Salon des Micro-Entreprises 2014

I was up again this year at the Salon des Micro-entreprises, held at the beginning of the month at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. This time I went for the Journée Nationale des Femmes Entrepreneures, which proved to be very interesting. It seems that, although as many women as men in France want to create their own business, only 28% of new businesses are started by women. Why is this? Do women still face discrimination and are they more hesitant than men to take this step? According to a recent study conducted by France Active and the IFOP, this is due to a lack of information on various forms of aid available for entrepreneurs and also due to the sense of isolation and lack of support from co-workers that can overwhelm them. Hence this day aimed specifically at female entrepreneurs.

I managed to catch the talk ’10 Tips to Increase your Visibility on Social Networks’, given by Catherine Headley, a Digital Strategy Consultant, which was concise and informative. I also went to some speed business meetings and ended the day at the presentation of the Bouygues Telecom Female Digital Entrepreneur Award.

Salon des Entrepreneurs

Last week I managed to get up to Paris to the Salon des Entrepreneurs. They had quite a good conference and workshop programme and I went to some of the presentations on social networking, facebook and prospecting. The social networking talk focused mainly on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, mentioning also Viadeo and Foursquare, but Pinterest didn’t have more than a passing mention. Viadeo seems to be very popular in France, perhaps not surprising as it was founded in Paris. The prospecting talk by Booster Academy was very informative. It seems that the French are quite reticent when it comes to selling and marketing. I found it quite interesting to hear the French view of prospecting and I was amused to hear quite a lot of English words creeping in, such as ‘closing’, ‘nurturing’ and a ‘to do’ list.

Time management tips – part two

Time Management How do you manage your time?  Time slips by too quickly and can leave you wondering what you have achieved each day. Following on from Part One, here are some more tips that can be helpful in organising your day.

  • Time track yourself.  See how much time a task really takes.  Perhaps you put things off thinking they take too much time or you think something will take half an hour only to emerge from it two hours later.  Time each task for a day or so, so that you know how long your principal tasks generally take and then you’ll be able to create a realistic work schedule.
  • Don’t procrastinate – do it!  If it’s on your list, do it.  Don’t waste time.
  • Stop for lunch.  Decide on a lunchtime and stick to it.   If you decide on 1pm, stop then and take a break.  If you find yourself eating at 2pm you’ll lose your focus and again find yourself trying to catch up.
  • Mail.  Dealing with both regular and electronic mail can eat up a lot of your valuable time and you can end up feeling swamped by paperwork or emails.  Delete or throw away adverts, don’t waste time on them in case they might be useful.  Action as much mail as possible immediately.  If you think ‘I’ll do it later’, chances are you will find it still sitting there days later.  You can answer some mail with a short email or note.  Choose a certain time each day for dealing with mail, depending on the time that it arrives.  If the mail arrives at 10am, choose 10 to 10.30am for it and include emails too.  Choose times that are best for you and your business needs.
  • Calls.  Make a list, and choose a time to do them as for the mail.  Decide roughly how long each call should take and try to keep to this.
  • Finally, be flexible.  Your schedule is not set in stone, it has to fit in with your day and take into account out of office meetings, urgent calls, sudden urgent work, etc. However, it can give your day structure and purpose.


Time management tips – part one

How do you manage your time?  Have you found, when working on your own, whether from home or not, that you need to be disciplined and structure your hours, or time can slip imperceptibly through your hands and you can end up wondering what you have done with your day.

  Here are some tips that I found helpful to get you started.

  • Get up early!  This seems too obvious to mention, but if you’re ready to go at 8am you’ll get more done.  You may be a night owl and not an early bird, but if you start after 9am or take too long over your morning coffee, you’ll find that you spend the rest of the day trying to catch up.
  • Write a to-do list.  Obvious too, but how do you use this useful tool?  Write it at the end of the previous day so that it is ready for you in the morning.  Divide it into two. One will be a list of things that cannot be completed in one day but need regular time scheduled for them.  The second will be a list of what you have to do in the day.
  • Scheduling.  This is linked to the to-do list.  Decide on a time for each task, both large and small.  With your long-term tasks, block in half an hour or however much time you plan to spend on them, on your schedule – this could be useful for administrative tasks that need to be done regularly for your business, such as bookkeeping.  Stick to the time you have allocated, use a timer if you have to, or else you’ll find you’ve spent all morning on one task and are again trying to catch up.
  • Do two or three quick tasks first.  This will get you going and also it will feel encouraging to have crossed two or three things off your list quite quickly.  Then you are more motivated to tackle the bigger tasks.

Some differences between British English and American English

There are many varieties of English other than British English, as you will discover if you are learning the language. Variations of the English language can be found in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Jamaica, to name but a few. However, the most well-known differences are between English in the United Kingdom and English in the United States. Some of these differences are very well-known, such as calling a pavement a sidewalk or a garden a backyard. Who hasn’t watched American films and TV series and noticed various differences between two languages. As George Bernard Shaw said, ‘England and America are two countries separated by a common language’. However, an English person can go to America or an American can go to England without any serious problems of communication. Why did these differences arise? The English language first came to America in 1607 when the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia was established. Since then, the two languages have not evolved in the same way, each being affected by different types of cultural and linguistic influences from, for example, immigrants. In one country, an old word might be kept and in the other a newer word would be used. The main differences between American and British English are to be found in spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Vocabulary I think this is the most well-known area of differences between the two languages. Apart from sidewalk and backyard, examples include truck (US) for lorry (UK), autumn becomes fall and biscuits become cookies in the US. Your purse is not for your change, it is your handbag. The change is kept in a change purse. In the UK you wouldn’t want anyone to see your pants as they are articles of underwear, in America you wouldn’t mind, as they are your trousers. Be careful what you ask for to eat, sweets are candy, crisps are chips and chips are French fries, a marrow is a squash and candyfloss is cotton candy in the US. If you want to go to the loo or toilet in America you must ask for the bathroom or restroom, whereas bathroom in Britain is where you have your bath. Some meanings of the same words are different between the two types of English. Mean in the US means angry or bad-tempered, in the UK it refers to someone who is tight-fisted and miserly. Quite in the US means ‘very’, whereas in the UK it means somewhat or fairly. Spelling This is also an area where there are differences between the two languages. For instance, words in British English that end in -our, such as colour and humour, end in -or in American English, color, humor. Favourite becomes favorite, -re becomes -er; theatre/theater, kilometre/kilometer. ‘S’ is often replaces by ‘z’, so realise becomes realize, cosy becomes cozy. The double ‘l’ in traveller changes to one ‘l’ in the US, traveler, the same for jewellery which becomes jewelry, also losing an ‘e’ in the process. Programme becomes program, dialogue becomes dialog, grey becomes gray and so on. Grammar One of the main grammatical differences between the two forms of English is the forms of the past simple verbs. There are some verbs that have a regular and irregular past form, eg burnt and burned, the irregular form being more current in Britain and the regular form more current in the US. These include: dreamt/dreamed, learnt/learned, smelt/smelled, spelt/spelled, spilt/spilled, spoilt/spoiled. There is a change in some past participles, too, the most well-known being gotten in the US for got in the UK. The use of the present perfect also varies between the two countries. In Britain it is used for an action in the recent past that has an effect on the present moment, eg. ‘I’ve lost my wallet’, meaning I lost it a short while ago and still haven’t got it. The Americans would use the past simple and say ‘I lost my wallet’. This also applies to sentences with already, just and yet. In Britain we would use the present perfect, ‘I’ve just had breakfast’, ‘I’ve already done my homework’ and ‘Have you finished your dinner yet?’, but the Americans could use these forms or the past simple, ‘I just had breakfast’, ‘I already did my homework’ and ‘Did you finish your dinner?’. In all these cases there are more examples than I have listed here. If you are writing in English it is a good idea to keep to one type of English and to try not to mix the terms and meanings so that your document is easily understandable.

Les faux amis en anglais et français

Certains mots, à la fois en anglais et en français, peuvent être difficiles à traduire. Ils sont si semblables qu’il est facile de penser que leur signification est la même dans les deux langues. Toutefois, ce n’est pas seulement leur prononciation qui est différente. Parfois, il y a un léger chevauchement de sens et ils peuvent se traduire totalement différemment et cela pourrait changer radicalement le sens de votre texte. Par exemple, sensible n’est pas la même chose en anglais et en français. En anglais, il signifie quelqu’un de pratique, terre-à-fait, intelligent, raisonnable en français; en français, il se réfère à quelqu’un qui est susceptible, facilement blessé, impressionable. L’utilisation abusive de ce mot pourrait donner une idée totalement différente de cette personne dans une langue par rapport à l’autre. De nombreux mots ont les mêmes racines, comme le latin, mais les langues ont évolué en même temps que le sens de ces mots, bien que beaucoup ont continué à être écrit de manière identique. Certains ont connu de légers changements dans l’orthographe, comme gentil et gentle. Gentle en anglais signifie d’une nature douce et aimable et gentil en français signifie agréable, ou bon. Ici, il y a un chevauchement de sens, les deux langues indiquent l’amabilité, mais, en anglais, l’accent est mis sur la douceur ou la bénignité. D’autres mots sont orthographiés exactement pareil, mais leur signification est totalement différente, comme four, qui est un four en français et en anglais le nombre quatre, ou chat, qui signifie un brin de conversation en anglais et un animal domestique en français. Ici, la liste est interminable. On doit être prudent avec d’autres termes, par exemple: grand; hazard/hasard; mercy/merci; store; tentative; proper/propre; acutally/actuellement. Là encore, il y a des mots qui ont deux significations et vous devez être sûr de choisir la bonne pour votre traduction. Par exemple, en français voler signifie en anglais « to fly » et « to steal », bark en anglais signifie le bruit fait par les chiens et l’écorce d’un arbre. Tous ces éléments peuvent causer beaucoup de confusion chez les étudiants en langues et la seule solution est de mémoriser les différences de sens. Sinon, vous pourriez finir par produire des erreurs telles que la traduction noyer comme « drowning » au lieu de « walnut » pour produire l’expression « the drowning table and chairs » (la table à manger et les chaises noyade). Bien que très amusant pour vos lecteurs anglais, s’ils ne savent pas du tout le français, ils ne devineront jamais que vous voulez vraiment dire, ce qui est « la table et les chaises de noyer » (en fait, j’ai vous cela dans un guide touristique). C’est une des raisons pour utiliser un service de traduction de qualité de sorte que vous pouvez être sûr que votre copie est correcte même si elle n’est pas drôle.

Avez- vous besoin d’un assistant virtuel?

               Si vous êtes un propriétaire de petite entreprise, vous savez que le temps est précieux.  Combien de celui-ci consacrez-vous à des tâches administratives alors que vous pourriez travailler au développement de votre entreprise?  Enfin, vous pouvez trouver que vous ne pouvez pas tout faire vous-même et que les tâches de gestion de bureau peuvent commencer à prendre le temps que vous voudriez utiliser pour créer votre entreprise et augmenter votre productivité et votre chiffre d’affaires.  Cependant, vous ne voulez pas employer un assistant administratif pour faire face à ces tâches banales.  Vous ne disposez pas de la possibilité d’embaucher un assistant en interne, vous ne pouvez pas payer les coûts supplémentaires en taxes, les assurances et autres que l’embauche d’un employé à temps plein ou partiel impliquerait, ou vous n’avez pas tout le matériel de bureau requis pour un assistant en interne. C’est là que l’embauche d’un assistant virtuel pourrait être la réponse.  Les assistants virtuels sont un groupe de professionnels indépendants qui répondent à tous vos besoins administratifs, techniques ou même de création, coûtant une fraction du coût d’embauche d’un assistant à temps plein ou partiel en interne.  Ils peuvent tout faire, à commencer par la correspondance générale, ou encore le maintien de sites Web et de profils de réseaux sociaux, l’écriture de brochures et de communiqués de presse, la transcription, suivi des appels et de la gestion d’un agenda.  Les assistants virtuels peuvent également se spécialiser dans la construction de sites Web originaux, de blogs internet, ou de services de traduction.