Zintro Blog http://blog.zintro.com Business News written by Industry Experts Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:38:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Inquiry Roundup- Hydroponics Industry http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/30/inquiry-roundup-hydroponics-industry/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/30/inquiry-roundup-hydroponics-industry/#respond Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:38:16 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23367 Hydroponics Industry I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and is urgently in need of help in quickly finding experts that he can speak with to launch his new... Read More

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HydroponicsHydroponics Industry

I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and is urgently in need of help in quickly finding experts that he can speak with to launch his new company. I am assisting him in trying to find contact names, phone numbers and email addresses of these experts that he can speak to immediately. This is what we are looking for:

“First, one of my companies is currently developing a new technology platform in the hydroponics space. This product will allow a family of four to grow all of the organic fruits and vegetables they’d want each month. I need your help finding, interviewing, and hiring expert consultants in the hydroponics space who can work with my team at to reach our design goals.
View Inquiry

Hydroponics Vegetable Production

One of my companies is currently developing a new technology platform in the hydroponics space. This product will allow a family of four to grow all of the organic fruits and vegetables they’d want each month, for less than $50.

The platform is being developed by in NYC. I need your help finding, interviewing, and hiring expert consultants in the hydroponics space who can work with my team to reach our design goals.

There are extensive state laws regarding seeds and seedlings in the US and internationally. I need your help researching those restrictions, and identifying the right law firm to help us navigate those laws.
View Inquiry

Hydroponics

Looking to identify the top experts and authorities on Hydroponics. Applicants will come the the attention of multi-millionaire Mike Dillard, who will be hiring a Hydroponics consultant for an upcoming project. Please provide background info on yourself and contact information.
View Inquiry

Hydroponics System

I am looking to find and interview a suitable expert in the field of hydroponics to help us reach our design goals in developing a new hydroponics system. We have developed some new patents and are now in the process of researching and selecting a suitable consultant expert to join our existing team as an expert to bring this project to fruition in the next 12 months. This is a global project.
View Inquiry

Click here to see other live Hydroponics projects
Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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“What Is Enterprise Architecture?” Presented by Stephen F. Heffner http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/28/enterprise-architecture-presented-stephen-f-heffner/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/28/enterprise-architecture-presented-stephen-f-heffner/#respond Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:50:22 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23350 Zintro Webinar Presented by Stephen F. Heffner, President – XTRAN, LLC. Presenter’s Note: “Although enterprises have had architectures since the dawn of time, the study and discipline of Enterprise Architecture is... Read More

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Zintro Webinar

Presented by Stephen F. Heffner, President – XTRAN, LLC.

Presenter’s Note:
“Although enterprises have had architectures since the dawn of time, the study and discipline of Enterprise Architecture is relatively young. So what is an Enterprise Architecture? What are the Enterprise Architect’s duties? Where should the EA be positioned in the enterprise? This Webinar will address those questions and will take a look at the implications of the answers.

About Stephen F. Heffner:
Stephen F. Heffner has been an enterprise/systems architect since 1964, an international consultant since 1972, a software entrepreneur since 1977, a Wharton professor from 1983 to 1994, and an Expert Witness. He is the creator of XTRAN, an expert system / meta-tool for automating the assessment, transformation, and translation of computer languages, data, and text.

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21 Management Experts Share the Biggest Mistake Companies Make When Managing Multiple Contractors and Consultants http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/27/manage-contractors-21-experts-reveal-biggest-mistakes-companies-make-when-managing-multiple-contractors-and-consultants/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/27/manage-contractors-21-experts-reveal-biggest-mistakes-companies-make-when-managing-multiple-contractors-and-consultants/#respond Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:11:42 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23149 For growing companies, sometimes one of the best business decisions it can make is to leverage the help of experienced independent contractors and consultants. The top benefits of working with... Read More

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For growing companies, sometimes one of the best business decisions it can make is to leverage the help of experienced independent contractors and consultants. The top benefits of working with contractors is saved time, which would otherwise be spent screening and training new full-time hires, and increased control over business costs and project growth, since contractors and consultants are more apt to stick to a very strictly defined project scope.

But that doesn’t mean managing contractors and consultants is an easy decision, nor something that should be taken lightly. This is especially true when a company tries to manage multiple contractors and consultants at once.

Since we at Zintro work directly with many contractors and consultants, as well as with businesses who utilize their services, we wanted to learn more about how to manage multiple contractors, More specifically, we wanted to learn real tips from management experts on the most common (and avoidable) mistakes companies tend to make when having multiple contractors or consultants employed with their business. To do that, we asked 21 management experts the following question:

“What’s the biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants?”

We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice into this comprehensive guide to better management of contractors and consultants. See what our experts said below:

Meet Our Panel of Management Experts:


Jay LashJay Lash

Jay Lash serves as Vice President of Corporate Development for MBO Partners, the largest provider supporting the $250 billion-and-growing independent contracting and consulting sector in America. Jay joined the company in 2010 and is responsible for the company’s market positioning within the procurement and HR communities.

One of the most common mistakes companies make when hiring independent contractors is…

Having inconsistent processes.

Too many times companies allow managers and executive leadership to “wing it” when bringing in consultants. Taking the time at the front-end to initiate a thoughtful process that covers the bases will pay off in the long run. Organizations should aim to provide a consistently good experience for the talent, while also protecting the company from potential liabilities. A consistent process would include contracts, payment plans, statement of work and on-off boarding. Think of it as important as bringing on a new employee. You wouldn’t treat each new employee as a one-off. Develop a process that works for all stakeholders.


Dr. Joanie B. ConnellDr. Joanie B. Connell

Dr. Joanie B. Connell is the Founder of Flexible Work Solutions, a nationally recognized consulting firm that specializes in leadership assessment, development, and retention for all professional levels. She also serves as a university professor teaching business and psychology students of all ages at a host of top tier high education institutions across the country. Her book, “Flying without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life”, is in early release now.

When it comes to the biggest mistakes companies make when managing multiple contractors, what it all comes down to is…

Failing to integrate consultants.

When consultants are treated as outsiders or as competition to insiders or as competition to each other, it’s a lose-lose situation.  Integrating consultants into the company culture and values and treating them as partners, instead of competitors, is the way to increase performance all around.  It’s also the way to lay the groundwork for long-term productive partnerships.


Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing principled, character driven business leaders while helping them translate their strategies into focused, actionable plans that ultimately drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader: A Field Guide to Being the Type of Leader Everyone Dreams of Working for.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Treating them as nameless, faceless “assets” or “hired help” and simply expect them to perform based purely on the agreement.

To do this is to ignore the opportunity to get more than you’re contracted to get. The agreement gets you a certain number of hours and specific deliverables, but full engagement, passion, commitment and extra effort or value are things must be volunteered. To get to this requires an investment in the relationship with the contractor and consultant and the building of influence for yourself as THEIR leader. This type of influence is always built on serving them.


Ron FormanekRon Formanek

Ron Formanek is the CEO of Telecom Solutions Inc., a technology company based in Colorado Springs that provides quality telecommunications, data and various other technology products.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Being sure they are carrying the proper types and amounts of insurance, if they have any at all.

If not you could end up being liable for it when your own insurance companies audit you at the end of the year… I would request copies of all insurance certificates to include but not necessarily limited to: workmen’s comp, liability and auto.


George AthanGeorge Athan

George Athan is Chief Strategist at MindStorm Strategic Consulting and a keynote speaker. George’s primary work is as a business strategy consultant helping companies, business owners, and executives aggressively grow their organizations through four key performance areas of Strategy, Innovation, Marketing, & Sales.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple consultants is…
Hiring multiple consultants. It becomes a situation where there are too many advisers and the person who hired the consultants do not know who to listen to when there is a difference of opinion. What tends to happen is the company tries to compromise by taking a little advice from each. This rarely works because each piece of advice comes with a long term strategy behind it. Without following through the consultants full strategy, that one individual input is usually useless. Here at MindStorm, we will not work with a client unless we are the sole consultant on that project. As they say, too many chefs spoil the broth!
For the situations where there is no conflict, such as an IT Consultant and a Marketing Consultant, then the biggest mistake is to not get everyone together early. Each unit has to operate as one and every action has to be in line with the companies ultimate goal. By getting all the heads together early, the company can save themselves a lot of headaches!


Ian JacksonIan Jackson

Ian Jackson is Managing Partner with Enshored. Enshored specializes in optimizing business operations for mid-market companies by leveraging consulting and outsourcing capabilities previously reserved for the largest corporations, and generally finding 60-80% reductions in staff costs.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…
 

Not creating clear accountability for each party will lead to a frustrating situation for all parties.

Everyone must be clear on what their role is and where their responsibilities start and end. You must also not expect more than what you are paying them for – they most likely will not behave like employees.

I also believe that you need extra regular communication both one on one and with groups of contractors working in the same area to align everyone and deal with the knowledge gaps that come with working with outsiders.
I’ve witnessed many times a post-mortem situation where it is impossible to blame anyone but the hiring party for any failures due to a lack of clear goals, metrics for measuring them and rewards for exceeding targets.


Tom WheelwrightTom Wheelwright

Tom Wheelwright, CPA and CEO of ProVision, is a leading tax and wealth expert, published author (Tax-Free Wealth) on partnerships and corporation tax strategies, and a Rich Dad Advisor/Speaker for Robert Kiyosaki, who wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad. Tom is best known for making taxes “fun, easy and understandable,” and specializes in helping entrepreneurs and investors build wealth through practical and strategic ways that permanently reduce taxes. He has been on the Real Estate Guys Radio Show, Money Radio 1510 Business for Breakfast, written for CEO Blog Nation, and frequently speaks at Rich Dad conferences worldwide. Learn more about Tom’s work at taxfreewealthadvisor.com.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…
 

Having the consultants report to multiple people.Ideally, all of the consultants would report to a single individual, either within the company or a lead consultant. The water gets very muddy when you have lots of chiefs and no direction.


Deborah Schroeder-SaulnierDeborah Schroeder-Saulnier

Deborah Schroeder-Saulnier, D.Mgt. is the Founder and CEO of Excel Leadership Solutions, a global management consulting firm that works collaboratively with business leaders, and a highly sought advisor to senior executives. Leveraging her 25-year career in senior leadership roles, and consulting to business/industry, she partners closely with executives to solve problems, clarify focus, and accelerate the pursuit of critical market, organization, and leadership priorities. She has worked with a number of Fortune 500 companies worldwide, including Boeing, Citigroup, Bunge LTD., Scottrade, Danfoss, IPC-The Hospitalist Company, RGA – Reinsurance Group of America, Scottrade, and World Wide Technology.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

“Not” managing them.

Very quickly you can get into schedule delays, missed deadlines, scope creep, cost over-runs, communication issues, role confusion, and much more. Setting the agenda and guiding the experts through a single point of contact, beginning with onboarding, reduces conflict and confusion on several fronts, thereby reducing cost and ensuring greater success in achievement of the respective goals.

The following highlight key components of effective management when working with a model that engages multiple contractors and consultants:

  • Clarifying the “End” Game: Engaging the contractors and consultants in conversations to understand the end game and outline their contribution to the organization can reduce time and lower costs in the long-run.
  • Making Introductions to Key Stakeholders & Each Other: Taking time to make introductions to key executives and partners with whom they will be working accelerates movement in the desired direction.
  • Setting Expectations: Ensuring expectations are set, and re-set as necessary, not only for the outcomes but also interactions and performance protocols clarifies your expectations and sets everyone up for success.
  • Establishing “Progress Update” Meetings: Staying on top of progress and resolving issues in a timely way will ensure unnecessary time is not added to project work.
  • Pro-actively Addressing Concerns: People often switch jobs and companies. Having a process in place to notify and address concerns, such as these, before they occur will keep things streamlined.
  • Mitigating Risk with “No Surprises:” Filling all appropriate partners and leadership in on a decision or issue guarantees smooth problem solving and conflict management. No one appreciates surprises or volatile conditions.


James BerryJim Berry

Jim Berry is the Managing Member of RRB Development, LLC, a second-generation commercial real estate and development firm, and has been on the corporate (or client) side of hiring and managing multiple contractors and consultants for 14 years. He is currently a consultant hired by companies to manage multiple contractors and consultants on their behalf, and has seen firsthand the management of contractor and consultant successes and failures across a broad spectrum of professions and overseas cultures.

The biggest mistakes companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants are…

  • Not clearly defining the goal(s) and expected timeline of the work and its various deliverables. Communicating goals and deadlines goes beyond defining a scope of work on a contract or agreement; to be effective companies should take the extra time to clearly explain ‘why’ they need the work performed. If a consultant or contractor truly understands the ‘why’ of what the client is hiring them to do and ‘why’ they need items by a certain time, it is much easier for them to determine what tasks are on the critical path and what items lack the importance of obtaining an on time goal for their client.
  • Not defining a clear and consistent method of communicating and updating each other over the life of the project. A simple weekly, biweekly or monthly regimen of providing a client with an update should be a requirement of all good consultant and contractor scopes. I have three simple rules on project reports: 1) keep the format simple; you have not hired these professionals to write you weekly updates, you have hired them to help you obtain the company’s goals. 2) Do it with consistency; it doesn’t matter how often just make sure it is the same time every time 3) Read the reports.
  • Not treating them like company assets. A good reliable consultant or contractor can at times be very difficult to find and you never know when you may need to hire them again (or hire the competition and find the same project manager at the new company). Just like employees like to work for great bosses and generally excel under their leadership, consultants and contractors like to work for great clients and love meeting a client’s goal or beating their deadline.
  • Not letting them do what you have hired them to do. Too often I have seen excellent consultants silenced by business owners and or managers eager to exert their knowledge or power on a topic. What makes a great leader is not knowing everything about all things, but making the right decisions with the information you have been provided. If you’ve hired a consultant to provide you with their expert opinion, analysis or recommendation then at least hear them out when they are discussing options, findings or recommendations.


Ramon KhanRamon Khan

Ramon Khan is the Marketing Manager of National Air Warehouse, an online leader in the HVAC industry. He currently manages up to eight regular vendors in his current role, and has experience with many contractors employed by the company as well.

The first mistake that I see businesses do when managing multiple contractors is…

To think that contractors or consultants will solve all of their problems.

This type of mentality can lead businesses to be at the mercy of their consultants for success, which is not a good situation for any business. It also puts businesses in a constant cycle of hiring and firing vendor after vendor. This is natural because no vendor can meet unrealistic goals or satisfy a client who does not set proper goals and expectations.

Make sure that your business is hiring the correct agencies for the right purpose. Start by truly identifying the issues that you need to solve. Doing so will allow for you to ask the correct questions and properly quality any prospective agency before moving on to the hiring and on boarding process. By taking the time to get a detailed picture of what issues you are trying to solve, you will have a much easier time managing the projects. Some of the most common mistakes I see businesses do when dealing with this with multiple vendors are:

  • Hiring an unnecessary number of vendors due to lack of understand of the core issues that need to be solved.
  • Not providing detailed project task and goals which delays project finish times.
  • Not setting or tracking milestone timelines for project completion dates.
  • Not properly setting up weekly routine to follow up times with vendors to track progress.

The biggest issue that I see is not periodically re-evaluating your vendor’s performance. Without this value step, it is very possible that performance can slowly deteriorate over time to the point where the relationship no longer servers both parties.

Keeping and detailed spreadsheet of your vendors along with the milestones that need to be reached will be very useful. This allows you to have a quick snapshot of where all your current projects stand. You can further break down your list with a detailed overview for each vendor to have a clearer idea of where each individual project stands.


Brandon HowardBrandon Howard

Brandon Howard is a web designer, developer, marketer, problem solver, and most importantly an entrepreneur, who founded All My Web Needs, a full service internet marketing and web design company in Nashville TN. He owns several online businesses providing a wide range of products and services in different industries both nationally and internationally. Brandon is always looking for new things to benefit the open source web community as well as striving to find unique ways to help small and start-up businesses grow their online presence.

The biggest mistake we’ve made as a company managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Stretching ourselves too thin.

When using contractors you have to keep in mind that they have the ability to turn down work. They typically seek out other providers to get them the work they need as well, so whether they’re already occupied by another project or they just went on vacation you can’t ensure their availability. We’ve run into this several times, which is why we now have several contractors of each type that we work with on a regular basis. That way if a graphic designer isn’t able to do a job we turn to the next one to see if they are available.


Hamilton PowelHamilton Powell

Hamilton Powell is the CEO of Crown & Caliber, LLC, a luxury watch consignment company based in Atlanta, GA, which he founded in early 2012. He is also the managing member of Powell Growth Capital, LLC, the funding source of Crown & Caliber.

The biggest mistake that companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Not making clear and measurable goals.

It is very important to set expectations and relay them to the appropriate parties. The goals and expectations must be realistic and communicated properly. Constant communication is important to ensure that everyone’s expectations and goals are aligning properly. To make sure that these goals are being achieved, it is helpful to set milestones and deadlines. This way, all involved parties can make sure that they are staying on track and are still working toward the correct goals.


David JohnsonDavid Johnson

David Johnson is the Founding Partner of ACM Partners, a boutique advisory firm advising small and mid-sized businesses. He is an expert in performance improvement, turnaround and restructuring, and has several articles and speaking engagements to his credit.

The single biggest mistake that face in managing teams of contractors and/or consultants is…

A lack of a defined company employee as project manager.

In order to realize the full value of teams of outside professionals, careful oversight by company management is essential.  Such oversight helps to ensure that project plans are on track, and that any changes in scope are well-communicated and approved before additional work starts.


Bob HothemBob Hothem

Bob Hothem is the Owner of The Alternative Board franchise in Miami Valley. The Alternative Board (TAB) is the world’s largest provider of executive peer advisory boards servicing over 3,000 business owners worldwide. As a large, global network, TAB is affiliated with an extensive range of business professionals.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Coordination of services.

The key is to get what you pay for but also be certain that there is minimal  overlap. A comprehensive statement of work followed by a scheduled review of progress against deliverables is the key.  Engagements can take on a life of their own which routinely results in cost overruns. Frequent comparisons to the statement of work will help guard against this black hole.


Megan LangleyMegan Langley

Megan Langley is the Director of Marketing at OutMarket, a provider of marketing automation software and services for marketing teams to drive quantifiable results.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Not doing their homework up front.

This mistake can be made at a couple of steps in the process. Before you even start looking for contractors or consultants, fully define the scope of their work. Will it only be project based, are there technical skills required, what are the expected timelines? Decide how you will determine if a consultant has the right skill sets by researching interview questions. The second mistake is often during the interviewing period. Be sure to look for companies and individuals that you trust; Have you worked with them before? Do they come highly recommended? You need to find an agency that matches your communication preferences: weekly meeting, only through email, etc. Managing consultants can be tricky, you need someone that you trust should something go wrong.

Once you’ve decided on contractors or consultants, it’s important to stay involved in the projects along the way. A consultant may have worked in your industry but they don’t know your business like you do, or may only complete the tasks that are requested but won’t think about the big picture. Stay involved in the process so corrections in the project can easily be made along the way. Also be sure to dedicate enough time to communicate expectations, deadlines and timelines to all consultants or contractors.


Toby FarrandToby Farrand

Toby Farrand is the Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Ooma Inc., a consumer telecommunications company based in Palo Alto, California. Mr. Farrand oversees all of Ooma’s technical development, manufacturing and engineering. He has spent over 20 years creating technologically advanced products, from personal computers and video game consoles, to satellite networking systems and home broadband media centers.

I think the key to managing multiple contractors and consultants is to…

Have a clear line of authority for who is responsible for the productivity of the consultants.

I think it is very easy for a consultant to report to no one and everyone, with no one taking direct ownership over whether the company is getting its money’s worth out of every consultant.  Often companies try to control consultant expenses by having them approved at a high level.  Sometimes this extends to having the invoices approved at a high level in the organization.  At Ooma, we do the opposite.  We have the lowest possible person in the organization who is responsible for the consultant sign and approve the invoice.  That person should be keenly aware of the expense and should be paranoid that the company is getting a good deal.


Andrew LouderAndrew Louder

Andrew Louder is a Senior Manager with Jabian Consulting in Dallas, TX. Specializing in vendor management strategies, Andrew has implemented these solutions across multiple industries for technology-driven businesses. Prior to his work at Jabian, Andrew was a strategy consultant with Ernst & Young and KPMG.

The biggest mistake companies make when it comes to managing their contractors or consultants is…

Not implementing a Vendor Management structure for holding them accountable for their performance.

Poorly performing contractors can be crippling to a company’s performance and financials. By implementing a structure that maintains oversight on them, a company can make quick performance adjustments as needed, keep an eye on their forecast vs. actual in spend, and leverage best practices for the procurement of future vendors.

A good Vendor Management structure ensures someone manages the agreed upon contract (Contract Management) and someone manages the vendor’s execution (Execution Management). In Contract Management, you make sure the vendor is meeting their contractual obligations such as milestones and performance metrics. In Execution Management, you make sure the vendor is performing the services they agreed to provide. If the vendor isn’t holding up their end of the deal, it’s time to adjust or terminate. Once this structure is in place, getting the most out of your vendors becomes less of an issue and more of an added benefit.


Ed HerreraEd Herrera

Ed Herrera, APR is the Chief Communications Officer for a business finance firm and Founder of Forage Public Relations.

The biggest mistake companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Not setting specific goals and a timeline for those goals.

While, if managed effectively, the practice of hiring contractors can save a firm thousands of dollars, it can also cost just as much, if not more when there is a breakdown in communication and expectations.  Executives and managers often believe that outlining the problem/opportunity is sufficient for a contractor to work his/her magic.  Yet, they are quite surprised when things do not pan out as envisioned.

It is the responsibility of the executive or manager to understand the problem/opportunity and set goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable. He/she must also set a timeline for these goals to be accomplished by the contractor.

Specific goals accompanied by a realistic timeline encourages accountability. Measurable goals help the manager determine the effectiveness of the contractor’s strategies and tactics.


Kevin JonesKevin Jones

Kevin Jones is Senior Information Security Architect with Thycotic, a security company based in Washington DC. He has over 8 years of experience developing security web applications and working with other development teams on web security. Kevin is also an ASP.NET MVP and ASPInsider, and actively contributes to the community around software security for web development.

One major mistake organizations can make when managing independent contractors is to…

Overlook security permissions on sensitive network assets.

Most contractors are honest, hardworking people who aren’t in the business of theft or espionage, but if they aren’t following your company-wide security policies, their mismanaged access can create risk. Often, contractors are not held to the same security standards as full-time employees. As a result, they can have unfettered access to segments of the enterprise network that they shouldn’t. Don’t forget that Edward Snowden was a government contractor when he helped himself to NSA data. Businesses need to limit privileged credentials assigned to contractors, only allowing them to access what they need to complete their work.

Once a contractor has completed his time at your business, his passwords must be changed immediately, so he no longer has access to those assets. Hackers consistently identify contractors as a prime target for cyberattacks. Further, securing the network perimeter no longer stops at corporate offices. Instead, businesses have to consider the homes and mobile devices of contractors who may work remotely or from the road.


Hussein YahfoufiHussein Yahfoufi

Hussein Yahfoufi is an Entrepreneur and the current VP of Technology & Corporate Services at OneRoof Energy, where he leads software products innovation, development, support and delivery for employees, affiliates, partners, and customers. His team develops the technology to streamline operational processes (reduce costs), support rapidly growing business (scalability) and redefine the solar industry (innovation). He is also the founder of DiamPrice and Appsplit. Learn more about Hussein and his work at his website, www.husseinyahfoufi.com.

I think the biggest mistake you can make when managing multiple contractors is…

Not setting the proper expectations with each contractor and figuring out how each contractor (or consultant) fits into your overall org strategy.

For each consultant on the team you need to make sure there are clear expectations and needs: a contract, what will they work on, how many hours. You need to be clear and understand what each contractor will contribute to your organization and make sure they and your team knows that well – get on the same page as early as possible. Also understand if they are filling in for a full time position or just doing a quick project for you. If you are filling positions that you need for the foreseeable future and you potentially expect to bring them on full time, make sure you have that conversation early to know if they are eligible to work full time, or if they are interested, so there are no surprises in the future when you try to convert them.


David WaringDavid Waring

David Waring is the Co-Founder of FitSmallBusiness.com, a site that provides in depth how to guides for small business owners.

The biggest mistake I have seen companies make when managing multiple contractors and consultants is…

Not defining upfront what a successful outcome looks like for the project they are working on.

Just as with employees contractors and consultants need to be managed and that means agreeing ahead of time what a successful outcome looks like, what tasks will be needed to reach that outcome, and then demanding accountability for the agreed upon plan.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Three Lifestyle Advantages of Being a Consultant http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/26/three-lifestyle-advantages-consultant/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/26/three-lifestyle-advantages-consultant/#respond Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:50:44 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23335 Many people left the corporate sector each year to become consultants due to the many financial benefits associated with self-employment. There are also several lifestyle advantages to consulting. 1. Balance: Attempting... Read More

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Flexibility Life StyleMany people left the corporate sector each year to become consultants due to the many financial benefits associated with self-employment. There are also several lifestyle advantages to consulting.

1. Balance: Attempting to find a balance between work and family is a common struggle for anyone working in the corporate world. When you work for yourself, you get to decide which projects to accept and which to pass on. Becoming a consultant can provide the freedom to continue earning a paycheck while carving out more family time. This can be a necessity for parents unable to find affordable childcare or caregivers responsible for their aging parents.

2. Freedom: Along the same lines, consultants have the flexibility and freedom to concentrate on projects that are fulfilling. For instance, consultants can define their code of ethics by choosing to work with companies and products that they feel strongly about. In addition, consultants have the freedom to schedule projects according to their own schedule. If a consultant wants to work several weeks in a row and then take a couple of weeks off, they can make it work.

3. Diversity: Consulting can also be intellectually stimulating, offering endless ways to explore new challenges and ideas. Consultants often participate in various community networking groups where they can build new professional relationships and discover potential opportunities.

Although there is always some risk to building your own business, the lifestyle advantages can be very tempting. When starting out, many people choose to consult on a part-time basis on the side so as not to lose the safety associated with a regular salary.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Inquiry Roundup- Construction Engineering http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/23/inquiry-roundup-construction-engineering/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/23/inquiry-roundup-construction-engineering/#respond Fri, 23 Jan 2015 22:27:21 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23322 Freelance Highway In UK We are looking Freelance Highway Consultant Required Region: United Kingdom We are looking for a qualified highway professional to complete freelance highways work related to the... Read More

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constructionFreelance Highway In UK

We are looking Freelance Highway Consultant Required

Region: United Kingdom

We are looking for a qualified highway professional to complete freelance highways work related to the planning & construction industry. Over the past few years, our planning consultancy has grown dramatically, we recently started to offer Highways & Transport services and are now looking for the right persons to join our team on a freelance basis. We provide the flexibility for you to work how, where and when you like but with the full administrative support normally provided by a traditional property consultancy.

Desired Skills & Experience:
Our projects require experience in both residential & commercial development for developers and individuals. Candidates are required to hold recognised qualifications and have at least three years proven experience in the development sector.
View Inquiry

Brewery Plant Construction

I work for a prominent expert network working in partnership with Zintro. We would like to connect with multiple experts on behalf of our client. Specifically, we are looking for the following: Experts with experience in the EPC space. But more specifically, with Brewery plant construction projects.

Please respond back with your current/ recent employment history, contact info, region and relevant experience for this engagement.
View Inquiry 

Construction Management

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am Senior analyst with a premier global provider of customized procurement intelligence services specializing in sourcing, supply chain visibility, financial risk analysis, and green procurement. Some of our customers are the largest in the world, including over 70 of the Fortune 500. We enable client decisions worth over US $25 B in procurement spend globally.

We’ve been engaged by our client, a leading pharmaceutical company to understand market dynamics & procurement best practices in the construction management (project control) services with regard to capital construction services .

We are currently seeking support from key, industry leading subject matter experts/consultants for fee-based primary interview & discussion for the following areas.
1. Best Contract Practices for Project Control Services – Pricing model,contract duration, KPIs.
2. Case Studies for Project Control Services – Competitors/Peer Approaches.
3. Billing Rates for Project Control Professionals like Control Engineer, Scheduler, Quantity Surveyor,etc (Globally).

I write this email to request your participation in this engagement. As a follow-up to this request, we would be happy to give you a call to take you the key research questions and clarify any queries that you might have.

We appreciate your interest & look forward to your response by 21st Jan, 2015. Thank you.
View Inquiry

Airport Hanger Construction

Do ICAO and FAA provide any guideline in how to design and build aircraft hangars? I have a project of designing a civil airline hangar. Just want to make sure I adhere to the international standard in doing this project….
View Inquiry 

Click here to see other live Construction Industry projects
Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Social Media Strategies for Consultants: Facebook http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/21/social-media-strategies-consultants-facebook/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/21/social-media-strategies-consultants-facebook/#respond Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:33:03 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23303 Social media is an important platform for consultants because it allows you to market and promote your services online while also engaging with an audience. However, before setting up your... Read More

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facebook-257829_640Social media is an important platform for consultants because it allows you to market and promote your services online while also engaging with an audience. However, before setting up your first profile, it is important to consider the benefits and challenges of becoming involved with each of the social networking sites. We will examine the value of several of the top sites, starting with the largest of them all–Facebook. With over 1.23 billion active users, a Facebook presence can be an essential factor in building a successful consulting business.

 

1. Develop a Facebook Page

According to the site’s terms of service, you need to create a Facebook Page in order to promote a business because Profiles are for individuals only. Include a link to your website in the “About” section, along with a 2-3 sentence description of your business. And remember, people need a way to find you. Make your Page publicly visible in the Privacy Settings.

2. Make it Relevant

The best way to promote your services is by providing quality content to your followers. Start a blog on your website and post a link to your Facebook Page when there is a new post. If you don’t have a lot of time to write, post links to relevant articles by experts in the field. And it only takes a few minutes to post a daily tip. No matter what content you post, always encourage followers to share it with others.

3. Promote, Promote, Promote

For your Page to be most effective, you need to do a little work. There are numerous ways to promote your page, including the following:

Build a community: Join groups and get in on the conversation. If you can’t find a group, start your own.

Advertise your services: Record client testimonials and post them on your Page. It doesn’t cost anything and will help spread the word about how great your services are.

Solicit feedback: Ask questions and always respond to feedback. If you receive a comment, reply right away.  You can even promote a contest that requires followers to post a comment.

Your Facebook Page should reflect your personality while appearing professional. A well-managed Facebook Page can attract potential clients and establish an expert reputation.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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How Do Consultants Know When to Hire Help? http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/19/consultants-know-hire-help/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/19/consultants-know-hire-help/#respond Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:02:24 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23296 When you first start to build a business as a consultant, it’s possible to handle all of the administrative tasks on your own. However, as your business grows and you... Read More

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virtual assistantWhen you first start to build a business as a consultant, it’s possible to handle all of the administrative tasks on your own. However, as your business grows and you become more successful, you will need help. Over the past several years, virtual assistants have become indispensable for consultants and small business owners by providing administrative or technical assistance remotely. So how do you know when you’re business has reached the point where it’s time to hire?

The easiest way to determine whether your business would benefit from a virtual assistant is by monitoring the amount of time you spend on administrative tasks. Then consider the cost of hiring an assistant versus the cost of spending your own time performing these tasks. If you continue to take care of administrative tasks on your own, will you cut into time you should be spending on client projects? Will you even have the energy to get income generating projects finished after taking care of everything else?

If you do need help, a virtual assistant is generally the most cost effective solution. There are several ways to find potential candidates.

  • Ask other consultants for a referral
  • Hire through a virtual assistant firm
  • Post your project on an online bidding site
  • Place an ad on Craigslist

Rates can vary widely so be prepared to do your research. Don’t look for the cheapest virtual assistant because unfortunately the adage is true–you often get what you pay for.  It’s more important to find someone with good references and a comprehensive work history.

Hiring Freelancers and Independent Contractors

Hiring a virtual assistant can strengthen your business, but there are other areas where you can benefit from help too.  For example, you may want to consider hiring an accountant, especially if you don’t have the time to invoice clients. Accountants charge hourly or per project. Many consultants also hire graphic designers to set up their websites and writers to produce content on a per project basis.

It can be tempting to hire more help than you actually need but be sure to start out slow. Managing employees takes practice. You can always add people to your team later on.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Inquiry Roundup- Biotechnology http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/16/inquiry-roundup-biotechnology/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/16/inquiry-roundup-biotechnology/#respond Fri, 16 Jan 2015 22:39:18 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23282 Biotechnology Hi. I work for a prominent expert network working in partnership with Zintro. We would like to source multiple experts on behalf of an institutional investor. We would like... Read More

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biotechnology-email-listBiotechnology

Hi. I work for a prominent expert network working in partnership with Zintro. We would like to source multiple experts on behalf of an institutional investor. We would like to source experts with experience in biotechnology, specifically technologies to produce chemicals for Sugars and / or fragrances. Ideally the expert can discuss in detail the process of creating terpenoids using bacteria……
View Inquiry

Asia Pharma

Marketing professionals who have experience in pharma, biotechnology and biomedical  related industry in India, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan/Hong Kong and can search and bring exhibitors and sponsors companies for an international biomedical congress which will be held in EU in September. (on commission basis)……
View Inquiry

Biotechnology

We are a global biotech company (headquarter in north California), looking for a qualified consultant
Qualifications:
– PhD with 15+ years experience and background in biotechnological company and global sustainability, extensive global experience for growth and deployment.
– Focused Hematology/oncology with experience in working with the scientific team, and investors
– Ability to proactively identify and solve problems and execute on initiatives
– Demonstrated ability to assess business needs, design and implement programs and evaluate results
– International traveling is required
View Inquiry

Click here to see other live Biotechnology Industry projects
Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Great Places to Work When You’re Tired of Working from Home: Coffee Shops http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/15/great-places-work-youre-tired-working-home-coffee-shops/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/15/great-places-work-youre-tired-working-home-coffee-shops/#respond Thu, 15 Jan 2015 22:20:17 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23270 This series covers several places consultants and freelancers can work productively. Last month we looked at coworking spaces. This post examines the benefits of working from a local coffee shop.... Read More

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coffee shopThis series covers several places consultants and freelancers can work productively. Last month we looked at coworking spaces. This post examines the benefits of working from a local coffee shop.

It seems as if office workers have always flocked to coffee shops during break time, but over the past decade the coffee shop has become the office environment for many people. Walk into any popular coffee shop on a weekday morning and you are bound to see freelancers sitting in front of open laptops– coffee cups sitting nearby. What’s the lure?

Fewer distractions. Sure, a busy coffee shop can be noisy. But when compared to the distractions that come from working at home there is no contest. At a coffee shop, there are no personal interruptions and it is much more difficult to procrastinate than when you are sitting on your living room couch. Choose a table outside of the traffic flow and bring a set of headphones and you can manage the background noise nicely.

Socialization. Being surrounded by productivity helps many freelancers stay on task. When you need a break, social contact is only a table away. Plus, when chatting with other customers, you may find someone who has just the skills you lack–a graphic artist to help with your website, a writer to handle your content needs. Networking can also get the word out about your own services. You may end up booking a client or two.

Caffeine and free Wi-Fi. One of the biggest benefits of working from a coffee shop is the…coffee! Always order something when taking up a table. When you need a refill, the barista is right there waiting for you. After a bit she won’t even have to ask your name. And now that free Wi-Fi is available just about everywhere, you can work online just as easily as offline.

Working from home can be isolating. A coffee shop is the ideal location for people who need to be “in the thick of things” to get their work done. A word of advice before staking out your spot—don’t forget your power cord.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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51 Useful Tools for Conducting Market Research http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/13/50-useful-tools-conducting-market-research/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/13/50-useful-tools-conducting-market-research/#respond Tue, 13 Jan 2015 23:47:53 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=22225 Market research is a key component to any business’ growth and success. Without it, organizations waste time, energy, and resources hoping that their brand, product, and message is reaching the... Read More

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Market research is a key component to any business’ growth and success. Without it, organizations waste time, energy, and resources hoping that their brand, product, and message is reaching the right people in the right way at the right time. And, technology now plays a huge part in the market research, not just because it is the only way to truly collect and analyze big data, but also because so many consumers to take the internet and social media to search, purchase, and review products and companies.

With all of the online market research tools available, and with so little time to research the tools themselves, business professionals and organizations often do not know where to turn to find the best tools for their needs. So, we have taken the pressure off by searching for the most efficient, useful, easy to use and understand, and cost effective market research tools available. And, we have listed them here, in no particular order.

1. Zintro
@Zintro

Zintro500px

Connecting with a leading industry expert who specializes in your area of focus is an excellent starting point for conducting market research. Not only do these specialty consultants know their industries inside and out, many know every possible source of data related to their areas of expertise and can compile reports with industry data or advise you on market-dependent decisions. Zintro is the leading platform for finding highly specialized subject-matter experts with skills and expertise in every niche industry imaginable. Easily post projects, contact subject-matter experts directly, and conduct business with them via the Zintro platform.

Key Features:

  • Find experts for projects, phone consultations, and jobs
  • Smart matching algorithm to quickly find the most qualified experts
  • Nearly 165,000 subject-matter experts with specialized industry expertise
  • Find consultants, industry experts, scientists, and more

Cost:

  • Zintro is free for both Clients and Experts
  • Premium plans offer a way to highlight your experience and increase your probabilities of success
    • Applies to both Clients and Experts
    • Unlimited responses, Highlighted profile and inquiries, Contact any Expert Directly, Expedited Customer Support
  • Connection fee: 15% of fees paid to Experts (minimum of $99.95 waived if Client or Expert is Premium)

2. SurveyMonkey
@SurveyMonkey

Survey Monkey

Getting to know your market and audience is sometimes as simple as a powerful survey. SurveyMonkey is known for being “the leader in online surveys,” and with its safe and secure data, SurveyMonkey API, and fast and friendly support, SurveyMonkey is a great choice for a market research tool.

Key Features:

  • 15 question types
  • Custom branding
  • Create interactive surveys with skip logic and question piping
  • Reach the right people with SurveyMonkey Audience
  • Survey templates meet Section 508 accessibility standards

Cost:

  • Basic: FREE – 10 questions, 100 responses, standard email support
  • Select: $26/month or $228/year – 1000 responses, unlimited questions and responses, priority 24/7 email support, custom logos, colors & more, skip logic, cross-tab filters, export data & reports
  • Gold: $300/year – all Select features, plus A/B testing, question & answer piping, and randomization
  • Platinum: $780/year – all Gold features, plus white label surveys, phone support, and HIPAA-compliant features

3. AYTM
@AskYTM

AYTM

David Handel and Lev Mazin founded Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) “to provide all types and sizes of companies easy and affordable access to professional quality market research.” Businesspeople and organizations choose AYTM for their market research tool because it is known as being “better, faster, and cheaper.”

Key Features:

  • Custom prequalification questions for precise targeting
  • Video questions and responses
  • 10 traits supplied with each respondent
  • Live support 24/7/365
  • Turnaround prediction

Cost:

  • FREE – Create an account and use the DIY Survey Tools with your list without limitations
  • $0.95 and up: Pay-as-you-go and get an instant quote – With AYTM’s panel
  • $999 and up: Let AYTM experts do your study for you

4. Google Trends
@GSearchTrends

Google Trends

Google Trends is a free, public service offered by Google, Inc. Based on Google Search, Google Trends show how frequently search terms are entered in relation to the total search volume in various regions of the world, and in various languages. Google Trends may not be a traditional market research tool, but it offers very valuable information for what people are searching and want to know.

Key Features:

  • Subscribe to get Trends email alerts for topics of interest to you
  • Explore trends
  • Compare search topics, search terms, locations, and time ranges

Cost: FREE

5. Social Mention

Social Mention

Providing real-time social media search and analysis, Social Mention monitors more than 80 social media sites and “aggregates user generated content from across the web into a single stream of information.” Social Mention is a great choice for a market research tool because it determines the strength, sentiment, passion, and reach for your brand.

Key Features:

  • Provides point-in-time social media search and analysis
  • Daily social media alerts
  • Provides a third-party API
  • Monitors the most popular social media sources, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, and more

Cost: FREE

6. BizStats

BizStats

Brought to you by BizMiner, BizStats is a leading free source for small business statistics. By collecting and adding value to public data, BizStats provides the information small businesses and their leaders need to know in a format that is easy to read and understand. This market research tool provides “the latest available IRS financial information in a useful, readable format.”

Key Features:

  • Customize reports with input values
  • Discover useful industry statistics, such as Cost of Labor: Cost of Goods Sold, Small Business Rent as a % of Sales, and others
  • Profitability-Risk Reports

Cost: FREE

7. Topsy
@Topsy

Topsy

A real-time search engine, Topsy is powered by the social web and indexes and ranks search results based on influential conversations people have about specific terms, topics, pages, or domains. Topsy serves as a powerful market research tool because it helps business professionals analyze billions of conversations, determine breaking news, and get instant results. Plus, Topsy delivers competitive insight.

Key Feature:

  • Full-scale index of the public social web
  • Instantly analyze any topic, term, or hashtag over years of conversations
  • Get exact counts for any term, instantly
  • Determine the most influential Twitter users for any topic
  • Measure the exposure of any event or campaign

Cost:

  • FREE – standard insight available to the public on the web
  • Topsy Pro: Contact for a quote – sentiment scores for Twitter usernames, keywords, etc.

8. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.gov)
@SBAgov

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.gov)

For official information on small businesses in each of the 50 states, the U.S. Small Business Administration is a very useful market research tool. The site also offers Sizeup, a tool that helps you compare your business “by benchmarking it against competitors, mapping your customers, competitors and suppliers, and locating the best place to advertise.”

Key Features:

  • State and national-level data and limited data on U.S. territories
  • Great detail provided about small businesses on the state level
  • Discover number of firms, demographics of business ownership, small business income, and more
  • Get detailed historical data in the Small Business Economy

Cost: FREE

9. Sysomos
@Sysomos

Sysomos

Sysomos provides social media monitoring and analytics solutions for brands, businesses, and agencies. Use this market research tool to get the social intelligence and insight you need to make the best decisions possible.

Key Features:

  • Instant and unlimited access to all social media conversations
  • Get meaning from the tone of conversations and advanced sentiment analysis by gender, age, and location
  • Collects data from blogs, Twitter, social networks, message boards, wikis, and major news sources and integrates it into one intuitive user interface
  • Two available solutions – Media Analysis Platform (MAP) or Heartbeat

Cost: Contact for a quote

10. Viralheat
@viralheat

Viralheat

Viralheat helps enterprise businesses to put the power of the social web to work for them, so that they can discover important information about customers to build meaningful relationships across multiple social networks. Viralheat is an invaluable market research tool, as it enables enterprise businesses “to monitor, create, publish, or analyze its social activities.”

Key Features:

  • Frequently updating and adding new features
  • LinkedIn Reports
  • Campaigns with customized tracking codes
  • Approval chains to create custom flows
  • com, Zendesk, Foursquare, and Tumblr integration
  • Flexible Reporting

Cost: Contact for a quote

11. GutCheck
@gutcheckit

GutCheck

GutCheck is a market research tool that provides organizations with powerful consumer insights to help increase profits and advertisement effectiveness. With its “full-service, worldwide team … of online market research experts,” GutCheck is a reliable market research team for business professionals.

Key Features:

  • Concept, copy, and package screening and refinement
  • Agile Instant Research Communities (IRC) and Agile In-Depth Interviews (IDI)
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Product Offerings
  • Prescriptive answers in just days

Cost: Contact for a quote

12. ZoomProspector
@ZoomProspector

ZoomProspector

Often, knowing where to locate your business is one of the most difficult decisions facing companies. With ZoomProspector, a unique market research tool dedicated to finding the right location for companies, you can rest easy knowing that you have located in the prime location for your business and profits to grow.

Key Features:

  • Online mapping technology to search and display locations that exactly match companies’ needs
  • Objectively identifies optimal communities for businesses based on consistent, third-party data
  • Uses matchmaking technology to connect businesses with communities for economic relationships

Cost: FREE

13. Buzzsumo
@BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo

Users choose Buzzsumo for their market research tool because it is quick and easy to use. Buzzsumo analyzes content for any topic or competitor and determines the key influencers to promote your content.

Key Features:

  • Run detailed analysis reports on the most shared content across all social networks
  • Find influencers and review the content they share and amplify
  • Get content alerts about mentions of your keyword or when an author or competitor publishes new content
  • Track competitors’ content and conduct detailed comparisons

Cost: Free trial for 14 days

  • FREE – single user, 2 alerts/500 mentions
  • Pro: $99/month – 5 users, 15 alerts/20,000 mentions, exportable data, content analysis and domain reports
  • Agency: $299/month – 10 users, 50 alerts/100,000 mentions, and all Pro features
  • Enterprise: $499+/month – unlimited users, unlimited alerts, exportable data and reports, custom support and setup

14. FedStats

FedStats

With FedStats, users have the opportunity to “access the full range of official statistical information produced by the Federal Government without having to know in advance which Federal agency produces which particular statistic.” From a market research tool standpoint, FedStats provides a quick and easy way to determine business and economic trends and other important market information.

Key Features:

  • Convenient searching and linking capabilities to more than 100 agencies
  • Data and trend information on economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, farm production, and more
  • One location offers the full breadth of Federal statistical information
  • Search by Topics A-Z, Agency, press releases, and MapStats

Cost: FREE

15. SurveyGizmo
@SurveyGizmo

SurveyGizmo

Sometimes, survey software is too complicated and time consuming to be useful. SurveyGizmo seeks to solve that by making even the most complex surveys easy to build, so it is a sought-after market research tool solution.

Key Features:

  • Questions range from basic multiple choice to advanced analysis like Likert Scale and Net Promoter Score
  • Complete brand and design control
  • Insightful reporting & data analysis
  • Advanced survey logic and branching
  • Survey distribution and data collection
  • Real-time actions and triggers

Cost: All plans come with phone and email support – yes, even the free plan

  • FREE – 50 responses per month, basic questions types and reporting
  • Solo: $15/month – unlimited responses, over 400 features, dozens of question types, real month billing
  • Basic: $35/month – all Solo features, plus logic, actions & piping, theme customization, 10,000 emails/month, 5 users
  • Professional: $75/month – all Basic features, plus advanced reporting, unlimited emails, custom branded links, data cleaning tools, data encryption, 10 users
  • Enterprise: $199/month – all Pro features, plus team & user permissions, HIPAA compliance, website intercept surveys, survey tester collaboration, create custom question types, 25 users

16. Social Searcher
@facebook_search

Social Searcher

While Social Searcher is a social media search engine, it is not your typical market research tool. Besides allowing users to search for content in social networks in real time, Social Searcher also provides deep analytics data and allows users to search without logging in for publicly posted information on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, saves searches, and sets up email alerts.

Key Features:

  • Save social mentions history
  • Export data
  • API integration
  • Advanced analytics
  • Immediate email notifications

Cost:

  • FREE – 2 email alerts
  • Basic: 3.49 €/ Month – 3 email alerts, 3 monitorings, 3000 posts/month
  • Standard: 49 €/ Month – 5 email alerts, 5 monitorings, 20,000 posts/month
  • Professional: 49 €/ Month – 10 email alerts, 10 monitorings, 100,000 posts/month

17. AcclaimIP Patent Analysis Software
@FPOCommunity

AcclaimIP Patent Analysis Software

Patent research is a very defined niche within market research, and one of the best tools we’ve found to help business professionals in this area is from Free Patents Online (FPO) IP Research & Communities. AcclaimIP Patent Analysis Software makes it possible to move away from the slow, challenging traditional software and into meaningful insights and actionable data available quickly with AcclaimIP.

Key Features:

  • Web application that looks and feels like a desktop or workspace area
  • Grids allow users to quickly analyze data along more than 40 dimensions
  • Powered by an enhanced version of the hyper-fast Catalyst Engine to make it lightning fast
  • Scalable and feature-rich as a true enterprise application

Cost: FREE trial available

  • Bronze Edition: Contact for a quote – all search and data collection features, forward & revers citation counts, claim and inventor counts, images, chart visualizations, and more
  • Silver Edition: Contact for a quote – all Bronze Edition features, plus additional data, additional visualizations, additional advanced features and collaboration, and more
  • Gold Edition: Contact for a quote – all Silver Edition features, plus additional analytics fields, one-click report, and even more advanced features and collaboration

18. Hoover’s
@Hoovers

Hoovers

Hoover’s provides data on more than 85 million corporations, 100 million people, and 1,000 industries. With that much data, Hoover’s industry reports are incredible valuable as market research tools to business professionals.

Key Features:

  • Easy-to-read reports
  • Reports completed by industry experts who continuously research and update business information
  • Get insight into your market and customers from a trusted, reliable source

Cost:

  • Industry Reports from First Research: $129 – in-depth background on industries, industry-specific context and relevant questions, challenges and opportunities facing your next prospect’s business
  • Company Reports: $29-$99 – up-to-date intelligence to prepare for sales calls, close business deals, and better understand customers with high-quality and easy-to-digest reports
  • IT Spotlight Reports: $300 – Reports specifically for high-tech companies, insights on IT strategy, software, and platforms, list of IT leaders
  • Competitive Landscape Reports: $69 – facts necessary to position your company’s products and services to sell, competitive benchmarks, strategies, and company information

19. United States Census Bureau – Economic Statistics
@uscensusbureau

United States Census Bureau

Most people know about the U.S. Census for the population, but some don’t know about the bureau’s economic census for every industry, which occurs every five years. Especially useful to business professionals and organizations are the statistics and economic indicators that result from the census: they are great market research tools to see trends and market information in five-year stretches.

Key Features:

Cost: FREE

20. CEOExpress

CEO Express

Described as “the Executive’s Internet,” CEOExpress is edited by a business peer who understands that executives don’t have the time to obtain all of the information necessary for them to conduct business. CEOExpress boils down the plethora of information available online for the C-suite to 20% of the most critical and useful information. As a market research tool, CEOExpress delivers content that is easily accessible and of the utmost importance for executives.

Key Features:

  • Filters and organizes content executives need
  • Streamlined and efficient interface
  • Email, stock quotes, headline news, and customization

Cost:

  • CEOExpress: FREE
  • CEOExpressSelect: $6.95/month or $29/year – personal links, RSS news, weather and finance centers, virus-free email, customizable search boxes, and more

21. U.S. Copyright Office
@CopyrightOffice

U.S. Copyright Office

Anyone in business knows the importance of copyrights, and nobody does copyrights better or knows more about them than the United States Copyright Office. While it may not be the first place business professionals look for a market research tool, the U. S. Copyright Office offers online resources and search functions to provide information about existing copyrights, to help businesses protect themselves and to prevent other businesses from committing copyright infringement while growing their business.

Key Features:

  • Search records
  • Record a document
  • Register a copyright
  • Request a search estimate

Cost: Most online services are free, though there are fees associated with registering a copyright and requesting specific searches – contact for a quote

22. LimeSurvey
@LimeSurvey

LimeSurvey

Standing out from the rest of the online survey pack is LimeSurvey, an open source survey application. This is a great market research tool for smaller companies and those just starting out, as it is offered for use free of charge, yet provides a vast list of features to conduct surveys to grow your profits and business.

Key Features:

  • Unlimited number of surveys at the same time
  • Unlimited number of questions in a survey
  • Unlimited number of survey participants
  • 28 different question types
  • Open and closed group of participant surveys
  • Integration of pictures and movies into a survey

Cost: FREE

23. uSamp
@uSamp

uSamp

The people behind uSamp are market research experts, and they have a true affinity for technology, sample science, insights, and everything else they offer their clients to help them navigate their own market research. They pride themselves on being “a technology company that serves the market research industry,” but they are a great source of market research for organizations.

Key Features:

  • Automated sampling solutions allow users to specify, price, and populate research studies with qualified respondents who match the criteria
  • SampleMarket next-generation market research panel software platform
  • Seamless API integration with SampleMarket API
  • Mobile market research solutions uSamp Mobile In-Home and Mobile In-Store

Cost: Contact for quotes

24. trendwatching.com
@trendwatching

trendwatching.com

Trendwatching.com works to help organizations and business professionals understand today’s consumer and discover “compelling, profitable innovation opportunities.” Trendwatching offers both free publications and paid services to help businesses use market research to its fullest potential.

Key Features:

  • Popular Trend Briefings provide information in a format similar to blog posts
  • Email subscription
  • Regional trend bulletins
  • Premium service provides added features including a searchable database of trends by keyword and articles available in Powerpoint format

Cost:

  • Standard: $179/month or $2148 billed annually – 1 key user + 4 bonus users in your direct team, trend framework, 2015 trend report, innovations database, ready-made PPTs, apply toolkit, interactive tools, and more
  • Large Team: $359/month or $4308 billed annually – up to 15 users, all Standard features
  • Trusted Trend Partner: Contact for a quote – all Standard features, plus intranet sharing, custom research reports, in-house trend session, and custom apply workshop

25. KwikSurveys

KwikSurveys

KwikSurveys is a great market research tool because it is designed to be used by people of all experience levels. An online survey builder, KwikSurveys allows organizations to gain access to consumers through their own answers.

Key Features:

  • Works with all social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more
  • Build surveys and conduct Kwik Polls, including video polls
  • Unlimited questions and responses
  • Totally customizable
  • Full results export
  • SSL encryption

Cost:

  • FREE
  • Enterprise: Contact for a quote – email invitations, group and team support, survey and quiz result comparison, 99.9% SLA

26. Klout
@klout

Klout

Klout seeks to help organizations reach consumers on social media in a trusted, reliable way. Companies don’t have time to spend figuring out who the influencers are and reaching them with their brand, so Klout works to build earned media into their social media plans for them. As a market research tool, Klout is the research and solution in one.

Key Features:

  • Direct access to millions of influencers with unparalleled trust and reach
  • Compelling content about your brand shared on social media
  • Branded social content delivered at 1/5 the cost of other channels

Cost: Contact for a quote

27. Buzz Bundle Social Media Management
@buzz_bundle

Buzz Bundle Social Media Management

Buzz Bundle ranks among the top SMM tools on the market, alongside HootSuite and others, But, Buzz Bundle is the social media marketing (SMM) tool that brings the most desired tools and features from various SMM tools into one central place.

Key Features:

  • Track across the most popular social media sources – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and more
  • Separate personas allow you to act as different people or groups
  • Customizable working area
  • Proxy usage to hide actual location

Cost:

  • FREE: Save history of social communications for the first 15 days, track 70% of mentions for the first 15 days and 30% of mentions after 15 days, 10 keyword groups to track mentions, 100 keywords per project, 2 personas, and more
  • Professional: $199 – Save history of social communications, track all brand mentions, unlimited personas, all of the FREE features, plus unlimited number of LinkedIn posts to schedule, unlimited number of Facebook posts to schedule, and more
  • Enterprise: Contact for a quote – all of the Professional features, plus 20 keyword groups to track mentions, 200 keywords per object, social media management reports, reports in PDF and HTML, and save, email, or publish reports to the web 

28. SmallBusiness.com WIKI – State Profiles
@smallbusiness

SmallBusiness.com WIKI - State Profiles

For information about small businesses, in terms of economic condition, across the United States, including each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories, SmallBusiness.com WIKI is the place to start. The demographic sections available in each state profile are sure to help anyone interested in market research by location.

Key Features:

  • Number of firms
  • Industry composition
  • Small business income
  • Banking
  • Woman and minority business ownership
  • Employment

Cost: FREE

29. Key Survey
@WorldAPP

Key SurveyKey Survey’s Survey Software provides custom solutions for large enterprises. Organizations choose Key Survey over other online survey tools because they “will develop a completely integrated data collection application tailored to your specific business process needs.” Key Survey is a market research tool customized for each of its clients.

Key Features:

  • Tabbed surveys for easier respondent navigation
  • Score calculations
  • Logical CSS for custom styling
  • Predictive Text Input
  • Custom user portals
  • Solution specific plug-ins
  • Survey integration

Cost: Contact for a quote – Free trial for 30 days

30. Brand Gauge
@brandgauge

Brand GaugeAn online market research tool for collecting social media metrics, Brand Gauge saves companies time because they no longer have to manually monitor social media statistics. With Brand Gauge, organizations get a plethora of metrics for websites and social media platforms to increase brand value, online sales, and drive their social media strategy.

Key Features:

  • Use a range of search channels to find content
  • Collect social media metrics from websites and social media platforms
  • Customize dashboards
  • Import, export and share data
  • Create social media alerts and reports

Cost: FREE

31. TweetReach
@tweetreachapp

TweetReach

With so many organizations turning to Twitter for business updates and outreach, a tool to measure tweets’ effectiveness is a must. TweetReach is a market research tool that helps organizations to see the reach and effectiveness of their tweets with detailed metrics.

Key Features:

  • Snapshot reports cover any topics you’re not already tracking
  • Trackers analyze and archive new and future tweets for unlimited time
  • Premium historical analytics is an available option
  • Supports modern versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 9+
  • No long-term contract – upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time

Cost:

  • TweetReach Pro Mini: $84/month – 1 tracker, 100,000 tweets, 1 seat, email support
  • TweetReach Pro Basic: $149/month – 3 trackers, 200,000 tweets, 2 seats, email support
  • TweetReach Pro Plus: $324/month – 6 trackers, 500,000 tweets, 3 seats, phone support, API access
  • TweetReach Pro Premium: $549/month – 10 trackers, 1,000,000 tweets, 5 seats, phone support, API access
  • TweetReach Pro Max: $899/month – 20 trackers, 2,000,000 tweets, 10 seats, account manager, API access
  • TweetReach Enterprise plans – contact for a quote
  • Historical Analytics: Starts at $199 – tweets posted in the past 7 years, unlimited tweet volume, one-time purchase
  • Snapshot Reports
    • FREE – see detailed Twitter engagement and reach metrics on recent tweets, analyze the most recent 50 tweets about any term
    • $20 – get detailed metrics with the full snapshot report for up to 1,500 tweets from the past 1-7 days; perfect for short-term events, lower volume topics, and baseline measurement

32. Mention
@Mention

Mention

Mention, the aptly named real-time media monitoring application, helps organizations with market research because it makes monitoring millions of sources possible. With Mention, organizations can see what’s being said on both the web and social media and react quickly, through collaboration and analysis.

Key Features:

  • Monitor sources in 42 languages to know everything that is being published on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs, and any web page
  • Connect social accounts to alerts and react without leaving the application
  • Export statistics in PDF and mentions in PDF, CSV, XLS, and TSV
  • Access Mention from anywhere with a single interface on every device (iPhone/iPad, Android, Chrome, Mac OS X, Linus, and Windows)
  • Get real-time alerts via push notifications

Cost: FREE trial for 14 days

  • Basic: FREE – 1 alert, 250 mentions/month, 1 user
  • Starter: $29/month – 3 alerts, 3,000 mentions/month, 3 users
  • Growth: $99/month – 5 alerts, 10,000 mentions/month, 5 users, analytics
  • Company: $299/month – 10 alerts, 50,000 mentions/month, 10 users, analytics, and data export
  • Enterprise: contact for a quote – customize to fit your organization

33. Spoke
@spokesoftware

Spoke

With Spoke, business professionals are able to “create user-friendly profiles of companies and people in a smooth and organized process that replaces existing inefficient data gathering techniques.” Profiles are shared, so that users are able to interact and collaborate to create relevant insights about people, companies, industries, and trends. This is market research driven by the people in the business.

Key Features:

  • A diverse set of tools to enter, review, and edit company information, executive profiles, news, and more
  • A new model of data-sourcing, aggregation, and community involvement
  • Provides a 360-degree view of a company and its people, eliminating the need to Google all of the information you need on a company
  • Moderation platform provides oversight to ensure the community-provided content is appropriate without customer support issues

Cost: FREE

34. CrowdRatio
@crowdratio

CrowdRatio

With CrowdRatio, organizations get the best of both the business intelligence and advanced analytics worlds. Discover strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities with this market research tool.

Key Features:

  • See your best publications in terms of likes, comments, shares, and retweets
  • Weekly engagement charts show you the best day and hour to post and tweet
  • Analytics for your personal Facebook account
  • Discover who your most influential followers are

Cost: $4.99/month – FREE trial for 60 days

35. Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
@KauffmanFDN

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, and among the largest private U.S. foundations with its asset base of approximately $2 billion, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation seeks “to foster a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens in their communities.” Their research provides insight into the things that drive innovation and economic growth in an entrepreneurial world, which business professionals and organizations find useful as another tool in their market research toolbox.

Key Features:

  • Browse by entrepreneurship
  • Narrow browsing results by issue, including entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneur demographics, and others
  • The Key Issues tab offers information on the most pressing topics in business, finance, and entrepreneurial

Cost: FREE

36. FreeLunch.com
@dismalscientist

FreeLunch.com

Provided by Moody’s Analytics, Free Lunch offers an easy-to-use interface that allows users to download financial and economic data from a wide range of reliable sources. Because Moody’s Analytics employs a team of economists, its market research tool helps business organizations, especially those in capital markets and credit risk management, with its comprehensive and extensive historical and forecast data.

Key Features:

  • Offers data, analysis, modeling and forecasts on national and regional economies, financial markets, and credit risk
  • Covers more than 180 countries, over 150 global metro areas, all 50 states, metro areas, and counties
  • Database contains more than 200 million economic, financial, demographic and consumer credit time series, with 10 million added every year

Cost: FREE

37. Economics & Statistics Administration

Economics & Statistics Administration

As part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Economics & Statistics Administration releases Economic Indicators. These 12 monthly and quarterly Principal Federal Economic Indicators are collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). For business professionals, these indicators a key factor in making decisions each and every day.

Key Features:

  • The Secretary and ESA’s Undersecretary and Chief Economist add public comments to the indicators
  • The indicators are put into a national and global economic context
  • Additional economic data is released from time to time in connection with the Economic Indicators at the Census Bureau Economic Indicators page and the BEA Current Releases page

Cost: FREE

38. University of California San Diego Library
@UCSanDiego

University of California San Diego Library

The Library at the University of California San Diego has made several resources for market research available online. Visitors to the site may browse by subject links or click to ask a librarian for more specific help. Sometimes, the best research is still found in a traditional library, even if users access it in a nontraditional way.

Key Features:

  • Business topics
  • Economic topics
  • Links to helpful information about the library itself, including the “Find Your Subject Librarian” link

Cost: FREE

39. NAICS Identification Tools
@NAICSCode

NAICS Identification Tools

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Association provides business data enhancement services, including NAICS Code appends, B2B and consumer marketing lists, and more. NAICS offers a wide range of products and services, and some of its best marketing research tools are completely free.

Key Features:

  • FREE Market Analysis Profiles – counts by annual sales, number of employees on site, total number of employees
  • FREE Whitepaper downloads – How to USE NAICS & SIC Codes for Marketing and Cloning Your Best Customers for B2B Marketing Success
  • FREE Guide to the 10 Best Free Online Market Research Tools
  • Other services and products are available for purchase, including Targeted Business Lists, Custom Market Analysis Profiles, and more

Cost: Services are FREE, unless otherwise noted – contact for a quote

40. Touch Graph Navigator
@TouchGraph

Touch Graph Navigator

Business professionals and organizations rely on Touch Graph for their visualization solutions. Sometimes, the best marketing is knowing about the relationships between people, organizations, and ideas, and Touch Graph Navigator is the market research tool that shows those relationships.

Key Features:

  • Identify customers with the greatest potential influence
  • Visualize email traffic and other outreach sources to determine effectiveness
  • Easily load data
  • Visualize and filter
  • Group data in tables
  • Display on the web
  • 100% java technology
  • Advanced cluster computation reveals inherent groupings

Cost:

  • TouchGraph Navigator: Desktop
    • $499 – standard desktop license with 30 days of support
    • $998 – desktop license with 1 year of support and upgrades
    • Volume discounts are available – TouchGraph Navigator Desktop is licensed per user, not per machine, so you should compute the number of licenses you need based on the number of people using the product in the organization
      • 1-4 – full price
      • 5-9 – 10% discount
      • 10-19 – 20% discount
      • 20+ – 30% discount
    • TouchGraph Navigator: Web
      • $2399 – academic and non-profit annual web license with 1 year of support
      • $5999 – enterprise annual web license with 1 year of support

41. IceRocket
@icerocket

IceRocket

Part of the Meltwater Group, IceRocket is a real-time search engine and thus “the ULTIMATE buzz tracker.” IceRocket searches the internet and several social sources all from one page. For market research purposes, IceRocket is a fast and simple way to monitor their brand.

Key Features:

  • Search blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and more
  • Add your blog to IceRocket’s high-priority indexing queue
  • Top searches are available in a tag cloud for visualization

Cost: FREE

42. ZoomInfo Pro
@ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo Pro

Known for providing B2B data that is highly accurate and helps to improve marketing campaigns, ZoomInfo “has been a B2B data front-runner for more than a decade.” ZoomInfo offers powerful market research tools for lead generation, prospecting, and recruiting, all with its verified, detailed profiles of 95 million businesspeople and seven million businesses behind them.

Key Features:

  • Target decision makers with profiles that include email, title, direct dial phone, and more
  • Search by 20+ criteria, including region, revenues, college attended, and others
  • Track prospects with email alerts
  • Get updates with Salesforce
  • Business profiles include company background, revenue, products, and more necessary information

Cost: FREE trial available

  • Community: FREE – 10 contacts per month
  • Basic: $69.95/month or $59.95/month billed annually – 80 contacts per month
  • Gold: $109.95/month or $84.95/month billed annually – 145 contacts per month
  • Platinum: $139.95/month or $99.95/month billed annually– 250 contacts per month
  • Custom: contact for a quote

43. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
@SEC_Enforcement
@SEC_News
@SEC_Investor_Ed

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) mission is “to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” The SEC also works in market regulation and promoting capital formation “that is necessary to sustain economic growth.” Business professionals and organizations look to new and information from the SEC frequently, and their information is some of the most important to market research.

Key Features:

  • Latest News
  • Information specifically intended for broker-dealers, accountants, small businesses, funds and advisers, and others
  • Link to search EDGAR for company filings
  • Link to administrative proceedings: pleadings, orders & decisions

Cost: FREE

44. QuestionPro
@questionpro

QuestionPro

The “global leader in online survey software,” QuestionPro makes online research easy. QuestionPro is a great choice for a market research tool, because they strive to make the technology work in the background so that organizations and businesspeople can focus on collecting feedback, gaining insights, and making the best business decisions possible, with QuestionPro’s help.

Key Features:

  • Standard question types
  • Survey templates and question library
  • Professionally designed survey themes
  • Options to distribute via email, website, blog, or QR codes
  • Respondent tracking and statistics
  • Real-time reports
  • Mobile compatible surveys

Cost:

  • Free Basic – basic features, plus 24/7 email support
  • Professional: $12/month – all Free basic features, plus customize surveys with your brand logo, iPad Question Pro app, global protection password, and more
  • Corporate: $75/month – all Professional features, plus advanced question types, action alerts, multimedia support, customizable survey theme, and more
  • Team edition: Contact for a quote – all Corporate features, plus Salesforce integration, upload 500,000+ contacts, dedicated account manager, custom survey scripting, and more

45. Compete Pro
@Millward_Brown

Compete Pro

Part of the Millward Brown family, Compete offers “digital insights to drive business forward.” With Compete’s digital intelligence, top companies, organizations, and brands are learning about the online behavior of millions of consumers and thereby improving their marketing. Because Compete operates with “the largest integrated consumer behavior and survey panel in the industry,” users find Compete to be an invaluable market research tool.

Key Features:

  • Research competitors
  • Benchmark your performance
  • Identify new and proven keywords
  • Discover referral sources
  • Find new prospects

Cost:

  • Intro: $199/month – best plan for basic reporting and benchmarking, 1 user, detailed traffic data, compare sites, unlimited reports, and export functionality
  • Advanced: $649/month – best plan for advanced reporting, benchmarking, and deep research, all Intro features, plus paid vs organic keywords, visitor demographics, incoming & outgoing traffic, and custom dashboards
  • Advanced+: contact for a quote – call for annual pricing, multiple users, and more advanced features, all Advanced features, plus custom category data, conversion measurement, and social media insights 

46. HowSociable Pro
@HowSociable

HowSociable Pro

HowSociable is a market research tool that helps you measure your “brand magnitude.” Part of the reason organizations choose HowSociable is that they score the activity on a magnitude scale to ensure brands are compared relative to one another, to get a true picture of your brand’s impact on the social web.

Key Features:

  • Calculates brand impact using a sample that gives you a view on the parts of the social web where over 60% of the activity occurs
  • Reports reveal the parts of the web you are neglecting and indicate where your efforts have been most successful
  • Quick and simple information so you can make the best decisions possible

Cost:

  • All plans include 36 social site metrics, top 360 mentions, top 360 pages, 3 weeks free historical data, and support forum
  • Basic: $9/per 3 months – 5 brands/names/topics
  • Plus: $19/per 3 months – 20 brands/names/topics
  • Max: $99/per year – 100 brands/names/topics

47. Qualtrics Research Suite
@Qualtrics

Qualtrics Research Suite

Billed as “the world’s leading enterprise insights technology provider,” Qualtrics helps organizations match their research chops with Qualtrics’ technology know-how. Qualtrics Research Suite, quite simply, makes it possible to capture, analyze, and take action on insights.

Key Features:

  • Concept testing
  • Product development
  • Brand tracking studies
  • Ad testing
  • Conjoint analysis
  • Institutional research
  • Market segmentation

Cost: Contact for a quote

48. DataSift for Enterprise
@DataSift

DataSift for Enterprise

“The leading social data platform,” DataSift makes it possible for companies to aggregate, filter and extract insights not just from social media, but from other sources in the millions as well. This market research tool truly makes it possible for organizations to understand and use social media in a more effective manner.

Key Features:

  • Optimize data to build customized campaign reports using social information and performance
  • Drive more effective campaigns by identifying social trends, influencers, and advocates using social data
  • Go beyond the traditional dashboards to create unique solutions

Cost: Contact for a quote

49. Constant Contact Toolkit
@ConstantContact

Constant Contact Toolkit

Connecting with customers remains the best way to grow profits and business success, and Constant Contact helps small businesses and organizations create and grow those crucial customer relationships. Constant Contact Toolkit goes above and beyond a traditional marketing tool to incorporate market research into its features.

Key Features:

  • Create a survey to get feedback
  • Sync with Salesforce, Intuit, and others
  • List-Building Tools
  • Track in real time, including monitoring opens, bounces, clicks, and more

Cost: FREE trial for 60 days

  • Essential Package – unlimited sends
    • 0-500 contacts: $45/month
    • 501-2500 contacts: $60/month
    • 2501-5000 contacts: $80/month
    • 5001-10000 contacts: $110/month
    • 10000+ contacts: contact for a quote
  • Nonprofit and pre-pay discounts range from a savings of 10%-30%: contact for more information

50. Polldaddy
@Polldaddy

Polldaddy

Polldaddy is the market research tool choice of many business professionals and organizations because it is easy to use, yet powerful and allows users to create more than just surveys. With Polldaddy, users can create polls, quizzes, and ratings to gather even more information for marketing.

Key Features:

  • Collect feedback from web, email, iPad/iPhone, or social sites
  • Generate and share easy-to-read reports
  • No limits on content creation or votes
  • Survey editor makes creating surveys quick and easy

Cost:

  • Free Forever – 1 user account, easy-to-use drag and drop question editor, 19 types of questions, all languages supported, add images or videos or content from YouTube, Flickr, Google Maps, and more, add HTML snippets to surveys 15 pre-set visual themes, and more
  • Pro: $29/month or $200/year – 1 user account, all Free Forever features, plus white label surveys, full access to your survey CSS, custom “welcome” and “thank you” pages/custom redirect after survey, printable PDF version, and more
  • Corporate: $99/month or $899/year – 10 user accounts, all Pro features, plus custom URL and use your own domain name for collection, 50k participant email invites/month, and more

51. Data.com Connect
@salesforce

Data.com Connect

Being able to find and connect with business professionals is an important piece of business growth and success, and Data.com Connect provides one of the fastest ways to reach the right people every time. Data.com Connect’s complete contact lists allow you to market to a precise audience each time, making it a must-have market research tool.

Key Features:

  • Continuously updated and accurate
  • All contacts complete with title, phone, and email
  • Every level included, from staff to C-suite

Cost:

  • FREE – 2 contacts
  • $250/year plus $1/contact for additional contacts – 350 contacts
  • $500/year plus $1/contact for additional contacts – 750 contacts
  • Connect Plus: $1500/year plus $0.50/contact for additional contacts – 3600 contacts, unlimited view of complete contact information, list suppression up to 200k contacts

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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3 Ways to Turn Off Top Consultants During an Interview http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/12/3-ways-turn-off-top-consultants-interview/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/12/3-ways-turn-off-top-consultants-interview/#respond Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:42:12 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23249 The interview process is an important part of hiring a consultant. If the interview is successful, the interview is able to accurately evaluate the applicant’s skills, abilities and prior consulting... Read More

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intervewThe interview process is an important part of hiring a consultant. If the interview is successful, the interview is able to accurately evaluate the applicant’s skills, abilities and prior consulting experiences. Unfortunately, if the interviewer is not fully prepared to conduct the interview, it is possible to make some simple–yet costly–mistakes. Here are three ways some interviewers inadvertently turn off top consultants during an interview.

 

Mistake #1

Invasion of Privacy

It is essential that all people involved in the interview understand the legal limits before asking any questions. For example, not only are the following questions illegal, they don’t help find the right person for the job:

  • How old are you?
  • What is your marital status?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you own your own home?
  • What is your financial situation?

The best way to avoid potential lawsuits is by making sure everyone understands the questions to be avoided at all costs.

Mistake #2

Failure to Prepare Pertinent Questions

Most consultant interviews are case interviews. Candidates show how they “think on their toes” by explaining how they would solve business or logic problems. There are no right answers to these questions. Instead, the purpose of case interview questions is to see how candidates analyze problems. The mistake some interviewers make is straying away from case questions to ask questions that don’t have a clear purpose. Some examples of questions that are not helpful include:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why are you interested in our company?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Are you a team player?

These questions result in canned, rehearsed responses that provide no insight to past success, performance ability, and typical behavior.

Mistake #3

Not Listening

The interviewer should be focused on obtaining as much meaningful information about the client as possible. If the interviewer talks to much instead of listening to the candidate’s responses, the entire process feels like a waste of time. Sufficient time should be allowed for candidates to respond to each question, and that time should be used to make observations. Some ways for interviewers to make it clear they are paying attention are:

  • Making eye conduct
  • Active listening
  • Asking follow-up questions

When a consultant interview is conducted correctly, the interviewer has all the information necessary to make a decision. By avoiding these three pitfalls, it is possible to determine which consultant is the perfect fit for the project.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Inquiry Roundup- Pharmaceutical Industry http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/09/inquiry-roundup-pharmaceutical-industry/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/09/inquiry-roundup-pharmaceutical-industry/#respond Fri, 09 Jan 2015 21:06:15 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23175 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing We are a cosmetics company and we have manufacturing of skin care, hair care and others. We are looking for firms that are experts on pharmaceutical manufacturing unit... Read More

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pills3_1Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

We are a cosmetics company and we have manufacturing of skin care, hair care and others. We are looking for firms that are experts on pharmaceutical manufacturing unit to start in Lebanon.

View Inquiry

Pharmaceutical Industry In USA

I am looking subject matter experts for pharmaceutical industry with expertise in veterinary drug approval process conducting webinars & Seminars , Please advise if you would be interested for getting more details on this .

View Inquiry

Pharmaceutical Registration

We are seeking for the pharmaceutical registration consultants in Argentina

View Inquiry

Pharmaceutical Foams

As a market research firm, we are conducting a study on the use of pharmaceutical foams in drug delivery systems.

We are specifically interested in the decision process whether to manufacture in-house or to outsource and what factors influence that decision. We are also interested in learning more on the decision process to use foam as the drug delivery system (as opposed to gels, creams, etc.).

Additionally, we are interested in speaking with someone with a candidate for foam delivery but opted for a different drug delivery method.

Qualified respondents must work for a company that has a pharmaceutical product using foam delivery on the market – can be in-house or outsourced manufacturing.
View Inquiry

Click here to see other live Pharmaceutical Industry projects
Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Mobile Devices Taking Toll on Teen Sleep http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/08/mobile-devices-taking-toll-teen-sleep/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/08/mobile-devices-taking-toll-teen-sleep/#respond Thu, 08 Jan 2015 21:52:03 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23166 Last summer, Zintro experts shared their views about the lack of sleep among teenagers. At the time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had just released a statement that later... Read More

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TLast summer, Zintro experts shared their views about the lack of sleep among teenagers. At the time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had just released a statement that later school times would help align with natural sleep patterns that make it difficult for teens to fall asleep before 11 p.m. This month’s edition of the AAP’s journal Pediatrics includes a study about how mobile devices are contributing to the issue.

Researchers studied more than 2,048 children in elementary and middle schools and found sleeping near a screen resulted in shorter sleep duration and insufficient sleep. Sleeping near a small screen was associated with shorter weekday sleep duration and sleepiness. Children who slept with mobile devices also had later bedtimes.

In the meantime, school districts are considering AAP recommendations regarding school times. A new high school in Denver, Colorado will start classes an hour later than other district high schools when it opens in August. The district is experimenting with school start times to determine what can be done to help.

Zintro expert Toireasa Nickerson, CNCS, BA agrees that something needs to be done. She explains, “Sleep deprivation is a huge problem with our young people. [Later start times] would be a major benefit in many different ways. If our youth were granted additional morning sleep hours, their demeanors would be enhanced and grades in school would likely become much better. In general, their emotions would be lifted because they were well rested. I also think there would be fewer delinquencies observed- a complete domino effect.”

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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How To Hire a Freelancer: 26 Business Experts Reveal The #1 Mistake Companies Make When Hiring Consultants & Contractors http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/06/hire-contractor-26-business-contracting-experts-reveal-1-mistake-companies-make-hiring-contractors/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/06/hire-contractor-26-business-contracting-experts-reveal-1-mistake-companies-make-hiring-contractors/#respond Tue, 06 Jan 2015 21:58:23 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=21971 Most business leaders would likely agree that one of most important management goals to have when growing a business is knowing how to attract and hire great talent. This is... Read More

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Most business leaders would likely agree that one of most important management goals to have when growing a business is knowing how to attract and hire great talent. This is true regardless of the size of your business and what industry you’re in, and it is also true whether you’re hiring a permanent employee or a contractor. But the nature of hiring contractors is a unique process all on its own that is different from other hiring processes, which is why many businesses fail to do it well.

Whether it is proper vetting and due diligence, clear communication, workflow management, team dynamics, legal matters, or a number of other factors, there are many challenging variables that come into play when hiring contractors that can potentially turn a great client-contractor relationship into a disaster.

As a company that works closely with hundreds of business contractors and companies who hire business contractors, we at Zintro wanted to learn some helpful business tips for the business contractor hiring process, and specifically, how companies interested in hiring contractors can avoid the most common (and avoidable) mistakes that might interfere with all the great benefits of having a contractor work for your business. To do that, we asked 26 business professionals and business contracting experts the following question:

What’s the single biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors?

We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice into this comprehensive guide to help companies hire contractors successfully. See what our experts said below:

Meet Our Panel of Business Contracting Experts:


Emil LamprechtEmil Lamprecht

Emil Lamprecht is the CMO and Creative Director at CareerFoundry, a vocational training platform for Web Developers and UX Designers. Prior to CareerFoundry, Emil was a contractor for 7 years, and as part of his job would hire remotely contracted teams all over the world for work in media, web development and design.

Whether it is in planning, listing, and clarifying exact expectations (including what happens when things don’t work), the biggest mistake people make when hiring contractors make is…

Not preparing properly.

In the same way its easy to be a bad teacher, and hard to be a good one; being a good teacher takes planning, patience and a perfect instructions. Its very easy to take a loose idea, pitch it to a contractor who will then build/write/design it based on their own general impression, which employers then hope to, after the fact, change and mold to their own. Needless to say, this is frustrating and time consuming for contractors who are often working on a project basis and thus not paid or angry with the extra work. An ill situation if there ever was one.


Carisa MiklusakCarisa Miklusak

Carisa Miklusak is the CEO of her own firm, www.CarisaMiklusak.com, and has over 10 years experience in marketing as a strategist working with over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies. She is also a public speaker and a subject matter expert in emerging media focusing on social media. Carisa has been running her own, successful business for over three years.

I would say the single biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Not talking to the contractor about their goals and aspiration (with your company or outside of it) as you would with a full time employee.

Despite the fact they are only working with you part-time, it’s still critical to build this type of relationship, understand their overall ambitions and how your part-time opportunity/ contractor work fits in, etc. This is positive for both your company (as you know what to expect) as well as the contractor and helps to keep everyone aligned and working toward the same goals whenever possible.



Henrik DillmanMattias Guilotte

Henrik Dillman and Mattias Guilotte

Henrik Dillman, CEO, and Mattias Guilotte, CMO, are the founding members of Coworks.com, an invite-only marketplace for outstanding freelancers. The Coworks platform matches clients looking to hire independent contractors with handpicked digital creatives.

When it comes to hiring contractors, the greatest challenge is aptly navigating the exploding contingent workforce and innumerable options available. The single biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Failing to understand the scope of management required for a remote team.

When enlisting the help of experts, companies must have a clear understanding of the value of what they need as well as ample tools and capacities to communicate clearly and consistently. The right management for a remote project makes all the difference in streamlining workflow and maximizing productivity, ensuring that an experience with a contractor is as fruitful as possible.


Jennifer MartinJennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin is a Business Coach and Work/Life Balance expert who helps small business owners worldwide understand how to build a thriving business and life they love. Learn more about Jennifer’s work at Zest Business Consulting.

The biggest mistake that business owners make when hiring a contractor is…

Not being entirely clear about what they expect to get from their contractor and figuring it out on their own dime.

Here are some tips to help you get more of what you actually want from your subcontractors.

1. Be very clear about your desired end result. Write down your goal and if you can find pictures that display what you want, all the better. The more senses (see hear, touch, etc.) you can bring on board to help tell your sub-contractors about what you want, the better.

2. If you have had someone else do this piece of work in the past and you were happy with their results, see if you can interview them before you start interviewing anyone new. See if they can tell you what the biggest challenges were and what they wish you would have told them or done to make their work easier.

3. Be clear about how much you can afford to spend to have the work complete and know what your end dates are to have the contracted work complete.

4. Have a contract ready to go.

5. Be prepared to oversee someone new. Make sure that you are prepared to manage another person on the team. They are likely to have some questions and if you want to make your time frame they are going to need some of your support.

6. Give some thought to the 3 most important things are that someone who is coming aboard needs to know about being successful working with you. If you don’t have time for a 20 minute conversation and you just like the facts, let them know.

Then consider the 3 most important things they need to know about being successful working for your organization. If you are a stickler for detail and getting things done on time, your subcontractor needs to know what your “non-negotiables” are.

7. Ask for references. Just because someone tells you they can do the work or their willing to take on the job isn’t a good enough reason to hire them. Make sure you do your homework.

8. Determine what you are going to offer and what you aren’t to help your sub get the job done. Can they work from your office? Are you planning on providing drafts, samples, or guidelines to help them get the job done? Make your subs life as easy as possible by providing them everything you can to help make it easier for them to do their job well.

9. Have reasonable expectations. This is a biggie. Make sure that you are asking for someone else to do something that is possible. Set your cub up for success. It’s good for them and good for you.


Karin HurtKarin Hurt

Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, is a leadership consultant, speaker, writer, and MBA and executive education professor. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she was recently named as a Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. She is author of author of “Overcoming an Imperfect Boss: A Practical Guide to Building a Better Relationship With Your Boss” and “Parent’s Guide to Leadership.” She has an award winning blog that has achieved a strong international following.

In my experience, the biggest mistakes companies make when hiring contractors are…

1. Not spending enough time up front sharing vision and big picture. Just like employees, when contractors understand the bigger context there work will be of better quality in less time.

2. Due to co-employment concerns, many companies are skiddish about integrating the contractors into the team. Contractors are still human beings who yearn for inclusion and connection. Even if they are there for a short time, be sure they feel like a welcomed member of the team.


Paris VegaParis Vega

Paris Vega is the CEO of The Web Craftsmen.

The biggest mistakes that business owners make when hiring a contractor is…

Hiring contractors too quickly, and then firing bad ones too slowly.

This will kill your project, and eventually, your business. Invest your time in making sure a candidate is perfect for the job. Especially if you’re hiring a remote contractor, take whatever steps necessary to confirm their identity and follow up with any references they can give you. Nothing is worse than having the wrong team for the job, but nothing is better than having the right team.

After hiring that perfect candidate, if they don’t measure up to expectations, don’t waste your time, or your project’s budget, hoping a contractor will improve performance eventually.

The right way to hire & fire a contractor:

1) Communicate your expectations clearly up front.
2) Allow for a reasonable learning curve so they have a chance to prove their effectiveness.
3) Schedule a review date.
4) After the first review period, be honest with yourself and the contractor. If you don’t think they are going to work out long term tell them so in the review. Tell them when the contract will end, so they can start lining up new work.
5) Start looking for their replacement.

Don’t wait until you’re so frustrated that you explode one day, firing them in the middle of a critical moment in your project when no one is their to take over their responsibilities. This hurts your project and your reputation.

You don’t have to waste your project’s budget nor a contractor’s time. If they aren’t fitting into your team and mutually agreed expectations it’s time to move on.

On the other hand… Your specific project or business may not have a deep reservoir of contractor talent waiting to jump aboard. Or maybe you’re in a crunch and don’t have time to find the “perfect” candidate. In that case, give yourself a timeline. Hire that best candidate you’ve found by the end of that timeline and keep going. Don’t let your ship sink because you didn’t find the perfect patch to mend the hole.

Be picky (when you can). Hire slow (if you can). Measure performance. Fire fast. Get back to work.


Jillienne-allgauerJillienne Allgäuer

Jillienne Allgäuer is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and has over twelve years of experience in Human Resources and Chamber of Commerce member business development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Geneseo and currently serves as an HR Consultant for Paychex in West Palm Beach, FL.

Many times, the single biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Not considering the most fundamental question one can ask in this scenario: Should this worker be considered an independent contractor or an employee of the enterprise?

Many times, it is taken for granted that when someone is labeled a consultant or services are outsourced, the individual is considered a “1099” or contractor, without taking certain factors into account which may influence the terms of the relationship.

When a true independent contractor relationship exists, an employer engages a worker for the specific expertise they have. This expertise is typically unique and distinct from the core functions of the business and the work that the regular employees of the business are performing. If the worker is determined to be an employee, additional considerations including employee benefits, training, workers’ compensation coverage and withholding of payroll taxes will normally apply.

Correct classification is critical. This is partly because agencies including the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have a vested interest in the correct classification of workers, both from the perspective of enforcing regulatory protections that apply to employees, and from the perspective of assessing fines, penalties and lost revenue associated with misclassification.

Employee versus independent contractor status can be clarified by applying different tests to the employer/worker relationship, which center around how much direction and control is asserted by the employer over the individual. These tests, available through both the DOL and IRS, should be used by the employer to determine classification status, rather that the worker’s preference to be considered an employee or independent contractor.

As misclassification can be a costly mistake for employers, the relationship of service partners as contractors versus employees must be carefully considered.


Michael J. VignaMichael J. Vigna

Michael J. Vigna is the President of Staffing at Mainz, a firm that finds, hires, and trains exceptional receptionists, office managers, and executive assistants.

By far the single biggest mistake is…

Not treating them as employees from day one.

In most, if not all, cases contractors make the same impact to a companies performance as full time hires, so why not give them the same perks as your full time employees (i.e. – using the company gym, etc).


Anna D'AurioAnna D’Aurio

Anna D’Aurio is HR Recruitment Specialist at the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. Anna has 8 years of experience in recruitment and employee relations, with extensive experience in hiring independent contractors.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen companies make when hiring contractors is…

Not including an assignment end date in the contract.

As a result, the contractor stays on the company payroll indefinitely. Contractors should not be treated as temps; they are primarily project-based professionals. There should absolutely be an approximate end date for the assignment they are hired for.


Jeffrey CampJeffrey Camp

Jeffrey Camp is the CEO of Cinium Financial and the COO of Ox Bonding, a leader in credit and bonding services. The firm offers traditional commercial surety bonds to the millions of American business who are required to post a bond under the terms of their licenses.

Ideas and talk are a dime-a-dozen. One thing that many companies forget when hiring a contractor of any type that is so important is…

Asking for real-life work examples and results.

This will help you see what type of outcomes a contractor has a proven track record of producing. In addition, be sure to ask for 3 happy clients/customers to reference and actually follow up with them about their experience!


christy-delehantyChristy Delehanty

Christy Delehanty is the Content Lead at PandaDoc, a platform that helps you build, track, and sign any doc on the fly. Christy is dedicated to processes that help people communicate in simpler and better ways.

The biggest mistake you can make in hiring a contractor is twofold:

Not communicating your expectations clearly and not putting your agreement in writing right off the bat. The good news is that one resolution can solve both problems: Always start with a signed contract.

Get your hands on a good business agreement template and customize like crazy to get all of your expectations down on paper in one place. (Here’s a good one from PandaDoc, for example: https://www.pandadoc.com/business-contract-template.) But remember that the important part isn’t the signature. The purpose — and beauty — of a thoroughly customized contract is to get you and your contractor communicating about expectations in concrete terms before the work is even underway.

It’s a formal process, sure, but it also has the power to enable authentic communication early in your relationship with a contractor. And nothing is more important than that.


Amara MillerAmara Miller

Amara Miller is part of the Talent Services team at Talencio and partners with clients to provide recruitment strategy along with recruiting and related services. She works closely with clients to customize proven recruiting processes to fit the unique needs of their organizations. She provides clients with a short list of candidates that exceed their skills requirements, and align with their company culture and values.

The biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Hiring too quickly and poorly, which ends up being costly and time consuming.

At times, when companies have made the decision to hire contractors, the need has been present for some time. They need help, and they need it now. However, making a quick hire just to fill the need yesterday, can have it consequences. It is much better to fully vet the potential contractor for both skills and culture fit. You don’t want to waste time and money on training if this isn’t a good fit.


Rod-Brown-Oncelogix-picRod Brown

Rod Brown is a seasoned, innovative entrepreneur, motivational speaker, coach, and radio show host that is responsible in part for the startup, growth, and development of several thriving companies. He is the COO of OnceLogix, LLC, a software company that specializes in web-based solutions for the Health Care Industry, and also the Chief Idea Officer/Founder of The Lyndell Group (TLG).

The biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Turning the contractors into employee’s/staff members too fast, which is costly and time consuming.

Implement a trial period in which you can ensure quality work and professionalism. Also, you might not need them long term, so don’t over sale yourself in the initial contract. Use contractors on as as-needed basis because your company may have down time in slower seasonal months.


Jill Van NostranJill Van Nostran

Jill Van Nostran is a Freelance PR and Digital Marketing Consultant for mobile technology companies. Learn more about Jill’s work at http://www.jillvancommunications.com/.

In my experience as a PR and marketing contractor, the single biggest mistake companies can make is this:

Hiring a contractor who may have some general experience in your industry or niche, but is not specialized in your industry or niche.

Specialists can solve problems quicker and more efficiently. Generalists will take more time and possibly even cost more money as a result. Companies may not often feel they need a specialist — and some companies don’t. But for the most part, hiring a specialist who is well versed in your unique industry and on how to solve your problem will save a lot of money and a lot of headaches.


Victora RiveraVictoria Rivera

Victoria Rivera is the Office Manager at VIATechnik, responsible for HR, finance, and marketing among other things. VIATechnik serves the construction, engineering, and architecture markets, and provides affordable and high quality services from design to engineering. Using a highly skilled team, VIATechnik delivers CAD work, engineering services, and business process solutions efficiently to their clients.

In my firm’s experience, the biggest mistake that a client makes when hiring contractors is…

Not having a clear scope sheet and pricing tied to that scope.

Not knowing what you want can certainly cause a lot of miscommunication and can also affect the outcome of your final project. Coming prepared to a meeting and having set goals and a straightforward vision helps a business like ours pinpoint what exactly needs to be done. It also enables us to work quickly and efficiently in order to satisfy every client’s need of needing things to be finished “as soon as possible”.


Marius_FermiMarius Fermi

Marius Fermi is the Director of Online Communications at Tactical Sales Training where his focus is growing the brand’s presence online and focusing on increasing business through digital marketing strategies.

Thanks to the powerful world of freelancing and the ease of access to professionals and contractors you’ve got plenty of talent to choose from. I myself have spent a lot of time and money hiring web developers to take on work that require a certain expertise or skill set that I may not currently have and unfortunately this is where the problems start. The biggest mistake I’ve made every time that I have had to learn from has been…

Not being clear enough as to what to expect from the contractor and the project.

Realistically, I should have listed instructions and goals like I were speaking to a 5 year old child as this way there leaves little room for guess work, little room for error and ultimately it’ll be as close as to what you have in your mind as possible.

Each time I haven’t been specific with instructions the project has gone completely the opposite way of what I expected and had as a vision, trying to combat these issues generally leaves you with either a larger bill or a headache which can only be solved by hiring another contractor and this time ensuring you list everything, clearly and definitively.


Rebecca Staton ReinsteinRebecca Staton-Reinstein

Rebecca Staton-Reinstein, Ph.D., is the President of Advantage Leadership, Inc., and works with companies around the world that want strategic leaders and engaged employees to increase bottom- and top-line results and delight customers. Advantage Leadership, Inc. helps clients achieve their goals through strategic planning and leadership, management, team, and organizational development. Her team works with you to craft highly customized, successful solutions to your complex business problems in all economic sectors.

The single biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Focusing on features not benefits.

The typical dog-and-pony-show presentation often focuses on the contractor and his or her resume, customers, and all the things he or she will do for you. The problem is the company may not have a clear business problem statement about what results are needed as a result of working with the contractor. Combined with an overemphasis on the features is an overemphasis on one particular feature, price. Because the company is not clear about the problem to be solved, it really has no good way to decide if there is a good exchange of value. The end result is to try and get a lot of features for as low a price as possible. The company and the contractor are now on the road to dashed expectations, unhappiness, and even legal action.

The only solution is for the company and consultant to spend time defining the business problem and the beneficial solution and then seeing if they agree on the value exchange. For example, a company does not need to train people how to manage. The company needs managers who demonstrate great effectiveness through employees who are engaged while accomplishing and exceeding goals.

There are many tactics to get these benefits. The ideal consultant will demonstrate he or she understands the company needs and has a track record in designing and implementing a systematic way to assure these results.


Nellie AkalpNellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp is a mom of four, serial entrepreneur and CEO of CorpNet.com where she helps entrepreneurs start, grow and maintain their business ventures.

The single biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Keeping on a contractor who is not a good fit for that business or job.

Yes, it is hard to fire people, but when I first start working with contractors I always start with trial run. During that trial, a few weeks, I know if that person will be a fit for my business or not. If they are not, I don’t waste any more of my time or money on them and move on. This will cause a bit more time upfront to find that right person, but once you find them you’ll have a go-to contact for projects moving forward. Most contractors I work with now have been with me from the beginning, it took time them to find them, but it saves time now because I know right who I need to call and they get the project done the right way.


DDavid Shiffman

David Shiffman is Co-Founder and Brand Elevater at Brandamos, and is a creative strategist with over 10 years of experience developing marketing strategies and guiding business development. Shiffman has worked with companies such as Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Absolut Vodka and Polaroid Fotobar. His internet marketing strategies and execution have resulted in millions of dollars in revenue for clients and his personal experience gives an advantage in elevating brands both offline and online.

The biggest mistake business owners can make when hiring a contractor is…

Not having a contract.

The internet has made it very easy to hire contractors on a project basis, however, it’s easy to forget simple things like outlining expectations and timelines.


sJulia Angelen Joy

Julia Angelen Joy is the Founder of Z Group PR, which she founded as a freelance consultancy after years working with communications teams and public relations agencies. Now, with 18 years of experience, a second marketing degree, and MBA on the way, Julia is confident that she can solve client PR issues faster than you can say “Super PR Lady!”

The biggest mistake companies make in hiring contractors is…

Not asking enough questions.

Everyone wants to bask in the glow of the great ideas and the new beginnings, but details such as specifics on hours, deliverables, and access are left out. Generally, the company is not aware of its internal processes, hurdles and brick walls and therefore does not know how to properly on-board the contractor. On the other side, contractors need to be very specific in terms of responsibilities, tasks, strategies and work process.


Matt WaldenMatt Walden

Matt Walden is a Partner at Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS) and has 20 years’ experience in staffing and recruiting. Matt designed the proprietary recruiting model for ICS, which boasts one of the largest talent networks in the country. The firm’s areas of specialization are IT, Legal & Compliance, Accounting & Finance, and Corporate Support which consists of Executive & Administrative Support, and Sales & Marketing.

The biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Misclassification.

This happens with in a number of ways but the two that will cause most companies the biggest headaches and possibly fines are:

  • Misclassification of exempt vs. nonexempt employees specifically for overtime
  • Misclassification of W2 vs. Independent Contractor / Corp to Corp.


Patty-DeDominicPatty DeDominic

Patty DeDominic is the Chief Catalyst and C.O.O. of Maui Mastermind, a community of successful entrepreneurs helping business owners like you take your business to the next level.

The biggest problem companies make when hiring contractors is simple and it is…

Failure to adequately communicate your needs and trying to buy on low price only.


David W B ParkerDavid W. B. Parker

David W. B. Parker is a Founding member of PTC Computer Solutions, a full service web site design and development company operating out of Jacksonville, Florida. David has two Bachelor’s degrees in Engineering and a Master’s in IT Project Management and has been involved in a vast array of IT projects for over 25 years. PTC Computer Solutions provides a wide range services for the small and medium sized business to enhance their web presence or infrastructure, include Web Design, Web Development, Social Media Management, Design and more.

The biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

Failing to perform their own due diligence.

Performing due diligence on a contractor is perhaps the single most important function when hiring a contractor, and yet, very few companies complete this primary step.

With the world the way it is, almost anyone can offer services and even look extremely professional online and over the phone, but perform the required due diligence to ensure this is the contractor you want working on your job. Make sure to request some references and follow up with those references. Legitimize those references with cross-references from other companies they have worked with as well.

The internet allows for a wonderful world of sharing resources, but it also allows for the ability to confuse and even fool you in to a sense of comfort with a contractor without knowing all the details. Be sure to get the details and take the time to verify the contractor before going in to business with them.


Scott MirskyScott A. Mirsky

Scott A. Mirsky is Founding Partner at Mirsky Policastri LLC, a firm that focuses on employment, business, and construction disputes. Scott has experience in handling non-compete and trade secret disagreements, employment claims, intellectual property infringement cases, complex construction issues, wage disputes, and breach of contract claims. He also has over 15 years’ experience representing individuals and businesses in diverse civil matters throughout Maryland and the Washington, DC region.
There are so many pitfalls that can occur when hiring contractors, and some of the main ones are…

1. Misclassification – hiring a contractor who is really nothing more than an employee can create major problems for a business, such as overtime violations, unemployment compensation issues, payroll issues, liability issues, and others.

2. Non-compete issues – the consideration of whether the worker allowed to work for others while working for your business? And after the worker leaves your business, can they go work for your customers or a competitor?

Some of these possible pitfalls can be minimized if the worker signs a well-drafted Independent Contractor Agreement, but the true test is what the worker does day-to-day for the business and for others.


James PillowJames Pillow

James Pillow is one of the Managing Directors at Fancastle.com an online retailer with physical locations that sells college t shirts and college apparel to customers around the country.

I’ve hired several contractors for our businesses and in my experience, the biggest mistake companies make when hiring contractors is…

The failure to adequately check references.

Typically people will just look at the work examples the contractor did for another person rather than talking to the previous customer. The potential customer will not take the time to pick up the phone and ask the previous customer key questions like:

1) Was the contractor easy to work with and did you mesh well with them?
2) Did you feel the contractor reached your goals?
3) Did they cut corners during your project?

For now on I take the prior customer’s word for it rather than the long list of accolades and trophies the contractor might have won. Don’t be fooled by this. Just because they can do something well, doesn’t mean they can do it well with you.

Featured image via: Flickr

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

// Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Success Story: Scott DelTito http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/05/success-story-scott-deltito/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/05/success-story-scott-deltito/#respond Mon, 05 Jan 2015 21:24:53 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23112 Scott DelTito has 17 years of experience working in project management and technical services for leading pharmaceutical companies. His areas of expertise include product development, technology transfer and validation (equipment... Read More

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DeltitoScott DelTito has 17 years of experience working in project management and technical services for leading pharmaceutical companies. His areas of expertise include product development, technology transfer and validation (equipment process, packaging and cleaning). He has also been involved with 3rd party contract manufacturing management and project planning and management.

Scott, a graduate of Drexel University, shares his opinion about working as a consultant on the Zintro platform:

Zintro connected me with a client across the globe that was in search of expertise within the pharmaceutical industry. The client needed specifics regarding APIs, micronization, and specialty vendors- all areas I am very familiar with.

My extensive experience helped the Zintro client understand the current marketplace and trends, as well as the leading vendors in this space. Zintro’s service is very effective and makes it very simple to connect with clients from across the world looking for my expertise.
Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Inquiry Roundup: Medical Devices Industry http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/02/inquiry-roundup-medical-devices-industry/ http://blog.zintro.com/2015/01/02/inquiry-roundup-medical-devices-industry/#respond Fri, 02 Jan 2015 22:22:56 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23089 Medical Device Manufacturing Medical Device Distribution Company needs new product line to sell.A medical device distribution company based in NYC, currently representing a few manufacturers of medical diagnostic devices sold... Read More

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Medical DeviceMedical Device Manufacturing

Medical Device Distribution Company needs new product line to sell.A medical device distribution company based in NYC, currently representing a few manufacturers of medical diagnostic devices sold to Cardiologists, Neurologists, and Internist in the US wishes to expand its portfolio of manufacturers-product line to sell to hospitals, facilities, large medical groups, and solo practice physicians from all faculties/discipline. We are looking to contract with manufacturers of medical devices-equipment that has great market potential as well as those with futuristic technologies and applications. The “world’s first” type devices are most appealing to us. Ideal Consultant(s) or business executive

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System Integration In Medical Device Industry

Market Analysis and Supplier best practices for System Integrators in Medical Devices market

• Market Analysis

o Who are the top workstation manufacturers (OEMs for Industrial computers)?

o What is the overall size of the market and how is it expected to develop?

o What are the key trends in the market (product design, technology trends, and pricing trends)?

• Sourcing Best Practices

o What is the optimal Contract duration?

o Which are the Pricing models adopted by system integrators?

o What are the trends in class SLAs and KPIs followed for system integrators in medical devices market?

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Digital Marketing In Medical Device Industry

We are looking for some insights on digital marketing sector for the medical devices industry and would like to connect with experts who have an experience managing the same for medical devices companies. Please let us know if you would be able to help us on this area, we would be happy to compensate you for your valuable time.

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Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Follow Up: Medical Imaging May Diagnose Heart Disease http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/30/follow-medical-imaging-may-diagnose-heart-disease/ http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/30/follow-medical-imaging-may-diagnose-heart-disease/#respond Tue, 30 Dec 2014 21:43:30 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23082 Last month Zintro experts discussed how researchers have come close to commercializing a new type of medical imaging technology with the potential of diagnosing heart disease. The system was introduced... Read More

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Heart DiseaseLast month Zintro experts discussed how researchers have come close to commercializing a new type of medical imaging technology with the potential of diagnosing heart disease. The system was introduced in a paper co-authored by Indiana School of Medicine’s Michael Sturek in a recent issue of Scientific Reports.

Medical Net describes the system. “[It] takes precise three-dimensional images of plaques lining the arteries and identifies deposits that are likely to rupture and cause heart attacks. The imaging reveals the presence of carbon-hydrogen bonds making up lipid molecules in arterial plaques that cause heart disease.”

Robert Atcher, PhD, MBA, a nuclear scientist with expertise in medical applications of radioisotopes, imaging technology, and cancer diagnosis and treatment, adds his opinion to the discussion. “Once again, we have hype associated with a development in medicine. While there has been an improvement in the time required for interrogating tissue for the lipids in question, the work reported relied on phantom studies and imaging vessels that had been removed from the animal and were limited to areas of known disease.

“This work has to be extrapolated to patients with suspected or known disease. This technique could never be used to screen patients for vulnerable plaque; an invasive procedure has certain morbidity and mortality risk and is too expensive to be used in that way.

“The hype would be more appropriate for a report that demonstrates the value in patients that demonstrates the sensitivity and specificity in the test. As they point out in the article, there are challenges in doing these exams in vivo where blood can present challenges in terms of getting a signal that has diagnostic benefit. The other challenge is to convince Medicare and the third party insurers that there is value that justifies reimbursing for the procedure, which is always a significant challenge.”

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

 

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Great Places to Work When You’re Tired of Working from Home: Coworking Spaces http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/29/great-places-work-youre-tired-working-home-coworking-spaces/ http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/29/great-places-work-youre-tired-working-home-coworking-spaces/#respond Mon, 29 Dec 2014 22:43:52 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23074 One of the benefits of being a freelancer or consultant is having control over your work space. Work at home and you can complete tasks in your pajamas with your... Read More

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coworkingOne of the benefits of being a freelancer or consultant is having control over your work space. Work at home and you can complete tasks in your pajamas with your cat at your side. Unfortunately, working at home also comes with distractions (i.e. other things you could be doing that don’t come with a paycheck). This series will cover several great places to be productive when you find it impossible to ignore the siren song of unwatched Homeland episodes on your DVR, not to mention the loneliness of having nobody to talk to about them.

Coworking is the trendy solution to renting a full-time office space. Unlike in a typical office environment, independent contractors and other freelancers share office space to avoid the pitfalls associated with working from home. In addition to being affordable spaces where you can share Wi-Fi and Keurig pods, coworking spaces provide a number of social and professional benefits, like:

• Opportunities for collaboration
• Expanded business networks
• Creative stimulation

Great Spaces
Coworking spaces are popping up all over the country. Here are three that are thriving:

1. Hera Hub
Hera Hub offers memberships for as low as $69 for eight hours a month at four locations: three in San Diego and one in Washington, D.C. The space is unique in that women-only. Hundreds of female entrepreneurs offer each other resources, mentoring and feedback in a supportive environment while enjoying perks such as weekly chair massages, aromatic candles, and relaxing music. There are also snacks, tea and spa water on hand.

2. Coco
With memberships starting at $50 a month, Coca in Minneapolis is housed in the 20,000 foot former-trading floor of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. CoCo markets its casual and permanent workspaces to independent workers, small businesses and corporate workgroups. Activities include a Member Social Hour and Breakfast Club. There are also locations in uptown Minneapolis, lowertown St. Paul and Fargo, North Dakota.

3. Grind
For $35 a day or $500 a month, New York City-based entrepreneurs and consultants can rent space at Grind, a members-only shared workspace. Grind has two NYC locations: Grind Park on Park Avenue and Grind Broadway at 1412 Broadway. Their newest spot is Grind LaSalle in Chicago. The physical space has earned Grind a reputation for being high-tech and sustainable. For example, members wave cards to open lockers. Grind sports low flow faucets, repurposed floors and LED lighting.

If you’re curious about coworking and want to find a place in your area, enter your city into a coworking search app like desksnear.me or desksurfing.net.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Inquiry Roundup: Life Science Industry http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/26/inquiry-roundup-life-science-industry/ http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/26/inquiry-roundup-life-science-industry/#respond Fri, 26 Dec 2014 22:12:25 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23058 Field Support Engineering We are a Zintro Partnered Recruitment Firm seeking an experienced, driven leader with serious technical and organizational acumen to oversee our global Field Support organization. This role... Read More

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earthinhands

Field Support Engineering

We are a Zintro Partnered Recruitment Firm seeking an experienced, driven leader with serious technical and organizational acumen to oversee our global Field Support organization. This role represents an exciting opportunity to build and direct your own team, to interface with prominent diagnostics organizations worldwide, and to play a critical role in advancing our status as a leading global prenatal diagnostics provider.The Senior Director of Field Support will oversee the team responsible for deploying Test Systems into the field, and for providing industry-leading support on an ongoing basis. This highly visible, customer-facing role will direct deployment (installation, qualification, initial training) and support (equipment service, trouble-shooting, field upgrades, follow-on training) of Test Systems and associated products.We need expert with  10+ years’ experience in technical field support roles with increasing levels of responsibility. 5+ years’ experience creating and leading technical field support organizations. Demonstrated organizational and leadership excellence. Experience deploying and supporting advanced liquid handling automation and genetic analysis technologies. Experience deploying and supporting regulated medical device or IVD products

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Medical Device Field Support

Director of Field Support with experience in Medical Devices needed.Applicants must be US or UK citizens. US citizens must be willing to live in the UK for up to a year after starting with this company.We are seeking an experienced, driven leader with serious technical and organizational acumen to oversee our global Field Support organization. This role represents an exciting opportunity to build and direct your own team, to interface with prominent diagnostics organizations worldwide, and to play a critical role in advancing our status as a leading global prenatal diagnostics provider.

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Probiotics

Principal Scientist- Probiotics R&D:

1. PhD in microbiology, fermentation engineering, biotechnology or closely related field, profound knowledge in probiotics, microbiology and production field.

2. Experience in world-leading research, high level papers published, good R&D ability and achievements in probiotics field.

3. 3-5 years work experience in probiotics cultivation, freeze drying and production, ability to solve multiple technical problems in probiotics industrialization.

4. Good interpersonal relationship in international probiotics and microbiology field, familiar with domestic and global probiotics industry trend, ability to lead R&D team to international advanced level.

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Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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Success Story: Robert Sabath http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/24/success-story-robert-sabath/ http://blog.zintro.com/2014/12/24/success-story-robert-sabath/#respond Wed, 24 Dec 2014 05:15:12 +0000 http://blog.zintro.com/?p=23039 Zintro expert Robert Sabath is a senior supply chain and marketing specialist. He helps companies find effective ways to reduce costs while growing revenues by recognizing how sales and operations... Read More

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RobertSabathZintro expert Robert Sabath is a senior supply chain and marketing specialist. He helps companies find effective ways to reduce costs while growing revenues by recognizing how sales and operations can build upon each other. His experience includes designing supply chains that sense varying customer needs and economics and then responding with segmented service capabilities that reduce costs while growing revenues, market share and bottom line profits.

“I am lucky enough to have had a long career focusing on a very typical area- the overlap between strategy and operations,” he explains. “Most of the work that I have done with Zintro clients has dealt with problems along this traditional business intersection. For example I have worked with companies dealing with indirect purchasing, especially the challenges that come from controlling the costs of sales facilities, advertising, priority shipping of samples and promotional materials, executive travel, advertising agencies, architects, engineers, construction managers, contractors and even management consultants. I have also worked with clients who face competitors’ challenges from the point of view of customer service, creative product development, imaginative technology development, and unique financing and servicing arrangements.”

Robert has had great success working on the Zintro platform. “Zintro is the only forum in which I have participated, which allows my unique mix of capabilities and my desired client groups to be targeted through the Zintro communication, bidding and negotiation process. The breadth and depth of the Zintro consultants, coupled with the variety of clients, consistently tests my ability to stretch, but has also provided me with ongoing relationships which are invaluable to me professionally.”

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity:

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