On Digital Marketing With Brightpod’s Sahil Parikh

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Digital marketingSome aspects of business are still enigmatic to decision makers. While PerfectForms offers peace of mind through creating a more efficient Workflow Process and better reporting systems, things like effective marketing strategies still confuse people. What’s actually working? How do you know?

In order to sift through a world of almost endless digital marketing tools, PerfectForms caught up with Sahil Parikh, founder of Brightpod, a web-based project management software for marketing teams. Through his online writings and social media conversations, Parikh has given readers a glimpse into his online marketing strategies, and he elaborates with PerfectForms here:

 

Some months back, you wrote a blog about your experiments with site re-targeting for Brightpod. At the time, you were still uncertain as to whether it was the most efficient use of your marketing dollars. Did you ever come to a final decision on whether you would continue to pursue it or not?

We pushed pause for a couple of months and have since pursued it again. Recently, we have been getting a steady stream of conversions with re-targeting. Personally, I like re-targeting (even if people don’t convert immediately) because it lets you remind people about your product since they showed an interest by visiting your site.

Note: Re-targeting is a process where companies single out their most likely customer online (people who are already visiting their websites). Then, once the customer leaves their website, the business will continue to put ads in front of that user no matter where they’re working online.

 

So you use re-targeting as traditional branding? Like a billboard planting a seed where possible conversions can take place at a later date?

Yes, this is exactly why we are using re-targeting. There is always a problem with attribution (you really don’t know if they have seen your ad and converted), but at least we can remind them that Brightpod exists if they need to use project management software for marketing in the future.

 

What marketing methods have seen the greatest ROI for Brightpod?

We drive more than 50% of our traffic via organic search, a.k.a. SEO. Last year, we setup landing pages for keywords pertaining to our business and what we thought people would search for. This investment is paying wonders today. This traffic is niche, well-targeted, and actively searching for what we can offer them.

For example, search for:

-“alternative to trello”

– “marketing project management software”

SEO traffic is evergreen, inexpensive to acquire, and qualified.

Besides SEO, our Twitter conversations are also helpful, as is being reviewed on blogs and participating on Quora. These all have high conversion rates (people who sign up) on our site.

 

Your Twitter handle reads “Kicking $aa$.” That’s clever! How would you describe SaaS technology to someone who isn’t familiar?

First, they should go to Amazon and buy my book: The SaaS Edge. SaaS refers to software that is accessed via a web browser. Here, the customer does not have to worry about setting up, configuring, or even hosting the software. That is done by a SaaS vendor. I often ask people if they use Gmail. If they nod, then I explain to them that they are already using SaaS, since Google maintains Gmail and all they do is use the browser to login and check their mail.

 

On your personal website, you state that your motto is, “Life is short. Work smart. Have fun.” What does working smart mean to you?

Working smart means working efficiently and productively. This way, you save time and can plouw that time into the things you love doing. Working smart also means minimizing distractions, not wasting time, and focusing on getting things done. This translates to using productivity tools, minimizing email notifications, and just being smart about how you spend your time.

 

As a writer, company founder, and start-up builder, how do you find time to “have fun?” What outside hobbies or passions do you pursue on your free time?

I play a round of golf every Saturday morning. On the other days, I either play tennis, go for a swim, or take a brisk walk late in the evening.

 

Does pursuit of those passions make you more proficient in your professional endeavors? How?

Absolutely. I feel energetic after any exercise. This helps me focus and get stuff done quickly. Plus, working, playing sports, and spending time with my family (including my 4-year old daughter) balances my week really well. This is the “have fun” part of my motto.

 

What three online tools have helped you in the business world, and why would you recommend them to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

There are quite a few tools I use for Brightpod, but for general business/productivity, I highly recommend these three tools which I use on a daily basis:

Google Apps: These are hassle-free and let me check my email from anywhere.

Intercom: This allows me to be in touch with my customers from anywhere.

HipChat: This allows me to be in touch with my remote team from anywhere.

Follow Brightpod on Twitter.

Fight back: Don’t let your credit collections control you!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Time is money and very few companies have all the time in the world to chase overdue and unpaid accounts. However, many businesses do just that, engaging in a tiresome marathon of attempted collections without managing to recoup enough capital to cover the cost of all that chasing. Fortunately, there is a better and more productive way to recover money from customers.

 

Virtual Solutions for All Businesses

 

Intuitive invoicing software provides companies with an innovative, virtual solution for managing billing issues. Business process management software can also offer simple solutions to workplace procrastination and task mismanagement. Using BPM software is like taking an exhaustive amount of analytics and metrics formulas, stuffing it all into a data blender and pulling out a beautiful answer to previous invoicing problems.

 

Online form-building software versatile enough to meet all types of A/R requirements is just what any business needs to keep invoicing fast, traceable and, ultimately, collectible. That is precisely why workflow software is necessary- it provides customized invoicing software that can patch all of those issues.

 

Invoicing needs are incorporated into the billing process through sophisticated, automated software. The software is built on a platform that naturally assesses workflow, addresses the inconsistencies, and eventually gives the user a form that is effective for productive billing and collection. The user-friendly system allows billing information to be all-inclusive and available to pertinent parties, including billing and collection representatives, as well as other companies for commercial transparency.

 

The Billing and Collection Process

 

BPM software helps businesses expedite A/R functions by offering form-building programs that can create accurate and effective invoices in a snap. Billing problems can arise from myriad sources, yet most people can follow a similar process to optimize collections. Bills should be sent out quickly, invoice forms must be readable, customers need to be encouraged to contact businesses in the event of payment difficulty, and notices regarding overdue balances should be issued in a timely manner using plain, polite language. However, many companies get lost in commercial translation and the effectiveness of bill collection takes a beating.

 

A billing system drawn from a multitasking workflow management program takes the confusion out of the equation because companies can take the software and create an invoicing system that is

Stop student major changes from being a major pain with online forms

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

There seem to be two constants with college students: They like to change their minds, and they leave it to the last minute to get things done. In the United States, most college students will change their majors at least once during their academic careers, and they love to wait until the end of the semester to file a change of major request. This generates a significant amount of paperwork, clogs administration offices with concerned students and puts a strain on academic counselors. Automation of the major change procedure with online forms eliminates many of the headaches administrators face.

 

Cost Reductions

 

Traditional major-change request forms need to be printed in large numbers and made available for students in the administration office. A small school needs hundreds of copies, while a large college or university has to provide thousands every year. At a time when institutions must save every available penny, it’s impractical to pay for printing. Additionally, colleges save on labor and administration costs when they evolve past the paper-based process because they do not need to have as many employees on hand to take care of accepting and processing the change of major paperwork.

 

Quicker Processing

 

In a college administration office, everything seems to move at a snail’s pace. Students expect to wait in the office just to ask a simple question and more complicated matters might take their entire days. Change-of-major requests are particularly time-consuming, especially at the end of the semester when the system is overloaded. Part of the problem is that these forms require approval by several different people, some in the administration office and at least one in the student’s new major field area, and students have to wait for professors or administrators to pick up the documents, sign them and return them to the office before approval. Online forms can be approved in bulk and sent instantly from one office to the next. Instead of waiting days or weeks for notification about their requests, students can know in a matter of hours or minutes.

 

Ease of Use

 

Online forms are simple and easy-to-use for students. The forms can be completed in a couple of minutes from the comfort of the student’s home or dorm. Dropdown menus ensure students always enter the right college or major codes on their forms, reducing stress on administrators. Colleges can modify forms to meet their own unique needs, so they can better evaluate the requests and aid students in their quests to graduate on time.

 

Online change-of-major forms are beneficial for both students and administrators, saving time, energy and money. With these forms, a major change doesn’t have to be a major pain.

Efficiency Lessons We Learned from the World Cup

Monday, July 21st, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Each team that walks out on the green of the World Cup soccer tournament has to be the best of the best. They’ve practiced for years and come together to make a solid team of skilled players. This year Germany won the World Cup, which is arguably the highest honor a team of soccer players can receive. While soccer might not be the go-to method of learning to create efficiency in the workplace, business team leaders, managers, and team members can learn a thing or two about being an efficient and effective team from the highlights of the World Cup.

Efficiency Needs an On-field Leader      

A team that works well together still needs a great leader. In the second to final match-up of the World Cup, Brazil was forging ahead without their Captain and lost a critical player to a broken back. Although they made it to the final leg of the World Cup, the team suffered a devastating defeat. A leader among any team guides their teammates to achieving their goals, and in our case, efficiency.  One member of the team should lead the charge and keep others to the proposed task. This might mean designating a team member to select a form creation software that meets the needs of the team or teaching time management skills to other team members.

Great Credentials Don’t Always Equal an Efficient Team

A team of hotshots doesn’t always work the way the man in charge wants.  Egos can get in the way.  It is how those team members work together that defines success or failure. This was seen several teams at the World Cup and it’s a common mistake by rookie coaches. The numbers don’t always compute. So, when a business owner or team leader needs another member on their team, choosing strictly by the numbers won’t always yield high efficiency in your office.

 

Create A Plan and Stick To It

A great plan and sticking with it will increase the team’s efficiency, because they’ve done the same motions over and over and can easily strive to do better. This makes a lean, mean office team. The World Cup demonstrated this point clearly with Brazil’s coach Joachim Low. Low set his team up for success with an aggressive fighting plan that worked for the first couple of rounds of the game. As the event went on, he let his plan slide and Brazil came in second in a crushing defeat.

Learn From Your Mistakes 

Germany won the game, but 31 other teams are heading home in defeat. It wasn’t necessarily lack of skills that are sending them home with their tails between their legs. They made mistakes and they can learn from them. Your team can, too. Evaluate your performance often. Analyze the success and failure of the team. Most of all, learn from them. Becoming a more efficient team means taking past lessons to heart and using them towards a brighter future.

An efficient and effective office starts by creating a great team of skilled employees. Then, managers and business owners should hone their skills and that of their employees. Only then, with the right mix of people, leaders and organization, can that team reach the pinnacle of their office success.

What lessons have you learned from past mistakes that have helped to increase efficiency?

Office Organization Tips Perfect for Summer

Friday, July 18th, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Be prepared this summer to keep your office in, tip-top shape by planning ahead for those going on summer vacations.  This will help temporary employees and coworkers that are vacationing do what they need to do in the absence of the permanent team member. In just a few hours’ time, you can teach team members tips or tricks that will keep the office running swiftly and smoothly during their absence.  In addition, organizing the office eliminates the need for employees to wait for absent team members to return. This will help increase your company’s productivity, and will decrease the amount of wasted time. Achieving that smoothness boosts office productivity during the summer.

Create a Log Book for Staff of Customer Issues

One of the most prevalent customer pet peeves is having to tell their story and ask their questions multiple times. A log book for these occasions could make the customer feel important when they return. This log could be an electronic form on the computer for easy reporting and legibility.

Create a FAQs Sheet That Details the Most Common Visitors Questions

Are there particular questions your clients or customers tend to ask the most? A FAQ question sheet should include them in layman’s terms for the temporary team member. These questions might include office hours, where to find the right forms, what is needed for service, i.e., driver’s license and whatever else commonly gets asked. The permanent team member might even include questions asked by other team members to ensure the smoothest transition. After all, an office should be able to serve the customers, clients and coworkers of other departments at peak efficiency at all times.

Develop a Chart/Roadmap for Temps to Find Files and Supplies

Although temps often get a tour of the office, finding the things they need during the course of the week or month can be challenging. Creating a chart and/or roadmap will help them transition into their temporary position. Plus, it comes in handy for the arrival of new team members. Permanent team members benefit from these as well if they need a refresher.  If the person out on vacation was the one everyone goes to for answers, this tool will help them find the things they need.

Make Sure Your Office Has PerfectForms 

Every office needs forms. Creating online forms with PerfectForms form software makes this process simple. They let the maintenance man know what items need repair. They pass information to other team members in concise format. The right forms will ensure efficiency among a temporary team.

A well-organized office will make all of those summer vacations begin and end on a good note. Plus, it doesn’t leave the employee with a pile of messy work on their return. What tips do you implement each summer to help promote a well-organized office?

What Makes a Company Great?

Friday, June 27th, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Lots of companies are considered great examples of fantastically built businesses. What makes them great? That depends on what criteria are used to define a company’s prominence.  Think of it this way, great companies come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t even have to be global companies or large businesses. They might be small or large, but they all have several things in common that makes a good company get awarded the status of ‘great’.

Define their Company Culture 

Company culture is the organization’s values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs, and habits all working together to project an image that resonates with their employees and their customers. A great business has a cohesive company culture that clearly supports their business’s image. For example, a company with visible family values might close their offices on holidays and pay their employees for the day.

Possess Strong Foundation

The most successful companies have something that other businesses in their field do not possess as assets. For example, Burlington Northern has miles and miles of track they own. No one wants to build more railroad tracks, so Burlington Northern has a leg up on its competition. UPS has built a huge network. Because of the network, it has a monopoly on shipping, limiting the success of every other budding logistics company.

Hire Great Employees

The vision of a company and its properties are nothing without the workers. A great company makes an effort to hire only the best employees, retains them with excellent pay and invests in their training. All of these factors enable an employee to go the distance in their field. And they will likely stay and grow with the company, because they feel valued.

Choose Quality not Cost 

Investing the company smartly is the purpose of upgrading equipment and developing new product lines. Choosing quality rather than the cheapest equipment will pay off with longer use of the equipment. While these concepts start with the company’s machinery, equipment and office supplies, it also extends to their products. The company, which offers great quality products will outlast the cheaply made ones. Customers will flock to the quality company after word gets out about the short life span of the product

Use Fantastic Workflow Automation Software

Your employees are valuable assets. Not giving them the tools they need to perform their jobs in the most efficient matter is the same as giving someone a trowel to dig a moat. PerfectForms offers one of the best workflow automation solutions available on the market. With PerfectForms, workers can build web forms, surveys or applications without any knowledge of coding.  The forms, surveys and applications built by the workflow automation tool allows employees in education, human resources, financial investment firms and other industries to track, record and improve their workflow for peak efficiency. Great companies streamline their workflow, so they can reduce their expenses and use their employees wisely.

Great companies have a lot in common and it’s not just making ruthless decisions. A great company looks to the future by not only putting aside a nest egg for the downturn, but by looking for the best employees, focusing on buying quality (rather than cheap) materials, using a great workflow automation software, and establishing an amazing company culture. Which companies do you believe deserve a gold star and the status of great?

 

FAQs About PerfectForms

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Everybody has to fill out forms for their driver’s license, a new copy of their birth certificate, and to get married. Forms are everywhere. A great business uses customized forms to track logistics, inventory, and about a hundred other things. That’s where PerfectForms can help your business, school, or organization to customize their forms. Custom forms help streamline the processes within that company.  Our name, PerfectForms, sums up the primary use of the software, yet we often get questions about what we do. Below are just a few of the most common questions about our great software.

What Is PerfectForms?

PerfectForms is a software application that makes custom forms and applications for businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations with the need to process large qualities of data quickly and successfully.

How Much Technical Knowledge Is Required?

With PerfectForms software, there is no need to know how to wrangle any code. Users of PerfectForms don’t need to read or write CSS or HTML. That makes the software completely user-friendly. As long as the user has had some experience with using a mouse and can spare two hours to learn the software program, they will quickly become experts and able to create perfect forms for a variety of applications.

How Can PerfectForms Help My Company?

PerfectForms saves time. To create a digital form or application that can collect digitized data, many companies require an IT person who knows coding. Depending on the form, it could take weeks to code the form by hand. With PerfectForms, the same form takes 90 percent less time than coding it by hand.

What Can It Do?

PerfectForms can make any type of form or application. Current users have created forms and applications for inventory management, IT support requests, repair requests, asset tracking, absence requests, performance reviews, benefit management, time tracking, classroom safety lists, school thief reports, and customer service feedback forms. These forms can be sent to tablets, used online or offline, and embedded into websites for easy access and availability.

What Kinds of Companies Benefit the Most From Using PerfectForms?

All companies can benefit from the use of PerfectForms. Those in the education and financial industry need the ability to adapt their forms and track individual process regularly. Companies in these industries tend to have a higher need for PerfectForms. Human resource departments also regularly employ PerfectForms to create useful, functional, and customized forms for their department. That said, our tool can help streamline workflow processes of companies in any industry.

Which Is Better On Demand or On Premise?

There’s no single answer to that question. It depends on the company. On Demand is based on our servers. Thus, it takes up no space on the company’s computerized resources. Yet, it might be more practical for some companies to have it based on their servers. Both create perfect forms and applications time after time.

PerfectForms help businesses transform their day to day operations. It turns the complicated process of finding the right form, filling it out, sending to the right person, and having them add it to the database into a two-step process instead. A streamlined workflow sets great businesses apart from just good businesses. Have you tried PerfectForms yet?

Is Company Culture Part of Your Business Model?

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

What exactly is a company’s culture? In order to understand the relationship between company culture and a corporate business model, it is necessary to examine the component parts and break each down completely. The quick answer to the question of whether company culture is part of your business model is yes. But it is an indirect relationship that relies more on synergy than policy. It is critically important that a business owner understand how the parts of their business model affect the way their company is run.

What Is Company Culture?

Your company’s culture is the set of “unwritten rules” that develop as a result of the way you do business. For example, your company may have a mandate which makes it against company policy to re-negotiate signed contracts just to set two vendors against each other to get a lower price. In your company culture, it is important to honor agreements and act with integrity.

Your company culture also affects how employees interact with each other. If your company culture has a zero-tolerance for harassment of any kind, then employees should feel comfortable reporting incidents of harassment to management. In this way, company culture helps to foster a work environment based on trust and cooperation.

What Is A Business Model?

A business model is, in its simplest terms, the process by which a company generates revenue. Within that process are policies dictating how the company interacts with vendors, how the company treats customers, and how the company utilizes employees. The business model includes important company mantras such as the mission statement and the vision for the future.

How Does The Business Model Affect Company Culture?

The relationship between the business model and company culture can best be compared to the relationship between a map and a road trip. The map shows you where to go, but the road trip dictates how you get there. The business model outlines to the company the various goals of the company and the policies which the company will use to conduct business. The company culture develops as a result of the way the business model is written and interpreted by management.

Is Company Culture A Part Of Your Business Model?

At this point we can give the long answer to the question that we have been exploring. Without a business model, there can be no company culture. The business model directs the company on what it is supposed to do and the culture arises around the actions taken to execute that business model.

The important thing to remember is that the company culture and business model are extremely dynamic. When a manager indicates that something is “not the way we do things around here,” that manager is referring to the culture. But the genesis of that part of the culture can be found in the business model. When you change the company business model, you change the culture. The company culture then becomes a result of the business model, which would make it a part of the way the company does business.

A company is a very fluid organization that can change on a moment’s notice. Once a company culture is in place, it is handed down from one employee to the next. Any kind of action taken that is counter to what the culture stands for will normally result in discipline. Since that culture is firmly established by the mandates in the company business model, then it makes sense to conclude that the culture and the company business model are forever tied together.

 

A Day in the Life of a Project Manager

Monday, June 16th, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

A project manager is the person who handles every aspect of a business project, and sometimes multiple projects at once. As a project manager, you can expect to have your hands in several different areas of business at once, and you must get used to wearing many different hats.

Project management is a constant cycle. At the end of each day, your project is still going to be in motion and you want to make sure you are prepared to begin the next day on the right foot. Your job as a project manager is to stay on top of everything, and you will be most effective if you break your daily schedule into manageable tasks, just like you do with your projects.

Managing Time

8 A.M. – Check emails and your project management calendar. While project deadlines will constantly be under scrutiny, time management in general is top priority. Most project managers use a calendar and task management system to manage daily tasks along with the full project timeline. You will also need to write reports for your superiors stating your progress, and light a fire under team members if a deadline is approaching.

Managing People

10 A.M. – Conference calls and meetings. Your team members are essentially an orchestra you are conducting, and they are looking at you to provide guidance and keep every aspect of the project running smoothly and on track. During the many meetings and calls that you will often be hosting, you will answer questions, give guidance to employees, manage expectations, and make sure that all team members are moving in the right direction.

12 P.M. – Lunch. Congratulations! You get a break from your busy day!

Managing Money

1:30 P.M – Update the project budget. Controlling the finances of any size project is vitally important, and as the project manager you will spend a good part of the day reconciling your budget to make sure that you are not going to run out of money. More often than not, your job is going to depend on your project staying at or under budget.

Managing Communication

3 P.M. – Reply to emails and track notes in your task management system.  As the project manager, all questions and communications regarding the project will likely be at least funneled through you, if not directed at you. Keeping everyone up-to-date on schedules and changes will ensure a well-oiled machine.

Managing Expectations

4 P.M. – Create reports. As a project manager, reports will be either your best friend or your biggest headache, depending on how effective your management efforts have been. Employers and team members will require regular updates to show where each task currently falls in the project timeline, where finances have come in under or over budget, and what changes might need to be made to increase efficiency or complete the project on time.

Managing Tasks

5:30 P.M. – Go over the day’s completed tasks and review/update tasks for the next day. While each project is different, and some will naturally go more smoothly than others, constant supervision and review of to-do lists helps keep everything else under budget and on schedule.

As the project manager, it is up to you to keep constant watch over every detail of the project, both daily and throughout the life of the project.

10 Ways to Obtain Six Sigma Certification

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Six Sigma certification is important for many reasons. For business process automation, it can absolutely change how you do business by learning a systematic approach to waste management reduction. There are many benefits of individual certification, but as a corporation or even a small business, there are methods to become Six Sigma Certified.

This system is designed to efficiently help you learn what areas of production need re-evaluation based upon costs, and reduce those costs for the cost efficient business model. Implementing this process as a business is not as difficult as it seems. GE and Motorola are the pioneers of Six Sigma certification and both have saved billions in production losses by becoming businesses that are certified in Six Sigma. Here are ten ways to implement this certification for your business.

10. Require your employees to train for Six Sigma

Require employee training in Six Sigma and start out with DMAIC procedures so your business can begin to operate in these skill sets.

9. Begin a Mentoring program

After requiring training begin a mentoring program so that the Black Belt Masters can become teams and training is within the company working on real time projects as a team to implement Six Sigma.

8.  Leadership Training

Begin at the highest level of your corporation starting with your own individual training and require training at the leadership level using these business process management tools.

7. Hands on Implementation

Use your leadership skills to improve business by hands on implementation. Go into training sessions and spend time asking employees what they are learning during training.

6. Work Floor Visitation

Surprise visits to the work floor of your company can improve implementation in a faster way as you are quality checking your employees as well as the training techniques they’ve implemented by using a hands on approach.

5. Require summary reports from Black Belt Team Masters

Have your Black Belt Team Leaders monitor the progress of the implementation with weekly summary reports so you can see how the teams are implementing Six Sigma effectively.

4. Require Six Sigma in your applications as a prerequisite

When you bring in new employees, require that they have Six Sigma training before they begin to work for your company. This will bring in even more masters to help mentor your employees.

3. Offer incentives for work floor recognition

As you are seeing Six Sigma implemented you will see the results of training quite quickly in the reduction of cost and waste in your employees. If you reward those with significant improvement in quality control and waste reduction, you will see employees who work harder to accomplish the goal of total implementation.

2.  Begin specific projects that show the effectiveness of Six Sigma

When you begin new projects, align them with your business goals using the Six Sigma process management tools.

1.   Begin at the Top 

Start at the highest level for the most effective implementation. Hold a conference for your executives so they can begin the process of implementation from the top down. It is the most efficient way to implement Six Sigma as a business from a leadership standpoint.

Six Sigma is a set of business process automation tools, which can effectively help management and employees to discover processes that create over-production, reduce inventory defects, and the reduction of wait times for production. This training can help with the organization of infrastructure selecting projects in the order of priority to achieve the best cost effective results.

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