All startups begin with an idea. With some luck and a lot of skill, they can benefit a lot of people; not just the people running the business but also all the people that it serves. Every startup wants to grow into a large business, but growth comes with a lot of problems. To expand your business successfully, you would need to think about a lot of factors, such as your approach to sales management, details about your product, or even your employees. This is where CRM software comes in.
How CRM Can Aid Your Growth
Growth always means change, and change cannot happen without a catalyst setting things into motion. However, you cannot start things and make sure that they end well if you do not have the right information and the right way of looking at this information. CRM can show you your data, including sales reports and customer information, in a way that is easy to understand. Armed with all this information, you can now confidently make the most effective actions to move your business forward; at its core, this is how CRM can aid the growth of your company. However, CRM can facilitate your growth in many other ways, like the following:
1. Better Decision Making
CRM lifts the veil from the details connecting you and your customers. With CRM software, you can handle prospects using sales automation systems in Singapore and keep track of their spending habits, which leads to better decision making on what marketing method to use, what products to release and what steps to take next. CRM gives you access to crucial, detailed and comprehensive data, like sales reports and inventory, all of which can aid your business’ growth. Additionally, not having to compile all this data yourself frees you up from the minute details of your business, giving you more time to focus on big-picture improvements.
2. Real-Time Data
Data is the driving force behind effective sales management. Unsurprisingly, real-time data can do wonders for increasing your sales; some statistics show that real-time data produces up to 20% more sales opportunities. Especially for B2B businesses, real-time data can aid your client in knowing how your product can meet their needs. Even B2C businesses can use real-time data to show their customers how their products are better than others in the market, aided by real-time numbers and statistics.
You can even access your data much faster with a cloud CRM. As a CRM with cloud capabilities, cloud CRM lets you access your data from wherever you are, whether in Singapore or abroad. This is especially important for emergency issues, as going to the office to access your data can cost valuable time and money.
3. Personalized Content
One of the best marketing strategies that have appeared in modern-day marketing is personalized content, as it saves time for both businesses and consumers. This means that the content that you’re showing your consumers is relevant to them, raising the probability of engagement and future sales. CRM software can track the spending habits of a consumer, and target your market while showing them content that is filtered to their needs.
Why You Should Use CRM Now
CRM software can be daunting towards startups, due to the high cost that it requires, in terms of money and effort. However, using a CRM early on in the game can save you a lot of time and effort, and the benefits far outweigh the cost.
Many startups in Singapore make do with pen and paper CRM systems, or by creating their own spreadsheets. While this may work for some startups, manually tracking data can only do so much. Despite this, some startups still stick to a traditional CRM system because investing in software doesn’t seem like a sound investment to them. However, with all the time and effort it takes to keep track of and maintain these types of systems, it’s not hard to understand why so many businesses are making the switch. With CRM software, you can do away with inaccurate and erroneous data, long hours of poring over so much information, and a lot of frustration over finding the information you need. Rather, you can easily see your information at a glance from wherever and however you want.
The earlier your team understands and gets comfortable with using your CRM system, the better. This means that they are given the opportunity to learn about the software earlier, which means that they have more experience in using the software. Familiarity leads to confidence, which can mean faster results and more accurate data. It can also foster a culture in your company, wherein your CRM is regarded as an important and integral tool so that all individuals feel encouraged to use it.
3. High Cost of Migration
The high cost of powerful CRM software can be daunting for startups. However, starting off with a cheaper and more basic CRM software and eventually switching to something more complex and powerful can be even more expensive. While the thought of starting with something basic can make you feel like you’re saving up on money, you’ll also need to factor in your expenses not just in money but also in terms of mental energy, as well as time.
For one thing, you will have to migrate all your data to your entirely new system, all while making sure that your data is accurate and without redundancy. You will also have to retrain all your employees with the new system, a task that is harder than the first time, as they will have to unlearn habits formed with the previous system. Above all, chances are a switch in systems will mean interference with your business. There are a lot of companies that temporarily pause operations to transfer all data to their new system, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on an entire day’s worth of sales due to a system transfer.
Although the biometric access control system has been used in various commercial and industrial offices, government agencies, and educational institutions is Singapore, it is still considered a new technology to a lot of people. If you’re considering installing a biometric door access system in your office, take note of the following when looking for a security systems provider.
1. Methods of Identification
The type of reader you will use for your biometric door access will depend on the kind of reader you want. This can be determined by the level of security you want to set up in specific areas of the office. For example, you can still use other access control systems such as the card access door and pin access door system for other areas in the office, while the biometric door access is only utilized in heavy-traffic areas for monitoring of the people coming in or going out of the area.
So far, there are a few popular types of secure office door entry lock in Singapore to choose from, such as the biometric thumbprint or fingerprint, voice identification, and facial biometric or identification. Talk to you door access control provider about which types will best meet your needs and what other systems you wish to integrate with the biometric door access system.
2. Durability of the Hardware
Make sure that you set up a scheduled maintenance of your door access systems to ensure that they are running smoothly. There should be warranty terms for the hardware and replacement of parts from your door access system provider in Singapore, because it will be difficult to look for readers and models in case they fail.
However, most of the items used in the biometric door access system were designed to withstand abuse because they are dustproof, waterproof, and scratchproof. After all, the biometric door access will be part of your facility’s security system that will be integrated with the intercom system, other security systems, and human resource systems.
3. Complete Required Software and Hardware
Even if you opt for a customized package for the biometric door access system setup, your provider in Singapore should be able to supply all the needed hardware and software. These should include intercom, wireless technology, multimedia, fingerprint or voice identification, applications to make them function and even cctv ip camera from Singapore to ensure optimum office security 24/7. Other features are also available depending on the number of doors and locks your facility needs. Talk to your door access provider in Singapore about the differences between standalone and computer-based access control and the wireless and hard-wired access control systems.
You can use a combination of these to enhance your security depending on the number of biometric door access locations and the size of the facility. A standalone access control system has locks on each door, while the networked type has a centralized control. The former is ideal for few restricted areas, while the latter is perfect for large buildings. The hard-wired access control is the most secure type, but it can be difficult to install. Wireless access control systems on the other hand can be integrated easily into existing systems, although they require very complicated network connections.
Many years back, there was a major difference between copiers and printers. Today, most office printers here in Singapore are multifunctional. A single machine can copy, scan, print, download, fax and even email documents. Other units also offer more advanced features that improves productivity, such as image editing, wireless connectivity, WiFi ready and built-in security features like biometric authentication.
With so much variety of printers and copiers found in the market, shopping for the right printer in Singapore can become daunting. These tips will help you purchase a copier machine by providing you details about the types of copier commonly available and giving you a glimpse of the key features.
Types of Printers
One of the first things you should do is to decide whether to have a back-and-white or colour printer. Once you have decided, start comparing specifications of different copiers, while keeping in mind your needs, budget and office space.
Type of Office
Copiers and printers meant for small offices or home offices are usually in desktop sizes to minimize space consumption. You can find a laser printer for a home office for as low as S$60, but we recommend getting a more reliable one for around S$300. Low-quality ones are meant only for occasional printing and is less likely able to meet your small office’s printing needs.
Office printers are usually table-top size or are freestanding types and are intended for multi-person usage. An office printer like this has the ability to connect to a network and include special features for more efficient scanning, printing, photocopying and faxing documents, as well as an option to print on various paper sizes. Prices of a good office printer from Singapore usually start at S$600 and can go up as high as S$5000.
For a business that performs high-volume printing on a daily basis and requires advanced-level graphic quality, a production printer or a graphic art printer will best suit your operational needs. Production printers vary in prices depending on the specifications, but an entry level graphic art printer in Singapore usually starts at S$6000 and may go above S$30,000 for higher level models.
Printing Volume and Speed
Printing speed is one of the important specs to check out before buying a laser printer. Look for ppm (pages per minute) info in the spec sheet. We recommend to buy printer with a minimum of 50 ppm for small companies.
Almost all printers today have built in scanners, but not all have duplex scanning feature or automatic feeder. Automatic feeding on a copier is important if you regularly scan large volumes of documents. Similarly, duplex scanning is important for back-to-back scanning of documents. You may also want to consider the optical resolution of the scanner if you think you will be scanning word documents and images.
This is often listed on the spec sheet as ‘cassette’ or ‘tray.’ Make sure to check this feature out to know whether the sizes of paper that the machine can support meet your needs.
It is advisable to keep in mind how much the ink will cost you over time. Before you buy printer, know first how many sheets you can print out of every cartridge and how much every replacement would cost you. Also, find out if it is possible to use ink refills purchased from a third-party provider.
Usually, a digital copier has some sort of memory in it, allowing it to retain some scans and documents. A copier’s internal memory is just similar to any computer’s hard drive. Depending on how heavy-duty a copier machine is, the built-in memory can range from 256MB to 1.5GB.
Servicing and Maintenance
Typically, service agreements for copier machines include, drums, toner and maintenance and repair of all parts. This set up ensures to free up employees and office staff from tackling printer’s toner level and maintaining printer’s functionality in the long run. Cleaning blades, rollers and other parts of the copier machine that wear out easily are usually covered.
Common Mistakes When Buying a Printer-Copier
1. Avoiding colour printer because it’s expensive
Many companies and businesses in Singapore avoid buying a copier simply because it is a lot expensive than monochrome machines. When you try to check the price of a monochrome copier and the coloured one side-by-side, the black-and-white one is cheaper. But are you outsourcing colour printer? How often do you need to print coloured documents? If your answer to the first question is yes and you need coloured printing every day, purchasing a colour printer will save you significant amount of money in the long run.
2. Under- or over-buying
Under- or over-buying is a common issue encountered when buying office equipment. How do you ensure you bought a copier machine that’s just right for your business? Do you really need a laser printer or will a carbon printer do? Ask yourself these two questions while you’re on the hunt: “Is it fast enough?” and “Does it have all the functions I need?” If yes, then most certainly it will suit you.
3. Buying a pre-owned unit
For a cheaper option, many establishments buy pre-owned printer. Sure, it can save you money upfront, but think about how it will save you more in the future. The equipment is already used (and probably abused) and may only last you a few years, requiring you to repair or replace with a new one sooner than expected. It can also be hard to find supplies and parts for older printer models. Your best bet for better savings, purchase a brand new one with the features you need.
Shopping for copiers and printers is somewhat like shopping for a new car. Know every car’s key features and find out whether it caters to all your needs.
International freight is usually broken down into five steps regardless of the place of origin or the destination of the cargo. Sometimes, depending on the additional requirements in the place of destination such as Singapore, the process is extended.
Therefore, business experts recommend that entrepreneurs who import and/or export goods on a regular basis should hire a freight forwarding services company instead of relying on an individual freight broker to negotiate with a logistics company. Remember that in most cases, the freight forwarder is a separate party from the party responsible for the actual transportation of goods, a job usually performed by a logistics services company or a shipping company.
Freight forwarding is a complicated and expensive process, but as an entrepreneur, you need to understand how it works and why you need a third-party freight forwarding at Singapore to act as liaison to the various parties involved in the inspection, haulage, storage, and clearances.
1. Export Haulage
The first step is to transport the goods from the company warehouse to another warehouse in Singapore (sometimes called local freight) usually assigned by the freight forwarding services company. In some cases, the storage warehouse is also owned by the freight forwarder instead of leased from another company. Depending on your arrangement with the freight forwarder, either you or the consignee is responsible for the other processes.
2. Inspection and Documentation
Although the freight forwarder will assist the entrepreneur throughout most of the process, you will also have to provide accurate information during the receipt and inspection of the goods. You should supply the following: description of the items in the containers (be as precise as possible); indication of any hazardous items; weight in both kilograms and pounds; country of origin and port entry details; and related information required by the freight forwarder.
3. Completion and Submission of Documents
The freight forwarding company must then provide all the documents to the customs before the goods are given approval to exit the country of origin. Although the type of documents might vary in some countries, most international freight will need documents such as the following:
• The Bill of Lading, which is a form signed by the entrepreneur who owns the products and the shipping company
• A certificate indicating the origin of the goods; an inspection certificate that indicates the goods have been approved by the customs or the inspector
• An export license that will include details of how many and how much goods can be exported by the concerned party
• An invoice from the seller to the buyer, which will be used to determine the value of the products; and
• A packing list that details all the items and the relevant information such as weigh, measurement and packaging.
4. Handling and Import Haulage
Once you have completed the documents needed to export the goods, the freight forwarder will be handling the rest of the process for you. A reliable freight forwarding services company in Singapore usually has a contract with one shipping company or logistics company that will provide the transportation of the goods. These goods are usually placed in containers and transported through land freight, sea freight, and air freight.
If it’s intended for export, the shipping company might use a combination of all types of transportation to get the goods to the consignee (receiver of the goods) in the cheapest and fastest way possible. The fees charged by the air freight, sea freight, or land freight companies are charged directly to the freight forwarder in Singapore. To avoid confusion and surprise fees, you should always ask for a detailed breakdown of the costs and surcharges of freight forwarding.
Once the cargo has arrived at its destination, it will undergo another process of customs inspection and clearance. To avoid problems with the requirements, don’t hesitate to ask www.freightmaster.sg from Singapore for details about the documents, and to make sure that the freight broker assigned to you is licensed. As for the fees required for the destination handling, the shipping company or the consignee might pay for the costs depending on your arrangement.
5. Import Haulage
Once the destination handling is cleared and completed, that is the only time the cargo can be dispatched from the warehouse. Like the export haulage process, the freight forwarder must make sure the cargo will reach the consignee on schedule and in good condition. The process can involve land freight or other modes of transportation, depending on the location of the consignee.
However, the consignee can also handle the haulage himself/herself without the help of the freight forwarder, but he/she will still have to negotiate with a logistics company for the transportation of goods. If you choose to sign with a freight forwarder from the export haulage to the import haulage, it will save you time and effort when negotiating with other logistics services. However, if the freight forwarder services do not include import haulage, the company should still make recommendations for trucking companies that can help.
Although you can easily break down the process into the following, export haulage, origin handling, land freight/sea or ocean freight/air freight, destination handling, and import haulage; freight forwarding is so much more complicated than that. You, the shipper, should work with the consignee, the freight forwarder or the freight broker, and the shipping line to complete the process. However, freight forwarding can be simplified with the help of experts from a freight forwarder company in Singapore.
Having a registered mark for your goods and services allows you exclusive rights to use and profit from this brand indefinitely. Not only will trademark registration bring more revenue for your business, but this also puts more value on the brand that can transcend the combined physical assets of your company.
What Trademark Registration Can Do
Trademark registration protects your intellectual property from being stolen and used without your knowledge and consent under law. This allows you to enjoy all the benefits that come with the right to exclusive use of your brand name and logo.
Much like real, physical property, trademarks can be bought, sold, borrowed, and even rented for a certain amount of time. The key thing to note here is that you can gain all these profits without having to worry about losing your brand.
Here are a few other advantages that will justify you to register trademark in Singapore:
• Brand uniqueness (your goods and services are more distinguished);
• Right to exclusive use; and
• Certified proof of ownership.
These advantages, and more, can be accessed fully and exclusively when you apply for trademark registration, which is now easier to apply for in Singapore. But how do you come up with a registered mark? What is a brand? And how do you market it to your audience?
The Brand and the Logo
With countless of products and services that are becoming increasingly available to the market, it becomes harder to distinguish yourself from others despite the objective quality of yours.
The concept of branding itself can be pretty vague, even for people who have studied marketing, but the gist of it is simple. The basic definition of the word “brand” is that it is a name, term, design, symbol, or any feature that distinguishes one’s goods and services from those of others.
In the world of marketing, there is so much more to think about and put into your brand. Oftentimes, much of what makes the brand is the emotional aspect (how the brand makes you feel) just as the physical one (what it looks like).
The Brand Idea
There are many ways to think of a brand, but one of the best ways to think about it when you’re trying to come up with it is as an idea.
The idea for your brand has to be easily understood and relevant to your target demographic. Not only are there many ways for your idea to be too complicated for your audience to grasp quickly, but there are also so many ways it can be unimportant to them.
A good thing to think about when coming up with your brand is this question from the perspective of a potential consumer: “What’s in it for me?” This helps to keep your brand from being self-serving and makes it relatable to your target audience.
The key thing in order to relate to your audience is empathy. The brand isn’t solely about the product, but is and should also be about the customer experience.
All these elements make up the logo, which is what you see on different products and services to allow themselves to stand out among hundreds, if not thousands, of other market players and competitors.
The logo is simply the graphical representation of your brand, and what consumers see when they buy a product or service. As products can be easily copied by other players in the market, your brand should be what makes yours stand out.
While there is no one right way to make a logo that’s effective and draws in customers, there are a lot of ways that a logo can confuse your customers.
The brand has to convey a lot of things to the consumer in so short a time span, which is why it’s usually best to hire a graphic designer if you’re not absolutely sure you can do it yourself.
The Difference between TM and R
The ™ and ® symbols are some of the most commonly used in the industry in both branding and marketing, and are very important aspects of IP protection allow you to protect your brand.
™ – This is the symbol used for claiming ownership over a brand not necessarily offered protection by trademark. This brand may be either be unregistered or in the process of being reviewed to see if they are qualified to register trademark.
Using this symbol next to your brand name allows you to assert your ownership and prevent anyone from using it either by accident or mistake. However, you should apply to register trademark for your brand before doing so.
® – The “registered” symbol denotes a trademark that has already been issued a certificate of registration by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. After you successfully register TM for your brand, you are given a protection of ten years from the date of application.
Having a protected trademark along with a well-designed brand that can appeal to potential consumer demographics and draw them in is often the first step to establishing brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is a pattern of behavior among consumers where they become committed to brands, making several instances of repeated purchases over the span of an indefinite period of time regardless of convenience or price.
A successful brand is able to establish brand loyalty through a lot of things, the most important of which is through customer engagement, which is the first step to maintaining a successful business in Singapore.
Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is a cost-efficient and safe way to transmit messages no matter where you are in the world. In Singapore, the hosted VoIP system is the most preferred method of communication by businesses, especially companies that send their employees overseas or have offices outside the country.
Get to know the different trends in VoIP services before selecting which hosted VoIP system or cloud VoIP works best for your company.
How Does VoIP Work?
In the past two decades, companies have been slowly switching from public switched telephone network (or PTSN) to VoIP because it costs less, has advanced features, safer, and includes other perks. VoIP has evolved over the years because of the demands in business and communication. To better understand how it works, let’s look at the meaning of the terms used in VoIP.
VoIP is the successor to the time-division multiplexing system, but it has been around for some time in the business sector until it became available recently to the public with the use of applications that support VoIP. IP, an offspring of the web, refers to the standards needed for data to travel in a common network. The “IP” in VoIP is the modern Internet protocol which is the means of supporting a combination of the voice delivered through the TDM or time-division multiplexing telephony and the web-based data streams.
VoIP evolved because there was a need to combine the Web-based data streams and the closed-circuit TDM telephony at a low cost. TDM used to run on a voice network separate from the IP; therefore, VoIP is the intersection of the Internet and telephony, where the latter is the medium for the voice while the former is the channel.
TDM operates in a closed circuit or a dedicated connection, which is safer than VoIP, but does not allow for sharing of the data. This is where the high cost of traditional telephony comes from. In voip ip pbx from Singapore the voice codes are converted into digital codes in a process called packetization and travel through the web using the most efficient path so that it uses minimal network resource. As a result, there is little to no traffic at all and it is also easier to manage data.
How Do I Choose a VoIP Vendor?
Choosing the correct VoIP vendor in Singapore means that you should also understand how this voice technology is supposed to work. Upgrading the company’s telephone system to VoIP will boost overall productivity as well as provide an entry point for other companies that want to upgrade their telephony systems.
When purchasing VoIP services, there are always two factors involved: the service and the phone system. Most hosted VoIP system services in Singapore include both and do not require integration because they will provide the company with IP-enabled hardware. However, for companies that choose to upgrade their existing telephony systems, the analog or digital phones must be converted so that they can work in a dedicated voice network but not in an IP network. To convert the phones, they will need either an Analog Telephone Adapter or something similar.
Businesses with an existing telephony system can choose to upgrade because it will not cost much, but for establishments which do not have a telephony system yet, a full VoIP service using IP phones is more practical.
Businesses in Singapore are slowly switching to VoIP services such as the IP PBX telephone system and cloud VoIP not only because they cost less, but also for the network convergence and the consolidation of the media streams. Network convergence is the porting of the voice traffic to the company’s data network so that it becomes easier to maintain because the business needs only one network for everything. The hosted VoIP system also includes features and applications that are not possible with traditional telephony.
What is Cloud VoIP?
Cloud VoIP uses cloud technology to store and move data in the Internet instead of storing files in the hardware or computer. It has been around for decades, but has been popular ever since consumer-based cloud technology has become available. The name “cloud” represents the Internet, where the company can access data and other services using different devices if there is a connection.
There is a variation of cloud VoIP called cloud PBX, which includes all the features of a public branch exchange system without the need of PBX technology. PBX refers to the hardware that has to be installed and operated to route calls in the company. Cloud VoIP is ideal for small businesses that do not need several phones. Ask your VoIP vendor about cloud VoIP and all its features.
What is Hosted PBX?
The PBX phone system nowadays no longer need an operator to function or to have their own VoIP system within the company. It is cheaper to lease equipment and services from a host company through a system called hosted PBX. You don’t have to worry about upgrading, maintaining, and repairing all the hardware and software because most hosts that can do hosted PBX already provide a complete package.
What is a PBX Phone System?
For companies that have multiple phones and several employees, the PBX phone system is the most ideal setup. You might also hear the name IP PBX telephone system, which is a setup that allows employees to switch from VoIP to traditional phones and vice versa, and to switch from VoIP on local lines and the sharing of external phone lines.
Companies used to have the traditional PBX which has separate networks for data and voice communication even within the office. An IP PBX telephone system on the other hand, integrates both data and voice lines so that the employees can have access to the Internet, VoIP, and all traditional communication systems.