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Combating Food Waste on the Micro level - IdeasUnlimited

Combating Food Wastage on the Micro Level

By | Entrepreneurship, Food for thought, IdeasUnlimited Let's Contemplate Fridays | No Comments

Our IdeasUnlimited team has a tradition of sharing something positive and something thought-worthy every Friday before we all leave for a relaxing weekend. This gives us a chance to discuss our thoughts and bounce ideas off each other about giving back to the society in any way that we can. Coming from all over the world, the IdeasUnlimited’s team brings in knowledge of ground-level realities and a varied experience and input on every topic that is under the limelight each Friday.

This is in spirit with the IdeasUnlimited ambition of mutual growth and becoming conscientious world citizens.

A few Fridays back, our CEO Shahzad Yaqoob (Nick) initiated a discussion on food wastage across the continents. It got us all thinking about how we experience food waste as individuals and how can we counter it.

Food wastage is a complex and multidimensional issue. It impacts human existence through nutritional and environmental degradation.

Research shows the increasingly dismal situation of food availability, usage, distribution and access disparity amongst the developed and developing countries of the world over the years.

The stark differences in economic development are also reflected in the prevalent levels of food poverty and food waste reduction efforts among nations. The nature of food insecurity, hunger, food waste and food loss varies across the globe. Thankfully, there are many international and local initiatives that have prioritized food waste eradication as their main goals.

For a succinct and holistic report on Food Wastage and Loss Around the World prepared by IdeasUnlimited, please

click here

However, food wastage largely remains a societal issue which needs attention from all segments of the society. It is important to bring this narrative under discussion and share techniques for combatting this growing menace at households, organizational, and national levels.

One of our colleagues at IdeasUnlimited, Ashlie, has shared that she feels very strongly about food waste at the household level. Food wastage for her is eatables thrown away because of thoughtlessness, which is in effect food that did not reach the deserving families who are starving. Ashlie aptly calls food hunger as “a branch of poverty, yet arguably a symptom of uncontrolled luxury”. She practices portion control for adults in her household and only cooks a healthy version of the food her young son likes to eat, in order to avoid throwing away cooked and uncooked food. She suggests the creation of food drop-off points in every locality to utilize food that is not being used in homes.

This way instead of throwing it in bins, we can forward it to our fellow citizens who are facing food shortage.

On the same lines, Shakira advocates and practices controlled grocery shopping. This involves buying grocery only when needed and in quantities that can be utilized before the food goes bad in the kitchen. She is also a strong proponent of repurposing leftover cooked ingredients into snacks or supplementing them with another small dish for another meal. This not only reduces the burden of cooking but ensures that food never finds its way to the bin. Better yet, she packages up any leftovers and gives them to the less privileged around her.

Shahzad thinks developed nations should play a major role in eradicating this global issue, as these countries are more proficient in terms of technology and resources. As the developed world has a much more significant proportion of food waste around the world, they should be looking into making permanent and universally applicable laws for reducing portion sizes at restaurants and establishing food pick-up points after lunch and dinner hours to help the needy populace receive food parcels (with due regard to hygiene and health issues) which would otherwise be thrown away as wasted food items.

Shahzad postulates the usage of robotics and artificial intelligence to set up a permanent facility in every neighborhood for transferring food from those who do not need it to those who are looking for it. Not only would this assist in sorting any food parcels from households, restaurants, and supermarkets, it can match it with those who need it. This one-time investment can be fruitful in expanding the radius of collection and delivery of such food.

Moreover, a website or app can be set up that is updated at the backend in real time with available food packages and the contents of each.

Those seeking assistance in getting access to safe and healthy food can sign up for this service and get notifications on availability of the same. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) behind it can match the food packages to those in need closest to that location. The possibilities are endless!

He also believes that more investment should be made towards advocacy campaigns to educate households about efficiently utilizing food products and forwarding them to the less privileged in case of any excess.

I believe the major reason for food waste in today’s world is uncontrolled and growing consumerism. I see how we over-buy at giant food suppliers and hypermarkets because of cheaper prices and promotional offers on bundle purchases. I often find myself becoming a victim of these marketing gimmicks. An international law on food wastage and recycling for Hypermarkets should be implemented to monitor and control food wastage practices.

However, moving from a developing country to developed country, I have noticed how the number of needy people and the nature of food waste changes. Back home in Pakistan, it is very easy to find someone to whom you can give your excess cooked or uncooked food. It is very common at my parents’ house to pack all leftovers and distribute them to the poor people they find on roads on their way. Moreover, there are numerous local food points locally called ‘lunger’ where anyone can drop off cooked as well as uncooked food or even money, to be used by the administration there to feed hungry people. This is done as a form of charity.

Whereas in many developed nations like UAE, government takes full responsibility of its people and their wellbeing. One cannot find hungry or needy people and children asking for food on the roads or pavements. Here, it is very important that you shop and cook wisely to avoid filling your bins instead of nourishing other humans in need. Having said that, to feed people there are government established food or charity centers where you can help in preparing and serving food and provide raw food that can be cooked and distributed amongst the needy.

We always have a choice of being proactive and resolving a growing crisis or contributing to it. Together as a team at IdeasUnlimited, we have become more resolute to reduce food wastage in and around our spaces—resolving the problem at our own micro level. As a result of this discussion, we have come to realize the exponential and multilayered effects of food waste and loss around the world.

Hence, we have decided to become a strict advocate of food sharing and managed grocery shopping to perform our part of helping this world become more equivalent in terms of food distribution. As, indeed, if we do not practically become a part of solutions for Food Wastage and Hunger, we will certainly remain a part of the problem.

SMM International- IU Client Blog Post

Christopher Wick, Social Media Guru and LIVE on WLOX – Leading in a Digital Era!

By | Business Improvement, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support Services, Entrepreneurship, Social Media | No Comments

Looking for a pre-eminent advertising medium for your company? In a sea of options, how do you come down in favor of the best, unrivaled one? In a day and age where our gossips are about the latest video trending on social media and not some inefficacious TV show, the answer certainly comes in approval of use of social media to grow digitally and make money. Social media comes with copious marketing benefits for companies inclined to walk towards the churning internet news cycle.

Social media helps a great deal to reach its target audience at the lowest cost. Consumers can communicate with the company and get their questions answered and also provide feedback. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram are few of the booming social media platforms. The age has come where it’s beyond the bounds of possibility to disjoin social media from the enterprise—thoroughly affecting research, distribution, and how products need to be fashioned in the future.

Low cost is an absolute advantage social media gives us as compared to traditional marketing, which is a bit too exorbitant. Social media helps your business proliferate and build trust with people. Lost cost advance features can be used for promotion of the content.

Online promotion prompts two-way communication. This helps a company to know if its message is being delivered efficaciously. It also lets the company know if the word is going across to the ‘target audience’ or not.

It’s an opportunity to discover what consumers think of the product and share their thoughts. One has to be consistent in excellence in order to gain recognition and make money online.

Consistency is the key!

What makes you stand out? What makes you differently amazing is what the entire digital game is all about. The posts and advertisements are the essence and key ways to bring traffic to your website. Social media propounds an easy and low-cost way to make your audience get intrigued about your content. Lead generation is another edge social media provides for business. Like Christopher Wick, author of best selling e-book Use of Social Media to Grow Business and Make Money says,

“I encourage my clients and people to go try it. You never see the results unless you do it, so do it.” He also says, “Social media marketing is the best way to grow your business since no risks are involved, also no fear of losing capital.”

The 69-page critically acclaimed book gives an insight of Christopher Wick’s understanding of social media and his brilliance in the marketing world to surpass your goals and grow your business. Christopher advises to always get help from an expert or someone who knows about social media more than you do.

Because as simple as marketing through social media seems like, there’s still a lot that can go wrong!

About Award-Winning Speaker & Best-Selling Author, Christopher Wick

Christopher is a seasoned award-winning speaker and informative author. He wrote Amazon’s #1 U.S. and internationally best-selling book, How to Use Social Media to Grow your Business and Make Money”. As founder of SMM International, an international social media marketing firm, Christopher is responsible for consulting with clients to manage their online reputation and internet presence to serve their business objectives for revenue growth, lead generation, and growing the bottom line.

SMM International focuses on managing clients’ social media accounts by posting original content, managing incoming messages, and growing followers.

Call 888-SMM-INTL today to schedule your free social media strategy session!

Christopher is one of IdeasUnlimited’s valued long-term clients. This post appeared originally on his blog.

Finding New Clients

5 Ways to Find New Clients

By | Become an Affiliate, Business Improvement, Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

1. Word of Mouth

First, use the technique as old as time. Regardless of new technology, word of mouth is still valuable. According to Yotpo, 74% of consumers say word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. Ask your customers to recommend you to a friend. In fact, try offering them an affiliate partnership so that they get a percentage of the payment as a finder’s fee. (We have an affiliate program…check it out!)

2. Advertising

Second, look into the many, many forms of advertising that are available. Don’t spread yourself too thin…limit yourself to two or three methods of advertising that are most likely to reach your customers. For example, if your customers are young and tech-savvy, put ads online. If they’re older and more traditional, buy ad space in the newspaper or magazines.

3. Networking Events

Third, get face-to-face with potential clients. This will give you the chance to tell a personalized story that reaches an individual on a personal level. While the local chamber of commerce is an obvious choice, there are many other options available for networking. Consider joining an organization like Rotary, Kiwanis, or Optimist. You can also look on Meetup.com to find networking groups in your area.

4. Social Media

Fourth, consider using a social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other networks are an excellent way to have ongoing conversations with potential customers. And it’s not just good for B2C companies, but for B2B as well. Entrepreneur reported that social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than average lead conversion rates. (Need a social media manager? Hire one of our virtual assistants to do it for you!)

5. Partnerships and Alliances

Finally, consider making an arrangement with another business with the same target audience. Brad Sugars explains, “They might attach a gift voucher or other discount offer for your products at the end of a newsletter or mailing.” He goes on to say you can build an alliance: “For instance, a Web designer and an ad agency might send each other referrals for clients who need added services.”

What are YOUR ideas for finding new clients? What techniques have worked for you?

Real Estate Virtual Assistant: Do You Need One?

Real Estate Virtual Assistant: Do You Need One?

By | Business Improvement, Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Remote Support Services, Virtual Assistant Support | One Comment

Real estate is a demanding industry. This makes it extremely valuable for realtors like you to stay ahead of the curve. It also explains why running a real estate practice or agency is time-consuming. The introduction of new technologies that support virtual assistants has made it easier for realtors to focus their efforts on enhancing the core competencies that come with running a real estate agency. Support services ancillary to core business activities such as paperwork have been delegated to real estate virtual assistants. These assistants provide the tools needed to fuel your success, whether you are a solo agent or own your own real estate or brokerage firm. The following are some reasons to consider the services of a virtual assistant:

Cost-Effective

Real estate agents live a fast-paced, busy life. They spend many hours going through emails and phone messages. They then need to organize the day’s events and transactions. You could avoid all this by getting an assistant. This will help but it is not a cost-efficient solution. Get yourself a real estate virtual assistant who will handle all these tasks at a cheaper price than what you would spend to maintain an in-house employee. You also save on expenses such as getting insurance and pension plans for in-house assistants.

Increase the Level of Productivity

A real estate virtual assistant’s primary function is to handle your day-to-day schedule and organize your emails and messages. When you hire an in-house assistant you will have to give them vacation days or sick leave. Rather than lose all this valuable time and resources, get yourself a virtual assistant who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Increase Sales Conversion

When it comes to the real estate industry, lead generation is as important as making a sale. When you get yourself an experienced real estate virtual assistant, they can help you make calls and follow-ups with prospective clients through both online and traditional methods.

Omnichannel Support

All client engagement touchpoints you require—inbound and outbound calls, email, live chat, mobile SMS/text, and social media—will be covered by the real estate virtual assistant to improve the client experience and ensure there are no missed opportunities. A virtual assistant can cover your busy hours or take up the slack of your office staff. A remote workforce also allows you to choose from a much larger, more talented pool of applicants than candidates available for in-house work.

Multilingual Support

Firms and agents in the real estate industry face language barriers in dealing with tenants, owners, vendors, and clients. Get an edge over competitors by hiring a multilingual virtual assistant as the need arises and communicate with your client base and vendors in their native languages. The virtual assistant can also provide administrative and backend support for those particular projects.

These reasons clearly highlight why you should get yourself a real estate virtual assistant…click here to hire yours today!

10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

10 Things to Outsource to A Virtual Assistant

By | Business Improvement, Entrepreneurship, Remote Support Services, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

These ten tasks could be handed over to a virtual assistant to save you time, money, and energy.

You’ve got a lot of tasks that you need to finish, but you just don’t have the time to do it all yourself. When it comes to running your business, you are probably trying very hard to race ahead of your competitors, increase sales, market your brand, stay on top of your taxes, make your internal processes more efficient—the list of things to do is endless…If you are thinking that the weight is all on your shoulders, think again.

Using a Virtual Assistant can shave hours off your workweek. If you still feel a little hesitant to delegate parts of your business to someone you’ve never met, you are not alone. The idea of hiring a Virtual Assistant can feel strange at first, but what you’ll soon realize is that it’s all about selecting the right tasks for them to handle.

1. Online Research and Data Presentation

Get the help of a VA to conduct any time-consuming internet research and receive the best information on any topic, product, or competitor in a time frame that suits you.

You have an important meeting with a new client and you want to make a smashing impression? A Virtual Assistant can make a stunning PowerPoint presentation as per your specifications so that you can make the most of your time preparing your pitch.

2. Schedule Management

Every entrepreneur needs administrative support. A Virtual PA answers calls and keeps an eye on your schedule. If there are places you need to go and people that you need to call, it’s best if someone reminds you to do it. Sure, you can download some software that does it for you, but procrastination can still keep you stuck. You’ll complete your tasks much faster if you let your Virtual Assistant manage your schedule for you.

3. HR Admin

Training your employees on how to use a new software or service can take up a good chunk of your productive time. Why don’t you leave this job to a Virtual Assistant? She could even train your staff remotely, using Skype, for instance, saving costs. A Virtual Assistant can also take care of payroll processing for you, freeing up your time so you can focus on core business activities.

4. Database Management

As a business owner, you probably have to deal with a plethora of reports that have to be completed on a regular basis, from staff timesheets to expenses or client lists. The natural idea is to let your VA do all this. A Virtual Assistant can import, export, and sort any kind of data while she can also handle spreadsheet design and general maintenance.

5. Multilingual Support

Hire a multilingual virtual assistant to communicate with employees, vendors, and customers in the languages required by your business, to give your business a global reach. A skilled Multilingual Virtual Assistant can also provide multilingual transcription services, administrative support, and technical support.

6. Customer Service Support

A Virtual Assistant can reply to customer queries within a stipulated time period. A business query can be anything from an unsatisfied customer to a potential customer. A VA can help you stay on top of your customer service tasks, creating new business opportunities, resolving and expediting cases, and replying to complaints in a professional manner.

7. Social Media Support

A Virtual Assistant can post on your social media channels on your behalf and market your SEO content, increasing the visibility of your brand, products, and services. A social media VA can help you create a social media strategy, integrating it with the rest of your marketing strategy.

8. Clients and Partners Management

It’s always a good idea to send gift cards to your clients on holidays and anniversaries. These are pretty easy but time-consuming tasks that require a creative effort. You could even get your VA to congratulate a partner or client on a new job or deal.

9. Website Maintenance and Ecommerce

Websites require constant maintenance and updates. A Virtual Assistant can provide technical and backend support and can give you a real hand when it comes to managing your ecommerce site. She can provide ecommerce support services like writing compelling product descriptions, editing lists of products or images, updating prices and online inventory, or processing orders.

10. Blog Ghostwriting

Content marketing is the name of the game today. Your blog will fetch you an incredible amount of traffic, if done correctly. A VA can help you write some quality fresh content for your blog. This is essential to add fuel to your content’s reach and drive direct traffic to your website.

Whichever tasks you decide to outsource to a Virtual Assistant, what is most important is to build trust and help her really understand your business—this will take up some time at the beginning of the relationship but it will pay off going forward. Ready to get your Virtual Assistant? Click here to contact us!

6 great websites for starting a business - entrepreneurship

6 Great Websites for Starting a Business

By | Business Improvement, Entrepreneurship | No Comments

For entrepreneurs, the internet is a great resource for learning about starting a business. However, the options for research and resources are vast and varied. It can be a challenge to navigate so many web pages. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of six of our favorite websites for getting a company started.

1. Write Your Business Plan

First thing’s first: Every owner needs to write a business plan. This can be a daunting task for someone who has never done it before. Thankfully, Small Business Administration has a helpful guide that walks you through the process. The examples and tools that SBA offers can make business plan writing so much easier.

2. Angel List

One of the biggest challenges at the front end of starting a business is finding investors. Angel List, a product of Venture Hacks, is a great internet hub that allows entrepreneurs to connect with reliable investors. Plus, this website provides templates for contracts, helping to cut down the cost on legal fees.

3. Kissmetrics

Do you plan on managing your own business website? If so, it’s important to learn about metrics–the measuring of what people are doing on your website. KISSmetrics (KISS as in “keep it super simple”) offers a two-week free trial to help track website metrics in a way that helps you grow and keep users on your site.

4. American Fact Finder

Market research is a valuable part of business that develops in-depth knowledge of who a company is trying to reach. American Fact Finder is a free website that allows users to search U.S. census data and filter by demographics such as age, race, and income. (There are similar websites for other countries out there as well.)

5. Xero

For the accounting side of starting a business, we recommend Xero. This website has a dashboard with recent sales, bills coming due, and bank account balances. It also allows you to track inventory, pay bills, and tackle other tasks. Plus, they have tiered pricing that starts as low as $9.00 a month.

6. Start-up Company Lawyer

Many startups don’t have the money for a full-time lawyer, nor do they have the time to meet with one outside of the company. That’s where Startup Company Lawyers comes in. Business owners can get legal advice through this website because it answers many of the frequently asked questions.

A Bonus Page

Of course, we would love for you to check out our own website, IdeasUnlimited. We are a global support services provider and our call center for small business service can be a valuable resource for folks who are starting a business. Check out our call center support, multilingual support, technical support, virtual assistant support, backend support services, and much more!