Search Results for: employees

Post-Success: The Important Parts Of Your Business To Focus On After You Break Even

 

The first year or two of any startup is the most challenging when you are taking on new employees, implementing new processes, and making those tweaks to the product to ensure that it finally does what it’s supposed to do. Once everything is fixed, now you can break even with your finances. But while you might find it tempting to enjoy this period of time, the next challenges are on the horizon. There are more important aspects of business to focus on now that the fundamentals have been fixed. So, what are the next pieces of the puzzle to focus on?

Structuring Your Finances

Right now, you should have a system in place that helps you to keep tabs of the numbers and financial trends. Cash flow is something that so many small businesses have no idea how to keep track of, which is why it’s vital for you to put something in place right now. You’re at the point where your business is small enough that you are able to keep an eye on everything effectively, once it gets to a certain point where your business is bigger, attempting to keep track of everything can be that much more difficult. Hire an accountant! If you don’t have the finances, use a simple program to put all the figures onto.

Automating Back Office Processes

Automation is one of the key buzzwords in any developing business now. Learning to automate the back office processes, from email marketing to simple customer based approaches, will save you so much time and effort. Once a handful of processes are automated, you will see a significant change in how your business runs. It will before the better, but implementing automated processes requires an investment approach, and the right technology. CRM systems can be cheap, and can be effective, but it’s important for you to look at what will benefit your business as far as automation is concerned.

Monitoring Trends

You’ve made it this far with determination and hard work, now it’s time to look around you and learn how best to keep afloat in an uncertain landscape. There are so many different changes in the world that will affect your business, and so it is vital for you to stay on current trends within your industry, but also have an eye towards the future. Implementing financial forecasting in Excel is something that can benefit your business right now, by ensuring you have the best prevention methods in place should problems arise. Trends are always going to come and go, which is why you will be in favor one day, but not the next. Keep on top of trends, and they will benefit you.

After you’ve broken even, there is a sense of relief, because you’ve got to this point with sheer gusto and blood, sweat and tears. It’s now time for you to utilize the lessons you’ve learnt that got you this far. While you have proven successful with a limited amount of knowledge and a skeleton staff, now is when you flesh out your structure, to turn your company into a force to be reckoned with.

 

Category: Business

Areas of Your Workforce to Consider Investing In

 

As a small business owner, you may be used to taking all your company’s work requirements and responsibilities onto your own shoulders. But as your company begins to expand, you will find yourself spending more time on administrative and tech tasks that keep your business’ head above water rather than things that can actually help your business to expand and progress. This is why you need to start taking on staff. They will help to lift a weight from your shoulders and allow you to continue with important areas such as product development and marketing while they keep things ticking over. So, here are a few areas of your future workforce that you should seriously consider investing in!

 

Software Development

 

When you first start out in business, you’re unlikely to have a software development team in-house, however, as your business expands, you should learn how to form a strong software development team, as they will become an essential part of your workforce. While startups tend to use pre-existing, over-the-counter software, they’ll soon begin to realize that the software they have invested in is unlikely to suit all of their needs and requirements down to a tee. After all, it is designed for the mass market! Having the option of collaborating with software developers to create custom software will ensure that your software has absolutely every feature you could possibly need. Professional individuals will also be able to tweak out any bugs or glitches as you try it out. This will help to make you much more productive!

 

IT Support

 

Now, if you’ve invested in having custom software developed, you’re going to want to make sure that the devices using it are up and running correctly at all times. This is why you should make sure that you have a strong IT Support team on hand to help resolve any issues that you may experience with your devices down the line. We’ve all found ourselves having some sort of nightmare to do with our business’ technology at some point or another and nine times out of ten, things start to fail us just as we really need them. Perhaps your internet connection will cut out just before you submit an important piece of work before the deadline, maybe your screen will go blank part way through an online talk with an important client or partner, maybe your files will go missing just as you’ve managed to compile them. When things can go wrong, chances are that they will go wrong. An effective IT support team will be able to identify the causes of any issues and rectify the situation in as little time as possible. This will save you a whole lot of stress and aggravation, so they’re worth the investment!

 

HR

 

In the early days of business when you’re working alone, HR isn’t necessary. However, as you begin to expand and take on staff, it becomes absolutely essential. Why? Well, HR stands for “human relations” and positive human relations are a vital aspect of any expanding small business, right? An effective HR department will distribute staff effectively, ensuring that each individual employee has a manageable workload. If their workload becomes out of hand, HR will look to recruit another individual to share the responsibilities. HR also deal with allocated holiday pay and statutory sick pay, ensuring that every employee receives what they are entitled to, while collecting necessary documentation such as official sick notes. They should also be able to provide an official framework for the policies and procedures that should be in place in your organization and make sure that they are enforced at all times. So, look out for individuals with brilliant communication skills who can practice understanding and empathy without being pushed around. You should be able to easily pick out the right team through an interview process, where you will able to see exactly how they engage with people.

 

As you can see, there are various different areas that you can invest in when it comes to staffing, and for now, we’ve only just scratched the surface! Other areas to consider include receptionists, assistants, customer service teams, and many more roles. If becoming an employer is a little too intimidating for you at first, remember that you can outsource most of these staff members to start with. This reduces your responsibility and allows you to see how each role works and whether it is necessary to your workforce before you commit to taking on part-time or full-time employees.

Category: Business

The ‘People’ side of the Digital Transformation by Guillermo Miranda

If you google ‘Digital Transformation’, the results will be a little overwhelming. Almost every organization claims that is embracing the new digital age and, almost everybody that has an smartphone declares that is somehow ready for the digital disruption. Still, if you take a deeper look at the everyday aspects of running a business, the reality seems much more tactical and patchy. There are wonderful pockets of ‘digital enlightenment’, but the concept of a fully integrated ecosystem is only an elegant diagram so far. A perfect example may be Uber drivers, they take the ride with the App and manage the payment and billing ,,, however, they tend to trust themselves to Waze or Google maps for a faster and more accurate output on driving directions.

There are few useful tips collected from experience and failures that will help you (and your teams) on the people aspects of this digital adventure:

– A meaningful platform of digital business assets is the foundation for any transformation initiative – declaring ‘digital’ without the right set of tools is empty demagogy

– Remixing and getting your team ready for a digital business model is not a linear process, it gets complicated and sometimes tactical moves are the best next step on the right direction

– A ‘backbone’ of up-skilling and digital acceleration initiative (aka Training and Education) is indispensable and should be embedded in the daily business execution

– The best ‘talent equation’ is always multigenerational to ensure you have strong players of both, deep business experience and fearless innovation

– Never settled for ‘mild compromises’ in your people programs to smooth the transition to a digital business model; also, never allow ‘grandfathering’ of compensation or incentives practices for legacy pockets of your digital business

– Purposely build a full fledged incubator of digital business model execution within the fabric of your organization

– Enable the leaders to drive the transformation (A reverse mentoring program matching seasoned managers with millennial employees tends to work wonders!)

No perfect formula exists because each organization had accomplished different levels of ‘digital maturity’ and the marketplaces where the day-to-day happens tend to be very segmented. Always be prepare to experiment, win or declare quick failure and move on. We need to repeat ourselves every morning that ‘change’ is the only constant and, maybe gradually, we will really start to believe that and act accordingly. Now stop goofing around in LinkedIn and comeback to work to drive meaningful transformation projects and initiatives ,,,, Good virtual winds on your digital sailing 🙂

 

Guillermo Miranda

Category: Business, Learning

How to Measure Productivity at Your Office

Unless you work in a factory where output is a definable quantity, then measuring how productive you — or your fellow employees — are is a difficult task. That’s because so much of what we do doesn’t have a definite quantity. If you’re in an office and you work in customer service, you can’t just measure how many calls someone might take. A customer service rep might handle fewer calls, but the problems might be more difficult, the solutions might be more thoughtful, and the end result might be customers that start unhappy and leave satisfied. So how then, do you think about productivity in a twenty-first century way?

For starters, you do have to have a baseline, and that baseline might be something akin to an industry average. But that baseline probably shouldn’t be tied to days. What else matters for a modern productivity measurement? This graphic explains it.

Establish a baseline

Measuring productivity is a process of comparison: You compare how much an employee or a team produces, in relationship to how little would be produced if team members didn’t inhabit their respective roles. Sometimes you compare a given employee’s productivity directly against the productivity of an employee in a similar role. Other times, you compare your team’s results to industry averages. In order to make these comparisons, you first need to establish a baseline of whatever it is you’re comparing to.

For example, if you run a sales team or call center, you could divide the average number of daily sales or customer calls by the number of employees to determine how many calls each of your employees averages each day. You can then use this as a baseline to determine who is fielding more or less than the average. (Of course, the baseline shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all to determine a team member’s productivity—after all, quantity rarely beats quality.)

This process can get trickier if you work in a more administrative setting where each employee has a different role and their tasks are less quantifiable. In these cases, it’s still important to establish a baseline. For example, you may consider breaking projects into assigned tasks so you can track how well employees stay on top of their work (more on that in the next tip).

No matter how you determine a baseline, try to avoid using the number of hours worked, the number of sick days taken, or the number of vacation days used. These metrics don’t necessarily have any relation to the quality or effectiveness of a given employee’s work.

Define tasks

A simple way to measure productivity is to clearly define tasks and then track whether, and with what expediency, those tasks are completed.

This is a great way to make sure you don’t fall into the micromanaging trap because it focuses more on outcomes than it does on the minutiae of daily responsibilities. It also allows you to measure employees’ ability to meet deadlines, which can be a useful performance metric. Just make sure you don’t simply assign tasks for the tasks’ sake. Tasks should offer real value to the company for them to have significance as a performance indicator.

One other caveat: Using tasks to track productivity requires that those tasks be assigned effectively in the first place. Make sure managers communicate exactly what deliverables are expected for a certain assignment and when those deliverables are due, as well as any other information relevant to completing the task effectively and efficiently. Only when this information has been provided is it reasonable to expect a team member to follow through on the assignment.

Identify benchmarks

Once you establish a baseline set of metrics and tasks to measure productivity, it’s time to figure out how you’ll track these metrics over time. Presumably, your goal is for employees to meet or exceed the baseline on a regular basis—so you need to determine benchmarks that help you identify what qualifies as “exceeding” the baseline and help you notice if your employees stagnate in their roles.

Just as when you established your baseline metrics, it’s important to take a multidimensional approach to setting benchmarks. For example, you may establish a benchmark for X number of sales successfully closed, X number of professional presentations delivered, X number of software functions coded, etc. Then, throw in some subjective outcomes to get a better sense of the whole picture. That may include things such as feedback from customer satisfaction or peer surveys, or the team member’s ability to collaborate, think creatively, problem solve, and so on.

The important thing is to develop as broad a picture as you can and then use this information in a constructive way—not a punitive one. If an employee appears to be stagnating, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unproductive. It may mean their manager fails to communicate assignments clearly, another employee’s bad work habits inhibit their productivity, they’re a better fit for a slightly different role or something else entirely. Benchmarks provide a valuable data set, but it’s important to look beyond them to really understand why an employee does or does not maintain their productivity.

No matter what benchmarks you decide to move forward with, it’s helpful to assign a time period by which certain benchmarks should be met. Different benchmarks require different time periods ranging from daily to weekly, monthly, quarterly, and even annually. Establishing these timelines is essential because it allows team members to know how they’re being assessed and encourages managers to set realistic expectations for their teams.

Encourage employee participation

If you want your office’s productivity metrics to be valuable, it’s essential to involve your team members when crafting baseline metrics, defining tasks, and identifying reasonable benchmarks. After all, these team members have the most accurate sense of what it takes to accomplish a given task, what is a reasonable amount of work to complete in a given time in their individual roles, and so on. This helps explain why one study found that employees who participate in crafting their productivity metrics are most likely to demonstrate increased productivity over time.

Engaging your employees in this process also gives them a chance to identify the resources they need to thrive in their respective roles. The key is to listen when employees tell you what resources would enable them to do their jobs better and then invest in fulfilling those needs. For example, if an employee tells you they’d be more productive working from home two days each week or that a certain part of their job could be automated, give them a chance to prove themselves right.

By treating your team members as autonomous individuals who know a lot about their jobs, you’ll simultaneously improve morale (which has been linked to heightened productivity in its own right) and empower your team members to take their productivity into their own hands.

Regularly reevaluate how you measure productivity

Identifying and tracking productivity benchmarks isn’t a one-time thing. Instead, the way you measure productivity should constantly evolve depending on whether the baselines change, certain benchmarks have been achieved, key team members leave or new team members are hired, industry norms or standards shift, and so on. Because there are so many moving parts involved in productivity, it’s essential to continually redefine all these parts to make sure you accurately perceive and evaluate the bigger picture.

 

Attempts to track productivity shouldn’t feel like a draconian way to police employees’ every move. Instead, each of these steps should be taken with buy-in and feedback from your team members so everyone can understand their priorities individually and collectively. By creating a company culture that emphasizes respectful collaboration, assigns job duties to the individual performing them, and creates and executes effective processes, you’ll give morale a boost and empower your employees to be their most productive.

 

 

Thank you to Zerocater for this graphic.

Category: Business

Make Money By Sitting at Home Through Digital Marketing

The digital marketing is defined worldwide as the promotion of the new/ existing brand using digital technology. It is done via the mobile phones, desktop screens, digital signage, and other digital devices. This professional domain requires two things, one is the digital device and the other is a perfect internet connection. The fact that all the work is done through the internet allows the employees to have flexible workplaces and working hours. The internet is accessible at any place at any time. Thus, digital marketing is the ideal professional that facilitates working from home as a full-time worker, part-time worker or a freelancer, however, learning about it is the difficult part, but your company can consult with a company like redwigwam to give you the best tips and advice.

Many studies are conducted debating the benefits of flexible working hours and workplace. One of them conducted by Alfred P. Sloan foundation states, “Employees working in an environment viewed as more family-supportive experienced lower levels of work-family conflict. The reduced work-family conflict was in turn related to greater job and family satisfaction, followed by greater overall life satisfaction.” Nonetheless, it helps the companies save their health insurance costs and witness a positive work environment too.

Here are the different digital marketing job options that you can avail by staying and working at home:

  1. Marketing analyst

Become a marketing analyst! This is how the branding agency Dubai found its highly skilled marketing analyst. While in search of a creative yet talented analyst, the team came across a freelancing worker and assigned him a few tasks. The regular submission of quality work impressed the team and they hired the employee for a permanent job. You can try your luck too!

The job nature of a marketing analyst is to study the data given by the company, analyze it and come up with a strong, challenging and an impressive marketing strategy. This requires a peaceful environment, detailed study, and an organized yet quiet workplace. Your home or your study room is the perfect place for this job. Look for different opportunities and work as an analyst.

  1. Content manager and strategist

Generating good content requires time, determination, good research, creative mind and know-how of the latest trending styles. The job of content management for a brand requires studying the brand and discussing the type of content they want you to generate. Once this conversation is done, you can easily work through your home and submit content on regular basis via emails to the company you are working for.

The job here varies as you can be the content strategy developer (working on the disciplines that must be added in the content marketing campaign), a content generating team manager or simply a writer.

How to manage your content generating team through the home?

The technologies like webcam and applications like Skype that offer conference calling and video chat has made it easy for you to work from any place you find comfortable. Add the use of OneDrive or the Google Drive and you’ll be able to delegate the tasks to your workers quite easily. By staying at home, you can update the documents, edit the submitted work and approve any other piece of content sending it to the main client. Just learn the use of latest technology and you’ll be able to work from home.

Blogging and guest posting:

Blogging is another creative way to earn through digital marketing. Many brands all around the world run their blog along with their official website. The blogs offer the viewers the type of content that they want to read like answers to different queries, latest news and reviews on the newly launched products and so on. The blogs help keep the viewer in the loop and make them feel valuable. Thus, you can write a blog for a company who is establishing its brand. Blogging is one of the best ways to earn money through digital marketing. Also, there is the job of guest posting. It allows you to contribute articles and content posts to different websites sharing your ideas on the desired topic.

Sell photos/ videos online:

The advertising companies in Dubai often buy photos and visual content videos that they find new and interesting. If you are good at photography or video making, you can sell the photos and short videos to digital marketing companies as well.

  1. Strengthen your hold on social media

The versatile and never-ending branches of digital marketing call upon workers to contribute in any way possible. Like content marketing mentioned above, the social media marketing is one of the best ways to earn money through digital marketing. The multiple jobs that you can do from home in this domain include:

  • Create fillup forms to generate leads
  • Generate advertisement layouts and campaigns on LinkedIn, Twitter and FaceBook
  • Post, re-post and share content post links on different social media
  • Increase the page likes/ followers
  • Comment on different posts
  • Offer prompt customer care service via social media platforms
  • Manage the social pages and post regular updates
  • Try to reach the maximum amount of targeted audience

Other than these options, you can make videos for YouTube, run your own channels there and earn money from it. The whole procedure is a bit lengthy and requires consistency but it is one of the easiest ways to make money by staying at home.

  1. Work on an e-book

While working on an e-book, the digital marketing expertise that is required include impressive content generation and advertisement of the e-book. Choose a nice, trending topic and then focus on the pattern that the majority of the users find easy to read and understand. Come up with new, fresh content and use all your creative skills to make this book a great read.

Once it is finished, you can advertise it on the online e-stores like Amazon or any other online store, sell it there and earn money through it.

  1. Join different freelancing platforms

The dozens of freelancing platforms are available on the internet. From freelancer to Upwork, Fiverr and many others; you can get digital marketing related projects from clients throughout the world. These portals are the most renowned freelancing hubs where you can get jobs according to your talents.

The nature of online marketing jobs is different. You can upload your gigs or make a statement of what kind of work you can handle. Bidding on work project also helps in increasing the chances of getting a job in digital marketing at home.

  1. Product marketing manager

The product marketing manager has to mainly establish an active on-site performance, keep himself up to date with the latest product release and master internal communication. All of these can be done by staying at home. All you need is a working internet connection, understanding of the software and information of the web-based products. RightScale, a Santa Barbara-based cloud computing firm is one such example of the startup offering the work-from-home position to the product marketing manager. You can find more on the internet.

  1. Profit by selling products on an e-store

The online stores are extending their roots into every possible professional domain. From the educational sector to the medicinal, fashion to technology; you’ll find e-stores selling products/ services from a variety of categories. You can make use of this digital marketing branch. Design products like online educational courses, video tutorials, hand-made products or clothes and sell them on platforms like Udemy, YouTube, Etsy, and others. It is one easy way to earn money via online marketing!

Satisfied much?

The seven different ways that we have listed above cover most of the job possibilities in the digital marketing domain. The catch is to find something that you are good at. The above-mentioned seven branches allow you to discover more work positions within them. Browse through your options and find more opportunities to make money through the home.

Contributor

Junaid Ali Qureshi

is a digital marketing specialist who has helped several businesses gain traffic, outperform competition and generate profitable leads. His current ventures include Elephantation, eLabelz, Smart Leads.ae, Progos Tech and eCig.

Category: Business, Marketing

Updating Your Company’s Internal And External Business Approach

It’s important that a business looks good on the outside and the inside. There’s no point in creating a flashy advert that promises your brand can deliver incredible things if the truth is very different behind closed doors. You need to deliver on your promises if you want interested consumers to actually part with their money. People need to see that a company can actually follow through on its word if they’re going to purchase its goods or services. If you want to ensure that your entrepreneurial venture is successful then it might be time to update your company’s internal and external business approach. Here’s some advice to help you with that.

 

Tighten up your financial plan.

Let’s start by talking about money. That’s what keeps every business going, after all. It’s the only thing that’s relevant to every business in every industry, in fact. But so many entrepreneurs are so fixated on making sales that they fail to see the bigger picture. Sales are crucial, of course, but there’s more to financial success than that. Your company might already have a solid client base, but that doesn’t mean you have a solid financial situation. Making money is important, but being a smart entrepreneur requires you to spend that money wisely. You might want to take another look at your financial plan and think about ways in which you’re wasting money. Perhaps you could save money on the electricity bill by getting thicker glazing for office windows or buying energy-efficient appliances from unclutterer. And ask yourself whether you still need to waste money on paper (and hurt the environment) in the digital age. Reduce unnecessary overhead costs so that you can increase your profit margin.

 

Of course, saving money is only the beginning. If you want to ensure financial security then you need to be brave. Don’t hoard your earnings. You need to be courageous and spend money on improvements to your company. That’s the only way you can grow to meet the new needs of the market. Every industry evolves, so you need to evolve with yours. Making investments might be a risk, but it’s a necessary risk. Perhaps you need to hire some new employees to deliver a more extensive service and grow your customer base. Perhaps you need to buy higher-end technology and other resources. You need to make internal investments so that you can deliver a better service to the external market. Your customers will just flock to the competition if you don’t grow as a company. Rival businesses are always making improvements – don’t get left behind.

 

 

Look after your workers.

One of the main ways in which you should update your company’s internal business approach is by focusing on your workforce. You might already feel as if you provide great opportunities for your employees, and that may well be true, but you can always do more when it comes to looking after your workers. And, in turn, this will benefit the company immensely. Happy and healthy workers are bound to be far more productive, which means that your business is putting its money to better use; you’ll be paying the same salaries, but your employees will be delivering more. Additionally, internal improvements always improve your external image; clients will be far more impressed if the customer service they receive is professional and enthusiastic. In order to create such a workplace, you need to incentivize your employees. You need to respect them and recognize their hard work. You could award bonuses, free lunches, and other perks to the best workers in the office every week. This will give members of staff the motivation to work hard in order to receive rewards and appreciation for their input. You can massively boost the mood and morale of the workplace by taking the time to express your gratitude to employees. That’s how you look after your workers.

 

Still, it’s not just about promising a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There’s only so far you can push your employees before you realize that productivity can really be increased by improvements to the company’s actual operations. Most importantly, it’s important that you utilize business development solutions like setting up used automatic bill counters and using point-of-sale systems For example, you could automate processes such as generating invoices or other administrative tasks that simply waste time. That way, your members of staff will be able to dedicate the work day to more technical tasks that actually further the company; the more they can deliver to customers, the larger your potential client base could be. Additionally, you need to think about improving the workplace itself in order to look after your employees. Safe working conditions are a must. Your workers are people; you need to keep them healthy both mentally and physically. You should make sure everybody is trained when it comes to using heavy equipment in the warehouse. But you should also make sure that the equipment itself is well-maintained because human error is only one potential safety risk. You should look into a good filtration system for your dust collector on the warehouse floor so as to ensure that your employees don’t inhale any dust. You might want to learn more about that. At the end of the day, looking after your workers will improve your business’ internal operations. This won’t just increase productivity, but it’ll ensure that you create the professional work environment expected of you by the target market.

 

 

Use the internet to go national (or international).

Finally, you need to think bigger if you want to update your company’s internal and external business approach. As we’ve discussed in this article, growth is integral to the success of any business. You need to invest in yourself so that you can expand and remain relevant in a changing market. If you really want to increase your sales then you need to aim to reach the national market rather than simply the local market. Perhaps you don’t have the money or resources to make that happen if you’re still a small business, but you don’t need money in order to grow in the modern age – the internet can help you. Reaching the external market in 2018 is so much easier if you focus on your company’s online brand. Improve your website’s content so that you show up higher in search engines; that way, you’ll drive more traffic to your website. Plus, you’ll see a better conversion of traffic to sales if your site is well-designed. Consumers are impatient in a fast-paced modern age; they don’t have time for websites with amateur designs and confusing content. Make things as simple as possible. Digital marketing is an integral part of any modern business strategy.

Category: Business

Entrepreneurship Is Not Trying To Do Everything Yourself

We get it, we really do! You’ve bootstrapped your business from nothing and you’re now reaping the rewards. Where once there was a germ of an idea scribbled on the back of a notepad, now there is a fully functioning entreprise. It’s your business, and it’s your baby and you have a very specific vision of how you want it to run. This is commendable and fundamental to building the identity of your brand, but there’s just one problem… You’re trying to do everything yourself and that benefits nobody. The lot of an entrepreneur is challenging enough as it is, with long hours, stressful conditions and the ever present nagging feeling that the whole enterprise may well fall down all around you. While it’s understandable that you feel the need to do everything yourself (after all, who else knows your business and its needs like you do?), it may be to the detriment of your business, not to mention your health.

 

 

The burnout is real

Dashing around, micromanaging every department in your business is likely to lead to entrepreneur burnout. This means that you will feel constantly fatigued while still never being able to sleep, constantly stressed and like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. This will inevitably lead to short term memory problems, making mistakes, losing your temper with your friends, family and employees and basically failing to become the kind of entrepreneur you want to be.

Not only is this not sustainable (you’re only human, after all), it will have a profoundly detrimental effect on your quality of life.


Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

You’re a skilled and multi talented person who’s full of get up and go. These are the exact qualities that make you a great entrepreneur. But like anyone else, you have areas in which you’re well versed and talented and areas in which you need development. Even the most multi talented people need to acknowledge that they should leave some of their operations to the experts. While investing in outsourced IT consulting and support services, digital marketing and Human Resources may represent yet more overheads, they will massively improve the operation of your business as well as your quality of life. Sure, you may be able to do all of these things yourself, but this may lead you to spread yourself too thin making you unable to steer the ship from a managerial perspective.

 

The key to consistency is training

Though it’s understandable that you have a specific vision for how you want customers to be managed and procedures to be followed, the key to this is not in doing everything yourself. The key lies in a robust and ongoing program of training to ensure that your every employee is properly indoctrinated in the ideals and values that make your business stand out from your competitors and know how to embody those qualities in every aspect of their working day. Thus, you will be able to relax every now and then with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your employees respond to the everyday challenges presented to your business in the same way that you would.

Category: Business

4 Of The Most Important Steps To Starting A Successful Business

Starting a successful business doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen by accident. You need to make sure you’re setting yourself up to own a successful business right from the start – the way your business starts will often dictate how it turns out a year, two years, or even five years down the line. If you want to make sure your business is successful, make sure you follow the below steps to starting a successful business:

 

 

Come Up With A Viable Idea

First of all, you need to make sure your idea is viable. How do you do this? Start off by brainstorming a list of ideas, and don’t censor them yet. Once you have your list, you can begin to think about them more thoroughly. For example, some would probably make great home businesses, while others wouldn’t. Think about where you want to start your business and how you want it to turn out. Home businesses will often turn out very differently to enterprises you start in an office building. You can then figure out if the idea if viable. How much work will you have to put in to make money? How much money could you stand to make? Will you need employees? Thinking about each idea and thoroughly immersing yourself in the possibility of owning the business will help you to get a feel for whether it’s a viable idea or not.

 

Research Your Market

You need to do as much research on the market as possible so you know what you should be doing with your business. What do they like? What don’t they like? What do they wish businesses in the industry did/didn’t do? What are your competitors doing? What could you do better? Doing as much research as possible will get you off to the best start.

 

Know Your Numbers

Knowing your numbers can be tough when you’re just starting out, but a rough idea can help you. For example, you’ll likely need business capital to get started, so you’ll want to look at details about business loans and have an idea of the amount of money you’ll need to start your business. How much do you think you’ll need for supplies, your premises, your staff, to keep you going if things get quiet? How much do you think you’ll make? All great entrepreneurs know their numbers like the back of their hand.

 

Create A Business Plan

Creating a business plan is something that might seem boring, but it can help you to keep going even during the tough times. It can keep you focused, and help you to take a new direction if necessary. You can outline exit strategies, plan A and plan B, how you’ll get funding, what you’ll do with it, and everything else you need to know. A business plan is for you, to help you get a feel for whether this business is truly going to work or not, and for an investor to look at if you want to get more capital. It always helps to have one.

 

 

Category: Business

You Got The Sale, But Can You Deliver?

When running a business that sells from an online, mobile, or on-the-phone customer experience, securing sales might be your greatest concern. But it’s not the digital storefront or the marketing and conversion process that’s most likely to cause you to lose customers. The number one reason for poor customer retention is a delivery system that simply isn’t working. Here, we’re going to look at how to ensure your deliveries are convenient, efficient, and reliable not just for your customers but for you and your bottom line, too.

Run a ship-shape warehouse

All deliveries begin in the warehouse. It’s not just a place to store the goods before you deliver them, keeping it organised is integral to ensuring deliveries can begin as promptly as possible. Systematic organisation of stock, monitoring inventory levels, and keeping the warehouse well-lit and clean makes it a lot easier to find the goods you need when you need them. Efficient storage solutions with the proper racks and transportation equipment are also key in avoiding causing any damage to your stock. A high portion of faulty goods returns happen because goods were damaged not in transit, but in the warehouse before the delivery process even began. Along with the right equipment comes the need for ongoing training and retraining for staff. Appointing a warehouse safety officer can help you better spot potential risks to ensure relevant training to those who encounter or cause them.

Keep it connected

The warehouse is only one part of the overall supply and delivery chain, however. It only works effectively if it is working in tandem with all the other moving pieces. The packing room, the order completion system in your storefront, and the fleet management system should all be connected to it. Inventory management software is making it easier to connect these systems together, so that the warehouse team knows an order has begun as soon as it has processed just as your ecommerce storefront can update automatically with changes in stock, avoiding you from taking any orders for items that you don’t have.

Keep it electronic

The more you can avoid cluttering the warehouse and the delivery system, the better. The fewer resources you waste, the better. Many warehouses and businesses are starting to go completely paperless, relying instead on fully electronic processes. Using handheld devices like barcode readers to measure stock levels instead of noting on paper and using workflow tools for processing instead of transferring documents physically can save a lot of time. It also saves space that might otherwise be used to contain cabinet upon cabinet of files.

DIY or let someone else?

What about the transportation and fulfillment process itself? Many new businesses will sign up with a courier or delivery service that can help quickly get the business rolling. Saving you from the costs of purchasing and maintaining your own vehicles, many shippers will even provide free shipping materials such as boxes. However, as the business grows, the lack of control over your own delivery system can limit you. The more deliveries the manage, the less cost-effective it is to outsource, as well. When a business grows to a certain size, it has to look at the trucks in stock from their local suppliers and start building their own fleet. This also means creating safe driving policies, hiring drivers, and ensuring effective maintenance of vehicles. It takes more work, but in the end, it can make the process much more efficient, especially with the help of some of the tools we’re going to look at now. If you need help from a third-party platform, visit sites like https://shippingtree.co/services/third-party-logistics/.

Know the way

One of the reasons you want more control over your own deliveries is to better understand the delivery process. In particular, effective route creation and management can help customers receive deliveries much sooner as well as saving you money. Using fleet GPS technology, you can gain insight on the paths your drivers take. You can look at areas where they slow down due to traffic, for instance, and help them alternate roads that help them avoid them. What’s more, by planning more stops per route, you can ensure that every time a vehicle leaves the warehouse, it is fulfilling as many orders as possible before returning. Many fulfilment service providers include GPS tracking as a way to keep you informed of where your goods are at any given time, but you won’t be able to use those insights to customise routes and improve driving habits unless you are in full control of your fleet.

Keep the customer informed

The information gathered from your GPS delivery tracking won’t just help you, it will help the customer, too. Knowing where their package is through a parcel tracking feature can keep customers from becoming agitated or restless, offering them some peace of mind that their goods are, in fact, on the way. When they’re selecting their delivery options, for instance, ensure your system can provide estimated delivery dates for them. Connecting your GPS tracking to your customer experience can help provide real-time updates that stop them from clogging up your customer service channels with requests as to where their package is and when they can expect it.

Customer service is key

Of course, regardless of how automated, efficient, and easy-to-use your ordering and delivery services are, your customers are still going to have questions. Many ecommerce platforms still have trouble with customer support and it’s often down to two issues. The first is a lack of information. If your customer support team doesn’t have easy access to information on orders, stock levels, delivery location, and more, the customer will end up having to wait much longer for the answers they want. The second issue is a lack of the proper channels. Customer service should be accessible and highly visible. If a customer can’t see an easy way to connect with an online representative or a phone number to call, they are just as likely to cancel the order than to keep searching.

The cost conundrum

Every business running a delivery service is going to have to take a closer look at how, exactly, they price those deliveries. How much do you charge customers for deliveries? Some businesses, if they are able to cover their costs in their overall profits, will offer free delivery but that’s not an option every business can rely on. Others price on cost, keeping the charges for delivery transparent so customers know they’re not paying more than they should. What you should avoid, however, is attempting to use the delivery cost as an opportunity to profit further. Many customers will be savvy about the costs that other companies charge and will know when they’re being nickeled and dimed.

Reckoning with returns

Every business is legally required to have a returns policy that deals with faulty goods. But there is some wiggle room to be found in the creation of your own returns and refunds process. Ensure you educate yourself fully on your customer’s rights, avoiding the chance that a customer might opt to take legal action. It’s a good idea to see the status quo of returns policies within your industry by taking a closer look at those provided by competitors. You don’t necessarily have to guarantee returns for goods bought by mistake or ones that the customer later changed their mind on. By having a more open returns policy, however, you could boost customer satisfaction and retention rate.

Incentivise better deliveries

As effective as your systems may be and as much as you may automate different parts of it, you’re going to be relying on humans who are prone to error. Safety and efficiency in the warehouse, cost-effective driving, better organisation and handling of goods, these all depend on the different members of your team. The best way to make sure your people are as efficient as your systems is to incentivise it. Create a rewards system that takes into account different key performance indicators, offering something in return for those who keep the system running on time while withholding from those who fail to meet their targets.

Follow up with the customer

You want to know how effective the changes you make to your delivery system are. Following the metrics of employee performance, inventory levels, warehouse management and so on can give you some insights but the customer experience can be harder to measure. Ensure that you seek customer feedback on your delivery system, leaving it open for recommendations and reports of substandard service. Not every customer will take advantage of the chance to leave feedback. You can encourage feedback, however, by working to improve a sense of a positive customer/company relationship. A thank you letter or email and even a little bonus in the delivery, such as a pack of sweets, can help increase the emotional impact of receiving their goods, which can encourage them to engage more positively with the company.

From the customer experience to the warehouse organisation to the transportation of the packages, your delivery system needs to be connected from top to bottom. You can reduce your own costs as well as ensuring customers are better informed and satisfied.

Category: Business

12 of the Coolest Offices in the UK in 2018 by John Baird

Not only are the best and the brightest of British talent beginning to expect to work in fantastic and funky offices, but there have also been numerous studies that have shown that they can actually increase productivity. When people work in an engaging and exciting space that both makes them feel valued and allows them to work in a more collaborative and creative manner, they are more likely to not only worker harder but also stay at the company long term.

So what are some of the companies that have got this right and have some of the coolest offices in the UK in 2018? In no particular order….

 

Zoopla

The property listing’s company’s offices in London have been designed to feel like a house (albeit a very posh one!), with themed areas such as a library, living room, wine cellar, treehouse and even a meeting room that looks a like a swimming pool. Onsite perks include a coffee bar, gym with a fresh towel service, free breakfast and snacks, and the now ubiquitous games room.

 

 

Innocent Drinks

In their aptly named ‘Fruit Towers’ London HQ, Innocent have designed their offices to look and feel like a quintessentially English village fair; complete with astroturf floors, picnic style benches and miles and miles of bunting.

 

 

 

Money.co.uk

Set in a 10,000 sq. ft. Victorian castle in Cirencester, the comparison site’s HQ includes features such as a Star Wars themed cinema, meeting rooms modelled on ice caves and ski lodges, a library with a hidden door and an onsite gym.

 

 

Missguided

This funky fashion brand has followed its own trend with its playful and creative offices in Manchester. Think eons of pink, a plethora of unicorns, swing seats, a selfie tunnel and a series of captions across the walls – my favourite being ‘don’t worry be yonće’!

 

 

Splunk

This big data firm based in London is promoting the fact that data most certainly isn’t boring through both its brand name and fantastic offices. Meeting rooms are designed to ‘transport your mind’ with one being based on the Tardis and another set out as a retro train carriage.

 

 

AO

The online white goods and electronics retail giant AO, aims to recruit and retain the very best staff into their Bolton offices with onsite perks such as a subsidised onsite salon, restaurant (the Park) and Starbucks, along with free drinks and snacks, the obligatory games tables and loads of fun company events for employees. Meeting rooms are filled with Lego or football themed.

 

 

Superdrug

The healthcare and beauty chain’s huge 6 floor, 55,000 sq. ft. head offices in Croydon embody many of the brand’s features, especially with the onsite brow and nail bar and the wellbeing clinic.

 

 

AutoTrader

With office bases in both London and Manchester, AutoTrader gives you no doubt as to what the company does with its car themed everything. The London office has spaces decorated with actual vintage Minis suspended at crazy angles along curved walls, whereas the Manchester office sports an old school van that serves as a coffee bar.

 

 

TalkTalk

Based in the iconic old Soapworks factory in Salford Quays, the communications company’s HQ is filled with artwork depicting Manchester’s history along with a rooftop garden, pizza bar, deli and coffee station.

 

 

Red Bull

The first office on our list to feature a slide from one floor to the next (it had to happen sooner or later), Red Bull’s Soho office also features a rooftop terrace with amazing views over the London skyline.

 

 

Virgin Money, Edinburgh

The stand out feature of these lovely offices is the LED light installation that forms a ‘sky ceiling’ above the main atrium of the building. Thankfully it isn’t designed to mimic the often dreary sky outside, but to remain bright and to recreate the passage of the sun over the sky.

 

 

Google

We couldn’t omit the company that really kicked the cool office trend off. Google’s London offices feature £17,000 sofas, a running track and gym where you can check your emails whilst you work out, a full suite of complimentary restaurant standard food and even sleep pods for those well-deserved power naps.

 

 

 

Written by John Baird from Scotland Debt Solutions. Scotland Debt Solutions specialise in helping Scottish residents overcome their debts problems through taking the time to fully understand your situation before advising on and administering a range of personal debt and insolvency solutions.

Category: Business