Thursday, 26 February 2015

Microsoft Surface Pro 3!

Microsoft is really pushing the “laptop replacement” concept with the new Surface Pro 3. The device should appeal to business users preferring to remain in a Windows environment while on their tablet, rather than using Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. Of course, as we shall see, the Surface Pro 3 is much more than just a tablet. 

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The first quality to note about the Surface Pro 3 is that it is both thinner and lighter than the previous two editions. Microsoft have also increased the display to 12 inches, and improved the screen resolution to 2160 x 1440. Built into the thin body you'll find a full-size USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader and a Mini DisplayPort. The device features two 5-megapixel cameras (one for the front and one on the back) as well as stereo speakers with Dolby sound. Other hardware specs include SSD storage (from 64GB to 512GB), 802.11ac Wi-Fi and TPM 2.0 for enterprise security.

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Microsoft are keen to develop the ‘laptop’ side of the product, with the clip-on keyboard (known as the Surface Pro Type) also receiving an upgrade. The Type Cover acts as a screen protector, full keyboard and touchpad interface. The new Type Cover is larger than its predecessors; although the older versions will still work, they won't cover the entire screen when the flap is closed. It feels like the best add-on tablet keyboard you can buy, but still falls short of a decent laptop keyboard. Additionally, it is sold separately for £110, despite the fact that anyone buying a Surface Pro will want this as part of their package.

The Surface Pro 3 starts at £639 for the Intel Core i3/64GB SSD model. Buyers can also upgrade to either a Core i5 or Core i7 and select a larger SSD (up to 512GB).

While the new Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft's best mobile device to date, it's more successful as a tablet than as a replacement for your laptop. In short, it won’t replace your laptop but it is a great alternative to the iPad and will work very well indeed for business users.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

How to improve employee productivity using Virtual Offices?

What is a Virtual Office Space?

Many businesses consider the office environment to be the conventional way of functioning. With the increasing costs of office space, more and more businesses are looking out for other ways of working to cut down office space costs and the concept of remote/flexible working is getting popular. This can be facilitated through technology but requires more progressive management strategies. Virtual offices let their staffs work remotely from their home or any other location they choose with internet connection.

Why Choose Virtual Office?

The important reason for choosing a virtual office is the costs involved in the office space. Virtual offices are cheaper than renting a space in the heart of the city. This is often the driving factor for start-ups and SMEs opting for virtual space. This option is considered a lifestyle choice for the modern organisations. This works well with employees especially when they relocate or have children. It is also a good idea to set up virtual work office initially, and then changing to a physical space when profits are better. Employees can also benefit from virtual working to reduce travel costs.

Some businesses may be geographically spread across many countries. In such cases, a permanent office space does not make sense and a virtual office setup is a perfect solution.

Employee Satisfaction and Work Productivity


Every business strives to make its employees happy.  Allowing employees to work virtually means they get to spend more time with their family. This flexibility makes an employee happier and more productive. They no longer arrive at work after a stressful, train or bus journey. Instead they can simply work while feeling relaxed and happy. A virtual working style is ideal for people who wish to work as consultants or in desk-based roles, or for people who do not wish to relocate. This is a win-win situation for employers and employees. A physical office may be a geographical constraint for a prospective employee but when allowed to work virtually, this allows the business to hire better talent without having to force them to relocate.

Working virtually is also an advantage for people with disabilities who can work from home with all necessary help and support.

Ultimately IT is key to running a virtual office effectively. Employees need good broadband connections, secure computers provided by their employer and a proper desk, and chair. The culture of the firm is also important - a strong work ethic and adoption of practices such as video conferencing is necessary to have a productive virtual office.

Share you thoughts/experience as comments below. If you need any help, feel free to contact us.

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Saturday, 7 February 2015

How to Build Long-Term Business Relationships? 6 Important Tips!

Building up healthy business relationships will help you to meet more people with new, innovative ideas, create a reputation for your business and ultimately boost your sales. Whatever kind of business you are in, developing better business relationships with customers, suppliers, vendors, clients, contacts and more takes time.

Here are 6 useful tips for building better relationships.

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1. List out Objectives:

Plan your objective on what you want to achieve from a particular business relationship. Do you want to meet up with a likely client, vendor, supplier, referral or candidate? Setting objectives will help you to better determine which relationships are worthwhile spending time and resources in.
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2. Be Ready to Present yourself:

Be broad-minded and have a professional approach. Though it is common, just a reiteration: have your business cards handy. Be prepared to briefly explain what your business is about using a short “elevator pitch” to attract support for your product or project. Follow business meetings ethics.

3. Be Part of Local Business Associations:

Join relevant organisations/associations. There might a handful, if not plenty, of Organisations, Associations and Chambers available to help/network businesses around. Join hands with local charities which can help you to start making contacts. Start your Networking by attending meetings. Share your Business Card & don't forget to get their cards as well. Best way to follow up is through LinkedIn or other professional networking platforms.

4. Make use of the Technology

As said above, use the technology to get in touch and extend your relationship online and long-term. CRM systems, social media and other technological methods will help you in keeping track of and in touch with your business contacts. Share your business information with them directly from time to time to their email address or through their social media profiles.
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5. Connect Offline

Though you build an online relationship, it is as important to connect with them personally. That way you can build proper business relationships. For this and all the methods, you need to put in some time and effort in meeting face to face. Schedule casual meetings like a dinner or an official one at their premises. 

6. Win-Win Situation

It is important to have mutual benefits when it comes to business relationships, especially if it has to last long. Give as much or more than what you get from the relationship. Try to extend your helping hands whenever possible that will create a good will.

Try these methods and set a target for yourself, say 10-15 new contacts every month on top of getting in touch with existing contacts, and try to achieve it. 

Let us know how it worked! If you need any help, feel free to contact us.

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

5 Tips to make your Negotiation Skills Better!

In our day-to-day lives, we often face situations where we should negotiate with other people for various reasons. It might be a personal or business, internal like salary or external like selling negotiation, or a discussion to find an answer to a question. When we negotiate, we hope and thrive to result the negotiation in a positive outcome especially working for us.

Here are 5 important tips to help yourself improve your negotiation skills.


Listening is very important in any communication, be it business or personal. Especially if it relevant to business, it is very important that you listen to the other party. Comprehend the information or message they are trying to convey. More importantly don't interrupt unless you find it extremely necessary. If you listen, they might just answer almost all of your questions for you.


Seek Answers by Asking Questions:

Being smart,  you need to know how and when to ask questions and they need to be relevant to the topic of the discussion. Understand all the required background details related to the discussion, beforehand if possible. Infer what the party, you are talking to, has to say and i you have any doubts, verify them with the party so that there are no misunderstandings.

Asking questions is the one of the most straightforward way of encouraging active participation.

Do Some Research

As mentioned above, before the scheduled time of negotiation, get relevant and required information that you can present in order to validate your negotiations. Numbers speaks better than words. Present the required statistics for your negotiation. For business negotiations, research on all the details about the company, learn about the factors surrounding their offer and, if possible, affirm the information you have got relating to their business proposal.


Be Patient

Don’t think that after the first meeting everything will be confirmed and you will reach a final decision. If you or the other person are still undetermined, then you have to schedule another meeting so that both of you can discuss over the considered information from the first meeting. By now, you will have more information and idea about how it will go. Being patient is the key here.


Understand the Other Party

Don't be narrow-minded. Learn to understand the situation from the other party’s perspective. You should also prepare to walk away if you think a successful negotiation is not possible. Stop the deal if necessary so that the other party can see that you have a strong will and are serious about the negotiation. This can often put you in a stronger position as the other side will have to ask you to resume negotiations if they wish to carry on working towards an agreement.

Good communication skills, open-mindedness and preparation are some of the most important factors in securing a positive outcome from a negotiation.

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