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Things You May Not Know About LinkedIN : Part 1 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

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VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association is bringing you a series of articles on our blog on Linked In.   There are some interesting things about LinkedIn that you may want to learn.

LinkedIn has been slowly growing into a popular social platform for companies to connect with their employees, potential hires, and other businesses. Below are some interesting facts and statistics about the platform’s usage that you may or may not know.  Knowledge is power and we hope to provide you information that will enable you to better use LinkedIn and expand your reach.

1.) Sell & Recruit for Your Company on LinkedIn:

Currently, there are over 30 million companies on LinkedIn with dedicated company pages. The platform may have been added to your company’s social platform presence as a tool for your recruiting department to find talent.  Over the last few years LinkedIn has been gaining traction as a great tool for sales and marketing people to connect and sell as well.

 2.) Employees Like to Engage with their Company on LinkedIn:

Approximately 30% of a company’s engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc) on LinkedIn comes directly from their employees. Your employees care the most about the success of your company and they will be the ones boosting your reputation and sharing your brand on LinkedIn.

3.) Employees Will Share Your Company Content on LinkedIn:

Employees are 14 times more likely to share content from their own employers than other types of content. They work hard for the company to help it grow and they should be proud of the achievements of their company. It is a good idea to encourage your employees to help share your company posts and engage with your company’s social media accounts. Content shared by an employee is also viewed by others and deemed over 53% more trustworthy than the same content shared by the CEO or simply by your business’s page.

4.) LinkedIn Users Engage More with Coworkers Than Other Connections:   

A recent study shows that users are 60% more likely to engage with a coworker than anyone else on the platform. They will comment, share, or message with colleagues more than anyone else; This is exactly what LinkedIn was originally designed to do.

5.) LinkedIn Has Become a Social Media Powerhouse:  

LinkedIn has slowly grown to join the other popular social platforms as an excellent place to position your company. Currently, LinkedIn has over 675 million monthly users! That is an increase of 14% increase from the prior year. Instagram typically has about a billion monthly users, Facebook has about 2.5 billion, and Twitter about 330 million users a month.  LinkedIn is growing to be one of the most popular platforms. If your company is not yet on LinkedIn, you are missing a lot of potential talent and customers.

6.) Majority of LinkedIn Users are Outside the US:

It is enlightening and amazing the most of LinkedIn users are not in the United States.  Currently more than 70% of LinkedIn’s users are outside the USA and the platform operates in 24 different languages.

7.) Americans are Using LinkedIn More:

Americans are slowly migrating towards LinkedIn and currently about 27% of Americans use the platform regularly. LinkedIn is the fifth most popular social media platform for the USA today, beating out both Snapchat, and Whatsapp.

8.) More Men Use LinkedIn Than Women: 

According to a recent study conducted by We Are Social, the average LinkedIn user identifies as male. The stats state that 57% of LinkedIn users are men, and 43% are women.

9.) LinkedIn Users Range from 25 to 34 Years of Age:

It should not be surprising because LinkedIn was designed as a business networking and recruiting portal.   It seems that LinkedIn would be less attractive to the younger crowd, though it could be beneficial for the older crowd to keep in touch with ex-colleagues or students to start networking prior to graduation. Right now the majority, 61%, of LinkedIn’s users are 25-34 years of age.

10.) Over 50% of LinkedIn Users Have a Degree:

Currently, about 51% of all Americans on LinkedIn are college educated and have at least an undergraduate college degree. Among college-educated Americans, LinkedIn is even more popular than Instagram or Pinterest. Americans who make over $75,000 per year are also more likely to use LinkedIn than any other platform.

We encourage you to stay tuned for our next blog article with more things you might not know about LinkedIn.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association invites you to join as a member.  There are not any fees or dues.   You may also proudly display the VAMBOA seal on your website and collateral.   We provide several articles on our blog weekly with all types of valuable information.

JOIN TODAY here:   https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

 

Improve Your Productivity Working From Home : Part 2 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

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In Part 1 of this mini blog series, we addressed how to keep your body healthy while working from home. In Part 2, we will go over technology needs when working from home.

We want to remind all our readers, that Dell Technology is offering VAMBOA family and friends very large discounts.   We will include some information at the bottom of this article on connecting on these significant discounts only for our family and friends.

When it comes to technology, you need to make sure that you have all of the technology that you need and the all of your technology is work-at-home ready so that you can be productive.  Below are some additional recommendations:

1.) Get Your Computer Up to Speed:

Your computer is your most important and your #1 work tool.  It is going to make you happier and more productive if it is as quick, up-to-date, and able to handle whatever programs you need to run to do your job.

Below are a few questions to consider regarding your computer:

  • Is your computer performing up to par?
  • Does it take a frustrating amount of time to boot, load programs, or open up files?
  • Do you have home internet access?
  • Is your home internet speed fast enough to allow you to do your job?
  • Do you have all of the software that you need to do your job?
  • If you need access to off-site data or databases, do you have that access setup?

If your computer cannot handle your most basic tasks, then it is time to either clean it up or replace it with a faster computer.

2.) Do you Have All the Right Technical Accessories?

Make sure that you have all the correct accessories for your computer that you need to do your job efficiently.

Consider adding items such as:

  • An ergonomic mouse and keyboard
  • A better monitor
  • A second monitor (for dual-screen use) and perhaps even a third monitor
  • A webcam
  • A headset

You also need to keep your computer and the data you create/save/access safe… and since you are now at home you may be on your own to do so.

3.) Make Sure That You Have Good Computer Security:

Constantly being connected to the web leaves us all vulnerable to attacks, hackers, phishers, and identity thieves. You need to be sure that you are protected with good antivirus, antimalware, and antispyware software.

4) Consider Using A Password Manager:

Proper password management is especially important if you handle or access other people’s sensitive data as part of your job. Passwords are one of the top sources of frustration in our world today. We all know that we need to have strong, unique passwords for every account we have. However, how do you keep track of all of those passwords?

Password managers are a great choice to help keep your passwords and accounts safe. A password manager stores all your passwords securely and syncs them across all of your devices.

Last, but certainly not least, who will you call if any of your equipment needs service?

5.) Technical Support:

This may be one of the scariest parts for most people who work from a home office. If something goes wrong in a typical office setting, you simply call the IT department and they take care of everything. At home, who can you call? Who pays for the service?

The answer to both of those questions really depends on the type of work that you do and your employer. What are their policies for tech support for their remote workers? If they provide support, great! If not, it is in your best interest to shop around for a local computer company that you can trust to take care of you in the event of a problem.

Working from home remotely can be wonderful and provide so much flexibility.  You must make sure that you take care of yourself and your tech as best you can.

If you need to update your computers, peripherals and more, our friends at Dell are offering VAMBOA, Veteran and Military Business Owners Association members, family, and friends some exceptional discounts.   If you are interested in checking them out, please go to this link:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

Improve Your Productivity Working From Home : Part 1 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Working from home has become the new normal for many workers in 2020.   Even before the pandemic, remote working was trending upward.  According to a recent Gallup poll, between 25 percent and 43 percent of Americans are working remotely on their laptops.

The main issue is that a lot of people working from home are doing it in a way it can be harmful to their health and their work. If you are hunched over the kitchen counter on your laptop while your family or roommates are loudly watching TV in the room next to you, you may want to consider a more permanent, and more peaceful, place to work.

Below are some ideas to help you put your home-office in better shape for your sanity, your body, and your productivity.

First, you need to make sure that you are taking care of your body.

1.) Your Health Should Always be a Top Priority or the Top Priority:

Never forget that an optimal workplace also needs items that help you feel good and allows you to take care of your basic needs with ease.

Consider adding items to your home workspace including:

  • An air purifier
  • Live plants
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Motivational posters

2.) Proper Posture & Take Movement Breaks:

Proper posture at the computer and/or using any gadget will go a long way and help to prevent or ease pain, discomfort, and fatigue.  Maintaining proper posture also helps to promote energy and relaxation. Taking frequent breaks helps to keep your body happy and your mind sharp. You come back to your work feeling refreshed and energized and this equates to being so much more productive and happier.

Some areas to focus on include:

  • Make sure that you can keep your head as upright as possible. Do not crane your neck downwards or upwards to view your screen.
  • Keep your arms in a neutral or 90 degree position.
  • Take frequent breaks to move and stretch out your muscles.
  • Take short walks at regular intervals (even if it is around the house).

Your Home Office Set-Up:

3.) Make Sure That You Have A Comfortable Work Chair:

The chair you sit in is much more important than the desk it is in front of. Your chair should swivel, it should have lower back support, it should help you to sit up straight, it should have comfortable arm rests that help keep your arms in the correct position, and you should be able to adjust the height.

4.) Consider Standing Instead of Sitting While You Work:

Prolonged sitting can be harmful to your health and many experts suggest that standing or alternating between standing and sitting is better for your body. There are special desks that allow you to stand that re very popular.  In fact, many companies were purchasing them for their offices.  As stated above, taking frequent breaks to move around is important. You might seriously consider purchasing a stand-up desk to perform your work.

5.) Make Your Work Area as Quiet and Peaceful as Possible:

Your neighborhood can certainly be a loud place whether it is the barking of neighborhood dogs, motorcycles, cars, street noise, or neighbors.   Unless you live alone, your home is noisy too with kids and family or roommates.  All of these are annoying distractions when you are trying to concentrate on your work. If you cannot create a totally quite place, consider investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this mini blog series.   In the meantime, we invite you to join VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association.  There are not any dues or membership fees.  You can use the VAMBOA seal on your website and collateral.

JOIN TODAY:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

Advice for Prospective Consultants

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Technology has sparked a boon in self-employment, and thus a spike in interest in consultant work. More and more people have discovered an interest in transforming their special knowledge or passion into a career path advising other business people.

But what does “consultancy” mean? What qualifies a consultant, exactly? The definition is straightforward; a “consultant” is simply “a person who provides expert advice professionally,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

A “contractor” is widely understood as a worker whose main relationship is not with the organization itself. A “temp” is a person whose relationship has a set time-limit with a company. But as for “consultant,” the definition is much more fluid. The nature of the position depends on the knowledge and talent the consultant has to offer, as well as the demand. Hence the independence of the consultant, as well as the increasing desirability of the career path.

Technology has revolutionized outreach for newcomers to the field. Networking is often the greatest challenge, and the internet has multiplied opportunities to sell one’s wares. Whether through social media, websites, or directed email marketing, with the proper expertise and talent, a new consultancy firm can start from the comfort of one’s home.

Various Considerations Stand Out for A Prospective Consultant:

1) Most important, a prospective job- seeker should consider their qualifications. A consultant must have the expertise, credentials, and education to advise their clients properly. Part of remaining qualified is staying up to date on current news and trends within the field.

2) Organization is crucial to maintaining an independent practice. Consultants are generally independent business people. As such, the new business-owner must have the self-discipline to plan their day and manage their time. Keeping records and managing workflow must be done independently and efficiently.

3) Many fields recommend special licensing and certification. For example, companies may expect a specialist in a certain software to receive certification by the manufacturer of that software. On the other hand, such certification is not likely necessary for a more general specification.

4) Networking is important. As a free agent, a new consultant will need to build contacts to bring in work and stay at the top of their field.

5) Consultants must set goals. These goals should stay realistic with the requisite time, resources, and energy needed to build such a business.

Demand abounds for consultants in many fields. In 1997 US businesses spent over $12 billion on consultants, according to the Association of Professional Consultants in Irvine, In 2019, the United States was the world’s largest management consulting market. In that year, management consulting services were valued at approximately 71.2 billion U.S. dollars.  The global management consulting market was valued at 160 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.  According to Statista.com   This is extraordinary growth in this industry.

Anyone can work as a consultant these days. Nothing limits the scope a consultant’s practice other than their talents and passions. The trick is to recognize a marketable niche in one’s background and repertoire of skills. Perhaps during of years of volunteer experience, the new consultant has developed expertise in event-planning or public relations. Perhaps a computer enthusiast can put their years of tinkering to use in the IT field. Whatever the worker’s experience or niche, for an in-demand skill, a drive and passion for excellence is the key to success.   With the pandemic and the new normal, more companies will rely on consultants.

Paying It Forward with Acts of Kindness

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Acts of kindness are therapeutic and will make you feel good and empower you.   Your acts of kindness will also inspire others to be kind.   We are learning that what we do impacts others and we are all in this together.  Kindness has an amazing domino effect that is so positive and will impact our small business.   VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association h is providing a list of kind acts for small businesses to consider.

Some wonderful Acts of Kindness:

  • Donating to Food Banks- donate some of the extra non-perishable foods in your pantry. If you are able make a monetary donation to fund meals.
  • Donating meals to essential workers.
  • Donating meals to students especially with schools being closed, it has been impacting many needy families that receive meals at schools for their children.
  • Deliver meals – organizations that are preparing meals need help to deliver them to needy families.
  • Donating Face Masks to hospitals and organizations
  • Write notes and cards to elderly and shut ins to brighten their days.
  • Donating Care, Food and Goodie Packages: Put together these packages for those in need in your community, elderly shut-ins, first responders, essential workers and military and veterans.
  • Buy a bushel of apples, cases of water or drinks, boxes of packaged snacks, candies, gum, etc. and take them to your local fire or police station.
  • Books and magazines are meant to be passed on and shared. Go through read magazines and books and donate them to homes for elderly with shut-ins to help them pass the time.
  • Make handmade items that come from the heart. These can be knitted handmade items, greeting cards, paracord bracelets and special notes.
  • Purchasing needed items such as sanitizer and cleaning items. These might be nice to send to your remote workers and those in need.
  • Gift cards for those who are having hard times to markets and stores.
  • Providing Free Advice to Impacted Businesses: Many small businesses are affected and hurting from the pandemic.  They need help and often do not know where to find it.  Volunteer to provide advice in areas of your expertise.   You may find that those with expertise you need will help you.   You might join forces with others and form a task force of sorts to offer free advice and consulting.
  • Hosting Virtual Classes: Perhaps the expertise you possess is needed and can can best be presented and utilized in a virtual class.
  • Create COVID Survival Guides for Small Businesses and to share and play forward what you have learned so others can benefit with Real time, actionable. advice and present it in zoom sessions.
  • Teaching and/or tutoring others. With so many children and young people having to learn virtually, someone to help is a blessing.  Many parents are doing triple duty, parenting, teaching, and working so this can be a huge relief.
  • Small Businesses “lending” staff to other small businesses providing a win/win for all.
  • Patronizing local restaurants – ordering meals to go to help them stay in business.
  • Tipping generously at restaurants or to the barista who prepares your latte to go.
  • When you go to market or store, ask neighbors what you can get for them, especially your elderly neighbors and friends.
  • Organize zooms or Facetime to spend time with those friends, family and neighbors who feel isolated and are able to simply click on a link.

These are such challenging times for all of us including small business owners.  Helping others can come back to you and is a wonderful way to feel like you are making a difference and to be positive.  We all need to work together for everyone.

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