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How To Put The Team First In A Merger

Mergers are a constructive force that can leave a path of destruction in its track. Indeed, mergers make a lot of sense on paper. They combine skills, market, expertise, and audience groups. They seem like the perfect recipe for success. 

However, at a personal level, employees are the first to pay the price of a merge and acquisition decision. Indeed, merging with another company can lead to an increase in stress. Many employees feel uncertain about the future of their role, whether they are on the side of the acquirer or the acquiree. It’s not uncommon to come across alarming gossips in the office, which only reinforces stress and fear positions. Teams can record a productivity drop by 60% to 70% after a merger announcement. Many professionals are likely to resign following a merger as they are worried about being made redundant. How can businesses put their employees first when they merge? 

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Create a collaborative, connected space

You wouldn’t pick random ingredients and throw them into a baking mold in the hope of getting a delicious cake. You’d follow a recipe. If you don’t have any recipe, you are likely to make sure your ingredients work together and complement each other. The same principle applies to merging teams. You can’t force people who don’t know each other together and expect them to hit the ground running. Team building activities are essential to build trust between employees and remove any lasting sensation of awkwardness.

Additionally, it can be helpful to build a community online that connects employees, suppliers, and partners. The idea of a merger is to combine two separate entities into one bigger unit that is fully functional. Therefore, a community platform can be an effective solution to bridge the gap between the two companies. 

Introduce an “ideal employee” profile

Who is your perfect employee? 

You may have a clear idea of who was a perfect employee before the merger. But things are different when you combine the cultures of the two companies. It can be helpful to create a profile of how the ideal merger’s employee should be. You can refer to it when you reach out to a recruitment company to bring new staff to the business. Indeed, recruiting agents are likely to refer to what you want to achieve when they examine candidates. Ultimately, as a merger may lead to redundant positions, it also creates new opportunities for growth, which means you’ll need to hire new talent for your team! 

Create a future for your team

Employees are worried that a merger will cause them to lose their jobs. Redundancies are sometimes expected in those situations, but they are best avoided. Losing members of the team will impact morale and productivity. However, you can tackle the issue by helping vulnerable individuals who may be made redundant with a growth training program. Building a future for your team through a merger can ease the transition and reduce anxiety. 

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Merging companies is more than a smart money investment. It is a business decision that puts a lot of pressure on the people in your team. We can’t afford to forget that people are a business’s most important asset. A successful merger, therefore, begins with your team. 

4 Tips For Success When Using A Recruitment Company To Staff Your Business

A good recruitment strategy is vital to the success of your business, but many companies struggle with it. Often, the best way to make sure that you have the right people for the job is to use a recruitment company. They will help you select the right candidates and streamline the whole process, so you save time and money. 

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However, finding the right recruitment company and building a good relationship with them is important if you want to reap the benefits. Here are some important tips for success when using a recruitment company to staff your business. 

Know What You Want 

The recruitment company has a much easier job finding candidates for you if you know what it is that you want. That doesn’t just mean knowing the position you are looking to fill, but it also means knowing your overall aims when hiring people. For example, are you looking to scale up the business or do you need to fill a skills gap because an experienced employee is leaving? In some cases, if you have long term goals, it’s best to pick less experienced candidates that have a lot of potential, so they can grow within the business. But in other situations, you need an experienced candidate that can jump into the role straight away without too much guidance. Knowing what you want out of a new hire will help the recruitment company find the perfect candidate to meet your goals. 

Use Recruitment Agencies Specific To Your Industry 

General recruitment agencies are fine for some basic positions, but if you have skilled positions to fill, it’s important that you go with a specialized agency. For example, if you run a medical business, you need a recruitment company like Cornerstone Medical, who understand the specific challenges and recruitment needs in your industry. When you find a recruitment agency that is specific to your industry, you will always get candidates that are better suited to the position. 

Prepare A Detailed Brief 

When you approach a recruitment agency about filling a position, you need to give them as much information as possible about the role and the requirements. Writing a good job description is a start, but you should also include information about the company ethos and the kind of person that will fit in well. Anybody can look through a pile of resumes and pick a candidate based on skills and experience alone, but that’s not what recruitment companies are for. They are there to find somebody that is perfect for your business, and it’s easier for them to do that if they have more information. 

Manage Your Expectations 

People often go to a recruitment company with an unrealistic list of qualities that they want in a candidate. Then, they’re disappointed when they are told that person simply doesn’t exist and you have to make compromises. Recruitment companies are not miracle workers, so manage your expectations and you will have a much better relationship with them. 

If you keep these things in mind, you will have a great experience with a recruitment company and your business will thrive as a result. 

How to Communicate More Effectively with Your Customers Online

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Building relationships with your customers is vital to encourage them to remain loyal to your business. To build customer relationships, you need to communicate effectively and provide customers with a positive experience every time they interact with your business. 

The aim of nurturing a relationship between your business and customers is to encourage brand loyalty and increase sales. This is achieved by sharing product information such as new product launches and special offers.

Nowadays, businesses have more opportunities than ever before to communicate with their customers. This is because there are so many more platforms available for communicating and connecting with them. But, to successfully build relationships with your customers and encourage them to engage with your brand, you need to utilize the platforms available to their full potential. 

If you would like to communicate more effectively with your customers to build brand loyalty and increase sales, why not try some of these suggestions?

Provide 24-Hour Live Support

We live in a world where everyone is contactable 24 hours a day for 365 days a year, so it is only natural that customers will expect this same level of availability from your business. Using live chat room software is the perfect solution to this situation. Introducing a live chat function to your website has many benefits, but most importantly, it provides a way of communicating with your customers on their terms. Being contactable at any time could be the difference between converting the customer and making a sale or losing them to a competitor. Live support is an effective way to remove barriers that stand in the way of your website visitors buying something from your site by answering any questions that they may have before completing their purchase. 

Whatever time of the day or night may be, the live chat function is always ready and waiting for your customers to use.

Use Social Media to its Full Potential

Social media offers limitless opportunities for interacting with customers. Research shows that in 2020 there were 3.6 billion social media users worldwide, and this figure is set to increase to 4.41 billion people using social media across the world by 2025. So, if you are not using your social platforms to their full potential, you miss out on a huge opportunity. 

Providing your followers with engaging content that encourages interaction is essential. Pitching your posts in the right tone of voice is crucial to react to your posts positively. 

Posting on social media regularly is also vital, but you need to strike a balance between ensuring that your followers know that you still exist and bombarding them with an endless stream of posts. 

Don’t forget that your customers will use your social platforms as an opportunity to ask questions and comment on your products. Be prepared to respond to these promptly to ensure that any issues are resolved fast. Social media provides a valuable method of connecting with your customers and nurturing a relationship with them when used correctly.

Using Looks To Your Advantage In The World Of Business

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Appearances can mean a lot in the professional world. People care about what they look like, and the way that other people look will usually influence the way that you feel about them. Clothing, accessories, and your general style can be used as a tool to appeal to the right clients and colleagues, giving you an edge that can’t be achieved with words alone. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring a range of different fields, giving you an idea of the styles that could work well if you were working in these areas.

Creative Industries

Creative work is different from many other industries. While you will interact with people from a range of different fields, you will have much more freedom than others when it comes to the style you adopt for business. People will expect you to be creative with the way that you dress, with most people who work in roles like graphic design or art being fashionable. This opens the doors to more informal garments, often giving you the chance to make your work more comfortable.

While you have a lot of freedom in creative industries, you also have to be a little bit careful. Wearing clothing with large graphics or logos can look unprofessional, and you need to avoid looking like you’ve come straight from a party. Finding a nice balance between formal and informal will work well here. Of course, it’s also worth thinking about the type of client you’re interacting with, with more traditional businesses preferring a more formal look.

Technology

The technology industry has exploded over the last few years, and the age of this market has given many companies the chance to adopt modern practices. Young tech enthusiasts are more likely to feel comfortable with someone wearing similar clothing to them. At the same time, though, it can pay to surprise people when you work in a field like this. Formal clothing can also work well in a field like this, though you need to make sure that you pick modern options that won’t make you look out of touch.

Many people assume that those working in this sort of industry will wear casual clothing to their work. In reality, though, it’s important to remember that you’re trying to impress, and this means that you need to give off the right impression. Tools like eyewear can be used to make you look a little bit geeky, appealing to the sort of people who tend to gravitate to this field. Alongside this, you could also look for small accessories with things like emblems from video games or movies.

Finance & Other Professional Services

Finance is an area that allows very little freedom when it comes to your clothing. You will be expected to dress formally, with clients and customers finding it hard to trust you if you don’t look the part when you’re offering a professional service. Wearing a full suit will be a little over the top for some occasions, though you should consider going all out for important meetings and events where you will represent your business.

People like to see care and attention from the people looking after them professionally. This makes it crucial that you spend the time to consider every aspect of your look, from the garments to the accessories that form the final package. There are a lot of services out there that offer professional styling, providing a chance to achieve a professional style that will impress the people you work with. Of course, though, you could also use sites like Instagram to give yourself some inspiration.

Finding a style that enables you to appeal to the people you work with can be a challenge. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to look very far to find the right answers, and can simply think about what you would expect from the people you work with. This is a great way to find a style that you like and is suitable for your work.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of using your looks to your advantage in the world of business. This can be difficult, though there are loads of guides around the web that can help you, and countless sources of inspiration to draw from.

How To Improve Your Business’s Appeal In Less Than 48 Hours

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According to figures, it takes between five and seven impressions for customers to register your brand and remember it. Most small businesses, therefore, are fighting a losing battle. Even if they do get their logo in front of prospects, they’re unlikely to see it four to six more times to consign it to memory. And even then, that’s just to remember you, let alone buy anything.

Fortunately, you can do a lot to improve your appeal and get the traction you want in your local market (or wherever you happen to sell). Check out these must-see strategies. 

Stand For A Set Of Values

Modern customers want great products, but they also care about what a company thinks. That’s why we’ve seen so much branding activity recently on racial and environmental issues. Firms know that consumers actively care about their position on these matters, and will consider them when buying products. 

As a small business, you should think about which issues matter most to your customers. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon and go along with everyone else. It’s not original, and might not be relevant either. And remember, only focus on hot potato issues if you know that you’ve got the support of your audience. The last thing you want is a PR disaster on your hands because you said something that offended someone. 

Revamp Your Attire

Uniforms are perhaps the most potent interpersonal branding tool at your business’s disposal. When your colleagues wear beautiful clothes that showcase your brand at its best, it creates an instant impression and automatically makes your customers feel as though they’re in good hands. 

Today’s custom t shirt printing is relatively straightforward and simple to implement. You don’t have to be a designer or run your own production facility. Instead, you can convert your brand logo (and other features) into print that your staff can wear on uniforms. This way, they can advertise your business wherever they go. 

Put On A Special Offer

Standing out in a competitive marketplace can be a challenge, especially if people don’t know about your product. The best way to get people to take a punt on you is to get the word out with a competition or promotion of some description. 

Cutting the price of your lead product is one of the best ways to get people to try you out for the first time. It seems less risky if customers know that they’re getting something for fifty percent of the regular price. If they like it, they’ll come back for more. If they don’t, then no harm done. 

Replace Your Signage

Some businesses can literally see a doubling or tripling of their success by simply changing their signage. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of signs to attract customers and boost your company’s appeal. They’re important because they both attract customers and create first impressions. If your signage is weak, it might not even draw the eye of your customers. Replacing it usually takes a quick call to your local signage company and a couple of hours to install. 

10 Tips To Become A Greener Company

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No matter what type of business you run, you have a social responsibility to consider sustainable operations and practices. As with any goal, your efforts towards a greener future may involve a process of trial and error. To support your company to go-green, consider these ten ideas.

1. Adopt lean principles

Lean manufacturing refers to improving the efficiency of a production process by eliminating waste. While lean principles originate in manufacturing, these principles can be useful across many different settings. Waste might occur due to defects, poor use of time, overproduction, storage issues, and so on. Waste has a negative impact on the environment, and it’s also bad for business. To become a greener company, it’s advisable to improve your waste management processes.

2. Sustainable Construction

Sustainable construction is a big priority in our current climate. When you’re making renovations to your building, it’s good to work with contractors who use sustainable construction methods. Green roofing is currently a popular sustainable construction technique. Creating a green-roof involves growing plants and grass on top of the existing roofing. With a green roof, you’ll reduce heating expenses, absorb stormwater, and improve air quality. You might also like to commission sustainable materials for your renovations, for example, ‘Ferrock.’ Ferrock is made with steel dust, it’s carbon-neutral, sealing C02 as it dries. 

Rockfon offers an excellent service if you’re looking for a commercial ceiling renovation. They provide stone wool ceiling panels with noise absorbing features. These installations are fire-safe and the perfect sustainable choice.

3. Cloud Technology 

Cloud technology can help your business to go- green in several ways. First off, you can eliminate the use of printers and paper. Secondly, you can allow remote working, which can reduce your energy bills and save you money. The cloud will enable you to run every aspect of your business with ease, from your project management to your marketing and data analysis. There are so many robust software solutions that you can use to run a cloud-based company, including:

  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that offers file storage, video meetings, instant chat, and application integration. Whether you’re working remotely or on-site, Microsoft Teams can boost your staff’s productivity.
  • Asana: With this high-performing project management tool, your cloud-based biz will run like clock-work. Using Asana, you can assign tasks, chat and collaborate, and manage each stage of your projects. There’s Kanban support, simple-timelines, and real-time updates.

4. Use Green Web Hosting 

Modern businesses simply can’t survive without the Internet; the problem is that data centers aren’t exactly eco-friendly. Data centers consume a huge amount of energy and need cooling systems to stop their hardware from overheating. Green web hosting companies pay toward carbon offsetting policies, so these are a better choice than traditional web hosting companies. For a few of the top green web hosting companies, check out HostPapa, A2 Hosting, Green Geeks, or Dream Host.

5. Use Solar Power

Solar energy is becoming an increasingly popular choice for modern businesses. The technology is made with semiconductors known as ‘photovoltaic cells.’ As the sunlight hits against the cells, the atoms and electrons separate, creating electricity. The installation costs can be expensive, but after this, you’ll find that your energy bills are significantly less. Further benefits of using solar power include:

  • Add value: Installing solar panels will add value to your brick and mortar business, which is good to know if there’s a chance that you might sell in the future.
  • Improve your reputation: The modern consumer prefers brands who prioritize sustainability, and so any green-changes you make could  improve your brand image. If you donate to any earth-friendly charities ensure that you share this info on social media!

6. Save water

Saving water is another easy way to become a greener company, so how can you save water on your premises?

  • Smart meter: With a smart meter, you can monitor your water consumption, and then use this data to set goals and conserve more water.
  • Water-saving appliances: Update your appliances and plumbing to water-saving options. A few examples include water-saving toilets, eco-taps, and eco-kettles.

As well as changes like these, create water-conserving guidelines and policies so that your staff understands what’s expected of them.

7. Sustainable suppliers

To become a greener company, you’ll need to ensure that your suppliers are green too. Review each company you are working with, and look out for the materials, processes, and policies they use. To help you vet your suppliers, it can be helpful to use a Supplier Information Management System. Suppliers first join an industry database, and then you can search using whichever criteria is important to you.

8. Recyclable materials

When you’re choosing resources for your premises, ensure that all the items you purchase can be recycled. From your kitchenware to your furniture, electronics, and paper, choosing recyclable materials is the way toward a greener future. Companies like The Green Office offer a wide range of eco-friendly office supplies. Here you’ll find everything from ink and toner to tech and furniture.

9. Carpool schemes

To reduce your carbon footprint as a company, why not start a carpooling scheme? Make a list of where your staff live in relation to one-another, and create Whatsapp groups. If you prefer, there are a few carpooling apps that you can use, including Carma Carpooling and Sidecar.

10. Go Second-hand

Shopping second-hand can considerably reduce your carbon footprint, and there are many opportunities to do. Whether it is second-hand furniture or electronics, not everything has to be new. As well as going green you’ll also save your business a significant amount of money!

As you can see, going green doesn’t always involve huge changes. Many of these options will be simple to implement in a short space of time. Once you’ve put a few changes in place, be sure to review your progress ongoing, and monitor your performance. Set yourself goals in every area whether it’s your waste, supplies, paper-usage, or recycling initiatives.

6 Top Tips To Enhance Your Businesses’ Content Marketing Strategy

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One of the most popular ways to advertise a business’ products or services is through content marketing. In this process, businesses are able to create and share online materials (whether it be social media posts, blog posts or another type of content) to stimulate customer interest. 

A far more affordable and effective way to market your business in the digital age, it’s one that any modern business should be investing in. If you’re interested in creating a content marketing strategy or you’re looking for ways to boost your current one, the following tip tips might prove to be invaluable in the long run:

Tip #1 – Make Sure That You Have a Prominent Online Presence

Even if the content that you’re putting out is high-quality, you need to ensure that you’re frequently creating it. You want to drum up interest and keep customers intrigued about what you have to offer throughout the years – not just entice them one time.

Keep your content fresh and make sure that you stick to a schedule. This way, your customers won’t get bored and you’ll be thought of as a prominent figure within your industry. 

Tip #2 – Engage With Your Customers

As part of your content market strategy you should make sure that you engage with your customers. Why? Because customers want to know that you’re interested in their opinions and that you’re there to answer any questions they might have. 

You can do this through ensuring that you’re active on social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) – replying to any mentions that you get and showcasing that you’re there to assist them when they need it. 

Tip #3 – Create Clear Content Guidelines 

No matter if you’re running a startup business or a larger organisation, you need to provide your staff with clear content guidelines. Your online content is a reflection of your business – so you don’t want to post content that doesn’t align with your tone or target demographic. Once there are clear guidelines in place, your customers will start to understand what your business stands for and get to know you better.

Tip #4 Boost Organic Search 

Following on from the above, to ensure that your visibility in organic search is high, you need to make sure the content is relevant and fresh. Search engines can now identify valuable and high-quality content, so make sure that you never compromise on this.

To increase this natural search visibility, make sure that you’re continuously creating content that answers any potential questions that your customers may have. The more you do this, the more traffic your website will generate. 

Tip #5 – Set Goals (And Try to Stick To Them)

Another prominent way of enhancing your businesses’ content marketing strategy is by setting goals that you hope to achieve. By doing this, you and your staff will have a clear vision and can plan exactly what you must do throughout the year to increase traffic and customer interest. 

Tip #6 – Repurpose Content 

Even though it’s a great idea to create fresh content, that doesn’t mean that you can’t repurpose it too. Whether you choose to use the content across several channels, create a webinar based around it or produce ebooks (to name a few examples), it will not only save time but make your content useful for longer.

As part of this process, you could use a content aggregator which is software that gathers information from various sites across the internet. Curated and enhanced information, this ensures that each piece of content you develop will drive up interest and enhance your overall marketing efforts.

Ways to Make Your Business More Digitally Secure

If your business is lacking in terms of its digital security, now is the time to do something about that. These days, it’s something that businesses can’t afford to overlook or take for granted because it’ll come back to bite you sooner rather or later. And you can’t afford to have your business compromised because of lacking security measures. Here are some of the things that you’ll want to put in place to keep your business safe going forward. Read on to learn more.

Set Up a Network Firewall

A network firewall will prevent any unauthorized infiltration of your workplace network. This is especially important when you have a remote workforce, but it’s vital no matter where your team is working from. You don’t want anyone being able to access your network and systems if they don’t have explicit authorization from you to do so. Be sure to set this up at the soonest opportunity.

Secure Your Website and Online Presence

Securing your business’s website and ensuring there aren’t any ways in which it can be compromised will save you a lot of headaches later. You should also get the basics of good password protection right on your social media accounts and all the other areas of your online presence. These things are very simple but they’re worth thinking about.

Put Strong Malware Protection in Place

Malware is a real threat and you need to make sure that all the devices and systems you use are equipped with the proper software in order to keep your business protected. If you fail to get this right, you’ll have to foot the bill of dealing with the malware infection and that’s not going to be cheap or easy to sort out. When it comes to this type of virus, and any for that matter, prevention is far better than cure.

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Use a Virtual Private Network

Using a VPN improves the security and privacy of your business. Not all businesses feel the need to use a VPN, but if you want to be extra careful and ensure that you can’t be compromised in any way, using a Virtual Private Network is a good idea. And they’re very affordable as well, so there aren’t many reasons now to start using one in your workplace.

Regularly Check for Vulnerabilities

No business is ever going to be 100% secure in every way. That’s why it’s always going to be important to regularly check for any vulnerabilities or problems that might be present in your business. That way, you can spot them early and take fast action to put them right before those issues before even bigger and more potentially damaging to your business.

Right now, digital security should be one of the things very close to the top of your list of priorities. Any business in any sector, no matter how big or small, can be impacted in disastrous ways by failures in the digital security department. 

Getting Things Back Up And Running After Lockdown

Many businesses have struggled with the recent events and unprecedented times that we have found ourselves in. Having to diversify your business and look at alternative ways to trade became part of your daily routine as you kept your business going. However, with things slowly starting to get back to normal, it is at this stage that you may be looking at resuming some normality back to your business. With social distance and new guidelines in place. So how can you pick things up where you left off? Here are some of the things to think about. 

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Continue to diversify your business

During the last few months you may have had to diversify your business. We have seen restaurants offering take outs, bakeries doing deliveries and other businesses using online methods to keep their business going. Thinking outside of the box has helped but now that things are getting back to normal there is no reason to change. You may have found that certain ways that you have diversified your business has helped you to gain new business and also allowed you to move forward in a different way. Continue to diversify where you can and build upon some of the success you may have experienced during lockdown. 

Check tools/machines and other aspects of your business

For some people, heading back to abandoned workplaces to kick start their business once more may mean you need to implement some new health and safety checks. There might be new guidelines in place that you need to be aware of, social distancing regulations and points of sale that need to be addressed. You may even need to check tools and machines you use, replace mains neon indicator lights or parts within it if they suddenly are not working as they should be. Health and safety will be a massive focus now, so making sure you get things right will help your business to thrive. 

Be flexible with people that work with you

Now more than ever it is important to be flexible. Personally, a lot of lives will have changed when it came to children being at home and working from home arrangements, so it is important for you to be flexible with anyone that you have working with you. Continuing working from home or offering up personal protective equipment for returning to work will be paramount. 

Use the opportunity for change 

Finally, see this as an opportunity for change. It could be the perfect time to rebrand your website and make some permanent changes to how you do business. You could rebrand, change the logo or colour schemes that you use. Packaging and logistics changes and implementing some of the new ways you have done business on a permanent basis. It is an excellent time to relaunch a business in a new way. What could you change within your business? 

Let’s hope these tips and suggestions help you when it comes to getting your business back up and running after lockdown. 

Boosting Your Bank Balance When Running a Business

Some people think that running a business is a surefire route to wealth, but those people either: have never run a business before or got extremely lucky. It takes time to get to the stage where a company has a positive impact on your bank balance. And this isn’t just because a company doesn’t become profitable overnight. There’s also the matter of your time. If you’re putting so many hours in at the office, then that’s time that eats into earning money from other sources. In this blog, we’ll take a look at a few ways in which you can be financially healthy when you’re running a business.

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Pay Yourself First

You’ll be focused on making your business a success, but don’t forget that you’ve also got bills to pay. Of all the pieces of financial advice that can be given to new business owners, perhaps the most important one is to pay yourself first. Setting your salary is tricky, but usually only later on when the company is profitable. In the early days, it’s pretty straightforward. You should pay yourself enough to get by (that means enough to pay the bills, not live a life of luxury). You shouldn’t put yourself into mountains of personal debt to grow your business.

Cut Your Costs

You may have been used to one type of lifestyle when you were a traditional employee, but when you become a business owner, you’ll have to be prepared to cut your costs, at least for a while. If there was no risk involved in starting a business, then everyone would do it. But they don’t, because it can be challenging. In the early days, focus on reducing your expenses and living a more frugal life, until you can increase your salary.

Invest Your Money

It’s not just that there’s not so much money in the early days of business; the issue is that you don’t have much free time. After all, your working hours (which are long) are spent trying to develop and grow your company. There are other ways to earn money, however, ones that can help boost your bank balance but which don’t take up all of your time. Take trading, for example. This used to be a time-consuming task, but if you use a Virtual Private Server, then you can run automated trading strategies. This will allow you to put your money to work, ultimately resulting in a healthier financial landscape. 

Sort Out Your Tax

Finally, take a look at your accounts, and especially your tax situation. We live in a business-friendly society that allows you to save money through tax breaks. It’s up to you to proactively work to figure out your tax situation — many business owners inadvertently spend more money than they need to. If you’re not sure how to go about this, then look at hiring a tax expert. They’ll be able to tell you all the tax breaks that you’re entitled to. You might just find they can save you a lot of money. 

Improve Your Business’s Online Presence

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In recent months, how we do business online has become increasingly important. Not only is the world growing digitally, but the pandemic has forced even quicker change upon us. With many employees and consumers stuck at home, businesses have had to innovate new ways of reaching people online. From restaurant takeaways to Zoom lessons and services, the internet has become the world’s most lucrative marketplace. Even if you do not offer an online product, it’s more vital than ever that you have an attractive online presence, especially if you want to grow your business. With reduced footfall and higher online orders set to continue for the foreseeable future, having a polished and thorough online presence may be the difference between struggle and success.

Website Design

Your website is the shop window for your company. This is where consumers will come to purchase items, contact you, or simply just to check out who you are. They may land here initially through a web search, or they might be directed here from your social media channels. Either way, this is where their impressions of you will be formed. For the best results, don’t attempt to design your website yourself. It might seem a simple case of drag-and-drop, but the best websites are carefully crafted by companies such as R6 Digital to be both ergonomic and stylish. It’s harder than it looks! You want your website to be easy to get around, and for its design to match the logo and style of your company. Consistency is key.

Social Media

Gone are the days when simply having a website was enough to constitute an online presence. Now, if you don’t have a profile on sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, it’s as if you don’t even exist. These platforms are a great way for users to contact you with questions, and for you to engage with the public. Targeted ads can be very useful for building a profile in a certain area or with a certain demographic. However, the real benefit of social media is in the personal touch it allows you to give to your business. The internet is flooded with screengrabs of business giants’ social media accounts bantering with each other, and with customers, and for good reason. They’re funny, engaging, and they give a brand a personality that endears consumers towards them. If you can tap into this trend for yourself, your online presence will truly be a success.

Blog

Blogging isn’t just for bloggers. You may have noticed that many business websites now have a ‘blog’ section of their website. This can be filled with many articles, from news updates to advice columns, to how-to messages about products, services, and more. A blog is another way to welcome customers and endear yourself to them by offering valuable information. It also promotes yourself as an industry expert on certain topics, allowing potential customers to trust you and the services you offer. Finally, blog posts are much more likely to be shared by others, resulting in free advertising as they link back to your website and your business.

Face Masks: Do Employees Need Them?

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There’s little to say about the unexpected nature of this year that hasn’t been said already. With the general upheaval of the world has come to a mandatory new fashion trend: face masks. While public opinion is primarily split on their effectiveness at preventing the spread of disease, the statistics seem to favor wearing them. Wearing face masks, combined with other preventative measures like social distancing and frequent hand washing, significantly reduces the risk of spreading disease.

As heartening as it is to know that face masks do the job when it comes to keeping sickness at bay, many employers are still torn between forcing their employees to wear them and making their own decisions about it. Even though wearing face masks may now be one of the most important public health measures workers can take when interacting with community members, logistical issues arise once employers get involved. Read on to learn a little more about both sides of the debate.

The customer is comes first

Some people argue that employees should wear Hygiene Masks to represent best the brand of the company they’re working for while they’re on the clock. Letting employees take these matters into their own hands may cause more trouble than it’s worth during this unprecedented time. Seeing as it’s standard for health departments to implement rules regarding food safety, keeping, and consumption, it would make sense for higher-ups in a company to establish similar, uniform rules. However, if companies decide to take responsibility for enforcing this rule, they’ll also be responsible for informing their employees how to correctly put on, wear, and dispose of a face mask. Not only that, but employers will be on the hook for providing these masks to their employees. “Employers that opt to provide employees with single-use coverings must provide a sufficient supply to enable employees to replace them as needed, which may be more than once a day,” says Devjani Mishra and Alka Ramchandani-Raj, New York-based and Los Angeles-based public health lawyers, respectively.

It’s not the company’s responsibility

However, the argument against this is that it’s not on employers to foot the bill, or responsibility for that matter, for the masks. The language of business reopening orders varies widely from state to state, ranging from mandatory face mask-wearing for all employees in the state to strategically-crafted loopholes that give employers the freedom to choose. Regardless of whether a business decides to enforce this rule or not, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does require employers to pay for this personal protective equipment (PPE).

Another tricky loophole arises here, though. Some employers argue that if employees wear the masks out of the public eye, they aren’t obligated to pay for them, as moving from a public to a private location allowed these face masks to transcend the status of work equipment.

No matter what side of the debate you fall on, it doesn’t hurt to take precautions not just for you but also for the people around you. Keep washing your hands, and thanks for reading!

Ensuring The Safety Of Your Manufacturing Process

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If you are the proud owner of a production line integrated as part of your business, it’s essential that you take care of those who must attend to it. Factory and manufacturing line injuries are unfortunately more common than the ideal number of ‘zero’ and yet we must do all we can to pursue that golden number.

Of course, as a business owner, you’ve likely already seen to many of the essential standards that come with structuring this utility. We’re not here to patronize you in the least. However, we can offer a few extra tips to help you continue your great work, and to stay in the right line as far as safety is concerned. After all, when it comes to safety, there is always room for improvement.

Furthermore, it’s often the most commonplace, easy-to-apply wisdom that grants us the most effective results. Increasing the break times and lengths of those who work in an intense section of your manufacturing line is a great place to start for instance, because attentiveness avoids harmful outcomes.

With that in mind, please consider the following advice for the best possible results:

Stock Safety Replacements

Of course, the equipment that allows us to measure safety, in all its forms, must be functional and have replacements on by. From the best air pressure gauge replacements to help your staff continually measure the correct levels, to industrial aprons and gloves necessary to avoid burning when handling chemicals or cleaning solutions – there are always tools you can use to improve the safety of your staff, provided you also ensure they’re in reliably great condition.

Repeated Training

Training is not something you can ignore, or an investment we can avoid making. Bi-yearly or yearly training can allow your staff to feel refreshed regarding certain processes and security protocols, and in the end this should grant them full autonomy over their best practice. Training can also be dedicated, such as helping staff learn how to utilize a new system, or how to integrate automated processes well, or simple things, such as what to do in a fire. Training can also coincide with new pursuits in your manufacturing process. For instance, you may be taking on a new job to produce certain items for another company, and so training your staff in best practice via the specification sheets can be another worthwhile step.

Investigate Issues

Unfortunately, issues will take place, and it’s up to you do deal with the aftermath. One issue can lead  to extensive safety practicalities that you were missing beforehand. If an employee of yours is injured, how did it happen? Did they fail to use the proper safety equipment? Might it be that next time, employees are only allowed into the lab if they are fully protected and verified to be so? It’s worth considering the additions you can make to your policy, because this can help you turn a negative into a future positive.

With this advice, you’re certain to ensure the safety of your manufacturing process.

Keeping Your Business Afloat During the Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic is a situation that has impacted the entire world. This medical emergency has had a detrimental impact on almost all areas of almost all of our lives. As we try our best to adapt to new ways of living that can control and slow the spread of the virus, we’re watching our usual day to day lives slip further and further away from us. For months now, the vast majority of countries around the world have been following shelter in place, social isolation and social distancing measures. This means that even those of us who haven’t been sick with the virus or Covid-19 disease have had to radically alter our lives on a day to day basis. We’re no longer heading into the workplace. Kids are off school. Pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms, theatres, spas, shops and pretty much everything else that operates on a face-to-face traditional brick and mortar basis is closed. We’re having to learn to live within the confines of our own homes – video calling loved ones rather than seeing them face to face, learning how to cope with being around the same people 24/7, or learning how to deal with loneliness if we live alone. It’s not all too surprising that many of us are struggling. If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve been heavily impacted. So many small and medium sized businesses are struggling to stay afloat right now, as they try to adopt new working patterns to operate without contact between individuals. If you’re worried about how you’re going to pull your business through this pandemic, here are a few pieces of advice that could help!

Seek Financial Support

Many businesses are struggling. Either their staff are unable to work, they can’t operate their physical stores so can’t make sales, or are simply struggling to make any sales because countless people have lost their jobs, are struggling financially and consequently have no disposable income to spend on non-essential goods. Governments around the world are aware of this and are consequently offering different types of financial support. It’s important to see what’s available to you and to apply for anything you’re eligible for. You may be able to furlough your staff, which means they don’t work but the government pays a large percentage of their wages. This ensures your staff are financially secure and you can put your business on hold until this situation passes. You may be eligible for stimulus checks. You may be eligible for loans or grants.

Contact Landlords, Lenders and Others

Many businesses are struggling to pay rent on commercial premises or to repay loans and credit cards they may have been using to operate. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to reach out to your landlords, lenders and any other relevant individuals sooner rather than later. Everyone is aware we’re in the midst of a pandemic and many countries have placed payment holidays on mortgages and other payments. So, you never know, your landlord may be lenient and allow you to make smaller payments or may agree to let you pay the outstanding rent later on in installments. Many credit card providers and lenders are also removing interest from current payments to help companies. It really is worth asking – the worst outcome is that these people simply say no and you’re no worse off than you already were.

Do Some Post-Pandemic Planning

We have no idea how long this pandemic will last. So, it’s important to start planning your business’ return and determine what you may need for when your business can reopen. It’s highly unlikely that one day we will just recommence life as it was. Instead, we’re likely to go through a gradual process that sees us all take baby steps back towards normality. You are highly likely to need to invest in plenty of personal protective equipment to protect staff and customers once people can return to stores and work. This could include face masks and face coverings, which you can buy here. It could include latex gloves. It could include perspex dividers that could be placed between desks in offices or between cashiers and customers in traditional brick and mortar stores. If you run a tangible store, you may need to lay down stickers on the floor to direct people around your store in an orderly manner where people can distance from one another. You may need to rearrange desks and seating plans in offices to keep everyone two metres apart. These plans can make all the difference and better prepare you for your business’ future!

Know If It’s Time to Call It a Day

Many businesses have really struggled during this pandemic. It’s important that you know if it’s time to call it a day with your company. If you’ve found yourself in irrecoverable debt from trying to support staff and keep things running over the past few months and cannot see yourself making sufficient money to pull your company out of this situation, you may need to go bankrupt. It’s generally best to use the help of a professional financial advisor, who will be able to survey your business, its financial situation and its prospects. They can let you know whether you can realistically get your business back on its feet, or whether you need to put a stop to things and start over on a new path.

Sure, times are troubling right now. Many businesses really are finding it difficult to operate in these hostile conditions and difficult times. But many will pull through. So, it’s important to maintain hope and to take steps towards actively improving your business and pushing things forward. Hopefully, some of the above advice will help you in some way or another!

Tips To Improve Quality In Your Business

Quality is essential in your business, and it can be improved in all areas of your business. You need quality staff in order to produce great work for the company, and you need a quality product or service to make sales. Here are some tips to improve quality in your business.

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Track Your Mistakes

Mistakes happen in business, and it’s usually done through human error that we are all capable of. However, there might be things happening within the business that keep happening, and these mistakes can often be avoided. The quality of your work processes for example, can be improved and hopefully reduce the number of issues that happen on a daily basis. For example, it could be the quality of the workstations that your staff use and that perhaps IT issues are a common problem when it comes to daily productivity. Improving the quality of your IT services and technology can help reduce any mistakes or delays that can come from that. Tracking your mistakes is a helpful way of spotting the weak points in your business. 

Focus On Areas Of Concern

There are certainly areas of concern for all businesses, whether it’s the use of medical fridges in your pharmaceutical business or the lack of management in certain departments. Being able to pinpoint these areas in your business that need focus can certainly help to improve the quality in all aspects. Identifying your weaknesses as a company is a good thing, yet many businesses won’t like addressing them. Instead, they’re likely to focus on the advantages and strengths.

Train Your Employees

Your employees are integral to the business, and it’s key that you’re providing progression or at least an interest in building them as individuals. Whether it’s offering them training or building their skills and experience in the hopes of offering them a new role or promotion. The quality of your employees can really make a difference to the success of your business, and it’s definitely one area that you want to invest in for your business.

Listen to your employees, and although some might not want to progress in their role, there will certainly be those who want additional training or joined the company to move up the ladder. Give all of your employees the opportunity to thrive where possible in the business.

Listen To Feedback

Feedback is something that businesses should be listening to more often, especially when it comes to clients or customers. They are the ones using your products or services, and therefore, they’ll likely know more and want to give honest feedback on how you can improve. Listen to them, take their considerations on board, and really move forward with the intentions of improving on what they suggest.

The quality of a business is shown in many ways, but it can only happen when there’s a willingness to improve. Listen to that customer feedback, work on training your staff where relevant, and focus on those areas in your business that need improving. 

Protecting Your Remote Business From Digital Threats

A lot more of us are working from home than ever before. Not only does it pose a challenge to our work routine that we have to get used to, but it can pose a threat to our business as well. Given that home computers are rarely as well protected as business-only equipment, hackers and malware makers have become a lot more prolific, and more businesses are being targeted than ever. Here is how to ensure that your remote workers aren’t endangering your data and your business.

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Training is key

Most cybersecurity threats are not caused by outsiders hacking into secure systems, but rather by people who leave massive gaps in that security. Make sure you are giving employees regular training and tips of password protection, avoiding unsecured connections, recognising fishing scams, and other ways they may accidentally leave the business open to intrusions from the outside, as shown by Fraudwatch.

Make sure your team is equipped

Whatever device your employee is using, it should be equipped with the software needed to help them protect it. This includes finding a decent professional-grade anti-malware software such as Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, as well as firewalls. You should make it part of your company policy that any device connecting to your data or resources is using the right protective software. Don’t forget to apply access settings for your own resources, too, so that employees aren’t able to access data that isn’t relevant to them, helping to segment your own data.

You need a team to monitor

You can put in place all the security software that you like, but nothing works as well as human vigilance paired with the right tools. To that end, a team of experts like Levit8 IT Solutions are necessary even when your team isn’t in the office. Not only can a managed services provider help you respond more quickly to potential threats, but they can also proactively look for the vulnerabilities in your network and secure them, too.

Keep your connections private

Lastly, one type of protective software that’s more important than others is the VPN. When you send data over the internet, that’s when it’s at most risk of being intercepted. A good secure VPN will encrypt that data so that, even if it’s intercepted, it will be unreadable to whoever steals it. Similarly, make sure that your employees know not to use public Wi-Fi servers, including those that anyone can get a password for if they are in the same cafe or train station, for instance.

Consider investing in your own equipment

If you really want to make sure that your employees are using equipment that is fully protected and doesn’t allow them to use any unauthorized software that can lead to threats, then you may want to get rid of that BYOD policy. Providing them with work laptops that are fully prepared by your own IT team may be the safest option.

Simply put, it’s essential that you maintain professional standards of cybersecurity training and investment, regardless of where your team is working from. The tips above should hopefully help with that.

Everything You Need To Work From Home Efficiently

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Over recent months the majority of the workforce has had to shift to ‘working from home’, and it looks like this shift could be something that stays longer than the Coronavirus pandemic will. Many people will not only have enjoyed working from home but also found that they are more productive. Working from home can help people to achieve a better work-life balance, save money on the commute and then there is the added benefit of the convenience for childcare and managing the home. So, as the world slowly gets back to a “new normal”, working from home could become a part of that, even if it’s just for a few days a week. As many people were forced into working from home with almost no notice, if it’s going to become a more permanent way of life, then you need to make sure your home is set up for this. So, what do you need?

An Office Space

You might have “made do” with the kitchen table up until now, but if you’re going to be working from home more regularly, then you might want to create a more permanent space. It doesn’t have to be a whole room, but is there a corner or an area under the stairs you can use? You’ll need a desk for your laptop and papers, but the other thing you’ll need is some peace and quiet. Also, check there are enough electric outlets for everything you need. 

Security

You will, of course, need to make sure you have your cybersecurity sorted. This is something you could ask your company’s IT department to sort out for you as it is in their best interest. As well as cybersecurity, though, you need to make sure your home is entirely secure. If you handle confidential documents, then you’ll need a safe place to keep them. It might even be worth looking at video door entry systems for your home too, which will not only reduce your distractions but also keep your information extra secure. 

Software 

Make sure that all the software you usually use when you’re at work has been installed on your laptop so that you can carry on doing your job as smoothly as possible. Then it is also a good idea to install a good communication software for you and your team. As you can’t just turn around from your desk to discuss something work-related, it needs to be just as easy to ask a question and get in contact with people. A platform like Slack is great for keeping the conversation and going and getting everyone connected. 

Motivation

This is the one thing people struggle with the most when working from home, but once you get into the swing of it, it becomes the norm. It’s essential to keep a routine and to separate your work from your home life and home admin. To get motivated, you need to make sure you get up and get dressed just as you would for going into work, sitting all day in your pyjamas will likely mean you’re less productive. Get up, exercise, shower, eat breakfast and get dressed (in whatever order suits you) and then get to work. 

How to Plan an Unforgettable Networking Event

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Organising a networking event can be a hugely effective way of boosting your professional career. Not only is it an opportunity to promote your brand, but it allows you to expand your business network and meet a large number of potentially valuable connections in a short space of time. In an ideal world, you will go away from a networking event with an address book full of business opportunities, job offers and prospective new customers.

A successful networking event is an opportunity for business professionals and entrepreneurs to discuss ideas and build relationships. If done right, hosting such an event can be a massive boost to your career, but it is crucial that it is well-organised and targeted to the right audience. You don’t want your event attendees to leave after five minutes or to have a room full of people in entirely different industries.

With this in mind, here are some things to consider when planning a successful networking event.

Purpose

When creating your event, it is essential that you define its purpose. Is it targeted to people in a specific industry, entrepreneurs, or exclusive to people within your company? Be clear on the types of people you want to attend and what you want them to get out of the event.

Format

There are several different types of networking events, and you can make yours as structured or as informal as you like. Organise a speed networking event in which attendees meet as many people as possible in a short space of time, or host informative workshops and lectures to give participants an extra incentive to turn up. Alternatively, you could simply hire a room with a bar and a buffet table and allow everyone to mingle freely.

Location

The location of your venue is crucial to its success. First and foremost, it must be easy for your participants to get to so they can easily fit the event around their busy lives. Such functions are often held before or after work, so ensure there is sufficient food and drink to keep everyone’s energy up and prevent them from leaving out of hunger. An exciting venue can be a huge draw, but if you are on a budget, hiring out a pub or small community hall can be just as effective.

Budget

What can you afford to spend on your event? Even if you are not looking to turn a profit, you will need to spend some money to get it off the ground. Consider whether you could generate some funds from ticket sales, sponsorship or allocate some money from your company’s budget. 

Promotion

Once the event planning is underway, you need to get the word out. Get in touch with all of your existing connections to let them know about it and ask them to spread the word. Use social media, email lists, or any other marketing streams to promote your event.

Follow-up

Once the event is over, you will no doubt have a pocket brimming with business cards from connections you have made. Don’t let these valuable contacts go to waste. Follow up with all of your attendees by connecting on LinkedIn and sending a short follow-up email to say thank you.

Organising a networking event can be a huge boost to your professional career, but it takes time and a great deal of planning to get it right. Consider hiring an events agency to help you.

5 Signs You’re Ready To Attend Your First Trade Event

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If you’re thinking of attending a trade event but you’re unsure whether or not you’re ready then don’t worry, you have definitely come to the right place. Whether you’ve been in business for years or you’ve only just started, you need to be sure you’re 100% ready before you start making any plans. Luckily, there are lots of clear signs it may be time. From wanting to network with other business owners to wanting somewhere to sell your products in bulk, you may be surprised at how prepared you actually are. With that in mind, here are 5 signs you’re ready to attend your first trade event: 

You’re Looking To Network With Like-Minded Business Owners

One of the best reasons to attend a trade event is to network with like-minded business owners. Whether you’re new to business or you’ve been operating for years, having like-minded people to talk about is a great way to grow as a business owner. From sharing ideas to finding comfort in the same struggles, it’s always a good idea to surround yourself with inspiring friends and trade shows, of course, are the best way to meet them. For a guide to networking at a trade show, you can visit this site here. 

You Want To Check Out The Competition 

If you have seen that your competitors are going to be attending a number of trade shows, you may want to consider attending as a way of checking them out. Whether you attend as a guest or you attend as a business, it’s always worth doing a little bit of competitor research and analysis. For more information when it comes to researching your competitors, you can visit this site here 

There are A Number Of Sessions You Want To Attend

Although not all events have workshops and sessions, often you will find that there are lots of opportunities for you to learn. If you don’t want to run your own stand or you have hired promotional team members to take over, you may want to spend some time learning from industry professionals. Make sure you’re taking your notepad and a pen, there are going to be lots of things you want to write down. 

You Want To Sell Your Products In Bulk

If you have the capacity to create the stock, selling your products in bulk is one of the main reasons people attend trade shows. In order to do this, however, you need to ensure you’re doing all you can to attract customers to your stand. From stand design to promotional giveaways, you may be surprised at all of the methods to try. For more information when it comes to exhibition stand designers, you can visit this site here. 

You Want To Make It Part Of Your Business Strategy

Finally, if you want to make attending events part of your business strategy then there is no time like the present. 

With lots of great reasons to attend your first trade event, you can be sure you’re making the right business decision. Why else might you want to attend? Did we miss anything off of the list? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. 

Business Efficiency: Tips to Help You Make It Happen

One of the worst things to happen to a new business owner is a failing business. The problem is that most new business owners can’t see where they are failing, and then it’s the beginning of the end of it all. The thing is, it may not be something you are directly failing at, but inefficiencies plaguing your business that you cannot get away from. So, you need to do what you can to figure out those inefficiencies and make them better.

There are so many small things that can bring your business down, from using the wrong Online HR Management Platform to not using the right IT company to help. You need your business to work at the best possible efficiency so that you can grow swiftly and smoothly. With this in mind, here are some of the best tips that you can use to make your business more efficient than ever before.

Top View Photo Of People Near Wooden Table

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  1. You shouldn’t expand your business too fast if you want to make your business efficient. It’s nice to see those dollar signs rolling but if you go too quickly, you build your business far too fast and you don’t have the resources to keep up. You need to think about how you can adjust your workflow properly and have the right people to help to support that expansion. 
  2. While it’s nice to have new ideas for software, you need to only employ technology that has been tested. It’s not a good idea to use new workflow systems if you don’t understand them. You should never make decisions about technology without the right outsourced team on board to help you with your release date. 
  3. Before you make any business decisions, consider your staff and how it affects them. If you don’t have the consideration to at least float ideas to other team leaders, you shouldn’t be making huge business decisions. Pulling the trigger on big decisions is not a good idea as it will only fail and make your business look worse when you do it.
  4. Communication has to be the most vital piece of your business puzzle. You should have an open door policy with your staff and ensure that every piece of work is documented correctly. You need to communicate with staff, colleagues and clients, too. The more you open yourself up to communicate, the better your business will be.
  5. Technology must be as reliable as possible and when it doesn’t work, things go wrong very quickly. You need to make sure that your technology strategy is secure and reliable  so that the business can run well.

Efficiency comes in many forms, but if you’re not paying attention, you won’t be able to maintain your business for long. Instead of things not working, improve and ensure that your business is one to envy. Beat your competition by making sure that your business is as efficient as possible – you won’t regret the decision to make it happen!

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