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February 2018

This content series covers the initial steps for aspiring entrepreneurs to take when setting up their business. We’ve discussed what first steps to take when starting a new business, as well as how to write a business plan for the company. With the business set up and business plans in place, it’s time to promote the value of your company to prospective clients and customers. Here are some cost-effective ways of establishing and spreading your company’s market presence.

 

Master Social Media Management

Spreading the word about your brand is vital for the longevity of your business. The main objective is to send a message to your desired audience and invite engagement regardless of your marketing budget.

For most companies, social media is a tool for them to engage, educate and promote their business to the public. Whichever social media platform you’ve chosen, consistent quality is important to fully maximise the power of social media for your business. Gimmicky posts may be fun to create but most are shallow in content. Instead, create well-planned and thoughtful posts that speaks the voice of your brand to transmit useful information to your audience. Take note of the frequency of your posts. It is far better to post quality posts sporadically than to post viral content frequently to hit the spike of interest. Your audience should know your brand story and products, and not be inundated by insubstantial filler posts.

One way to ensure you don’t miss posting at scheduled timings is to utilise apps like HootSuite or Sprout Social. These apps assist users in making timely posts on social media platforms, ensuring that your followers are updated with your brand. Such apps are also a good way to consolidate all your social media accounts in one place, making it convenient for you to manage your different pages.

 

Take Advantage of News-jacking and Trending Hashtags

It is always challenging for new businesses to build a strong fan base. Nonetheless, with meticulous planning and effort, you can build a sizeable group of followers on your social media platforms. One way is to make use of the latest news and trending hashtags. These will help ensure that your company stays up-to-date and current with the times. Utilising hashtags is also a good way to help potential clients and customers find out about your business organically, increasing your brand’s exposure.

 

Stimulate User Generated Content

User Generated Content (UGC) refers to content that has been produced by fans and followers of a brand. Encouraging users to create their own content is very helpful to brands as this signifies an active engagement between brands and users. You may want to hold contests or campaigns where users can submit posts of your products or services to share with the public using hashtags tailored to your business. The reach from such user-generated content far outweighs the cost of prizes to reward the selected users/winners.

 

Invest in Visual-content Marketing

Most successful and highly shared posts are visually engaging. You may vary your posts by using various multimedia content to appeal to your users. Besides this, you should also take reference from the pages of other businesses who have successfully engaged with its audience. From these case studies, you can get a sense of what strikes a chord with your target audience and plan for your posts accordingly.

 

Besides promoting your company online, here are some things you can do offline to get word around about your business:

Using Cross-promotion with Other Brands

Cross-promoting your business with other brands, also known as buddy marketing, can help you reach your target audience far more effectively than doing it alone. Additionally, you would also be saving cost by combining your resources for promotions with other complementary businesses.

 

Promote Your Business by Giving Seminars or Presentations

One good way to introduce or increase the presence of your business is to give a presentation on topics that you are highly knowledgeable or experienced in. Not only will this help improve your visibility and that of your company, it is also a good way to network with your industry peers and potential customers.

 

The possibility of promoting your business is endless. You may choose to carry them out offline or online, but most successful businesses focus on putting their best effort towards doing both. With planning and experimentation, you will eventually find the best solution that fits your brand, which will, in time, reap enormous benefits for your business.


This concludes our three-part series detailing certain aspects enterprising minds should think about before starting a business. Our previous articles in the series, First Steps and Writing a Business Plan, provide more tips on the subject.

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

Miscommunication is a common occurrence at work; it is usually a result of the different ways people relay and perceive information. This can lead to personal conflicts, missed deadlines, uncoordinated meetings and a generally challenging work environment – unnecessary obstacles that can be avoided.

Speaking effectively and listening actively is key to avoiding miscommunication. How do we go about doing this? Here, we share four simple steps to help improve communication between you and your colleagues or superiors.

 

Be Clear and Concise

When conveying information, go straight to the point. State exactly what you need and expect, and refrain from including irrelevant details or examples that will only confuse your listener. For added clarity, it will help to minimise external distractions by choosing to meet at a quiet location. If you can, avoid checking messages on your phone or computer while speaking. The best way to avoid miscommunication is to be focused on getting your point across and giving your audience full attention.

 

Be Aware of Your Own and Your Listeners’ Communication Style

It is important that your message is heard and perceived correctly by your audience. While some people prefer being loaded with every detail, others only want the specific agenda and respective deadlines. Some prefer speaking face-to-face, and others just want to receive emails and instructions in writing. Using this knowledge of others and their preferred communication style will enable you to effectively get your point across to each individual.

Likewise, be aware of your own preferred style of communication – whether it be speaking to others in person or via email. Understand how your tone, body language and word choice impacts the message you are sending across in order to avoid misunderstandings.

 

Understand the Limitations of Electronic Communication

Sending emails and texts may be quick and convenient methods of communicating, especially in the office where coordinating with different groups of people can be a hassle. However, when communication lacks emotions and body language, words can be easily misread and misinterpreted. When questions arise, it helps to speak directly to your audience for clarification. Strike a balance between face-to-face communication and sending emails to maximise your time in the office.

 

Practice Active Listening

Communication is not only about speaking and sending a message across, it also involves listening in order for vital information to be absorbed, even in written communication. When you listen, do not assume to understand what the speaker is talking about. Instead, pay close attention, take notes and clarify any doubts by asking questions – effective listening is never passive.


It is important to identify the various sources of miscommunication at work and apply these tips to improve the situation. Putting in the effort to communicate clearly and listen actively goes a long way in avoiding miscommunication and creating a more cohesive environment.

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

 

A Feature of Canon’s After-Market Support Team

We all know that providing good customer service is crucial to making a business successful. It is, however, a skill; it takes talent to be able to maintain exceptional service levels. Apart from going the extra mile for customers, being in the service sector also requires one to understand varying customer needs and to be constantly learning on the job so as to better resolve the customers’ problems.

Meet Mr. Noor Hanafi, a Senior Engineer who has been with Canon for the past 25 years. Mr. Hanafi appreciates the significance of good service. He also understands the importance of self-improvement,  having attained a diploma to better equip himself to answer customer queries and to keep up with technology – all while working at Canon. Today, he leads a team of engineers and is always eager to improve his skills in order to effectively resolve maintenance issues and assist customers.

We sat down and had a chat with Mr. Hanafi to learn more about why he entered the service sector and what it means to serve others.

 

Tell us about your job scope and what it entails.

As the leader of a production line, I lead a team of eight engineers. My job is to guide my team members on how to resolve all sorts of issues that our customers face. In addition, I help them to plan their schedules efficiently so that service will not be compromised. I also liaise with our sales personnel in regards to new hardware and software installations as well as managing customer complaints.

 

What is a typical day at work like for you?

Every morning, my team reports at our workstation in Jalan Besar to conduct role-play, share information, discuss the challenges faced by the staff the day before. Then, we divide the rosters among ourselves. I oversee the discussions and provide guidance during our role-play. Jalan Besar is our appointed area of coverage – we meet there so that we can respond to customers directly and quickly. On top of that, I monitor the calls they receive and their roster to make sure that jobs are evenly distributed within the team.

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

My job gives me exposure to new products and technology. Not only am I able to learn and improve myself with the latest information from my company, I am also able to learn new skills while troubleshooting and solving problems for my customers.

 

 

What are some of the challenges you have faced at work? How do you overcome them?

The challenges that I face involves dealing with difficult customers frequently. It requires a lot of patience, empathy and a good listening ear in order to help customers resolve whatever issues they are facing. Different customers have different temperaments and different needs; it is highly important that we understand their situation in order to help them overcome their problem. It helps to have a good rapport with customers by doing things like giving them advice on how to maintain the machines. Sometimes, we also go the extra mile when they need additional ad-hoc assistance.

What has kept you working at canon after all these years?

I really like my job. I love to interact with customers, understand their different needs, and learn new things every day. After having worked here for so many years, I have made many friends who make my work enjoyable. Apart from this, I have the opportunity to shine and am grateful to receive two awards for the best sales for Canon’s eMaintenance service. In my first year as a production leader, my team even won the title of ‘Top Performing Team’. Moments like these are very encouraging and rewarding!

 


 

Follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn, as we showcase more of our valued After-Market Support staff in the months ahead.

The foundation for building any successful business is outlined in the business plan. It communicates long-term company goals to your employees and builds confidence in potential investors to fund or support your growing business. We provide some considerations to keep in mind when drafting your business plan.

 

1. Vision, Mission, Objectives

You have your own motivations driving you to take your first entrepreneurial steps – now, articulate it through your business plan. The company vision paints a picture of where you see your company in the future, and the company mission describes the purpose of this business and its value-add to society. Both of these place employees and stakeholders on the same page with you, giving everyone a common direction to work towards.

Objectives highlight the feasibility of achieving this direction, by giving clear benchmarks to measure the firm’s progress towards attaining the aforementioned goals.

 

2. Business Model & Strategies

Next, outline the specifics of your business model. This will include the good or service to be provided and your business’ unique selling proposition. Relevant figures will be included here, such as start-up capital, anticipated expenses and anticipated income, all of which should add up to a projected healthy and sustainable cash flow.

 

3. Target Market Analysis

A common misconception many new business owners have is that the business plan should speak solely about the business. However, showing adequate awareness of market conditions and competing firms displays open-mindedness from the business owner’s end, indicating the business’ willingness to adapt and evolve.

Your business plan should convey research about market trends, current big players and most importantly, how your business intends to build a market share among existing competition. Take into account the challenges of starting out small, and be realistic and honest with your evaluation – the contents of a business plan indirectly serve as a promise to your employees and stakeholders.

 

3. Open to Change

A business plan should never be set in stone. Run it through established industrialists and analysts, note consumer confidence in your business, and discuss with peers from the entrepreneurial community. Doing these could surface areas of improvement for your business plan, from the viability of your business model to the tone and nuances of your written vision and mission. Changing market and consumer trends should also be regularly tracked and taken into account when a revamp of business model is necessary.


In our final article of this series, we share our recommendations for getting the word out for your young business. Stay tuned!

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

 

Successful businesses should always be looking at means and ways to improve its workflow efficiency and output. In today’s fast-paced society, and saturated business landscape, productivity is key to remaining competitive.

The following tips have been selected from the words of high-performing employees and prolific businessmen – stick to them and you will surely see a boost in productivity! Here are some simple actionable tips on how to be more productive in the various aspects of your life.


Keep to the Two-Minute Rule

If a task on your to-do list takes less than two minutes to complete, finish it first. As recommended by researchers David Maxfield and Justin Hale from the leadership training company VitalSmarts, these tasks could simply be responding to an email or calling up a client – be sure not to let them pile up and snowball.

Act immediately on these easy tasks, and you will find yourself quickly striking things off the list, getting the hang of things. Your motivation and confidence will also get a well-deserved boost as you accomplish each task. Soon, you will find time to focus on what’s most important.


Strategise and Prioritise

This may seem counterintuitive, but prioritising on the right things highlights smart working habits. Do not be afraid to seek assistance on the jobs that require more effort or things that can be completed more effectively and efficiently by someone else.

Choose to prioritise things strategically. This frees time for you to focus your energy on more pertinent tasks. Taking on more than you can handle will affect all aspects of your work – even if you start out with good intentions, this means shoddier work, missed deadlines and room for error.


Plan Your Schedule Ahead

This may seem like a no-brainer to many, but many dismiss the importance of time management. Good planning includes details like the time you might spend in traffic or the prep that needs to be done before a crucial event. A poorly-planned schedule with too few details will make you think you have more time than you actually do. Daymond John, founder of FUBU and a judge on Shark Tank, checks in with his management daily in order to have the information to plan his schedule better.

Be sure to buffer additional time for unforeseen events and try not to fill up your schedule back to back – this leaves some time for you to catch a break if need be. After all, if something goes wrong, your entire day’s worth of work gets disrupted and this will only bog down productivity.


Use Visuals to Remember Details

To remember names, events and other details, try associating them with a corresponding image. In the workplace, the flood of names and numbers may be difficult to recall as they are too abstract for our brains to latch on to. Once attached to visuals, these details will be better ingrained in the subconscious mind; you may find yourself able to remember even the tiniest, most specific detail.

Memory guru Harry Lorayne calls the process of creating mental images the ‘Original Awareness’ of the material. Thinking of especially animated and vivid images can help create a stronger connection to the details you are trying to recall. Boost your own productivity while injecting a healthy dose of fun into work.


Keep distractions away

Email alerts, smartphone notifications – they break your momentum and make you lose focus on what’s important. Every chime or buzz only makes worse the constant itch to check your phone. Melissa Bushnell, the founder of Baked by Melissa, spends her time creating products instead of spending time on technology.

Take the time to manage your notifications, shutting off non-critical ones when completing tasks requiring great focus.

Even better, shut down your phone and lock it away if you can. Once your phone is out of reach, your productivity is sure to enhance tenfold. On your PC, download website-blocking apps such as StayFocusd to limit the time spent on particular websites like Facebook.


These steps may seem simple to all of us – how productive you end up will depend on your willingness to adhere to them. Once these actions turn into habits, you will find your productivity skyrocketing.

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

Business leaders who are often tasked with presentations will be happy to know about the newly released wireless presenters PR500-R and PR10-G, which have great features to help make the most compelling presentations.

Go the Distance

Users can explore presenting from various parts of the room to keep the audience engaged so as to get the presentation going. The new and improved PR500-R and PR10-G presenters work within an effective range of 20m and 30m respectively – now presentations are no longer constrained by space limitations!

Make a Point

The PR500-R features a double intensity red laser that stands out and directs the audience’s attention to the most important points. Consider the PR10-G if you want to highlight the smallest of details in large presentation settings. Its luminous green laser beam shines up to eight times brighter than that of an ordinary red laser, giving the audience perfect visibility on the things to take note of.

Stay in Control

Both the PR500-R and PR10-G presenters feature an intuitive design with tactile buttons, enabling users to switch between keys and navigate presentations with ease. Weighing 53g and 71g with batteries included for the PR500-R and PR10-G respectively, the lightweight provides a comfortable grip even when used for long periods of time.

In addition, the PR10-G has a timer function with vibration alerts to help keep track of time, so that users don’t have to be consciously mindful of it. The backlit LED time display also comes in handy when users miss out on the alerts or have to present in a low light setting.

Ready to Go

The PR500-R and PR10-G presenters are compatible with the Windows and Mac operating systems. With the plug and connect function, users can simply plug in their devices and use them straight away without having to install them beforehand.


Speak with our Sales Professionals here to find out more about the PR500-R and PR10-G presenters. Also, do follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn for more business-related solutions and insights!

Prevention is better than cure – this old adage perhaps best describes the ideal strategy towards cyberthreats. Cyberattacks show no sign of slowing down, with notable incidents like WannaCry and Petya taking up headlines in 2017. Here are some trends experts believe will persist from the year before; with this knowledge, businesses can be better equipped to improve their cybersecurity strategy in 2018.

1. More Cybercriminals

Simply put, the increased accessibility of technology has made it easier for one to become a cybercriminal. In this digital age, information is everywhere – any individual can search for relevant know-how or tools on the internet.

Successful cybercrimes also are publicised widely through online means. While this may be done with the intention of raising awareness, the internet’s wide reach would cause the information to land in the wrong hands, unintentionally motivating cybercrime instead. Particularly, the potential gain from the recent spike in cryptocurrencies has driven the popularity of cryptojacking, where hackers secretly mine cryptocurrency from unknowing parties.

2. Education & Healthcare Targeted

From the perspective of cybersecurity, these two industries share several similarities. For starters, a shift towards more convenient tech like Internet of Things and cloud storage in these fields has not been matched with a sufficient emphasis in proper security measures, leading to vulnerable network endpoints for hackers to exploit.,

Secondly, these industries have access to a wide pool of confidential personal information, and such data holds significant value in today’s data-driven society. This combination of weak data security and value of information to be gained makes these fields attractive targets for cybercrimes, and increased vigilance and security should be exercised.

3. Beware of Malware

Unfortunately, malware could be considered a victor in 2017. The widespread effectiveness of malware in episodes like WannaCry and Trickbot had demonstrated the efficiency of this method in compromising entire networks. Its main downside is its lack of subtlety and invisibility upon introduction, but the data breach often happens so quickly that the damage is already done before security measures can clamp down on it. It can be expected that malware will continue being cybercriminals’ preferred weapon of choice for 2018.


While it is impossible to predict the future perfectly, being aware of these trends at least places us in a better position to exercise vigilance towards cybersecurity as a whole, safeguarding our businesses and customers this new year.

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.