How To Make A New Business Seem Professional

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If you’re a new business owner, it can be hard at first to compete. People like to deal with businesses that they can trust, and until you’ve proved yourself, earning that trust can be tough. When you’re just starting out, you need to work to seem as professional as you can, so someone will take a risk and deal with you.

  1. Look professional yourself. Start off on the right foot by getting your own appearance right. If you don’t look professional and arrive to meetings dressed like a student, nobody is going to take you seriously. Dress for success so people feel confident in you. 
  2. Get your office or storefront right. When you start out, you probably have a small budget for your physical space. If you’ve had to rent an office or store space that is small, or not in the most desirable area, this can start you on the back foot. You can counteract this though by making sure your space looks smart. Keep the frontage tidy and well-maintained. Keep signage clear, sweep up any trash, and maintain your parking lot with A few plants outside can go a long way to adding some smartness too. 
  3. Branding is essential. Strong branding is going to be your friend when you start out. If you’re not good at branding, bring in some help from a graphic designer. Start with your logo. It should communicate who you are clearly and not remind you of any other business. When you have your logo, work on other brand areas. Choose some brand colors, design your website, business cards, brochures, and any other print items you need. Keep your branding consistent across everything, so you are immediately recognizable wherever someone encounters you. 
  4. Get reviews. If you can get some reviews or testimonials, this gives someone a reason to trust you. But if you need reviews to get customers and clients, how do you get those first reviews? If you can, ask your friends or family to act as guinea pigs to test out your services or products, and then ask to write those first reviews. When you start to bring in other customers, give them an incentive to leave a review. As soon as their purchase is complete, trigger an email with an invite to review, and offer something like a discount for next time of they complete an honest testimonial. This gets you some feedback which can be useful for improving, a review to show potential customers that you’re on the level, and hopefully some repeat business too. 
  5. Change your contact details. When you have your website set up, get a business domain that you can use for email. An email address like looks much more professional than a free email service. Get a dedicated phone line for your business, so you have a landline phone number for people to call you on that is only for your business. This is better than a mobile, or a calling your home where your kids might be the ones to answer.

Making Your Employees’ Workspace Practical and Comfortable

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Your employees spend a lot of their time working for you in whatever commercial premises you provide for them. Often, this space is an office. Now, bearing in mind that the majority of your staff will spend at least eight hours a day, five days a week in this location, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s practical and comfortable. It’s the least you can do as an employer. At the end of the day, these are the people who form the backbone of your company. They’re the individuals who keep things up and running. They generate the sales and interaction that boosts your profits. So, prioritize their needs and do your utmost to achieve top quality office goals. Here are a few steps you can take to achieve this.

Choosing the Right Office

If you’re in the process of choosing your first office or you’re planning on moving offices, take time to make the right decision. Ideally, you should opt for somewhere that has more than enough space (rather than being cramped), a building with plenty of natural light (which looks nicer and boosts your employees’ productivity) and preferably somewhere that’s either a central location or has good public transport links (this will improve your workers’ commute). It may take a little time to find the perfect spot at a reasonable price, but once you’ve settled in, your company could remain there for years. So, it’s worth making it the right fit the first time round.

Making Alterations to Your Office

If you’re not planning on moving but own your office space or can strike a deal with the owner in order to improve upon the office space, there are a number of changes and renovations you can carry out to help the space better meet your employees’ needs. You could have bigger windows fitted. You could have the space extended. You could have extra bathrooms added. You could alter potential hazards, such as unexpected steps or low ceilings. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure to use a high quality cleanup service like MC Janitorial to clear up any debris at the end of the work.

Invest in Ergonomic Furniture and Equipment

Sure, you’ll already be following health and safety rules. But immediate threats aren’t the only threats that your office can pose to your employees. You need to be aware of hazards that can worsen your employees’ health and wellbeing gradually, or day by day. This is where ergonomic furniture and equipment comes into play. Ergonomic furniture and equipment are specially designed to help your employees work in a safe and comfortable manner, reducing injuries like general sprains or strains and repetitive strain injury. There are plenty of options on the market, like ergonomic desks, chairs, keyboards, footrests and more.

These are just a few areas you can focus on. There are plenty more that can make all the difference to your employees’ happiness and wellbeing. So, don’t let the journey stop here. Always strive for the best for your staff!

Be The Perfect Boss In 5 Simple Steps

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If you have recently expanded your startup, the chances are that you have taken on staff for the first time. What started as a one person band sort of enterprise has now grown to a fully fledged company complete with employees. You now find yourself in the enviable and slightly daunting position as a boss. You were once used to being the full time employee, with excellent promotion prospects, a steady wage, and job security. You remember moaning to your colleagues about your overbearing employer, the incessant demands on your time and the targets that you felt that you unrealistically had to meet. You don’t want to be that boss.

Being a good boss isn’t about giving commands, orders and terrorizing people into submission to do what you want. You need to be more nuanced in your approach to your employees. The buck stops with you. Your company is your livelihood, and you need to foster the same sort of passion and productivity within your staff team. Take a look at these five simple steps you can take to ensure that you are the perfect boss.

Be Honest

Employees hate nothing more than being lied to or having things kept from them. This can lead to resentment and anger, and eventually a high turnover of staff. You need to be transparent with your workforce even when things aren’t going particularly well. You have to lead from the front and be empathetic to the needs of your staff.

If you have an employee who works hard, enjoys what they do, has bought into your business vision and does everything they can to help you realize your profit projections, cut them a bit of slack when they ask for the morning off to see their offspring receive an award at school. Being fair and accommodating, without being a pushover, is vital if you are to get the most out of your employees. Being a strict disciplinarian, as with parents, can lead to rebellion. You don’t want to be that boss who has to cope with skiving employees who fancy a few too many duvet days because you have been pushing them too hard.

It’s vital that you give your staff team a voice and you respond to their concerns with honesty. Send out a weekly email just to keep your team in the loop. They need to know when things are going well and they need to understand why things might be a little less certain in times of hardship.


A weekly email is also an effective tool to communicate with your employees. You should be praising the good work that they have been producing. Single out one or two staff members each week and give positive praise where it is due. This boosts morale, motivates others to succeed and can help your workplace remain productive and buoyant. Set up an employee recognition scheme and allow their colleagues to nominate one another for awards or praise. This can help an environment of productivity to flourish.

As well as emails being the go-to method of communication, ensure that you still have face to face meetings with your staff. Don’t always hide in your office. Have a weekly catch up at the beginning of the week before fatigue sets in. Have short term goals for the week and share them with staff. Also allow this to be a forum to enable them to air their views on new initiatives, and targets. By listening to them, demonstrating that you see value in their contributions and acting upon their opinions, you are showing your staff that you care. Communication isn’t giving commands; it’s a two-way respectful process.

Provide A Suitable Workplace

It can be difficult at times to motivate yourself to go to work. Getting up early on a particularly gray day to venture out on a long commute to the office is tough at the best of times. However, think about how this can be compounded by the fact that your office might not have adequate heating and the coffee machine is broken yet again. If this sounds like the workplace you head up, then it’s time to sort it out. You cannot expect your hard-working team to be working in conditions not conducive to top quality work.

Whip out the paint and give your office a facelift. Bright white walls complete with artwork and photographs that are inspirational and relevant to your industry can really lift the mood of your employees. Replace the polystyrene ceiling tiles and replaster where necessary. Ensure that the heating is up to scratch, install some air conditioning units for the summer and upgrade the hardware you possess as necessary. You cannot blame your employees’ frustration if your servers are always down, your laptops keep freezing, and everything takes an eon to download from the cloud. By investing in your workplace, you can be sure of an upturn in morale and productivity.

Add a touch of greenery here and there to bring a bit of color and nature into your workplace. Studies have shown that brighter, greener and more natural spaces can boost morale and lift mood. If you need to, reconfigure your workspaces from the individual pod-like atmosphere to a more collaborative space encouraging teamwork and fostering the creation of shared ideas. You need to generate a buzz of work and a hum of positive morale. Develop shared spaces and chill out zones for when your employees may need to take a load off. A stressful workplace with no respite can lead to poor productivity. Be the boss that understands the needs of their staff team and caters for them.

As well as the physical aspect of your workplace, you need to provide the necessary benefits to your team. Investigate retirement plans and wellness benefits with a company like Vita Assure and maximize your ability to foster a happy, healthy and productive workforce. It’s important that you go the extra mile to show your employees that they are valued. When it comes to interviewing the best candidates for new roles, and they ask about the benefits you provide for employees, you want to show off your credentials.

Know Your Team

Don’t be the boss that doesn’t know their staff team. While you won’t want to know all the details of your marketing manager’s divorce proceedings, it’s vital that you know that they are going ahead and that your staff member may need some extra support. Understanding that your employees are humans and as fallible and in need of support as everyone else is vital if you are to get the best out of them.

Take a couple of away days each year to really get to know your team on a more personal level. When your employees know one another on a deeper level, their working relationships become more meaningful, and they care more. While you will still want to keep your distance and maintain a professional relationship, there’s nothing wrong with going for drinks after work at the end of the week and getting the first round in to show your appreciation for their efforts before sneaking away. Encourage your employees to let off steam and allow them to play hard if they will reward you with working hard.

Teamworking sessions have a bad reputation for being pointless with numerous imaginary bridges being built and marshmallow and spaghetti towers being constructed. However, certain activities that foster collaboration can utilize skills that can be transferred into the workplace. Consider heading to an activity center and enjoying some orienteering, raft making and team games to have some fun and hone your team’s listening skills, ability to empathize and leadership.

Invest In Your Team

The chances are that you won’t be able to keep your staff members forever, no matter how much you want to. However, you can create promotion opportunities to keep your brightest stars for as long as possible. To ensure that you don’t end up with a high turnover of staff, you have to financially invest in your team. Fund qualifications, send them on relevant and meaningful professional development courses and encourage them to continue learning. While they may eventually utilize these skills with another company, they will be able to apply any new knowledge into their current workplace, harnessing new skills, developing more efficient ways of working and passing on their new methodologies to others in your staff team.

To be the ideal boss, you need to put yourself in your employees shoes and think about what they need to do their jobs well, and what they desire to see in their employer. Lead by example and don’t be afraid to get stuck in and get your hands dirty. If the printer breaks down, head out into the office and fix it. A boss with no airs and graces is more relatable to staff. It’s up to you to create the ideal ethos for your workplace. An environment of continual learning, hard work and recognition are imperative if you are to strive to be the perfect boss.

How To Make Working From Home Easier

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So many people have this preconceived idea that working from home is easy. For some reason, they assume that because you’re not leaving the house and driving yourself from A to B, that it isn’t a real job. But if you currently do remote work, be it running a business or something else, you will know that it isn’t easy – it can be extremely challenging, even more so than a regular job because you’re having to try and focus in a place that originally wasn’t made for work, it was made for comfort and security. It’s a balancing act that a lot of people will never understand until they’re in your shoes, and that’s okay.

But if you knew that there were things that you could do in order to make your life a lot simpler, you’d do them.

So here’s just a few examples of what can be done.

Remove any distractions

Distraction is every worker’s biggest issue, especially when you’re working from home. You will be surrounded by things that you’ll want to do, and part of your job is to block out all of those things so that you can get tasks done and meet all the deadlines and targets that you have been given. If you don’t live alone, then you are going to have to make sure that you are able to work when and if they’re home. It may be worth having a talk with them and explain that when you’re working – you’re working, and you can’t afford to break the concentration you have, otherwise it will be extremely hard to get it back again.

Update the software

If you’re stuck behind the times, then your business will be too. Technology is constantly improving and becoming more advanced, and that means that the software is as well. We all know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to find something on your device, be it a contact or a document, only to have to sieve through so many other files and data that cause you to waste valuable time that could be put to better use. And you don’t want that when you’re trying to do business. Symfact offers you software to be able to take full control over your contracts like vital business transactions, so you can keep everything else looking organized and tidy.

Create the space

Regardless of how big or small your house is, you need to ensure you have enough space to work in. So if, for example, you have a spare room that is full of storage, then it would be a very good idea to clean this out and turn it into a suitable office space for you to work in and call your own. Or maybe you can even look at small cabins that can be put in the garden. You will find things extremely difficult if you’re trying to work in bed, or in the living room where you usually hang out, because that is the place you go for downtime, and using that for work will mess up the structure of everything.

Is Your Office Making You Unproductive? Four Quick Fixes

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When it comes to our office environment, could it be that we’re only as good as our surroundings? Numerous studies have indicated that the environment we work in can have a huge impact on our health, wellbeing, mental focus and productivity, so its surprising that small companies don’t invest more time in making the right changes to promote a culture of co-operation and creativity. However, despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary nearly half of employers still say that they don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.

From large-scale ergonomic changes such as investing in new seating, changing office layouts to enhance collaboration or smaller touches such as adding deck coating systems to make transform a rooftop into a staff recreational area, to smaller touches, a few adjustments could make a huge impact.

Lighting Your Space

After air quality, lighting is one of the single biggest factors in producing a comfortable working environment, but it also tends to be one of the most overlooked. Bad lighting is the cause of myriad health problems for workers, including lack of concentration, eye strain, headaches and low mood. Natural light is always the best option, but many of us don’t have the luxury of a desk by a window. Portable light therapy devices can be one solution you can proactively introduce.

Noise Levels

The current vogue for open-plan everything certainly has benefits in terms of making collaboration easier, but noise pollution is a significant downside of this approach. Not only can loud conversations from co-workers be distracting, but they can also cause a constant, low-level form of stress that is highly detrimental over time. Luckily, noise-canceling headphones can be a godsend for managing noise in the office, while online music streaming services offer white noise or calming playlists intended to promote focus. If you work from home, these can even be useful as many find complete silence just as detrimental to their focus in its own way.

Air Quality

Probably the single most important factor from a physical perspective, air quality isn’t often something that gets mentioned, but it can severely impact our productivity and wellbeing. The OSHA has estimated the total annual cost of poor air in our offices actually costs employers $15 billion in lost efficiency and increased sick leave. Your office should consider fitting or upgrading air filters, or personal desk-based ones can be used, although these tend to be drastically less efficient. A cheap hack is just to buy in lots of green potted plants – these calm our minds and are also nature’s air filters, providing a steady supply of clean, purified oxygen.

Unwanted Clutter

You may feel that your clutter makes you creative, but actually messy environments around us are linked to poor concentration, and can cost us time when it comes to the daily hunt for the stapler. Focus on keeping your immediate environment harmonized by allocating ten minutes at the end of each day to a quick file away and wipe down of your desk. Smart office storage solutions are available to help you minimize piles of paper, too.