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All Posts by Hannah Thornton

Keeping The Workplace As Secure As Possible

Regardless of the business or the kind of workplace that you are working within, you need to make sure that you are always doing whatever you can to keep it as secure as possible. This kind of security is the kind of thing that can take a lot of work, and which is going to always be a concern of some kind or another, but as long as you are keen to work at it you should find that you can really make a difference this way. Keeping the workplace secure is likewise going to be a lot easier if you have considered the following specifics things which you should do.

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Issue Everyone With An ID Badge

One of the major concerns is that you want to avoid any unwanted personnel entering the building in the first place. There are a lot of ways that you can make sure of this, but the most powerful is to simply equip every member of staff with an ID card which they have to present in order to enter the building. Ideally, it will have their photograph on it so that your security team can identify them as they enter. It might also have functionality to open internal doors, for extra security. Visit website for more on these ID cards and how to get hold of them.

Install Security Systems

A lot of the time, we rely on technology to keep us safe, and that is certainly true when it comes to the workplace. If you want to make sure that your workplace is as safe as possible, you will likely have to think about installing security systems within it. That could be as simple as a CCTV system, or it might have a burglar alarm attached, or whatever else you might think is necessary. Basically, the more that you are willing to spend on it, the more likely it is that you are going to feel you have a secure workplace, so it is up to you how far you feel you need to go.

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Hire Security Staff

Having a dedicated, on-site security team is one of the best ways to make everyone feel considerably safer. You need to be able to trust them, and you need to make sure that they take it seriously, so it is worth shopping around as it were until you find someone that is going to do the job well. Outsourcing this kind of thing is generally the way to go, as you still get the same people every day, but they are also answerable to their own employer as well as you. That ensures that they take it much more seriously, and that they are much more likely to know what you want from them and deliver on it.

As long as you have thought about all of this, you should find that you are able to keep your workplace much more secure indeed. That will feed into the working culture and make for a better business.

Tipping The Balance In Your Favor: How To Work Smarter

A healthy work-life balance is a priority for a growing number of entrepreneurs and employees. People are looking for opportunities to progress and boost their earnings, but they’re also searching for jobs that allow them to live, as well as work. If you run a business, and it dominates your schedule, working smarter is the way forward. Here are some top tips to help you tip the balance in your favor. 

Learning to delegate

If you are a company owner, learning to delegate is incredibly valuable when it comes to striking a healthy balance between work and pleasure. It’s not possible to oversee every element of the business every single day. It can be difficult to take a step back if you’re heavily invested in a venture, and you’re desperate for it to succeed, but it’s important to have trust in your employees. If you have a management team in place, or you have supervisors or line managers, let them assume responsibility, and have confidence in their abilities to deliver. It’s positive to be actively involved in the day to day running of your business, but it’s also beneficial to let others do their jobs and to take time out. 

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Developing your skills

Running a business requires an incredibly diverse skill set. As a leader, you can learn continually, honing your skills and developing new strengths. If you have areas that you view as potential weaknesses, or you feel that there is room for improvement, don’t hesitate to investigate training programs, join your staff to take part in workshops or seek expert advice from experienced business coaches. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes and an outside perspective can provide new ideas and help you find more effective, efficient ways to manage your company. 

Investing in technology

Technology is advancing at lightning speed, and it has revolutionized the way we work. Investing in technology is an effective way to save time, effort and money, and it can make all the difference if you’re short on time and you want to streamline your business operations. Consider the impact of automated programs and features compared to manual data inputting or sending out emails or video calling compared to flying to different states or countries to meet clients. 

Working on the go

The rise of mobile technology has enabled us to work on the move, no matter where we are. Remote working can enhance quality of life, enabling you to balance working and enjoying time off. With access to the Internet, you can still send emails and call into meetings if you’re on vacation, or you’re spending time at home. You don’t have to worry about wasting time commuting and you have control over where you’re based. 

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For many business owners, striking the right balance between work and play is difficult. The key lies in learning to work smarter and taking advantage of technology, and new, more flexible ways of working. Hopefully, these tips will help you to take control of your schedule and enjoy increased job satisfaction. 

Tips To Help Make Your Work Processes More Efficient

Work processes within a business are something that can be improved and made better with a little attention to certain areas. By bettering these work processes, everything your business does can be more efficient and effective. Here are some tips to make your work processes more efficient.

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Get Better IT Support

IT support is important for every business, and if you’re focused on making sure that your employees can work without encountering problems, then that’s helpful. There can often be a lack of IT support for businesses, and this is usually because the response time for help with IT problems can be slow and that’s not fun for any employee who is trying to do their work and to get everything done that they need doing within their working day. Network support is something that’s worth looking at to see how your business can improve it, and perhaps it’s something that needs more of a budget towards or outsourcing to a better company who can fix problems a lot quicker than what is currently being done.

Make Sure There’s Communication

Communication is important for everything in life because if it’s not there, then things are misheard and can go wrong as a result. It’s important that your staff are speaking to one another in regard to everything to do with their work so that they’re on the same page. If they’re both not listening to one another or using their initiative without considering what’s been done, you’ll have a lot of the same work overlapping, and then you’re wasting precious time. So think about what platforms or things you can put in place so that your staff are speaking more. It might be through online task management platforms or simply more one to one meetings.

Work On The Weaknesses

All businesses have a weakness or two, and it’s important to acknowledge these because they certainly make a difference in how effective your business can be and how successful it might be going forward. Try to pinpoint those weaknesses within your business and then explore how you can make the necessary improvements to transform them into strengths. There’s always things within a company that need some attention, so always be looking out for new things that crop up.

Improve Employee Work Loads

Your employee’s workload is different for each person. Not every employee is the same when it comes to what they can handle, and some might be able to take on more than they currently have. Assess each individual workload and look for the opportunities to add more or remove where needed in order to make each staff member more efficient in their day to day tasks. It can certainly help improve this area of the business by focusing on what each person can do.

Making your work processes more efficient comes with attention to detail and focusing on those areas that need the work. Look at what your company needs and start working on it immediately.

4 Ways A Physical Store Is Better Than An Online Site

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Modern entrepreneurs opt for contemporary ways to run a business. For the most part, this means opening an eCommerce and selling products and services online. Without an office space or multiple employees, it’s an excellent method to cut expensive costs and turn a profit. 

However, owning an eCommerce company doesn’t have to be the only option for entrepreneurs. Investing in a physical store continues to be a viable and lucrative method for success. Although it might not sound correct on the face of it, it’s undeniably true if you delve deeper.

Here are the reasons why a physical store is better than an online business.

Custom Specifications

Websites are designed to catch the eye and shift units, but stores are built on this premise too. And, it’s a feature which helps them to succeed where an online shop might fail. Why? It’s because custom specifications ensure the company revolves around an efficient and productive layout and structure. Whether it’s Perfect Practice and healthcare solutions or Oakwoods for retailers, there’s a solution for your specific requirements. Web design is important, but it’s becoming less so thanks to general themes from the likes of WordPress and Wix.

Security

Once upon a time, it would have been unthinkable to say that a physical store would be more secure than a website. Today, however, it’s often the case as eCommerce sites don’t take safety seriously. Hackers can target your platform and steal sensitive data, undoing all of your hard work in the process. What’s more, it’s not as if you can insure your data. Stores are different as the majority of them come with fully-fitted safety measures, from shutters to alarm systems. Plus, you can add seemingly small features that have a massive impact. Outdoor lighting is one such installation that does wonders concerning thieves and burglars.

Customer Preference

Sales for eCommerce sites are on the rise and show no signs of stopping, yet that doesn’t mean they are prefered. Sure, the accessibility and ease factors play significant roles in consumer decisions. However, customers are fickle and flirt with several online stores for the best deals. Progressive Grocer points out that this is different with bricks and mortar shops. In 12 months, 99% of people will use a physical store, while the high street is prefered four out of five times for popular shopping methods. The stats say that a store is what the customers want, and it’s essential to give it to them. 

An eCommerce Site Is Integratable

Take all the best points of an eCommerce site and what do you have? You have features that are instantly integratable regardless of your business type. With a website, it’s straightforward to funnel online browsers to your store to bump up sales. And, you can offer them the things that they enjoy concerning an eCommerce experience. Therefore, it makes more sense to open a store and use eCommerce tools to supplement your business model.

When customers enjoy shopping in person and it’s more secure, a physical store is well worth considering even if an eCommerce site is more popular.

Going Paperless In Your Office

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Going paperless can have lots of benefits for your business.

It can firstly save you money. A paperless office means no more printing – which means no more printing costs.

It could also save you space. Without the need to store paper, you won’t need filing cabinets. Your desk will also look a lot tidier.

Finally, it can help save the environment. Less paper consumption means less trees being cut down. This itself can be good for your company image and your morale.

The question is just how do you go paperless? What about receipts and contracts? This short guide explains it all so that you can take the necessary steps to going paperless.

Make digital copies of important paper documents

It’s possible that you may have legal documents such as contracts that are only in paper form.  Creating digital copies of these documents could be necessary so that you can throw the original physical documents away. This could be done simply using a scanner.

It’s worth talking to a solicitor before you do this – while digital copies of documents are now generally accepted as legally binding, there may still be clauses that state you need the original paper document. You may be able to talk to the party that issued this document in the first place if you’re unsure – they may be willing to write you a new digital-only contract to replace the physical contract.

Choose the right digital document storage solution

Next, you need to organise your digital files so that scanned versions of paper documents and digital documents are all in the same place.

It could be worth embracing cloud storage in order to keep your files secure and in order to access them from any device. New technologies such as data room hosting have become popular for keeping all files in the same place. Don’t just store files on a local hard-drive.

Switch to online bills, receipts and statements

If you currently receive your company’s bills and bank statements in the post, you may want to consider contacting your providers and bank in order to switch to digital methods. Online billing and banking has many perks – in most cases, you can check your balance at any time from any device.

As for receipts for business transactions, you should ask for digital receipts whenever possible. Paying solely by card/mobile payment instead of cash could prevent you needing to keep paper receipts for bookkeeping purposes as you can simply refer to your bank statements.

Start using e-signatures

It’s now also possible to sign signatures digitally. Using an e-signature app on a touchscreen device, you can get clients to sign contracts this way. There are a few different e-signature apps out there, so you may want to take your time shopping around.

Selecting The Correct Priorities Within Your Business Structure

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Any enterprise rests upon good decision making, the same way that a masterful painting relies on the skillful brushing techniques of the painter. While some may have an alternate or widely differing views of how the craft can be practiced or what decisions may lead to the best fruition, there is a truth here in that decisions need to be correct, and informed by many variables in the environment to be successful.


Furthermore, being able to select the correct priorities within your business structural development is essential, as they provide the overarching systems that will lead to the results you aim for. This means defining your business in the best sense is a task that is not only performed once, but is a flexible and constantly updated process that aims for the best outcome. This is further emphasized and helped by a competent leader with a vision, yet one still able to respect the natural law of how business correctly functions and optimizes itself.

As a new business leader hoping to follow in those footsteps, the following advice may be useful to you:

Where To Cut  Costs?

Learning where to cut costs is a vital strategy to learn, because you’ll have to perform this practice many times over the course of your enterprises’ history. However, it’s also important that you ensure careful management and worthwhile prioritization when protecting certain elements of your operation in this light. For instance, you may decide to use the most cost effective yet premium quality process chiller systems to better your manufacturing supply, especially in order to curate products that are reliable and safe. This is a worthwhile investment. However, in response, you may decide to cut back on the refined nature of your packaging to ensure that you can gain the maximum value from each unit sold. Balancing this art is key to ensuring a corrective path forward.

How Quickly To Expand?

Figuring out how quickly you should expand can be difficult, particularly if you’re met with routinely large orders that seem to signify a true demand on your production capacities. It’s worth developing a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that you know where you’re going and why, and to slowly, peaceably build the departments and policies within your structure before hiring dedicated staff in that direction.

What Social & Ethical Priorities Do We Have?

Understand the social and ethical priorities you feel are most appropriate can help you move towards an intended and worthwhile result, better yet if this assists problems within your industry. For instance, perhaps you’re tired of corporations using social rights as a means to market themselves, and instead, you’re focused on donating or providing services to those in need, appropriate to your market approach. Maybe you wish to show just how sustainable your industry can be by taking a cost-hit to market your environmentally conscious approach. The more companies that consider their impact and make changes, the better.

With this advice, we hope you can correctly set the best priorities within your business structure.

Elements Customers Want In A Business

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Your business will have a much better chance of succeeding when you’re able to build a book of loyal clients. Winning customers over isn’t always easy, especially with all the competition that’s out there.

Learn what elements that customers want in a business so you can make these aspects a reality at your workplace. The more you cater to them, the more likely it is that you’ll be profitable and receive positive reviews for your business. Take time to understand their needs and wants so you can adjust your business plan accordingly and deliver on your promise every time.

Quality Products

Without quality products, you risk ruining your reputation and having a lot of customer complaints. For example, if you work in the furniture or sport and leisure industry, then you may be in the market for purchasing suitable, quality plastics. In this case, find a company with a versatile plastic extrusion profile that can provide you with the custom materials you need to satisfy your customers. You want to work with a reliable company that will get you the items you require in a timely fashion.

Responsiveness

Your customers want to work with a business that’s responsive and easy to deal with overall. You and your team should be capable and eager to help customers who have complaints or issues with their orders. Offer multiple customer service outlets for getting in touch with you, such as social media, chat, and email. Come prepared to offer up solutions so that your customers feel valued and appreciated and walk away from the conversation satisfied. It’s your chance to listen to your customers and make changes based on the feedback you receive. Exceptional service is one of the core components of a likeable brand and will take your business far.

Innovation

Furthermore, your customers want to do business with a company that is innovative and forward-thinking. It’s vital to be on your toes and not get too comfortable in one place as a business owner. Customers want to see you growing and maturing as a business and making an effort to continue rolling out new products and services that make their lives easier. Get together with your team and always be brainstorming ways you can improve your products and services and surpass the competition by applying your creativity. Bring new perspectives and ideas to the table to show that you’re on the cutting edge of producing excellent and impressive outputs.

Authenticity & Trustworthiness

Customers also want to work with a business that’s authentic and real. Build relationships with your customers and treat them like people instead of a number. Be open and honest in your interactions and conversations so you can foster trust with them and gain their respect. Be personable and friendly both online and offline and help them to understand why working with your business is the right decision on their part. Always address problems or issues that arise professionally and proactively to keep all you do transparent. Also, have confidence in your ability to achieve the results your customer’s desire.  

How To Recruit Efficiently For Your Company

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Hiring new employees can be a rewarding part of managing any business. Providing new employees with the opportunity to come and work for you is very positive. However, there are times when this can go wrong.

Getting the wrong person for the job can leave you having to deal with performance managing them. You may even need to sack them if it does not work out. This is, of course, going to come out of your business’ budget. It is also not great for the company as, during this time, productivity will be lower because nobody is fulfilling that missing position, added to this, you will have to deal with the stress of finding a replacement. 

There are ways that you can get this right on the first attempt. Here are some tips for recruiting the right person for the job in a manner that is efficient for your business. 

Make Sure Your Job Ad Covers Everything

If you want to make sure that you are getting the right person for the job, then make sure you specify what exactly the right person is. 

If you don’t provide a thorough job description, then you will find that you will get lots of applications from people who may not be relevant for the job at all. 

However, by stating all of the necessary skills and experience that your applicants will be required to have, along with a sense of what personal traits will benefit them in the role, you will be able to get a much better employee fit applying for the job. 

Do Your Due Diligence

Find out as much about the person who is applying for the job as possible. This will mean reading through all of their application thoroughly and looking to find out as much of their background and employment history as possible. 

The more you know about how someone has acted in a previous role, the better. Check their references. 

Next up you should hire a background check company to make sure that they do not have an undisclosed criminal record. Having spent convictions that they have declared is acceptable, however, they should be informing you about their criminal record. 

Check to make sure that they are allowed to work in the country. You could get fined as a business if you do not take the necessary steps to check all right-to-work documents. 

Vary The Interview Process

Some people perform better than others at interviews. Formal question and answer interviews can be very overwhelming for some people. If they are not going to be working in a situation where they will be put in that situation, you should avoid putting them under that kind of pressure. 

Instead, vary up the process. Find some practical tests that they can do to demonstrate their abilities. Give them an assignment that will test the necessary skills for the job. Work trials can be a very helpful way to see what level people work at. 

The Core Components Of A Likeable Brand

If you’re an entrepreneur, then you know that a business’ brand matters. In fact, everybody knows that. Consumers know that branding matters, and that’s why we lean towards bigger companies with established reputations when buying the goods we need. Still, building a successful brand isn’t as simple as putting on a big smile and waiting for potential clients to come to you. It’s a competitive marketplace, and you have to put time and effort into cultivating a reputable image for your business. So, with that in mind, here are the core components of a likeable brand.

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Likeable staff members.

As mentioned in the introduction of this post, your business will need more than big smiles to impress its target audience. Still, that doesn’t mean the likeability of your workers is irrelevant. Obviously, consumers know that a brand is comprised of more than individual employees, but their interactions with individual employees still affect the way they perceive companies. You need likeable staff members if you want to build a likeable brand. So, treat your workers in the way you’d like them to treat your customers. Give them perks such as a pool table in the breakroom. Give them regular bonuses for working hard. Celebrate their achievements with ‘employee of the month’ awards and other similar forms of recognition. If they feel appreciated, they’ll be happier, and that will improve your customer service. Obviously, the hiring process is essential to finding the best candidates, but creating the right working conditions is crucial, too.

An exceptional service.

Of course, customer service depends on more than happy employees. It depends on the quality of the goods that you provide and the timeliness of your service. A customer will still be irritated about slow service or a low-quality product, even if the workers are friendly. You need to focus on quality control. In fact, you need to exceed expectations. For example, you could surprise clients with free gifts whenever they make a purchase. Firebox is a gift site that includes sugary treats with every order, for instance. And you should go the extra mile when packaging products, as well. You might want to include foam polystyrene in packages to provide extra protection for the products that you deliver. This would show your clients that you take great care in delivering goods securely, and that would make your brand more likeable.

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A place in the community.

If you want your local community to accept you, then you have to integrate with it. Nobody likes a money-hungry business that views its customers as nothing more than a means to an end. In order for your brand to be likeable, you have to show your human side. This goes beyond the first point, regarding likeable employees. This is about showing that you value more than your profits. Obviously, your company needs money to keep the lights on, but you need to show that you got into the business world for bigger reasons.

You could donate to local charities in your town or city, for starters. That would also give customers a reason to buy your products or services because they’d know that some of the money from their purchase would go towards a worthwhile cause. Perhaps you could give something back to the community by offering free business classes to aspiring entrepreneurs, as well. That would demonstrate your generous nature, too. Every small act of kindness will help to improve your company’s reputation and create a more likeable brand identity for your business. You might also want to improve the sustainability of your operations. That would reduce your company’s costs, help the planet, and impress consumers in your target market. That’s a win-win-win situation.

The Sky’s The Limit: The Best Ways To Make An Impact In The First 12 Months Of Your Business

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When starting up a business, the sky’s the limit. You got so much ahead of you that the first 12 months can be some of the most exciting moments of your entire professional career. But those first 12 months can come with a lot of trial and error, not to mention frustration. When you are trying to find your feet during those first few months you may start to think about the best ways to develop your product or think about bringing new people on board that can help boost your brand. But you’ve also got to remember to make a significant impact in the right areas. What are the best ways to make sure that during these pertinent few months you make a substantial impact that you can build upon?

Setting Up An Exhibition At A Trade Show

A trade show is one of the best ways to make a very quick impact. Trade shows consist of people that are already in business or people looking for something different. When you’re trying to acquire custom or clients, a trade show is, arguably, one of the most successful methods. But in order to make sure that you truly make a splash at these events you’ve got to have everything fully realised. There’s also a lot to consider with regards to the exhibition itself. And while there are companies like Infinity Exhibits that can help you to create a trade show booth you still need to remember that you’ve got to go in all guns blazing. It’s not just about the image of the stall at the event, but it’s about the complete package.

Creating A Functional Business Operation

Learning what works and what doesn’t is par for the course during the first 12 months. Once you understand where everything fits it’s now time to put processes in place to make everything as productive as possible. Creating a functional business operation is partly to do with the legalities. There are many legal firms like Peters & Peters that can help you with business law but when you feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants all the time it’s important that you have a structure and process in place. This is what will help keep everything on track even though you think it’s all falling to pieces. You need to cover your back in a regulatory sense but also have a process in place to follow, rather than winging it.

Working On Your Networking Capabilities

Networking is one of those skills that we all need. During the first 12 months, you may struggle to come out of your shell but you have to remember that the first 12 months is about trial and error. Once you begin to work on your networking skills and realise what your personal strengths are, you can use this to your advantage and begin to build the right image. This is as important as building the image of the company.

The sky’s the limit and when you start to realise your ambitions you’ve got to ensure that you put the key things in place to reach then.

The Best Method For Calculating Earnings Forecasts

Anyone in the business world knows the importance of earnings forecasts. Indeed, it’s these forecasts that are used to make the financial investments that can make or break a company. Alas, it hasn’t always been the most reliable of tasks, and that’s why the process of coming up with these forecasts is always developing. 

In recent years, it has been crowdsourcing that has been used to create these forecasts. The rise of technology has made these possible, and they’ve been shown to create forecasts that are more reliable than older models. So what is crowdsourcing, exactly? It’s a term that is used in many different professions and forms, but broadly speaking, it’s a system of obtaining information from large numbers of people. Because it uses information from a large group, it can be better than relying on the system of smaller sources. 

Companies have adopted this type of forecasting model because it gives them an advantage over companies that do not use the model, and can be used for a variety of accounting tasks. It can have an effect on things such as investment timing and stock prices, and also helps to make forecasting more equal and diverse, since it takes the task out of the hands of the traditional companies. In other words, there’s a lot of value in this model. 

To learn more about this forecasting trend, take a look at the infographic below, which is based on research conducted by professors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business.


Infographic Designed By: University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business accounting infographic

Saving Money In Your New Business’ Budget

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When you are starting out your own small business, money is often too tight to mention. Unfortunately, when it comes to business though, you do need to speculate to accumulate. If you are to create a successful business, you may need to spend a considerable amount of money. 

However much you have to spend though, you will need to create an accurate budget for your new business startup. If you don’t work through all of your costs before you start spending money, you may end up spending your money in the wrong area. 

Set Priorities

When it comes to working out where to spend your money in your business, you need to determine your priorities. Work out what the most important areas that you need to spend your money are. Do you need premises to work from? If customers need to come to you, then you will need a professional venue. However, if you are not a customer-facing company then your options are much wider and you can make some savings by taking cheaper spaces that are not suitable for other companies or even run from home

If the place you are working from is not a priority, think about sharing space with another company for a while and focus your attention on the things that you will really need to get your moving. Anything else can wait until you start bringing in revenue that can be reinvested in growing your infrastructure. 

You Don’t Need To Buy Everything New

If you need a vehicle, you should look at Used Vans. You don’t need to buy a vehicle that costs the earth or has never been used. Instead, get a van that does the job you need from it for as little as possible. 

Obviously, when buying a vehicle you will want to make sure it is one that is not going to end up needing lots of repairs or have excessive running costs. Do some research into the insurance prices and fuel consumption of the vehicle before parting with any cash. 

Wage Costs Are Important

It is a false economy to not spend money on wages. You will need people and they do deserve to be paid an appropriate wage. Often, you will find if you are not willing to pay this, then you will not get productive employees

If you reward people then, they will work harder and you will be more likely to achieve your goals. Cutting money when it comes to your wage bill should be avoided if at all possible. Instead, think about reducing money from other areas of the budget.

Don’t Forget To Allow For Things To Go Wrong

When creating a budget for your business, don’t forget that things do go wrong from time-to-time. Something may cost you more than you anticipated. For this reason, you should always keep some of your budget set aside for this. Having something to fall back on may make the difference between your business’ success and failure. 

How The Government Uses Information Against You

If you’re somebody trying to make it in the business world, you need to look at reality for what it is, not what you would like it to be. Other companies aren’t there providing you with an excellent service just because they’re nice people – they’re doing it for the money. The same goes for your employees: not all of them will be as committed to the cause as you are. Many just want to get paid so that they can feed their families. 

But when it comes to the government, many people have a different view. All of a sudden, the people who seek official state power have a special moral status. They’re often perceived as acting in the best interest of the people they serve, not because of their own ambitions or desire for power. 

Successful entrepreneurs need to understand that this is not always the case. While there are examples of politicians throughout history who have worked for moral causes, they’re not the norm. Most will use whatever tools available to them to get ahead. 

If you’re in the world of business, you need to see the world for what it is if you want to make headway. You need to understand that the authorities regularly deploy propaganda to further their ends, often putting you at a disadvantage if you can’t see it for what it is. 

The following infographic shows how various governments, particularly the US, have used information warfare against its own citizens in the past. Some of what follows will shock you. 


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The Easy Way To Make Hiring New People A Breeze

At some point, your side hustle may grow to the stage where you have no choice but to take on new people to satisfy demand. If you don’t, you could be leaving profits on the table.  

Hiring people, however, is challenging. Not only do you have to contend with a mountain of additional regulation, but you also have to invest a lot of time finding the talent that you need. It’s a significant drain. 

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There are, however, a variety of strategies that you can employ to make the whole process a heck of a lot easier. Check out these tips. 

Tip 1: Hire People You Know

Going out into the marketplace and finding people with the skills that you need is a challenge. The available pool of workers is small, and the competition for them is fierce. Recruitment agencies often charge high fees and rarely provide you with people who really fit your criteria.

A better option might be to approach someone you know. Not only is it free, but you probably have a rapport with this person already, making the initial conversation easier. 

Don’t use this as an excuse for hiring friends and family. In general, that’s a bad idea. You want to maintain a professional distance at all times. 

Tip 2: Outsource Your HR

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Once you take on new people, you suddenly have to get to grips with the world of HR. Employees aren’t robots who tirelessly do your bidding, day in, day out. Instead, they’re regular people like you and me, who need time off and to take sick leave. 

Managing all this is a time-consuming process that can cut into other activities. Fortunately, HR function companies can take over a lot of the burden for you. These agencies assist with payroll, attendance, benefits, and onboarding, so you don’t have to. 

Tip 3: Hire Professionals To Write Your Job Descriptions

If you take a look at popular job sites, you’ll notice that the majority of job descriptions are both comprehensive and well-written. There’s a reason for this: most businesses don’t bother writing them themselves. Instead, they hire people who do it all day, every day.

Outsourcing this task has two critical benefits. First, it saves you time, just like outsourcing other HR functions. And second, it makes your brand appear more professional. The more precise you can be in your job descriptions, the more prospective employees will trust you to provide them with a positive work experience. 

Tip 4: Create A Remote Workforce

Setting up an office and providing all the facilities that you need to keep people happy is a massive administrative challenge, not to mention the overhead. Many innovative firms, therefore, are experimenting with remote working

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Implementing effective remote working is surprisingly easy with modern tools. A combination of cloud services and chat tools means that you don’t actually have to have people come to an office every day for them to be productive. Remote working also expands your potential talent pool, allowing you to hire people overseas. 

Mastering Business Communication (It Truly Is The Key To Success)

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All businesses rely heavily on communication every single day. Quite frankly, the quality and clarity of interactions will go a long way to deciding whether the company succeeds or fails. As such, mastering this part of the operation should be a priority at all times.

While there is a huge list of contributing factors to consider, here are some of the most pertinent issues that require your full attention.

Removing Distractions

It’s the oldest cliché in the book, but time is money. Therefore, finding ways that allow your remote workers to stay effective without the threat of mixed messages is vital. Group chats and cloud collaborations can be used by staff members across all workspaces too. When supported by simple ideas such as running shorter team meetings, employees will stay on task. This increased sense of clarity is sure to enhance their workflow. If you cannot perfect the internal communication, there’s no chance of mastering the external ones.

Focus On Branding

Your brand story has a telling role to play in business communication. Crucially, getting it right will ensure that prospective clients enjoy positive first interactions. The right logo, colour schemes, and slogans are all vital. Meanwhile, shop signage and packaging materials deserve a lot of attention. When consumers trust the brand, they are more likely to complete a purchase. On a side note, a clear brand story will support employees on a daily basis, especially in relation to customer care.

Redevelop Your Website

Whether you plan to generate online sales or not, you must not ignore your website. Most prospective clients will actively conduct research on your site. As well as a clear design and easy navigation, you need to present the info in a winning manner. Using an animated explainer video is the perfect way to share your message in an engaging manner. Whether providing support to clients that have made a purchase or trying to convert more sales, the results can be huge. The info will be retained while it becomes very unlikely that the user will gain a mixed message.

Use Modern Tech

The company website isn’t only a source of info. It also gives clients a chance to contact the firm directly. Fielding their queries in an effective way is one of the most significant steps to success. Chatbots are a very effective tool. Other modern forms of modern tech include call redirecting services. This ensures that calls make their way to you without the need for a dedicated telephone support team. Therefore, it can be one of the best tools at any startup’s disposal.

Encourage Confidence

Good communication is the most integral feature needed to stop internal problems from surfacing. However, you aren’t a mindreader. With this in mind, building a robust employer-employee bond is vital. When your staff members have the confidence to speak up about mistreatments, including from colleagues, you can stamp out the issues far sooner. Subsequently, then, the entire business venture runs smoothly while the positivity can extend to other teams and customers. Conversely, when the team are too shy to speak, problems will persist.

Is Your Website Turning Buyers Off?

More and more of us are buying products and services online, but having a website for your business is not always a blessing. While a seamless, visually enticing, interactive site can work wonders, there is a chance that your website could turn buyers off. If you’re getting a lot of visitors, but you’re not converting leads, here are some common pitfalls to be wary of.

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Missing out on the mobile market

You only have to look around you when you catch a bus or grab a coffee to see that mobile phones have taken over the world. More than 50% of online traffic now comes from mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to attract customers and generate profits. 

Too much information

It’s vital for websites to provide information about the services and products a business offers, but if your pages are packed, and there are text boxes, flashing banners and adverts all over the place, this can put customers off. Your pages should be attractive, information should be easily accessible, and passages of text should be broken up with images, infographics or video clips. 

Drab, dull aesthetics

Your website is essentially a virtual shop window. If you owned a store on the high street, you would probably dress that window to encourage passers-by to pop in and take a look. If your homepage and landing pages are dull and uninspiring, you might find that online shoppers are inclined to look elsewhere. If you’re not a design guru, it’s well worth considering working with a professional web design agency. Your site should embody your brand and really showcase your business in its best light. Injecting colour, adjusting the format, changing the theme and diversifying the content could make all the difference. 

No clear call to action

When you design a website, every page should have a clear objective. If there isn’t an obvious call to action, you may find that your site isn’t delivering the results you anticipated. Make it easy for your customers to achieve their own goals at the same time as maximising the chances of hitting your targets. If you want web users to buy products, for example, take them to the page they need to get to via a bold or coloured link or include an add to cart button. If you’re encouraging people to join your mailing list, add a box or banner to enable them to subscribe in one click. It’s important to find the right balance between promoting your brand and being too aggressive. You want to include a clear call to action without bombarding people with offers or links. 

Slow loading

There are few things more frustrating when you’re trying to buy a product or book a table or a hotel room than slow-loading pages. Your website should be slick and seamless. Customers should be able to make a purchase, find contact details, ask a question or sign up for emails or a callback in a matter of seconds. 

A website can send sales soaring, but success is not guaranteed. If your site isn’t delivering, look out for these common errors and take steps to improve your chances of converting leads and boosting sales.  

Making An In-Store Impression

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There is no denying that all retail stores need to make a positive impression, especially at this time of year. To do that, you need to make sure that your store is laid out and designed in a beautiful manner. You want to represent your brand and show of your products in the best possible way. So, with that being said, read on to discover some useful tips and suggestions. 

Show Off Your Products

Firstly, you need to remember that it is all about showing off your products. Sometimes this can become a bit lost because we get wowed with glitter and shiny colours and all of the different decorations. However, it’s all about enticing the customers to want to buy your stock, so consider this with every move you make. Start off with buying mannequins and ensuring that they are perfectly designed in your most valuable garments. You can easily get a male mannequin or female mannequin online.

Carefully think about how you are going to put these outfits together. Layering and considering the outfit as a whole can tempt people to purchase the entire lot. Why not design something that’s perfect for an office Christmas party? There will be a lot of people looking for this sort of thing right now!

Consider Using Wicker Baskets

Retail display wicker baskets are definitely worth considering for your business. No matter whether you sell luxury food items, cosmetics, or home accessories, you can be sure that wicker baskets will make a positive impression on your customers. 

There are many wicker basket companies providing a wide range of products to cater to all requirements. Thus, no matter what type of products you sell, you can be confident that you will be able to find wicker storage baskets for them. But, why should you choose wicker? 

Well, wicker has a classy appearance, and it certainly looks better when compared with the likes of plastic and other common materials. It will show your business in a more professional light. After all, branding is of paramount importance nowadays, and your brand needs to be considered with each and every decision you make. This includes the display solutions you select. If people walk into your store and they see your products displayed in lovely wicker baskets, they are certainly going to be impressed. There are many different ways to display your products too. You can get wicker hampers, which are great for filling with luxurious foods and drinks. There are also display stands, which you can use to store your products. This works well with small items, for example, cosmetics, soaps, and body products. Wicker also has a natural feel too, which makes your business feel more homely and environmentally conscious. 

So there you have it: some suggestions that you can follow if you are looking to make a great in-store impression. Good luck!

Could Your Online Business Be Flying? These Tips Could Help

There is no hiding from the fact that many people have decided to start a business online. It can be an easy way to strike that balance right for home and working. You can do it from home, which gives you low overheads and flexibility, and it can often be an easy way to get to the market fast. But are you doing all that you can to make your online business fly? Here are some suggestions to help you make your online business fly off the charts this year. 

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Outsourcing and putting a value on your time 

The first thing you may want to think about would be to outsource and put some value on your time. When you run a business, you feel responsible for every aspect of it, but there will be areas of that business that you just don’t do justice. It may be worth thinking about outsourcing to a digital marketing company to help you strategize with advertising and social media. This can really help your business as it frees up your time to focus on the areas that you can make a difference in. 

Humanising your social media 

The next thing you may want to think about would be your social media pages and what you put out there. It can often feel like some businesses are just too much of a scrolling sales pitch, and this can put off your audience. Instead, try and humanise your business a little. Use instagram stories to showcase your business from a different angle. Give behind the scenes looks into things, like production or planning. Perhaps even look at ways to put your face in the camera and talk to your audience, engaging with them and responding to messages. It can make all of the difference. 

Having a great responsive website

Your website is what people will look to the most these days. people search online for answers to questions, they seek out websites and online stores when they see things, even in person or online, so your website needs to be responsive and stand out from the crowd. Things like slow page loading times, and incorrect content can really put off a potential client or customer. Make sure your website is doing its job properly. It might also be worth working on your ecommerce site to ensure that shopping online is quick and easy. If things are too difficult to navigate, people just tend to look elsewhere rather than stick with it. 

Online reviews and recommendations 

Finally, online reviews and recommendations are a great way to seek out new business. They are a great advertising tool, asd people look to seek guidance from others that have either used your products or services or recommend you as a brand. It is worth trying to get your current and previous customers to leave feedback, either through an online questionnaire or return email. 

Let’s hope these tips help you to move your online business forward. 

How Businesses Can Easily Avoid 90% Of PR Pitfalls

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When we see a PR pitfall, especially when a large company falls into one, we think ‘how on earth could they have been so dense?’ For example, when a corporation seems to fall into misunderstanding a meme, or suggesting something culturally insensitive, or running an advertisement that not only offends but humiliates the firm, we really wonder just who was behind the scenes, making those fateful decisions.

That being said, while some PR pitfalls are of course unavoidable and just plain bad luck, there are many that are completely avoidable provided you adhere to the best practice and conventional, common wisdom. This can sound so easy, but if improperly applied, even common sense can find it hard to become applied in the right manner.

We believe that it’s a shame for a firm to be caught in a PR backlash if they meant no harm, but understandable. To that end, we hope that the following advice can help you and your business, no matter how humble and small, to avoid this kind of bad publicity. Because in the business world, not all PR is good PR.

Consultants

Consultants have years of experience in this pursuit, and so have many tidbits of advice that can prove useful when creating and reviewing your marketing strategy. For example, the best digital marketing consultant will be happy to tailor your progress to the best ends, to make you aware of certain outcomes, or to help you transition your idea into something more practical, while keeping your message thoroughly understandable. This may give you the edge in not just avoiding bad PR, but in truly establishing a strong message.

Market Research

Market research is very important, because in 2019 and beyond, trends can shift at the drop of a hat. It’s important to know what’s here to stay, what norms are changing, and what novelty is only superfluous and not worth your time. It’s not uncommon for modern companies to dive on viral memes as part of their marketing strategy, eliciting groans from almost everyone who can imagine the levels of signing-off a business had to approve before they could be that ‘hello, fellow kids!’ joke. When you conduct market research, you not only know what is popular now, but you can get ahead of it, and value its real worth.

A Little Patience

Have a little patience before moving in with a marketing strategy. It may seem that something needs to be shown right away, but often, if you wait for the right moment, you may have a fantastic impact. If a competitor, for example, is releasing their flagship product, you may be able to make use of noted flaws in their design by pointing out how your new product is free from those errors. Sometimes, the best way to avoid a PR pitfall is to allow someone else to make it for you. 

With this advice, we hope your business can avoid 90% of the pitfalls it may otherwise experience.

How To Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a difficult thing for entrepreneurs to master. Although being your own boss seems like a perfect life, the reality is quite different from the fantasy many people imagine. Working from home, setting your own hours, and wearing whatever you want are benefits many business owners enjoy, but there are drawbacks to contend with too. Without care and organization, your professional and personal lives could easily eat into family or work commitments. Balance is the only way to be successful. With that in mind, here are eight ideas to improve work-life balance. 

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1. Make An Office Space

Being productive at home isn’t always easy. After all, most people view their house as a place to relax and unwind. Because of this, you must separate your work life and personal life at home. An effective way to do this is to make an office space. Having a home office creates boundaries for yourself and anyone else at home. When you’re in that office, everyone must understand that you shouldn’t be disturbed. Once you leave the office, however, you must leave the work behind.

2. Work With A Team

Growing a business is a passionate and personal undertaking. For this reason, many new entrepreneurs attempt to be actively involved in every area of the company. However, taking on too much work will make it impossible for you to relax at home. Eventually, you’ll start working longer hours to get everything done. Instead of doing so, you should hire great employees. Whether they work at your home or their own, having workers will take some pressure off you.

3. Stick To Work Hours

Any entrepreneur can work whatever hours they choose. While most new business owners would imagine that means working fewer hours, the opposite is more often true. Even with a heavy workload, you must set and stick to sensible work hours. If you often answer your work phone after hometime, then invest in virtual professional receptionists. With a virtual receptionist, any after-hours phone call would record a voicemail that you could then listen to the next day. 

4. Break Up Every Day

Even during office hours, you shouldn’t be working nonstop. Regular breaks are necessary to recharge your batteries, which will then boost productivity and creativity. During busy periods, you might be tempted to miss a break to get work done faster. Unfortunately, this is more likely to have a negative impact. Without rest and nutritious foods, your body will burn out. What’s more, sitting and staring at screens all day can cause backache and eyestrain, among other issues. 

5. Put All Distractions Away

Unlike business premises, your property isn’t designed for productive working. Although having an office space available does help, there are many distractions around the house that could cause problems. Family members might respect your office hours, but animals likely won’t. Because of this, you must find ways to keep your beloved pets from under your feet. Make sure you also keep your home relatively tidy, as clutter can cause stress, whether you see it or not. 

6. Wear Real Clothes Daily

Many new remote workers try working in pajamas. With no reason to leave the house, wearing real clothes can seem pointless. However, pajamas aren’t associated with productivity. Instead, many people imagine sleeping and relaxing while wearing them. This makes it difficult for you to get into a professional mindset. What’s more, if you begin wearing pajamas for work, you’ll struggle to relax at night. That is why you must wear clothes you’d happily leave the house in. 

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7. Look After Your Body

Working your best is impossible when you don’t feel your best. If you neglect your health and body, you’ll struggle to feel productive. For this reason, you must take care of yourself. Start every day with a healthy breakfast, and never skip lunch or dinner. Make sure you also find time to exercise every day and drink plenty of water. Adopting healthy sleep habits is important too, so try to stick to a bedtime and get at least eight hours rest every single night. 

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8. Book A Break Away

Sometimes, the best way to improve work-life balance is to get away from home and work. Leaving everything behind gives you a chance to have fun and enjoy some rest. That being said, taking time off isn’t easy for entrepreneurs. Without you available, you must put someone else in charge. This person should be someone you can trust to work hard and take care of things. Whoever you choose, make sure that every other employee knows that they’re in charge. 

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is difficult, but with the advice above, you should be able to do it. 

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