Maximizing Profits: Is Your Business Making The Most Of Modern Technology?

The ultimate aim for any business owner is to create a company that makes as much profit as possible. To maximize profits, you have to run your business efficiently, as well as doing everything possible to bring in sales. In this day and age, technology plays an influential role in cost cutting, improving productivity and driving sales, so is your business making the most of modern technology?

Going mobile

Have you noticed how many people you see glued to their phones on the train on the morning commute? Are you guilty of being one of those people who can’t go a minute without checking the home screen? The reality is that most of us devote a huge amount of time to our phones and tablets, and if you haven’t embraced the concept of going mobile yet, you could be missing a trick. People like to do things on the move now, and if your business can’t provide this option, you may lose out to others. Gone are the days when you had to actually go into a shop to buy an outfit or make a call to book a table or a hair appointment. You can do virtually anything online now. If you haven’t got to grips with going mobile yet, now is the time to think about ensuring your website is mobile-friendly and developing an app. Apps are really useful because they enable your clients to do everything they need to do without using a browser and they also act as a marketing feature. Whenever that consumer looks at their phone, your logo will be there, occupying valuable space.

 

Cloud services

If you’re not using the cloud yet, it may be time to think about following in the footsteps of thousands of businesses and switching on-site solutions for cloud-based services. If you’re not familiar with the concept of cloud computing, or you’re not sure whether it would make sense for your company, it’s worth arranging an appointment with an IT consultant. You can find out more about how it works, why it’s so popular, and how it could promote growth and save you money going forward. Sometimes, it isn’t the best option, but there are many reasons why more and more businesses are switching to the cloud every year.

 

Modern marketing

Technology plays a valuable role in enabling businesses to spread the word and put themselves on the map these days. If you’re not already tapping into the wonderful worlds of email marketing, content marketing, and social media campaigns, you may find that changing tack boosts growth considerably. Take advantage of a global audience, provide clients with information through media channels they use on a regular basis, and get people talking. You don’t even have to pay to set up a page, invite people to take a look, and encourage them to visit your website.

 

If you’re keen to maximize profits, investing in and utilizing modern technology can make all the difference. If you’re not taking advantage of everything technology has to offer a contemporary business, embracing new ways of working could propel you to the next level.

 

What Sort of Event Should Your Business Host?

Hosting an event isn’t something that your business does all the time. It’s usually something you will do for a specific purpose, often to help boost your business’s reputation. A corporate event could be one of many things, from a conference with industry professionals to an informal get-together with employees and their families. Hosting an event can help to shake things up a bit and give you some great experience for a variety of different events in the future. If you think it’s time to put something on, have a look at some of these possible event types and what it takes to make them happen.

Conference or Seminar

Putting on a conference or seminar can be a lot of effort, but they’re a popular choice in many industries. The work it requires is worth it if you want to position your company as a leading voice in the industry. It could be something that happens over one day or even just a few hours, or it could be an event that lasts several days. Conferences are excellent for networking and for exchanging information and ideas. But they require strong contacts with companies like Source Me that will help you get everything you need. Arranging it all from the venue to the AV equipment and lighting can take months of work, or even longer.

 

Family Event/Holiday Party

Events that help you connect with your employees are often an excellent choice. They boost morale and act as an incentive for your workers. If you want to improve your employees’ opinions of you, an event for a holiday or just a seasonal party could go down well. Some ideas include having a Christmas party, a Halloween event, a summer BBQ or other fun get-togethers where everyone can get to know each other in a more informal setting. It can help to improve relations and communication in the workplace.

 

 

Product Launch

This is a very specific type of event that you would only host when you have a reason for one, i.e. you’re about to launch a new product. If you’re releasing a new product, putting on a special event to tell everyone what it’s all about helps it to get on the market with a bang. A product launch event is often a good idea if you’re releasing a product your company has designed and it’s significantly impressive to show off. A clothes company might not have one for a single product, although they might for a new line of products, but a phone company might.

 

Charity Event

Getting involved with charities makes businesses look ethical and is a good way to back up the values you say your company has. A charity event could take any number of forms, from a dinner and silent auction to a sports event. It requires just as much work as any other event, but the goal is to raise funds or at least awareness for your chosen charity. It’s important that the charity is a suitable one for your brand, perhaps one you already have connections to.

A business event can be a marketing tool, as well as a way to connect with an industry or community or provide an incentive to employees.

How Does a Business Bounce Back From Adversity?

If you’ve ever tried to run a business in the past, then you’ll know the struggle that’s involved with trying to keep yourself afloat. So many things can go wrong. For instance, you could discover that your business is failing because a new competitor has appeared that promises more than you can offer, or maybe you have a disgruntled employee toying with your business’s reputation in secret. Maybe there’s a storm brewing on social media that is dragging out your company for criticism, or maybe there’s a literal storm coming your way that could shut the power out of your office.

Whatever the situation may be, it’s important to learn how to bounce back from tough situations. To help you out, here are a couple of useful tips to follow.

 

Have a plan ready

 

When misfortune strikes, you want to be ready and waiting so that you can get your business up and running again as soon as possible. For instance, if your company makes regular use of its own transportation vehicles, it might be worth having a fuelbox on your premises to act as a fueling station for the vehicles. This is usually cheaper than filling up the tank at a commercial petrol station, and it’s far more efficient because your drivers won’t need to make a stop at another location in order to get fuel. If you want to take this a step further, then you can also apply it to other parts of your business. For example, if you have a lot of computer hardware in your business, then you might want to consider befriending a local computer repair store that is willing to visit your location to perform on-site diagnosis and repairs. Whatever it is, make sure you have a plan ready for these situations.

 

Have a way to stay in touch

If something horrible happens such as a fire tearing through your building or blackout that knocks out the power, make sure you have a way to continue working. Going mobile is one of the cleanest and efficient ways of continuing a business even if the power’s out. You’ll still have access to mobile internet, you can still browse the internet and speak with customers and clients, and your employees can continue working. This is also important for when your employees or other key members of your company can’t come into work, or if they’re away due to an accident. Make sure you stay in touch with your entire companY and ensure you never lose contact with your customers.

 

 

Accepting and learning from mistakes

People always make mistakes, but what we learn from those mistakes and how we deal with adversity is what defines our companies. There are businesses that have gone through hell and back, only to rise from the ashes and become a business worth talking about. Yet there are also some businesses that fall from grace and find it hard to ever recover their former fame. Whatever happens, make sure you learn from any mistakes you made and try not to throw the blame around on others like your employees or competitors. You are in control of your own fate as a business owner, so you need to learn how to bounce back from adversity.

Eco-Friendly Business Is About More Than Just The Environment

Climate change is a contentious issue at the moment and the majority of researchers agree that we need to be making drastic changes to the way that we do things. There are things that you can do on a personal level like reducing energy uses and trying not to use your car as often, but even if everybody on the planet did that, it wouldn’t solve the problem. Businesses contribute to climate change much more than we do as individuals so it’s more important that businesses become eco-friendly. Business owners are often apprehensive about the idea of going eco-friendly because there’s a perception that it will make your overheads higher and eat into your profits. However, that’s not always the case and there are a lot of changes that you can make which will actually increase profits while they reduce your carbon footprint. If you haven’t started moving towards green business yet, here are a few reasons that you definitely should.

 

 

Paper

Every year thousands of acres of forest are cut down to make paper, most of which is used in offices around the world. It’s a big problem but it doesn’t have to be because there are plenty of ways that you could reduce paper usage easily. Companies like Ricoh Printers can reduce the costs of your printing and you can massively cut down on the amount that you need to print by going digital. You can replace all of the paper correspondence in the office with emails and save yourself thousands every year.

 

Eco-Friendly Goods

Manufacturing processes that aren’t eco-friendly are the biggest hurdle to overcome when it comes to climate change and although it is usually more expensive to produce your goods in an environmentally responsible way, you could lose out if you don’t. Consumers are increasingly demanding eco-friendly goods from companies so if you can’t offer that, they will go elsewhere. The extra manufacturing costs will be outweighed by the increase in sales that you will see if you start going green. Goods and packaging that are made from recycled materials are far more likely to sell than those that aren’t so there’s no use producing goods for a reduced price if you aren’t going to sell any. Customers also like the idea of dealing with a socially responsible business rather than one that doesn’t care about environmental issues.  

 

Energy Usage

There’s no downside to reducing the amount of energy that you use in your offices. It’s great for the environment and your overheads will drop by a huge amount. Making simple changes like installing LED light bulbs instead of standard ones makes a big difference. They’re quite a bit more expensive to install but after a few months you will have made that money back and you’ll start saving. Installing timers on the lights is also a good idea because it means that nobody will leave lights on and cost you money unnecessarily.

 

Tax Relief

In an effort to encourage businesses to operate more responsibly, the government offers certain tax relief if you make steps to improve the carbon footprint of your business. You can get tax breaks for various things including reducing your energy usage and buying eco-friendly manufacturing equipment to use instead of your current process.

When you combine all of these benefits, it’s clear that going green is the right option for your business.

 

Sole Trader? You Need These Marketing Tips, Then!

If there is one thing that sole traders know all about, it’s micro managing their budgets. Starting out alone is not easy and as a sole trader, you are probably going to be hit with deadline after deadline as business begins to snowball. It’s for this reason you have to get smart about your marketing plan.

Being on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you have to skimp on your marketing budget – you just have to be clever about where you put your money. A lot will depend on the nature of your business as to what you need, whether you require SEO for lawyers as part of setting up your own practice, or you need a website built for your company. You can bolster your marketing plan with a lot of thought and we’ve got five great ways you can do that for your plan next year!

  1. Content Marketing: Sole traders can do more for their business profile by simply investing a little money into content marketing. You can create exciting content that is also compelling if you are a sole accountant, especially around the time to renew taxes. If you are working as a lawyer with your own practice, then you could write content that fits what you offer. Customer engagement is so important and if you can do that while linking it back to your services, you’ll soar in your sole trader business.
  2. Company Website: It takes about five seconds for a company to make a good impression and as everything is moving online, your website should pop. By adding a few more bells and whistles to your website, you can impress future clients and customers at once. Some of the whistles you can offer include live chat services, review platforms and a video explaining who you are and what you do.
  3. Blog: Personality is important for a sole trader – you need to be able to stand out. Starting a company blog about the cases you have dealt with and changes in market trends for your industry can help clients to learn more about you as well as offer you serious credibility.
  4. PR Campaigns: You need to be able to handle your own PR if you are working by yourself, and by having a strong media release and time to put toward your media campaign, you can really make your company shine.
  5. Collaborate: It’s common knowledge that it is cheaper to keep your current customers and clients happy. Collaborating with other businesses similar to your own that offer unrelated services, is a great way to network and learn to nurture your clients in the way your competition does.

Marketing doesn’t have to be difficult for a sole trader, you just have to be willing to learn where you should be putting your money. There’s no reason for you to blow your whole business budget on huge campaigns, it’s about learning where you can be smart about your cash. Sole traders the world over are promoting their businesses effectively with these ideas!

 

Small Business Outsourcing Mistakes You Need To Avoid

 

If you outsource the right way, it can be an excellent method of cutting costs, growing your capacity, and taking advantage of expertise that you usually wouldn’t have access to. However, if you don’t take care, and you’ll usually wind up piling on costs, damaging your rapport with customers, and sometimes driving your business into the ground. Here, we’ll look at some of the most common outsourcing mistakes, and how to steer clear of them.

Outsourcing Functions That Have Contact with the Customer

 

Fulfilment of orders makes contact with the customer, but indirectly, compared to functions like resolving a complaint. Generally speaking, you should try to avoid outsourcing any function that makes direct contact with the customer. There have been countless businesses that outsource customer service functions, and have it blow up in their faces immediately afterwards. As a small, developing business, you can’t afford anything less than outstanding when it comes to customer service! If there’s anything that makes direct contact with your customer base, do everything you can to keep the function in-house. Results may vary, but when you’re in the early stages, this is one risk you don’t want to take.

Not Providing Enough Guidance

Outsourcing is only really successful when it’s guided by a set of rules, instructions and standards. This only becomes a problem when businesses don’t take the time to put this guidance into place. As a general rule of thumb, if you already have set guidance for a certain in-house process, assume that you’ll need double the amount when outsourcing it. You don’t want to have to reach out to professional negligence solicitors just because you leave out one or two crucial details! When you’re running a small business, a lot of rules can go by unwritten for a long time. When outsourcing, everything needs to be written!

Failing to Measure

 

By its nature, outsourcing hides work away from the business owner and their management. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does present a very potent need for measurement. Without a system for measuring performance, you’ll have no real way of telling how much the outsourcing company is doing for you. Determine how you’re going to measure their performance, and periodically check on these metrics. Depending on what you’re outsourcing, you may be able to deploy secret shoppers, and have people experience their work first-hand.

Depending on Them Too Much

You wouldn’t stick to a single supplier for a business-critical material or product, and you certainly shouldn’t do the same when it comes to outsourcing work to companies. What would happen if the company you’re outsourcing to suddenly went bankrupt, or if your activity went through a sudden spike they wouldn’t be able to keep up with? Though you may get comfortable with a business you’ve been outsourcing to for a while, it’s important not to lean on them too much, and to have redundant capacity in place. If you don’t have plans in place for a range of “what if” scenarios, then you’re way too exposed.

 

It’s Never Too Late to Make Changes to Your Business

Whether your business is one year old or one hundred years old, it’s never too late to make changes to it. It’s never too late to take it a new direction. It’s never too late to rebrand it. To do so, you just have to be brave enough to admit that a change is needed. You must then be brave enough to begin the changing process. And once this bravery is garnered, that’s half battle won — but it’s not all the battle won. For advice on how to win the whole battle of making a change, make sure to read on.

 

Change direction

 

Sometimes, when things just aren’t going in the right direction, it’s a good idea to change direction completely. And this is something your business can do, no matter how deep it has gotten into its current direction. To change direction, you must be willing to always be on the lookout for opportunities that are brimming with potential. You must then be willing to adjust and alter your current business strategy in order to facilitate these opportunities. This could mean doing something you’ve never done before, like outsourcing. Or it could mean tweaking the way you generally do business — from the way you train your employees to the prices you set. The point is, you must always look for new opportunities that sprout up organically, and then you must do all you can to incorporate them into your business.

 

Rebrand

 

However, sometimes a whole new direction isn’t needed or necessary. Sometimes, a simple rebranding will do. And rebranding is something that all businesses can do, no matter where they find themselves in their history timeline. And there are many reasons why rebranding takes place: the main one being because the current branding has gone stale or become outdated and a new brand presence needs to be secured. Rebranding is a way of altering perceptions. It is a way of attacking a new market and gardening attention. A corporate branding agency would help you to garner such attention through the rebranding options and ideas they offer. But they wouldn’t just garner attention. No, they would help you to maintain it as well as influence the perceptions of those who give you attention and build loyalty to you within them. Rebranding is something that is pivotal if future growth is in your business plans. And if you want your business to find continued success, then future growth must most certainly be in these plans.

 

Making a change when it comes to your business, no matter how hard it may seem in the present, may turn out to be the linch-pin of its future success. It may turn out to provide you with the goldmine you most desperately need. It may help you brand your business in a way it has never been branded before. Making changes is never a bad thing, in both business and generally in life. So, never be afraid to make them.

 

4 Things That Your Business Website Needs To Succeed

If you have a new business, then marketing will need to be part of your business plan. You could have the best business plan in the world, but if no one knows about you or your product or where to find you, then it will slow the progress of your business quite a lot. Which is why a website for your business is really paramount. Gone are the days of simply just having a website, though. There are many different things that you can do to help give your business a boost, through the use of your website. So here are some things that your business website should be doing, as well as a few tips and tricks.

 

Slick Design

If your website is quite basic and outdated, then it will reflect on what your customers think about the business. The first impression for many people will be the website, so you want it to reflect your brand and give off a good first impression. You need to also think about how responsive your site is and make sure that it is mobile friendly. You also need to think about things like pop-ups or slow loading pages. It might be worth changing host if this is a problem, simply because it will put people off. We live in a fast-paced modern world, and no one has the patience to wait a while for a page to load.

 

A Blog

As well as your main front page of your website that will talk about your brand or product, and perhaps you have a shop or other pages on your site. But a blog needs to be one of those other pages. Having a blog is a great way to share relevant content and potentially attract new customers. Any SEO consulting services will tell you that you’re likely to rank higher on a search engine when you have more backlinks to your website too. So that can be linking to other pages on your blog, as well as previous blog articles you have written. It gives your business a different dimension and increases your visibility. So it is a win-win situation really.

 

Simple Web Address

Don’t over complicate things when it comes to your web address. You need to think about having your web address be the same as your brand or business name. If it is too far off, it will be harder to find. So keep things simple, and it will be easier for your customers to find you.

 

Social Media Details

While having your business contact details on the site is important (a phone number and address), these days you do really need to have details of all of your social media handles. Even better if you can just get an icon that will click through to the platform itself. Many of your customers will be on those platforms and would rather use those for customer service and keeping up to date with things. So they are pretty key these days.

The Art Of Delegation

 

When you have created your own company from scratch, built off nothing but your ideas and your determination to succeed, the idea of delegation can seem like a scary word. When you begin in business, almost everything is about you and how well you can do it. It’s your vision, your plans, and your way of figuring out what your next steps are.

If you are very lucky, then the growth of your business will be rather straightforward. You’ll make more money, satisfy more orders, increase your reputation and everything will rather bloom from there. Business, when it’s done right, doesn’t have to be complicated.

When you get over the initial problems of establishing a business, it can feel like you have got smooth sailing from this point on. You’ve cruised past the choppy waters of investment hurdles and now you’re into your second or third year. You know what you’re doing, your business is ripe for expansion, you’ve even been able to take on staff… ah, that’s where the problem hits isn’t it?

You have been there since your business was nothing but an idea you had and wondered if you could do something with it. Now, you have staff, people who have their own visions for the future. You have to share everything you have built up and – well, it can be tough to let go.

 

What’s The Alternative?

Say that you point-blank refuse to listen to the points below and think that you can manage just fine without having to delegate to staff. You might think that you can be the spider at the centre of the web and everyone can do a little bit, but you’re always going to be there with overall control. You don’t have to relinquish anything; you can do it all.

 

That, of course, is what it will come down to: you’ll try to do it all. You’ll try to be everything to your business as even if you have the staff, without learning to delegate, you won’t properly feel that you can trust them. So you’ll find yourself overly involved in customer complaints, trying to run your own SEO campaign, worrying about how nutritious the office snacks are…

No one can be everything to their business. There isn’t an alternative; you have to learn to delegate, or your business will die. It’s that simple.

 

So How Do You Learn To Delegate?

1) Take It Slowly

Don’t expect that you will suddenly wake up one morning and feel comfortable handing over control to a member of staff on huge issues. You still retain your business acumen and you’ve still got plenty to contribute here, so there’s no need to deliberately sideline yourself.

Just start gently, with small tasks and decisions. Ask for someone’s input and (providing they are not absolutely and obviously incorrect), follow their advice rather than looking for your own solutions. You will soon see that the business doesn’t crumble because you have let others use their initiative, rather than solely relying on your own. The more successes that happen as a result of your delegation, the more you will be emboldened to continue to delegate.

 

2) Have Red Lines

If you have struggled to delegate in the past, even by taking it slowly, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to totally overrule your gut instinct to protect. So you need to channel it, by giving yourself a set of “red lines” that you will never delegate tasks from unless you feel completely comfortable to do it.

 

You could grant yourself the full final control of hiring decisions or the focus of your SEO strategy; you can be as involved as you want, providing there are some areas where you cede control and decision-making powers to another person. With any luck, you’ll feel more reassured when you know there are some areas that will continue to fall inside your control.

 

3) Tell Your Staff

 

You don’t have to be infallible with your staff; you can tell the most senior that you are having issues delegating and that they should be aware of that. Not only does this ease the burden of worry from being yours alone, but they might have intelligent suggestions related directly to your business that could really help you. You never know – it might be delegation itself that gives you the answer when wondering how to delegate.

 

The Fundamental Skills To Look For In A New Payroll Professional

 

What matters most in your firm? Is it exceeding your profit margins? Is it keeping your shareholders happy? Is it having positive customer relations? All of these are surely very high on your list, as they should be. But what makes a firm operate day-to-day? Of all the ingredients that go into making an enterprise pie, which, when taken out of the recipe, would cause the pie to collapse in on itself?

The employees.

Good employee management is one of the most underrated aspects of keeping a workforce operational. Over time, little problems can develop into significant problems. A missed payment here, a too much overtime, or even too little positive reinforcement can lead your employees to think that they are undervalued, underappreciated and overworked. It’s not hard to imagine that over time, this can results in them leaving or even litigated against your for the money they’re owed.

To best tackle this, it’s important to have solid payroll systems in place. There are many ‘payroll software’ packages available these days to help you automate this to some degree, but for the most part, software isn’t going to have a single hope of navigating the nuances of employee personality or particular situation that needs to be rectified. For that reason, it’s important to hire great payroll consultants. But what should you look for in a new payroll employee?

We’d argue these 3 skills.

Communication

 

Your payroll employee should not only be on top of his or her game when it comes to the nuances of payroll, how it can be effected and the remedies that should be taken to counteract. Not only that, but the consultant in question needs to be able to articulate simply what they are doing to rectify those issues with you as owner and the employee who is affected.

 

They need to be amiable and approachable about these issues, and leave the employee feel like they are better educated about what happened and that they received a stable fix. In circumstances that can’t be resolved for a time, they need to help keep your staff patient and positive knowing that a fix is on the way.

Promptness

Paying your employees needs to be resolved quickly. If an employee is unhappy about the speed to which their query was settled, they will let you know about it, and in no uncertain terms. It’s for this reason that your payroll consultant needs to understand the importance of the work they do, and how fast their turnaround should be in new calculations if needs be. For managing larger teams, they need to be deadly organized, to the point where their work might look like a military operation. Be sure to ask for examples of when they’ve resolved issues promptly before now for best success.

 

Mathematical & Digital Fluency

Of course, it goes without saying that your payroll employee needs to be good with numbers, and able to calculate in aggregate salaries, taxes, insurances, etc. However, they also need to be suitable to work with the aforementioned software packages that are popular within their discipline. Ask them for their computer program experience. A qualified professional should be able to grapple with the most important systems you need.

 

Follow these tips, and you’ll find a brilliant payroll hire in no time.