3 Keys Spends For Your Small Business

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When you run your own small business you will no doubt be facing daily challenges around your costs and profits. Every business owner would like to reduce their outgoings, but today we want to flag a few areas that are worth investing in, these are 3 key spends for your small business.

Invest in your team

Investing in your team is one of the most powerful investments that your business can make. 

The first thing you will need to invest in is in hiring the best possible people to work with you. Finding the right person to fit in with your existing operation can be challenging and it can take a fair bit of time and money. You will need to feel confident that the applicant has the right skills and personality for your team and you will then need to ensure that you have put adequate training in place for them.

Training is key for all of your team, and you can choose to do this yourself or you might like to bring in outside trainers or send your staff out on appropriate courses. When all of your team members are well trained they are likely to be more effective, more productive and more confident in their roles. This should in turn free up your time, reduce any customer complaints and increase your business turnover. 

It is also worth spending the time and money training, coaching and rewarding your team to improve your staff retention and motivation. Take the time to recognize good work and behaviors to boost morale. 

Work closely with providers and suppliers

Few businesses can operate effectively in isolation. Most of us need to work closely with other providers and suppliers and spend wisely with them.

For example, your business might want to look into working with a good range of food suppliers such as umami foods along with local distribution centers and fleet management companies. You will be looking to strike that balance between getting the best deal at a price that you are happy with and forging a reliable and professional relationship with all providers so that you can trust that they will not let your business down.

It can be tempting to look for the lowest costs at every turn, and this can be an easy but costly mistake that startup businesses make. On occasion the cheapest might also be the best in the market, but do ensure that you are checking their dependability and service levels too.

Spread the word about all that you do

When you start your business, you are going to need to let people know about it and you must spread the word about all that you do. 

Your business marketing costs could vary hugely as there are so many ways that you could choose to promote your business. It is worth trying a few of the more cost effective options first and then finding out what works best for you. 

As a minimum, you are going to want to invest in a professional and user friendly website, utilize social media effectively and if you have premises, order some suitable signage.

It’s Vital You Reach Your Proper Audience

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Businesses, online initiatives, for-profit and non-profit efforts alike should always understand that they cannot operate without people. Unfortunately, for many of us, this is becoming a sad and rather worrying reality as of the time of this writing. Yet it’s true that at any other time of year, a business needs to find its audience. It needs to understand them, and then properly connect with them. Then, it needs to sustain its connection.

But how can you find your proper audience, and reach them appropriately? After all, it’s best not to limit yourself. A forty-year-old bricklayer may be just as interested in learning to ballet dance as a young girl just starting middle school may be. Of course, we cannot directly market to the outliers, but we can decide to complexify our reach so that we can be found to those who wish to find us, and vice versa.

So, how can you reach your proper audience? In a world where everyone is connected, things can seem too crowded to gain a worthwhile result here. But that’s not necessarily true, and we hope to explore that in the following advice: 

Correct & Worthwhile Promotion

We must promote with a message that resonates with those who are likely to hear it, and those who you intend to hear it. A certain kind of cadence in language, or verbose texture of words, or imagery, or snappy witticism, all of this can help you bring in a young audience. For middle-aged or elderly clients, a more professional, or warm and welcoming tone may be used. Format is not the only influence here, correct form should also be composed in the right way. This includes everything, from the written word to the 

Use The Right Platforms

Use the right platforms to promote your message. Think about how your audience comes about marketing material in their everyday life. Sometimes, you may wish to reach an audience in a highly specific market, such as advertising on a website fully dedicated to the coverage of Nintendo and their product offerings. Sometimes, you may wish to advertise more broadly, yet still ensure that the audience is discerning in the content they listen to and pay for, for instance, learning how to advertise on SiriusXM can be a great starting point there. Finding the right platform for your promotion is at least half the battle, if not more.

Stay Confident & Consistent

Tepid or worried marketing is not good marketing. We need to be consistent and confident in our approach. This means branding well using high quality outsourced graphic designers or jingle producers. It means theming all of our social media pages in collaboration with the marketing campaign we’re running. It also means measuring our interactions and engagement to ensure that we know we’re hitting the right marks, because this can instruct our next campaign. When so much money is on the line, no half measures should be accepted.

With this advice, we hope you can reach your proper audience as is vital in any industry.

Ensuring You Retain Your Top Talent

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Top talent is hard to come by. While low-skilled or introductory workers are appreciated and can be trained in your ways, potentially even rising the ranks to the very top of your business, it can also be worthwhile to hire the very cream of the crop from time to time, as even regular consulting from individuals like this will have its limits.

No matter if you’re looking for new managers, or a new head of department, it’s important to note only learn how to appeal to them, but also to retain them. After all, headhunters are paid hefty sums of money in the corporate world to seek out talent to bring onside, largely for the same reasons you found them in the first place, only now they have been fully invested in on your behalf.

So, how do you convince someone to stay, but not as a bribe, rather as a forgone and natural conclusion? Perhaps following this effort can help all of our staff members feel satisfied in our roles. With that being said, please consider the following advice:

Worthwhile Incentives

No matter how worthwhile life is at our firm, you can bet that if the offer of a much greater sum of money is given to our best professionals, they will have little choice but to move. They have their families to think about, after all, and while it can seem as though the quality of life of an employee is very high thanks to a high salary, their living conditions and requisite bills will also go up. But more than that, it’s important to offer a more comprehensive and satisfying work experience, with incentives that make sense, and aren’t used as simple bribes. Click here to see the best thinking on this topic by far.

Responsibility

It’s true that your higher-ups will be more involved in your firm to begin with, but some firms do struggle to actually use top talent where they can, in the best possible way. Structuring responsibility in this vital context can be very important, then, because we need top talent to feel as though they have influence, and ability, and that their voice is valued. Otherwise, they are liable to become bored and leave. Think of how someone at the peak of their career would wish to operate. They wish to exercise their skills and improve. For that reason, opening a more collaborative environment between qualified individuals is an essential component of any excellent business path.

Innovation & High Standards

While you needn’t be the most innovative firm to attract top talent, it’s important to ensure that you keep up with the cutting edge of research, and that you push for the highest standards you can. We must always seek to improve. If top talent cannot be at the forefront of the industry, they will certainly feel satisfied helping build a firm to be better, and to reach higher and higher without losing sight of its primary vision. 

With this advice, we hope you can retain your top talent effectively.

Key Ways to Use Technology to your Company’s Advantage

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In technology, if you aren’t making progress, you’ve already fallen behind. Technology evolves rapidly, and things that were keystone a decade ago are quite outdated today. (Just take a look at some of the old photos you took with your phone 4 years ago, let alone a decade!) So, what are some ways to make sure that you’re using technology to the best of your company’s abilities?

Stay one step ahead of the competition

Frank Abagnale is a man best known for his con artist skills by masquerading as an expert in multiple fields.  When he was finally questioned as to how he got away with pretending to be a sociology professor, his answer was simple, “All I had to do was read one chapter ahead of the students.” This might sound trite, but it’s a very useful perspective. Stay one step ahead of your competition, and you can be an expert in your own field. Sure, a single step is not always enough, but it certainly beats being behind your potential competition. It also is a great reminder to work forward and to not get caught up in perfect and thus sacrifice any progress. 

Don’t assume your clients know what they want

This might sound a little presumptive, but listen to your clients, then make decisions for them.

In a SAAS company, for example, it can be easy for customers to say what they think they want, but many times those are just past behaviors that could be simplified or changed. 

If you are part of a technology company, your customers are relying on you to simplify their workday or lifestyle, even if it means not giving them exactly what they ask for. 

Think about this: when address and phone books were first created and utilized, it was because people had a specific need. They needed a way to quickly reference a phone number that they would then dial in manually. 

Now, if you were to ask someone before cell phones existed how to use a cell phone, they’d likely have typed in each individual number, not scrolled to a name and pressed “call.” It is up to you to improve things by being innovative.

Think outside the box

When something is done over and over again in the same manner, it’s ingrained. It just becomes second-nature. Forward-thinking technology companies should not just be re-creating what is accomplished without technology but using it to drastically change how it’s being done. Don’t rely on your customers to know what they need. Instead, be there to hear their concerns and challenges, and then create better ways to accomplish those tasks.

Recently, Chaucer, a (re)insurance company focused on providing specialized underwriters, paired with Artificial, a company that uses AI products to deliver great insurance experiences for commercial insurance companies. Together, Artificial and Chaucer are working towards delivering superior underwriting services while relying on up-to-date machine-learning technology. 

At first glance, this might sound risky, but thinking outside of the box is one of the ways that companies can succeed. Taking risks is at the heart of innovative and successful companies.

Nine Times You May Need an Attorney in the Workplace

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We all know we need an attorney when we get divorced, or if we’re accused of committing a crime, and we tend to overlook the daily legal disputes taking place around work. Here are nine times you may need an attorney in the workplace:

  1. Workplace Safety: if you injure yourself or someone else at work, you may well need an attorney’s advice. Check your employer (or your business) is appropriately insured. If you own a business and someone gets injured, you may well need legal advice. You could also seek legal advice before getting insurance to ensure you have the maximum cover.
  2. Unlawful Dismissal: this could be for any number of things; it could be related to inequality, sexual harassment, or several other things. If you are unsure whether your termination is lawful or not, see an attorney
  3. Equality Rights: equality covers a vast array of things from gender to sexuality to a disability, and of course, race. If you feel like you’ve been unfairly discriminated against at work, don’t take it lying down, get some legal advice, and fight back. 
  4. On Social Media: with the onslaught of workplaces utilizing personal social media accounts to check out staff, there have never been more legal cases involving your favorite social network site. Make sure your accounts are set to private if you don’t want them accessible to your employer. And be very careful if you have your boss on your friends list. Only put out professional content if you’re using a public profile—nothing you wouldn’t want an employer or client to see.
  5. Labor Union Activities: if you are involved in labor union activities, you may well end up needing legal aid. Labor unions are notorious in legal history for the number of lawsuits surrounding them. Check out your union’s policies and don’t get involved in anything that may jeopardize your job. 
  6. Maternity and Childcare Debates: there are still a surprising number of cases involving an employer’s actions towards pregnancy and childcare. Know your rights and ask an attorney to help you fight for them. Dads included!
  7. Privacy Invasion: you have a legitimate case against your employer, or even a colleague if your right to privacy has been violated. That includes on the internet or even your handbag. 
  8. Sexual harassment: you can experience sexual harassment, whether you’re male, female, nonbinary, old, young, or bright blue. It is never ok, and you don’t have to live with it. Find an attorney and put your foot down.
  9. Contractual Arguments: we all sign legal contracts when we take a job, but how aware are you of your rights regarding that contract? Make sure your contract is fair and lawful. Any good contract attorney can help you here. You can find specialists at firms like Boppre Law Firm who can help you negotiate the best contract, or smooth the waters through any contract-based disputes. 

Make sure you know what your rights are and stand up for them when they’re abused. If you do get into a legal dispute at work, don’t panic. Call your attorney and let them help you.

Tips To Help Improve Your Website

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Improving your website is an important part of growing your business because so many of us are spending more time online. And with so much potential reach out there that could translate into customers, you should be taking full advantage of this where possible. Here are some tips to help improve your website.

Utilize Call To Action

A call to action is where you provide an opportunity for your reader to do something. That could be commenting on an article or clicking on a link to take them to another part of the website that needs more traffic. It’s basically asking them a question, and they are choosing whether to answer it or not. Having more of these calls to action on your website can help with engagement and to give your readers an opportunity to make themselves more known to you as a company. It also helps you learn more about your readers so that you can tailor your website even more to suit them. So try and utilize the call to action option where you can.

Make It Mobile Friendly

When it comes to your website, there’s a number of things you can do to improve its functionality, but the main thing you want to focus on is how mobile-friendly it is. As more people hop online, more tend to use their mobile phones than anything else and so a website that doesn’t function well on a phone isn’t going to be great for business. If text is too small or buttons don’t function the way they’re supposed to, you’ll likely have more of your audience switching off out of boredom or frustration. Seek feedback from your audience about the response on phones as they can be different depending on the type of phone they own. It can be good to know so you can do what you can to improve it. You might want to look into app developers to see if an app version of your website is more appropriate.

Improve The SEO

Search engine optimization is important to get your website out there and ranked high on search engines which will essentially bring more traffic to you. There are lots of basic SEO practices that you can do like compressing images and just creating good content for your website. However, it might also be worth getting in the experts to take over management of this as it can tend to be a job that might take up a lot of time.

Fix Broken Links And Functions

And finally, try to fix any broken links and functions on your website when you spot them because it can be highly frustrating when you have new users going onto your website for the first time. Try to make it a regular thing that you check on so that it doesn’t start piling up and your website loses its ranking.

Improving your website takes time and effort on your part as a business, so implement the changes to make sure you’re making the best of it for your company.

4 Tips For Protecting Your Business Against Cyber Crime

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More and more businesses rely on technology. In turn, this means the types of crimes that can occur against companies are changing; cyber crime is on the rise. It can be hard to find and prosecute those who commit cyber crimes without the help of skilled cyber security & computer forensics experts. This is why it is essential to make sure that you have taken all the right measures to ensure that your business is as protected as possible from all cyber crimes and data breaches:

Make sure all your software is up to date

Any software that is used by your company needs to be kept updated to the latest versions. Updates are created to add new features and improve stuff, but they are also created to solve any problems that users have had with the software. If you don’t have the updates, your software and technology are easier to attack, meaning criminals could steal important data and information, or cause damage to your technology.

You should include all of your anti-virus software on your update list, and although many things tend to update themselves automatically, some things need to be manually checked so that you do not miss any important updates.

Train your staff

Your business should have a policy for staff to follow when it comes to cyber security. It may also be helpful to train them so that they are aware of the things that are likely to be suspicious. Your employees need to know what a strong password is, and that they should be using them for all of their accounts, especially work accounts. It would help if you also taught all of your team members about how cyber criminals try to trick people. It could be a phone call or an email that even seems legitimate unless you pay closer attention. Create policies about giving information out over phone or email along with other strategies that will keep your business safe.

Encrypt and backup your data

Important data needs to have layers of security so that they cannot be accessed by just anyone. All of your business data shouldn’t even be accessible to all of your employees, only those who need to use it. After all these levels of security, encryption is still required for sensitive information and customer and employee details, as if anyone manages to get through all the security, it means that they will not be able to understand what any of it means.

Backing up your data is also essential because some cyber crime involves damaging your software or technology so that you cannot access your data. Cloud services are a handy tool when it comes to data storage. Cloud services are also useful if some of your employees work remotely.

Get a cyber security audit

If you want to know whether you are doing enough to protect your business from cyber crime, you could hire a company to perform a cyber security audit. They will be able to check the software that you have in place and find any weak spots. Once they have found your business’s cyber vulnerabilities, they will be able to help you install some more software or take other precautions to protect these vulnerabilities.

Reduce The Risk Of Driver Error In Your Business

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When you are running any type of business which involves collection and deliveries of either people or packages, you need to be sure that your drivers are adhering to the best possible driving practices.  This is not just for their own protection, but that of your clients and the reputation of your business.

We’ve all read reports, and seen footage of drivers who have been distracted by their cell phone, and not reacted quickly enough to conditions ahead of them, resulting in horrific accidents, that could so easily have been avoided. 

Taxi drivers in particular are often faced with threatening behavior, or passengers who are abusive. On the other side of the coin, sometimes it’s the passengers who report that their driver has verbally or physically assaulted them.  Sometimes it’s hard to know who to believe.

So if you run a fleet of vehicles, or even just one or two, how can you ensure your drivers are behaving responsibly whilst on the road.

The answer could be to install video dashcams in all of your vehicles. 

This great bit of kit, enables you to watch your drivers behavior in real time, to make sure they are all adhering to good driver behavior.  The safety of your drivers is so important, and you do need to be aware at all times of how they are driving, and the conditions they are facing. 

Viewing remotely, you can see instantly if any of your drivers are not wearing their seatbelts, if they have anyone else in the cab with them, and if they have any distractions such as if they are eating whilst driving, or take a sneaky peak at their cell phones, even if it is for a short period of time. 

So who should really consider installing video dashcams.

Taxi drivers and owners.

Don’t risk your reputation by being accused of employing rude or unsafe drivers. By being able to view everything live, if your driver feels that something isn’t quite right, then you can see the situation instantly, and not have to rely on his account of things, or the passengers verbal complaint. It protects everyone in the taxi, and protects your business against false accusations and possible lawsuits. 

Truck Drivers and Haulage Business.

Truck drivers have such a responsibility at their finger tips.  Often driving for long periods of time, very precious cargo, in huge container lorries. Being able to view and record their driving standards, helps enormously to structure training to match more closely with driver capabilities and potentially dangerous driving situations. 

Benefits

The main benefits of installing a video dashcam in your vehicles is that it reduces the cost of your insurance premiums. 

It’s inevitable that accidents will happen, but if a collision involving one of your employees does take place, you will be alerted at the point of impact. As well as having minute by minute information about what has happened, you will be able to inform your insurance company about your driver’s behavior and road conditions during the lead up to any accidents. 

Don’t underestimate the peace of mind a video dashcam can bring you. Get them fitted to your vehicles before the inevitable happens.

How to Improve Your Manufacturing Processes

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There’s plenty of potential when it comes to manufacturing, but it’s also true that it can be an expensive and complicated process. As such, it’s imperative to think about ways in which processes could be improved. This won’t just help to increase output and improve safety, but it’ll also help you to stay ahead of your competitors. In this business, you can either progress, or you can be left behind. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at a few essential tips that’ll have you moving in the right direction.

Find Your Flaws

There’s not a single company in the world that works at full capacity. But at least the best ones know where their flaws are, and take steps to improve the ones that can be improved. Take a leaf out of their book. Look at your manufacturing processes, and try to find where your flaws might be. It could be that you’re making a relatively simple error, which, after it has been corrected, results in much better results. Of course, there’s a chance that you’re “too close” to your operations to look at things objectively, at which point it would be a good idea to hire an outside expert to look at things for you.

Improve Safety

Health and safety are important in all industries, but it’s especially important in the manufacturing sector; this is because if something goes wrong there, then things can quickly become very serious. Aside from showing that you care about your employees, there’s another reason why you’d want to improve safety: it can improve productivity and output. When people feel that they might be working in an unsafe environment, they work slower. You can liberate them by creating an ultra-safe environment.

Invest In Staff

Your staff will make a big difference when it comes to your manufacturing. Hire the best, and you’ll find that you can create a grade-A team that works together well and who can help you to meet your targets. This will all rely on the strength of your hiring process, so take the time to get it right. 

And Infrastructure

When it comes to manufacturing, infrastructure is key. The better your infrastructure is, the better you’ll be able to work. So sometimes, it’s worthwhile investing in this area of your business — there are likely many tools that could improve your business. Be sure to resist the temptation to buy the cheapest option, and instead go for the best: it will make a difference. You can click here to learn more about dosage pumps that can improve your manufacturing processes and also make them safer. In some areas, you may also want to consider investing in a robotic machine that can help your staff to work even better.

Review and Update 

Finally, remember that manufacturing isn’t an industry that stays still for too long — things are always improving and changing. By making a commitment to review and update how you work, you’ll ensure that you’re never left too far from the cutting edge of manufacturing.

How Restaurants Can Boost Their Profits

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There’s much to love about having your own restaurant, but it’s just a fact of life that it’s not the easiest industry to be in. Competition can be fierce, and operational costs always seem to be high. That’s why it’s super important that restaurant owners find ways to boost their profits, beyond the usual evening dinner crowd. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at a few tried and tested methods that other restaurants have utilized as a part of their operations.

Inviting Offers

It’s likely that you’ll find plenty of people coming through your doors on a Friday and Saturday night, but not so many people coming in throughout the week. People usually save their money for fun at the weekend, so that makes sense. As such, it’s worthwhile giving the people an incentive to visit your restaurant in quieter periods. You could run a special offer during the first half of the week, for instance, where prices are lower than they are at the weekend. It’s also worthwhile looking at appealing to the lunch crowd. Profits won’t be as high as they are for evening meals, but it will make a difference. 

Reducing Waste

You’ll spend a lot of money on ingredients for your meals, but what percentage of your ingredients actually end up on the plates of your customers? All industries produce waste, and it’s no different for restaurants. It’s important to know that this waste doesn’t just have to go in the trash can, however. There are companies that will pay for this waste. Gfcommodities.com, for example, will pay restaurants for their yellow grease. There are other companies that will take your waste food to make fertilizer. Though the amount will vary, you can end up getting paid for all that your restaurant produces, not just what ends up on the plate. 

Hosting Events

If you haven’t been hosting events at your restaurant, then what are you waiting for? There are a lot of people out there looking for spaces to host wedding receptions, corporate events, and parties. If you have a well-designed space, then your restaurant might just be the perfect place. This works especially well since people will pay for the exclusivity of your establishment, and will spend money when they’re there, too.

Reduce Staff Turnover

You probably already know just how important staff can be for the success of your restaurant. There’s a big difference between poor waiting staff and outstanding staff, and it really makes a difference to the bottom line. And of course, it’s also expensive to hire employees — both when it comes to advertising the jobs and the lost productivity during the training stage. As such, it’s recommended that you take steps to reduce staff turnover. This will involve developing a robust hiring policy so that you always bring the best talent on board, which will reduce the need to rehire when an employee doesn’t work out, and also treating your staff well so they will stay with you.