How to Gain Instagram Followers to Help Promote Your Business

I already have Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest  and now I need an Instagram? If you’re selling products and you’re in a category where your target market likes to show off their new purchase, then Instagram is most likely for you!

So what’s so great about Instagram?

 

By practicing the above methods, you should be able to gain a good following to your instagram account. Instagram is awesome for companies in the fashion, photography, automotive, and food categories. Just as with any social media account, you’ll need to post daily and interact with your users if you want to gain a large following.

Once you start gaining those followers you can use a tool like statigram to keep track of metrics on your instagram account.

Here are some tips when posting on Instagram:

  • Always use hash tags. For ex. If you’re selling Nike shoes, you would want to use #nike #shoes #runningshoes #justdoit #kicks #sneakers
  • Follow users that you want to promote your brand to
  • Like and comment on pictures
  • If a user comments on your photo, comment back with a nice reply!
  • Find relevant hash tags for your niche & build a list
  • Use @ to give shot outs to your friends and customers
  • Use filters and post great looking photos

 

 

Some (Business) Tips for Those Who Want to Start Anew

Let’s face it. A not-so-successful business venture is a sad story. Things such as assets, efforts and even hope can be lost once a business fails. And perhaps, the owners of those businesses can’t stop wondering how their energies have resulted in such a waste.

Even though it’s rather easy to dwell in a sad and tearful state, moving on and “doing better next time” are actually the better options to do. So if you find yourself in such a seemingly-hopeless state today, just read this article. It’s never too late to start all over again and take these insightful pieces of advice into consideration:

 

1.)    Imbibe and Cultivate Commitment, Optimism, & Knowledge

“The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.”

- Vita Sackville-West

 

In order for your business to be successful, you need to have a foundation that is invincible and invulnerable—one that starts within yourself. This is something that’s not easily found or developed, but nevertheless,  it is learned and earned through experience.

The three basic ingredients for that strong foundation are commitment, optimism and knowledge. Without these components, you’re like superman with a kryptonite on a chest– easy to break, easy to lose. You need commitment, to move you in action; optimism, so your faith will lead you to achievement; and knowledge because without it, action is useless and faith is nonsense.

 

2.)    Never Run Out of Ideas

“You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence and success. The problem is, you just don’t see them.”

- Jay Abraham

Nowadays, there is a variety of business ideas that you can start with. You can sell either a product or service. Just remember, being unique does not necessarily mean that you have to be 100% original. You’ll just have to make your offerings special so you have something that your competitors don’t have. Furthermore, brilliant business ideas are mostly based on diversity– people want what is new and popular. For instance, if you’re thinking of offering one of the “basic needs”– food, clothing or shelter, then you may want to lay down some style that’s new and interesting in order to get the attention of your market.

The secret here is to take a peek on reality. Everything is just in front of you. Learn to look around and listen deliberately in order to see what people need and want.

 

3.)  Know Your Target Market

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

- Peter F. Drucker

Business is a battle field. You need a weapon, a shield and everything that could help you survive. Your ideas are your weapon and your shield is your mental outlook. This is where you’ll start your journey as a warrior.

Just like in a war, the next step after you’ve wielded your sword and armor is to figure out your targets. Should you start with the weak or with the tenacious ones? But in this case, you’re not going to literally fight! You’re just going to determine to whom your weapon will effectively work.

So let’s say your business idea turns out to be a product– is it more marketable to teenagers, adults, or kids? What if it turns out to be a service– is it in demand? You need to know the appropriate questions to ask and you should be able to answer it yourself. If you do, then you’ll have a better perception on who your target is.

Remember, you have to understand and identify what are your customer needs and always create a solution that will yield satisfaction to the marketer and to the end user.

Target locked?

 

4.) Prepare for Change and Employ Innovation

“We’ve never worried about numbers. In the market place, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. You can’t con people in this business. The products speak for themselves.”

- Steve Jobs

One of the least simple, but nevertheless the most complex thing that you will ever encounter in this war zone is change. What you know today might not be the same tomorrow. In this case, you have to be prepared. Make sure that you will always choose quality over quantity because sooner or later you will see what reward it holds.

 

 

 

These are the fundamental things needed for one to start a business. These are simple, yet concrete concepts that you should remember to apply.  Just like life and reality, first get hold of the basic commodities:  food,  clothing and shelter; and everything else will follow.

 

“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”

- Aristotle Onassis

 

Business Process Outsourcing Philippines tops India and China as global shoring location

Recently, the Philippines was ranked as the top global shoring locations for Business Process Outsourcing beating India and China.  This is according to a report by multinational real estate advisor Jones Lang LaSalle based on the number of jobs made by investing corporations in shared contact centers, service centers and technical support centers from 2008 up to 2011.  It is an amazing feat considering that the Philippines only has a fraction of the population, not to mention the land mass, of the other two countries.

According to the report, The Philippines drew in 115 projects that equaled to 72,000 jobs within the said timeframe against India’s 105 projects – 64,000 jobs and China’s 56 projects – 25,000 jobs.  It obviously shows how more and more companies choose to bring their businesses to the small archipelago.  Why not? The Philippines is probably the most westernized country in the east.  Colonized by the Spaniards for centuries and then by the Americans in the early half of the 19th century, the country is quite literally a perfect example of “east meets west”.

As one of only a few Asian countries that recognizes English as an official language, Filipinos have a very neutral accent that most businesses prefer.  In addition, the country is heavily influenced by western culture, specifically by the Americans.  Even the Philippine Constitution and government structure is modeled after the US’s own.  These factors make outsourcing Philippines the best choice especially for US-based corporations as Filipinos are very aware of their culture.

In addition, the local government welcomes the BPO industry with open arms by providing tax cuts and other incentives to prospective investors while providing low cost contact center training to maintain a steady number of qualified employees.  As a result, many who have invested in the country are likely to stay in spite of their own government’s plans of trying to bring the jobs back to their own backyard.

Achieving high productivity while maintaining the cost of operation to a minimum – this is every corporation’s wet dream.  Outsourcing Philippines provides these and much more.  Don’t believe it? Each time you call to check your bank account, book a hotel or a flight, or simply getting parts for your weekend project, chances are you’ve talked to Filipinos more than you realize.

Outsourcing: Efficiency and Costs

Deliberating Efficiency and Costs of Outsourcing

 There is a heated argument between outsourcing and in-house business processing.  Many are debating whether employees working hundreds of miles away deliver the same performance as those who are just in the other room.  Or if the benefits of setting up shop abroad really outweigh the drawbacks.  Looking at the current trend, it is obvious what the answers are to these questions or more importantly, which side of the debating table is winning.

However, how do you properly gauge efficiency? Anyone who does his job within the required parameters is considered efficient.  To be more specific, an individual who completes his tasks or hits his targets within a specified timeframe is an efficient employee.  This same principle is what motivates companies to bring their processes elsewhere.  Having effective and efficient employees is what companies strive for.  But having more than twice the number of employees for the same cost is even better.

Traditional employers believe in the importance of having face-time with employees.  While it is an important factor in building a good office environment, most businesses realize that it is a small price to pay considering the advantages that outsourcing provides.  Moreover, with today’s technology, people can get as much “face-time” as they need without physically being in the same place.  It is possible to keep tabs (perhaps a little too much in some cases) on people regardless of location.

The Benefits of Leasing or Outsourcing

Salary, Health Benefits and Insurance – The BPO firm will take care of these things.  All the client has to worry about is the details of the work needed and of course, the agreed operation costs.

Taxes – Again, is shouldered by the BPO firm as well.

Employee leaves and Holidays – Outsourced or not, employees need their rest.  The overall cost of production will be dependent on the client’s needs.  However, employee relations will be handled by the BPO firm since it is also a company by itself.

Hiring and Training – Likewise, the hiring process and the training will be handled by the BPO firm as well.  Clients can add certain requirements on what to look for but in many cases, The BPO’s own set of requirements is more than adequate for most companies already.

Office space and Equipment – New employees will need a place to work and with the cost of office space alone reaching almost unreasonable levels, BPOs are a far better option.  It is quite literally, hiring employees, office and all, for a fraction of the cost of actually building one.

With these benefits, it is easy to see why many companies outsource their business processes somewhere else.  This helps a lot in the company’s growth by lowering operating costs and increasing productivity at the same time.

 

 

Outsourcing Philippines : After the Elections

Business Process Outsourcing Philippines after the US elections

With the US elections over, President Barrack Obama keeps his seat in the oval office and with it, the continuation of his policies.  While the majority of Americans revered his triumph, there are some who feel threatened about what is going to happen in the next few years.  One of which is the BPO industry because of growing speculations that the US President has intentions of revisiting the anti-outsourcing bill in the hopes of “bringing jobs back home”.

The US economy is still recovering from the last recession which left millions of Americans struggling for jobs.  In turn, companies had to consider outsourcing to survive the economic turmoil and avoid bankruptcy.  This led to the impression that outsourcing was a key factor in the already high unemployment rate in which, the government responded by forming the “Bring The Jobs Back Home Act” that will remove tax incentives from US companies that outsource their operations and promise a 20% tax deduction on costs for those who would bring them back to US soil.

However, many studies show that BPOs have a minimal effect on the already delicate economy and in most cases, generate more work opportunities in the country.  Outsourcing Philippines is beneficial to US companies mainly because of its financial advantages.  Maintaining a high productivity at a substantially lower cost is the main reason why businesses all over the world turn to outsourcing.  This allows them to have an edge in the market despite the economic difficulties they are facing and eventually create more opportunities for local employment.

BPOs shouldn’t be considered as a threat but rather a means to bring the economy back on its feet.  The BPO industry helps companies who would have otherwise closed shop to stay in business and help alleviate the current economic crisis.

Outsourcing Philippines: The Bigger Picture

Outsourcing Philippines

Millions of people around the world celebrated Barrack Obama’s victory in taking the Presidential office for a consecutive time.  On the other hand, the BPO industry is having some worries after speculations of President Obama’s intent of resurrecting talks about the ban on outsourcing spread.  His firm stand on bringing jobs back to the American people was received with mixed reactions from US companies and BPO firms alike.

In summary, The “Bring Jobs Home Act” is an effort to reduce the unemployment rate in the country by putting an end to the outsourcing activities of US-based companies and keep employment within US soil.  It accomplishes this by removing tax incentives for businesses that allow BPO firms handle their operations off-shore and granting a 20% tax cut on costs for those who would transfer theirs back in the country.

However, recent studies concluded that outsourcing had very little negative effect on the US economy and shouldn’t be blamed for “rubbing salt in the wound” regarding the unemployment rate.  In fact, it is found that every outsourced job is replaced by almost two new jobs in the States.  Outsourcing Philippines is an integral part of most US-based companies’ survival in these trying times.  If not for the Philippine BPO industry, some of these companies would have thrown in the towel and close its operation altogether.  Logic will dictate that the banning of outsourcing would actually do more harm than good to the US economy.

Big companies turn to outsourcing Philippines for one simple reason, keeping costs low while maintaining a high level of productivity.  One American employee is already the equivalent of three Filipinos having similar credentials allowing clients to get more for what they pay for.  This helps them to stay competitive and actually grow amidst a very fragile and unstable economy.  In turn, these companies will have the means to create more jobs at home as not all business processes can be outsourced off-shore.

It is safe to say that BPOs shouldn’t be treated as a problem but rather a solution to the US economic problem.  Companies suffered great losses from the recent economic crises and it may take some time for them to recover.  However, with the BPO industry’s help, they have a better chance of recovering much sooner which in turn, would also allow them to help the economy as well.

Philippines vs India in BPO

Business Outsourcing Philippines vs India

Even after having only one-tenth of India’s population, the Philippines, with 400,000 call center agents manages to lead by 50,000 against its bigger rival according to IBM’s recent Global Invesment Locations Database. It also said that the tiny country is also became the more favored destination for other business support services by a huge margin. Thanks to the Filipino’s very neutral accent and their familiarity with western culture, many companies prefer to set up shop in the Philippines than anywhere else. Furthermore, the Philippine government shows its full support by providing very enticing deals to BPO firms such as six to eight-year tax holidays.

The Formula For Success

Filipinos can communicate with a very neutral accent as opposed to their Indian counterparts. In some cases, tenured agents are often mistaken for actual Americans and become surprised when they find out that they are actually speaking with someone halfway around the world. Moreover, as a former US colony, Filipinos are pretty much exposed to the American way of life. This gives them a better understanding of their clients needs and how to handle different scenarios more effectively.

Know to be good quick thinkers and good problem solvers, Filipinos can work even under extreme pressure and approach different situations with the utmost care and of course, with a smile on their face. Their natural ability to turn even the worst of situations into something positive is another reason why big companies choose to take their business in the country.

Probably the most important factor on why the BPO industry thrives in the Philippines is because of its government’s full support. By implementing tax cuts and exemptions, BPO firms, especially the new ones, can really have an advantage by outsourcing to the Philippines. After all, six to eight years of running a business without paying your taxes is every businessman’s wet dream.

Specialized Workers in the Philippines

Diamond in the Rough – Workers in the Philippines

Filipino Perseverance Amidst Challenging Times

Having one of the highest poverty rates in Asia, the Philippines has a 26.5% poverty incidence says the 2009 National Statistics Coordination Board (NCSB) report. What’s worse is that most of its people live under a dollar per day. One can easily  assume that this densely populated country (312.78 people per-square-km according to a World Bank study) would suffer from lack of education and sub nominal literacy. However, believe it or not, the Philippines has an impressive 93.4% literacy rate and has produced more than 500,000 college graduates in 2012 alone.

Filipinos have always believed that finishing their studies is the key to a better future.  Which is why many go through great lengths just to finish their education. More than half of the population aim to go abroad in search of greener pastures and make the ultimate sacrifice of leaving their loved ones behind in the promise of a better life for the whole family. This way of thinking encourages them to learn about foreign cultures (especially the American culture) to prepare themselves should they given the chance to realize their goal. Ironically, as Filipinos go to the United States to look for work, most companies in the US go to the Philippines looking for people to work for them.

The BPO boom is a dream-come-true for the majority of Filipinos who want a piece of the American dream without having to leave their loved ones behind. Likewise, the companies that set up shop in the Philippines took advantage of having well-educated and highly-trained workers while lowering their operational costs. It is said that a company can get as much as three Filipino workers for the price of one American with the same credentials.

The country itself benefitted from the influx of BPO firms, lowering its unemployment rate from 7.3% in 2010 to 6.9% in 2011. The Philippine government even took it a step further by introducing legislations that gave these companies many incentives including tax holidays which attracted yet more companies to invest.

 

The Influx of BPO in the Philippines

BPO in the Philippines

From Small Beginnings

The growth of BPO in the Philippines opened new methods for increasing productivity and cut costs for businesses in and out of the country. The Filipino’s command of the English language and their familiarity with western culture brought the western world’s eyes on to the small archipelago and became a key player in the BPO industry.

In the early 2000s, small contact centers started popping up in the metro. This provided Filipino’s a great opportunity to earn more than what local employers are offering. Fresh graduates were among the ones who really took advantage of the trend and enjoyed higher pay even without any experience whatsoever. BPO in the Philippines offered very attractive compensation packages that made it more than enough for employees to disregard the time difference and turn their body clocks upside down to align their schedules with thier clients.

Nowadays, working in a contact center is a way of life. It has evolved into a culture on its own and even the more mainstream employees are venturing into it as well. It is now a well-respected industry and there are many institutions that offer call center training (some of them for free) to prepare prospective applicants in their career. The centers themselves are also reaching more and more people. Back then, call centers are only situated within the metro. Now, there are contact centers all over the country.

The effects of the influx of BPO companies are undeniable. In the areas where there are huge concentrations of BPO offices you’ll notice 24-hour convenient stores, restaurants and coffee shops on virtually every corner. Ten years ago, that very same place is practically a ghost town at night. Visit Eastwood city today and you’ll find it hard to believe that only a decade ago, it used to be just a piece of barren land with only a couple of buildings, a convenient store and a big parking lot. It is hard to think about any other industry that can make such a huge impact in such a short period of time.

The processes in contact centers also evolved through the years. In the past, call centers handled just that…calls. Today, almost every aspect in running a business is outsourced. Everything from customer service, data entry, content management, accounting, or outsourced recruitment etc.

Asia’s BPO Industry

India BPOs setting up elsewhere?

India has been a hub for the BPO industry for many years and still has the highest revenue generation among other outsourcing countries.  However, with the way the Philippines boosted their revenue from USD2.8 Billion in 2010 to USD11 Billion in just one year, the small country can knock the giant off the top spot in no time at all.  So, how do the Filipinos do it?

Factors that cause the changes in the BPO industry wars:

  • Accent – Filipinos are favored by most companies because of their ability to adapt to their client’s accent whether American or European.  Philippine culture is greatly influenced by the west and is one of a few countries where everybody can speak and comprehend the English language.
  • Government support – The Philippine government welcomed the BPO industry with open arms by setting very attractive to businesses setting up shop in the country.  Tax cuts and even tax holidays are common just to name a few.  Policies and legislation were passed to enhance call center training for would-be employees.  Many educational institutions provide low cost training programs (some even give them for free).
  • Motivation – More and more Filipinos are pursuing their careers in the BPO industry especially the fresh graduates.  The Filipino’s perspective of BPO firms as only a second option for employment has drastically changed over the years.  Today, their motivation to work for a BPO company is stronger than ever.

As more companies realize the advantages of setting offshore offices in the Philippines, Indian BPO companies are setting up shop in the country as well.  Clients enjoy the benefits of Filipino abilities, while Indian BPOs get their share of the revenue who then pays taxes and liabilities to the Philippine government.  It’s a win-win situation for everyone.