Setting up a Successful Business in the Modern World – How Can it be Done?

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Thanks to the internet being available in all of our homes, on our smartphones, at work and just about everywhere these days- in many cases, it seems easier than ever to set up a business in the modern world. Everyone is connected and used to buying online, meaning in theory you should be able to reach a wide range of people and sell to them in a way that they’re comfortable with. However, it’s much more difficult than that in reality, here are some things to be aware of setting up a business in today’s world. 

Find your niche

One of the most significant challenges when it comes to establishing a business in today’s world, is that the market is extremely saturated. It really doesn’t matter what you want to do or sell, it’s likely that  there are hundreds of others out there somewhere on the globe, doing almost the same thing. For this reason, you need first to find your niche and then find your unique selling point when you’re setting up a company, because even if you’re only slightly different from other similar companies, it reduces competition. For example, there are lots of businesses selling baby clothes, but perhaps yours sell all organic, natural baby clothes with ethically sourced materials? It sets you apart and means a certain subset of customers will prefer your business over others. 

Utilize modern business software

Your business needs to be run in a contemporary way. if it’s to keep up with it’s competitors. Outdated manual methods will simply slow you down and always come with the risk of human error. If you want to keep up with your competitors as well as save hassle, time and money, then you absolutely need to be on board with business software and programs. Everything from accounting to legal software, HR, email tools and more are available to all kinds of businesses. Being able to accept multiple payment types is also important, from an EMV credit card scanner to contactless payments to Paypal and more- cash is less frequently used than ever so digital methods and key. 

Think about your advertising

Marketing a modern business really involves knowing what your consumer wants, in today’s world- people are picky. There are plenty more companies out there to offer them what they want, so you need to give them a reason to choose yours. Advancing technology, changing consumer demands, and even the way customers shop (such as on a laptop vs a smartphone) all need to be considered when you’re putting together your marketing materials. Social media marketing, blogger outreach, and video marketing are modern techniques that are highly effective and make use of the fact that so many of us spend time on social media and the type of content we like to consume. Working with influencers is another modern method that takes advantage of today’s society- something to consider is that while celebrities will always be fantastic influencers, ‘real people’ such as Youtubers and bloggers can also achieve excellent success. In some cases, even more! Since they have strong followings to begin with and are generally happy to collaborate with brands it makes a perfect marketing method for many kinds of companies.

4 Pieces Of Security Software That All Business Need To Use

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you already know that cyber-attacks are a big concern for all businesses. In the wrong hands, all of the data that you hold about your company and your customers can be used to commit fraud or hold you to ransom for large amounts of money. Cyber-criminals are always finding new ways to exploit weaknesses and steal information from companies so you really need to be on the ball when it comes to data security.

A breach is bad news for your business for a number of reasons. First off, you might be subject to fraud and have money stolen from the business. In some cases, you might be able to recover it and hopefully, you’re covered by insurance, but these criminals are experts at moving money around and hiding it so, more often than not, you’ll take a big financial hit. If you lose customer data, that’s bad news as well because they are trusting you to look after that personal information that you hold about them and if you can’t do that, you’re going to lose a lot of customers.

When it comes to protecting sensitive data, it’s important that you have strict policies in place and your employees are trained in good data handling practices. You should limit access to data to people that need it and make sure that there are clear policies in place when it comes to sharing that information. However, the best way to protect your business and its data is to implement the right technology. These are the most important pieces of security technology that all businesses should be using.

Firewalls And Virus Protection

If you don’t already have firewalls and virus protection in place, you’re way behind and you’re opening yourself up to so many risks. It’s not likely that you aren’t using any kind of security at all because we’re all so used to using it on our home computers already, but it may be the case that you’re not updating it regularly enough or you’re not using the right software. When you’re trying to protect your home computer, you can probably get away with the free firewalls that come built into the computer as long as you’re only using it for basic things like emails, reading the news, or browsing social media. But when it comes to business computers, that isn’t going to cut it.

You need to be using a paid service that is designed for businesses to protect yourself online, otherwise, you’re likely to be the victim of an attack. Cyber-criminals are always looking for businesses that are vulnerable and anybody that is using inadequate firewalls and virus protection is likely to be hit. There are plenty of great firewalls for business out there which offer the protection that you need. Updating them regularly is so important as well because cyber-criminals quickly find ways around them so it’s a constant battle to stop them from becoming obsolete. If you don’t update your firewalls, they’re next to useless. You need a good IT team on hand to deal with updating firewalls as and when they need it and responding quickly to any breaches. If you can’t afford to hire an in-house IT team, it’s best to outsource to a third party so you still have access to the expertise that you need.

Customer Verification Systems  

It’s not just cyber-attacks that you need to worry about either. Fraudsters will often contact your company posing as a customer and try to get you to share sensitive information with them. That’s why it’s so important that you have a good customer verification system in place. In most industries, you have to abide by Know Your Customer guidelines to ensure that you’re taking the right steps to confirm somebody’s identity before you speak with them. Most companies will use security questions when speaking with a customer to try to clarify that they are who they say they are. This is a good way of keeping things secure but if a fraudster already has some information on a customer, there is still a chance that they can pass these security questions so it isn’t the most secure way of handling customer verification. It’s worth investing in some KYC check software that offers safer ways of verifying your customers. For example, you can use facial recognition software which is far harder to cheat than some basic security questions. It’s also quicker for your customers than going through the same questions every time they want to contact your business for any reason.

Scheduling Software

You might be wondering what scheduling software has to do with data security, but it’s important to remember that in some cases, a data breach may come from within the company. It might be that you have a disgruntled employee that shares information maliciously or perhaps somebody that is being offered money to hand over information that is stored in the office. It’s a rare scenario but it does happen and if it does, it’s important that you find out who the culprit is immediately so you can limit the damage and deal with it so it doesn’t happen again. If you’re using good scheduling software, you can quickly see exactly who was in the building at what time using a punch in system and you can keep a clear eye on when information is going missing and who is working at those times. This will help you narrow it down and hopefully find out who is stealing that sensitive information.

VPNs

A lot of people are already using a VPN (virtual private network) at home to protect themselves and your business should be using one as well. Instead of sending information via an open connection where it is vulnerable to attack, a VPN creates a separate private network which is encrypted. You can still access the internet through the VPN and operate as you normally would but you have an added layer of protection.

If you implement these tech solutions in your business, you’ll find it a lot easier to protect your sensitive data and avoid a catastrophic data loss.

Improve Oversight and Transparency for Your Business

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Being able to oversee what goes on in your company is essential if you want to be an effective business person. It’s important that you know what’s going on at all times, and that you aren’t kept in the dark. You don’t want to have sections of your business where you’re not sure what’s been going on lately. You should be on top of all the numbers, the productivity levels and other information that it’s crucial for you to know. Of course, there are some insignificant things that are unlikely to matter to the big boss. However, overall, greater transparency and better oversight are better for your business.

Get Better Understanding of Important Regulations

If you want to improve the way that you oversee your business, you should make sure that you understand any important regulations. Having to comply with regulations can be annoying for a business owner, but most can still recognize that it often benefits them. For example, regulations related to safety will protect their employees and by extension protect them from any legal trouble. By making sure that you understand any regulations you have to follow, you can be sure that you’re implementing them correctly and monitoring everything well too.

Use the Right Software

There’s almost no situation where finding the right software won’t help you improve your business. If you want to increase oversight and transparency for your company, there are plenty of tools that could help you out. You can find software that helps you manage your finances better or monitor risk management. You can improve IT too, with software designed to help you easily monitor your entire network. You can automatically map out your network and keep an eye on what’s up and what’s down, enabling your IT staff to fix problems faster. Before implementing new software, make sure you look at the pros and cons of introducing a new tool.

Institute Regular Checks and Reviews

Putting rules and regulations in place is essential for your business, but it’s pointless if you don’t check that they’re being followed. Even when everyone is trying their best to get their job done correctly, there can still be mistakes. That’s why it’s important to carry out regular checks and reviews of things like your finances. Mistakes can occur at any time, and people are better at spotting other people’s mistakes than they are at noticing their own. Make sure that you regularly review different departments to check results and monitor improvements.

Encourage Openness

Encouraging people at your company to be open with sharing their thoughts and opinions can make everything more transparent and give you better oversight. Your employees should feel like they’re able to raise an issue that they’re concerned about or offer an idea on how they think things should be done better. You might even extend this to your customers, building a community that helps to give you a better idea of how your business is viewed by the public.

Increase oversight and transparency in your business by being as involved as possible. Encourage others to do their part too.

It’s Time For A More Functional Business

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The idea of starting your own business can be incredibly tempting for a lot of people, and for a good reason. After all, who wouldn’t want to work for themselves, being in total control over what they do to earn their living? Then again, it’s important to remember that running a business is certainly no walk in the park. The truth is that it can be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. One of the biggest reasons for that is because far too many people end up working for their business instead of the other way around. You need to make sure that your business is set up from the very start in such a way that it’s not constantly pushing against you as you’re trying to move it forward. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do to make your business work for you and not the other way around.

Invest in the right equipment

Every business requires certain equipment to function, and the kind of equipment that you need is going to depend heavily on the kind of business that you’re running. If your business depends on manufacturing, warehouse equipment, safety gates, and automated machinery should all be on the top of your list. However, if your business is more office based, then your equipment needs might be a lot simpler. Figure out the right equipment for your business and stick with that. Trying to become overly ambitious with your equipment needs is just going to lead to problems.

Create clear workflows

If you’re constantly trying to figure things out as you go, then you’re constantly going to working against your business to get anything done. You need a clear plan with an obvious workflow that can keep you focused at all times. This is especially important once you have employees to work with since everyone needs to be moving in the same direction if you ever want to get anything done in your business at all.

Work with the right people

Speaking of employees, finding the right people for your business can be a challenge, but it’s well worth putting in the extra effort. Make sure that you put the right amount of time and focus into your recruitment process and that you don’t try to rush into hiring the first available candidate. The same goes for any outsourcing that you might do. You should also look into outsourcing certain aspects of your business, from social media companies to increase customer engagement to private jet membership to deal with travel arrangements and costs. Make sure that you work with people who’s working methods and values align with your businesses. Otherwise, you’re going to end up fighting against each other, and that level of tension is absolutely poisonous to productivity.

By making sure that your business is moving in the direction that you want it to, even the slightest tasks are going to become smoother and easier to deal with. If you don’t do that, then everything’s going to come with resistance that’s just going to make your life much more difficult than it really needs to be.