationships is still a very important part of growing a business. You can’t expect to take off and grow at a rapid scale without having built strong business relationships along the way.

Image from – http://www.cardfaves.com

Image from – http://www.cardfaves.com

Now… how exactly can this help you? First, you have to make sure that you have a healthy stock of them.

Next, make sure your employees have business cards too!

They have lives outside of work — they go out for drinks and meet people. Wouldn’t you want them to hand out a business card with YOUR LOGO and YOUR BUSINESS NAME to new people they meet? It could open up a door of possible opportunities for your business.

Isn’t that much better than just having yourself do the networking for you?

We’ve prepped up a nice little guide to help you make your business card stand out.

#20 Empower Your Employees

There’s no better brand ambassador for your business than your employees. Make sure that they are heard and empowered in your company.

Motivate them, understand them, and hear them out. Sometimes employees aren’t as engaged and focused because they don’t feel that you trust them or they’re not being given a chance to showcase their skills.

READ: 3 Reasons Why Employees Get Bored

The best you can do is to talk to them and motivate them. Ask them what you can do for them.

Once you know what’s on your employees’ mind, you can then help them reach their full potential. Sometimes, growing your business should start from within.

#21 More Days Off 

landing-stage-sea-holiday-vacation

This applies for both you and your employees.

Now, before the pitchforks start coming in, understand that in order for you to be at your best, you also need to unwind and relax a bit.

You can’t keep up the 24/7 grind and not burn out. The same goes for your employees.

So if you want to grow your business this year, you MUST take vacations.

You can even organize a company-wide retreat so you and your employees can bond, relax, and clear their minds. After that, you can expect a more vibrant and rejuvenated team that’s ready to work harder than ever!

VIDEO: PayrollHero Leave Management in Action

#22 Sponsor Events

lights-party-dancing-music

Depending on what industry you’re in, you might want to consider hopping into Events Marketing.

Here in the Philippines, there are more and more rave parties and events happening almost every day. There are beach parties, club parties, you name it.

If you’re a fashion brand in the Philippines, you should consider being one of the main sponsors for such events. This can give your brand huge exposure from potential customers. Not only that, you can also generate sales in these events because most event organizers will allow you to put up your own stall in the event venue.

You can easily recoup whatever amount you spent to get into the event just on on-the-ground sales alone. And after the event? You can expect more prospects checking out your page / website thanks to the exposure you got.

#23 Maintain a Record of Expenses

As mentioned in tip #4, you can’t grow your business if you don’t know your numbers. This is why it’s very important to maintain a record of your expenses.

All too often, we start the year enthusiastically, taking not of expenses and filing them meticulously to find ourselves a month later struggling to keep up with our expense records.

It is easier with some help. Apps like Expensify or Mint help you keep track of your accounts, expenses and income. If you are a small business owner, these apps are a good place to start.

Of course, as you grow bigger, you will have to move to accounting software that can keep up with the growth of your business.

#24 Join the Conversation on Twitter

twitter-photo-payrollhero

Twitter is a great platform to learn more about your customers. If you use it right, you can really take advantage of its powerful search tool.

You can join any conversation on your space and attract potential customers.

Imagine an angry customer of Restaurant X. The angry customer didn’t enjoy the super expensive burger he ate. Now, as a burger chain yourself, you can then hop right in and tweet the said angry customer — offer him a free burger if he visits your store on the same day.

Doing that not isn’t only good for publicity… You can also potentially earn a loyal customer for life!

That’s just one way of using Twitter for growing your business. We’ll go deeper into this in future blog posts.

#25 Use Chat Apps for Customer Support

It’s 2016, and by now you should be more accessible to your customers more than ever.

People naturally hate waiting, so a displeased customer isn’t too happy waiting for an answer to their concerns via email.

A good way to make your business more accessible to customers is by using Chat apps. You can either set up a Zopim chat box on your website, or use Facebook Messenger so that customers can chat with you in real-time.

If you don’t really have staff who can man the Chat account 24/7, you can use Twitter instead.

#26 Automate Your Internal Processes

If there’s anything at all that your company is still doing manually, it may be time to reevaluate your processes.

Thanks to technology, a lot of internal processes can now be streamlined and automated. So if there’s still something in your business that takes up too much manual labor, such as doing payroll, it’s best to outsource it or simply use a service to make your life easier.

payrollhero-cool-logoPayrollHero offers a complete end-to-end solution to your time, attendance, HR, and payroll processes. We help businesses grow by giving them back one of the most important assets they have.

#27 Trimming the Fat

No, I’m not urging you to lose weight…

What I mean is that you should start re-evaluating your company from top to bottom. This doesn’t mean you have to fire your employees left and right. What you should be doing is really taking time to look into the different challenges that your employees are facing.

Are some of them doing work that they’re not supposed to do? Should you be cutting down on a few tasks that can easily be outsourced? Is there someone who is unhappy in your organization? 

You have to wear the HR hat and clean things up because there might be something going on internally that is hindering your company from getting to the next level.

#28 Incorporate Great Graphics using Canva

For your business to stand out this year, you need to produce more visually appealing content.

Thanks to Canva, you don’t need elite photoshop skills or a Graphic Designer on your payroll to produce high quality and visually appealing images.

Canva-PayrollHero

Canva in action.

As you can see in the image above, there are lots of free templates to choose from. You can also upload your own image, and add your own caption with tons of fonts to choose from.

PayrollHero-Blog-Ads

Here’s me adding a caption to an image I uploaded. It’s simple and easy, you can do it in less than 5 minutes!

Canva-PayrollHero-2

And the best part is that all of that is 100% FREE. Canva does offer a paid business version if you want to take things up a notch, so do check out their website for more details.

 #29 Take Action

Reading through this blog post won’t get you anywhere unless you take action.

One bad habit of people is that we tend to consume too much content, but get lost in the shuffle at some point. We either don’t follow through and take action, or we simply forget it altogether.

Now for you to truly grow your business in the Philippines, you must learn how to act fast and take action. This doesn’t just apply to following the tips laid out in this article, but moreso in making business decisions.

You have to be decisive, smart, and ready to get your feet wet. The only thing that’s standing between you and success is not taking action.

So go out there and take that leap you need to help your business grow! 

Okay, that’s the last pun I promise!


Please tell us your thoughts on this! We’d love to hear from you.

Good luck with your business and may you make the most out of this 1 extra day of February 2016!

4 Tips on Financial Practices for Business Owners

Financial-Practices-PayrollHero

As a new business owner, it can be tough to figure out what you need to prioritize to generate revenue and profits. If you are a chef owning a restaurant for the first time, and with no business experience, this can be a lot harder.

Luckily, we have some tips for you to refer to when it comes to dealing with finances. So let’s dig in!

1. Product costing

This is essential because you cannot run a business in a sustainable manner without knowing what your products cost. You need a break down of what each product is made up of and how much it costs to get it from your suppliers. This includes material, labour and overheads.

With the information about costs, you need to find your breakeven point: where revenue covers all costs (Revenue – Costs = 0). This is the minimum revenue you need to run the business.

2. Maintain a record of expenses

This is a good practice that is easier said than done. All too often, we start the year enthusiastically, taking not of expenses and filing them meticulously to find ourselves a month later struggling to keep up with our expense records.

It is easier with some help. Apps like Expensify or Mint help you keep track of your accounts, expenses and income. If you are a small business owner, these apps are a good place to start.

Of course, as you grow bigger, you will have to move to accounting software that can keep up with the growth of your business.

3. Understand your seasonal cashflows

This is imperative if you own a retail store or a restaurant. It ties back to points one and two. During the year, your sales will not be static. It will depend on factors like when people get their wages or special festivals and holidays. Sales could change on a monthly, or quarterly basis.

Most seasonal changes are calculated quarterly. This is important to monitor because you will have to manage inventory accordingly. It also helps in setting prices based on expected demand.

4. Inventory management

Like we mentioned in the previous point, seasonality affects inventory. A small business owner should keep close track of inventory in relation to seasonality because inventory costs can run up to exorbitant amounts despite the fact that it can be managed.

TradeGecko is an app that can help you with that. The cool thing about this app is that it gives you real time data on your phone. You can access your inventory data from anywhere in the world with a few clicks.

Whether you are in Singapore, the Philippines or anywhere in the world, these tips are important to know as a business owner. Keep in mind that delegating traditional business practices to apps is a great idea because it frees up time for you to focus on your core business.

Also, keeping up with technology doesn’t just make you efficient, it prepares you for the inevitable conversion to tech-based apps that all business will have to make at some point.

Time Management Secrets for Busy Business Owners

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As the owner of a restaurant, retail business or startup, your priority is to move your business forward every single day.

Running your own business is different from working for a company because the line between professional and personal life is blurred. In this case, it is essential that you make the best use of your time and we have a few tips to get you started!

Cut down on meetings

Meetings can often be directionless and unreasonably lengthy. You may find yourself spending an entire day running from one meeting to the next and ending the day having done nothing significant at all. Whether the meetings are with your subordinates, potential clients or investors, it’s worth pressing the pause button, going through the goals for the meeting and deciding whether they warrant a meeting at all.

Meetings with your subordinates might occur too often, with no significant change in the status of their work. Meetings with clients may involve work that can be done on your own time. It’s important to cut these meetings down if most of the time is spent going back and forth on decisions that have already been made.

A good way to do this is to outline the goals of the meeting beforehand and go back to these goals at the end of the meetings and check if they have been met.

Going through emails

Through the day, you’re bound to get emails from friends, family, business partners, advertisers, clients and others. Keeping up with emails is one of the most time consuming tasks of the day. But this can be simplified.

There are a bunch of apps that help you. Gmail has a priority inbox folder that sifts through your mail and categorizes them for you. SaneBox is another app that cleans up your inbox so you focus on communicating with important people instead of missing out on their emails under all that spam.

Whatever you choose, make sure you are on top of it over the first few weeks as you get used to how the app prioritizes your mail.

Another important point on emails is to prioritize your replies. If your reply requires only two minutes, you should do so immediately. It saves time by preventing you to archive emails that really just require two minutes of your time.

If an email requires more time for you to think over your reply, you should move it to a whole new folder (maybe create a Priority Replies folder). This marks down the emails you need to go over again before you choose to reply.

Building a playbook

When you’re doing a task multiple times, you can write down the task step by step in a Google Doc and standardize the process. This makes it easier to delegate the task to someone else so that you can focus on more urgent matters.

Many CEOs and managers recommend creating a playbook because standardizing the task saves time, makes it fool proof and works as a guide for future reference. We do it at PayrollHero too and it helps getting new hires up to speed with how we work through tasks.

Advising your team

Many managers propose engaging with their team on a regular basis to find out what they need. They say that walking through your office and stopping by your employee’s table and asking them questions about their day really builds morale and productivity. Some of the questions you can ask are:

  1. What roadblocks are you facing today?
  2. How can I remove some of the roadblocks for you?
  3. What resources would help you move faster?

All these questions help the employee focus on moving forward by identifying barriers and removing them. By paying attention to your employees’ roadblocks, you can gauge what you can do to help them be more productive.

Altogether, these steps are simple to implement and quick to produce results. You should be able to free up you time to prioritize on core business activities that you can make the biggest impact on.

Hope this helps, and let us know if you have time-saving secrets that you would like to add on!