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Most people would say that, from time to time, they feel frustrated with their jobs. This is totally natural and is just a normal part of everyday life. After all, if a job were always easy, then it wouldn’t be called work. However, there are times when that shifts towards something a little more significant and potentially problematic. If you start to feel as though your time at work is very unpleasant every single day, then that could well be a symptom of a much larger and more serious problem. This is especially true if you start to feel as though the negativity in your job is coming directly from your employer. Dealing with colleagues who are unpleasant is never fun, but at least it’s direct. The feeling that your employer is perhaps taking advantage of you or is having a direct hand in making your time at work unpleasant is often one that most people don’t want to confront since it can feel as though it’s a problem that’s so big that you couldn’t possibly deal with it yourself. However, your wellbeing when you’re at work, and the happiness you feel in your career are too important to let them fall to one side. With that in mind, here is a simple guide to help you deal with an employer who seems to be trying to take advantage of you.

How can you tell?

One of the toughest things about being taken advantage of by an employer is that it can often be incredibly difficult to be aware that it’s even happening. A lot of the time the methods that employers use are so subtle that a lot of employees don’t even notice, outside of a vague feeling that they are unhappy with their job. But being able to recognize the signs is incredibly important. Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself in order to figure out if your employer is taking advantage of you.

Are you being forced to work overtime?

Every so often, a business will get to the point where things are so busy that people are required to start working some extra hours. This is a pretty standard practice, and it’s hardly a human rights violation. The important thing is that overtime is rare, compensated, and, most crucially of all, voluntary. You should never have to work beyond your contracted hours if you don’t want to or your personal life makes it impossible. However, there are employers who will try to make their employees take on overtime against their will. Sure they can’t explicitly say that they will fire you if you don’t take on overtime, but that just means that they methods that they use are generally more subtle than that. They will do things like denying you overtime when you do ask for it. Or offering benefits to those who take overtime and not offering them to you. These things are subtle, but they send a very clear message to anyone who doesn’t take on extra work. “If you don’t tow the line, then you’re not part of the team.” Employers also make a point to encourage peer pressure among colleagues. They will say that you not taking on overtime makes everyone else’s lives harder, setting up an unpleasant dynamic in the workplace.

Are other people getting paid more than you?

People are often incredibly reticent to discuss money with each other in modern society. The problem is that employers can often take advantage of this to get away with paying people unfairly. Despite the fact that it is against the law, there are plenty of occasions where there’s a pretty significant wage gap between different employees. Get into the habit of discussing your wages openly with one another. Instead of getting angry at each other for getting paid more or less, get angry at your employer for attempting to underpay certain people for doing the exact same work as everyone else. By being open with each other, it makes it that much harder for your employer to pull the wool over your eyes.

What can you do?

Even if you are aware that your employer isn’t treating you fairly, that doesn’t mean that your problems are automatically solved. A lot of people really struggle to figure out what they can do about it. This is often because employers like this tend to bank on the fact that you feel like you have no power while they have all of the power and control. The most important thing for you to understand is that this isn’t true. As an employee, you have rights that need to be respected. If your employer isn’t respecting those rights, then you are definitely in a position to push back against them and confront them about it. It can be scary to stand up to your employer, especially when you’ve spent so long being treated so poorly, but it’s important to stand your ground. Here are some of the things that you can do in order to deal with being mistreated by your employer.

Confrontation

The first thing that you should do if you feel as though you’re treated unfairly is to try and deal with it in-house. Speak to the HR department at your workplace and discuss what you feel is happening and they ways in which you feel like your rights are being violated. They will be able to guide you in the right direction and help you understand if there is anything happening that it in violation of your contract. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should storm into your boss’s office and demand better treatment. Being aggressive is only going to put your employer in a position where they can frame the whole situation as your fault. The important thing is to express the facts calmly and rationally and to go through all of the relevant channels so that you are as fully protected by the law as possible.

Legal recourse

Of course, there are always going to be situations where you simply can’t deal with these things within the workplace. This could be because the issue is so severe that you need to go straight to legal proceedings, or it could be that the HR department of your business is refusing to acknowledge a legitimate grievance. Either way, taking things to court can be an incredibly intimidating and complex process for a lot of people. It’s a good idea to hire an attorney as early on in the process as possible. This is because trying to wade through pages upon pages of legal jargon by yourself can be incredibly difficult and confusing. Of course, not everyone can afford to pay legal fees. If you’re in that position, then you should check out this guide from Thrivest that can help you understand lawsuit funding, something that can help you afford many of the fees involved in a case against your employer. Once again, the most important thing is to be as rational as possible. Remember, the law is on your side.

Moving on

One of the hardest things for a lot of people is the fact that they might never get the justice that they need. Sure, you can go through all of the right channels but even then there’s a small chance that your employer will be able to get away with treating you, and anyone else, very poorly. A lot of the time the only real way to deal with this is to walk away. If you leave the company, then you’re going to be in a position to take back control of the situation and to go and find somewhere that will treat you better and value you more highly as both an employee and as a person. Even if you do manage to get justice against your employer, there’s a pretty good chance that the entire situation left such an awful taste in your mouth that you’re not going to want to deal with your employer anymore no matter what. When that happens, then you can simply walk away, safe in the knowledge that you’ve potentially created a safer and more supportive environment for anyone who comes in to replace you. You’ve let your employer know that they can’t get away with treating their employees badly or taken advantage of anyone ever again.

Even when you’re fully equipped to face them, dealing with an employer who isn’t treating you fairly can be an extremely daunting experience. The most important thing to remember is that, as long as you’ve done your research, there’s a good chance that the law is on your side. As long as you stay calm and express yourself openly and clearly, you’ll be able to fight against your treatment and, whether you stay with that company or not, you’ll be able to come out of it being treated much better overall. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter how big the company that you work for is, each and every individual within that company has rights, and those rights need to be respected no matter what.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Customers

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As a company owner, you should always be aiming to improve your business by whatever means necessary. After all, when your business evolves over time, it means that you are adapting to consumer habits and staying on top of current trends – giving your business the longevity it deserves. Thankfully, there are also various ways in which you can go about improving your business. For example, this could include: 

  • Hiring new staff with innovative ideas.
  • Retaining staff who make a real difference in the workplace, reducing employee turnover rates.
  • Investing in new employees by offering unique training programs or giving them a chance to develop new skills. 
  • Developing new products or services that cannot be purchased elsewhere. 
  • Moving from working from within your home and opening up a store or office space. 
  • Updating your business plan regularly to account for your growth. 
  • Brushing up on your finances, ensuring that you stay within budget and spend your money wisely.
  • Reaching out to investors who can help you take your brand to the next level.
  • Introducing a new marketing campaign to increase your brand’s visibility. 
  • Developing a better relationship with your customers. 

While any of the above suggestions are a great way to go about growing your business, the most important is developing the relationship you have with your customers. After all, a business without customers will struggle to stay afloat for more than a few weeks.

With that in mind, here are some ways in which you can begin to develop a better relationship with your customers. 

Know who your customers are. This is perhaps the most obvious ways to improve your relationship with your customers – and it doesn’t mean that you have to memorise every name or face that comes into your store. Instead, you should ensure that you have a clear understanding of your target audience and demographic. For example, while you may have a vision of your typical customer in your head – you need to ensure that this is reflected in the people that actually purchase or use your products/services. There are various ways in which you can achieve this goal. For example, you could: 

  • Monitor consumer habits
  • Host focus groups 
  • Ask for customer information when making a purchase
  • Studying analytics on social media. 

Remember, your target audience may be defined by the following characteristics: 

  • An age group.
  • A gender.
  • A geographical location.
  • Special hobbies.
  • Skills and Interests. 
  • Careers.
  • Lifestyles.

Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, it will be easier to ensure that you are providing them with everything they need. As a result, they will develop a closer affinity to your brand as they feel as though it was made just for them!

Make them feel important. Studies suggest that customers are happiest when they feel important. Therefore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by simply ensuring that you make them feel special. For example, you could attach a note to each order that thanks them for their purchase. Alternatively, you could put a loyalty scheme in place or offer discounts to returning customers – which can help you win over new customers while retaining your old ones. 

Make it easier for them to communicate with you. The key to any relationship is being able to communicate freely with each other. Therefore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by making it easier for them to reach you should they have any questions. For example, in addition to a telephone line, you should give your customers plenty of different ways to contact you. This could include: 

  • A postal address.
  • A customer service specific email.
  • An online chat function.

However, managing multiple different channels like this can prove to be a challenge if you don’t have the right technology at your side. For example, you could use dashboard software, such as those provided by Click4Assistance, to monitor different chats and calls simultaneously. For more information, visit this website

Furthemore, you can also improve the way in which you communicate with your customers by being active on social media. Not only does this mean that your customers can contact you through direct messaging or comments, but it also puts your brand on the map by making you visible to a much wider audience. When curating your social media presence – you should ensure that your content reflects your brand. Don’t focus on overly professional language – instead, try to be as approachable and friendly as possible – as this will help customers relate to your brand. When customers find you approachable, they are more likely to make a purchase. 

Another way in which you can better communicate with your customers is by setting up a mailing list. While they may seem outdated in the world of social media, they are a great way to keep your customers in the loop and let them know about any upcoming product releases. 

Admit your mistakes. As a business owner, how others perceive your brand will likely be incredibly important to you. As a result, this means that you may be keen to bury any mistakes you make so that they cannot tarnish your reputation. However, this is not the right attitude to take on if you want to develop a relationship with your customers – as simply ignoring complaints or negative reviews will only drive them away. Therefore, you should ensure that you respond quickly to any negative complaints and reviews – and work with the customer to resolve this issue sooner rather than later. This also means that you need to be honest about any mistakes that you may have made in the past. Holding yourself accountable will actually make yourself more attractive to potential customers. 

Focus on innovation. If you want to retain customers, you need to ensure that you continue to provide them with new goods or services. After all, it’s unlikely that they will continue to buy the same product over and over again. Therefore, you should work hard to ensure that you remain on top of your game – introducing new and innovative products to the market as often as possible. While this doesn’t mean you should rush to launch a new product or service every month, you should always have a new plan or idea in the pipeline. Furthemore, you should also ensure that the products/services you are working on align with current consumer trends. 

Get online. Another way in which you can develop your relationship with your customers is by making your business more accessible. For example, while many customers may visit your store to make a purchase – others may prefer to shop online. In this case, you need to make sure that your website is up to scratch and easy to navigate. The easiest way to draw in new customers online is by improving the user experience of your website.  For example, a broken link or malfunctioning site does not necessarily make your brand appear trustworthy – while a seamless and functional website will demonstrate your professionalism and help you connect with a global audience. 

Furthemore, you should also ensure that your website is as accessible as possible. For example, you could add audio descriptions of products or text so that those who may be deaf or hard of hearing can navigate your site freely. You should also ensure that you caption any videos or add alternative descriptions underneath images. 

Be great at what you do. Perhaps the simplest way in which you can improve your relationship with your customers by being great at what you do – and providing them with the consistency they require. For example, you should ensure that every aspect of your business is always up to scratch – from product development to administration.  Being great at what you do means that your customers will always stick around and invest their money into your brand. 

Similarly, you should never underestimate the importance of good customer service skills – and you must ensure that every employee is trained within the area. For example, they should be bright, friendly and ready to answer any questions that come their way. This means that they need to develop excellent skills in communication alongside a lot of patience and intuition. This is particularly important when dealing with difficult customers who always complain -but will also allow them to develop lasting relationships with friendly customers too. 

In short, there are various steps you can take to ensure that you improve your relationship with your customers – many of which simply revolve around adopting a ‘customer-centric mindset. By making important decisions regarding your business with the customer in mind, you’ll be able to emphasise the fact that they are at the core of everything you do – thus making your brand appear more attractive and improving retention rates. Furthemore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by making it abundantly clear that you care about them and want to provide them with only the best. Doing so will make it easier for customers to trust you and purchase your products or services.

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What Is Cryptocurrency And Why Is It So Volatile?

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Cryptocurrency has recently made headlines, exploding into the spotlight with the same relentless intensity that characterises its value and demand.

However, as they become more mainstream, they may become confusing. It’s money, but there’s no bank looking after it or controlling it; it’s an asset, but it’s not backed up by anything tangible.

Here is a brief overview of cryptocurrency and a quick look at why it is so volatile.

What is it?

In a nutshell, it is the digital equivalent of money. It is designed to function in almost the same way: users have wallets in which they can keep money, which is used to symbolize value in the economy and can be exchanged for goods or services with others.

Cryptocurrency, like much money in today’s traditional banking system, does not exist tangibly; instead, it is recorded as figures in a database that signify how much of a particular cryptocurrency a certain person has.

However, in contrast to today’s banking system, is decentralised. Rather, it is recorded in the blockchain, which is distributed throughout the network and records transactions in a transparent and verifiable manner that belongs to no one individual or organization in particular.

The first of them was bitcoin, which was developed in 2009 by an unknown individual known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, a slew of new cryptocurrencies has sprouted up. These include ethereum and dogecoin. It is interesting to look into the background of these, and ask yourself who created Dogecoin?

Why are there so many?

A cryptocurrency can hypothetically be created by anyone; at their foundation, they are just software, therefore anyone can create one. There is no authoritative body that decides what is and isn’t a cryptocurrency.

As a result, dozens of new cryptocurrencies, known as altcoins, have emerged. Some of them have grown into consistent performers, leading to predictions that they could turn bitcoin on its head and become the most valuable cryptocurrency.

Some of these altcoins aim to provide innovative answers to problems that exist with large players like bitcoin, such as making transactions easier or more efficient. Others, such as Dogecoin, which originated as a joke, are developed solely as alternatives.

They sometimes move in sync, with the entire cryptocurrency market fluctuating in response to certain pieces of news. However, traders occasionally switch between currencies, as when the price of dogecoin soared thanks to the support of figures such as Elon Musk.

What makes cryptocurrency so volatile?

Unlike traditional financial assets like stocks and commodities, cryptocurrencies are not valued in terms of what they can be used for; in theory, they are a bet on a company’s future profits or the usefulness of a given material, but cryptocurrencies are primarily a bet on how interested people are in them.

Cryptocurrencies, unlike traditional fiat currencies, do not have a central bank entrusted with employing monetary policy to keep their value from fluctuating too much.

As a result, the value of cryptocurrencies varies dramatically, frequently and without warning, and without always being linked to evident world events.

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Marketing Practices That Could Remain After The Pandemic

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The global pandemic has changed businesses in many ways, and marketing, in particular, has seen a lot of developments over the last year. Businesses have had to adapt to digital practices quickly, which has changed the way they promote their activities. It has also changed consumer behavior, meaning tactics need to change to reach them in new and innovative ways.

While businesses are beginning to revert to some sort of normality, there are some practices that will continue even after the pandemic is over. Discover some of the marketing practices that could be here to stay.

A greater focus on retaining existing customers

The global pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s shopping behaviors. It’s no secret that brand loyalty has been in decline over the years, largely due to consumers’ preference for convenience – especially in the digital age. But the pandemic has made this even more apparent, with many consumers switching brands as a result of supply chain issues and more. For businesses, putting your energy into retaining your existing customers could yield better results than trying to win over existing customers. 

The resurgence of the QR code

Just over a year ago, people might have turned their nose up at the idea of using a QR code in a marketing campaign. Did people know what they were? What did they achieve? Well, thanks to the pandemic, QR codes have had something of a resurgence. Exploring QR code APIs can help you work out how they can be used in your marketing campaigns effectively to bring the best results for your business. QR codes are capable of generating some great data, helping you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Localized marketing

The pandemic has shifted a lot of people away from busy cities and urban areas, and into more rural neighborhoods. This has meant that businesses are having to change their marketing tactics to provide a more personalized, local feel that better aligns with changing behaviors. People are choosing to shop locally and choose local-based businesses, and you’ll need to think carefully about how you can form better engagement with those audiences to help spread the word about your business.

Bigger budgets for social media advertising

With people spending more time at home, they are more active online watching box sets, shopping, gaming and more. This means they might be less likely to see more traditional advertising such as billboards and subway signs. Social media advertising can help you reach those audiences, providing a great ROI compared to other forms of advertising. Ensuring social media is a firm part of your marketing strategy can help you reach your audiences where they are, and even save money compared to your spend on more traditional advertising. 
Change is nothing new for the marketing world. The pandemic has seen some major developments, and as we enter the ‘new normal,’ it will be interesting to see what comes next. Staying up to date on current marketing trends can keep your business relevant, and help secure the best results for your business – no matter what’s happening in the rest of the world.

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