Business, Your Start to an Empire


When it comes to business it can be hard and small at first but if you don't give up on it, learn from the experience and love it no matter what, then you would be amazed at how far it can take you.

You see business takes time to grow because not everyone would be able to understand and know about the product or service you are offering them, that is why you should make sure that you are strong enough to withstand such pressure because when you are about to withstand that pressure then your business will grow and turn into an empire.

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August 25, 2017

Is opening a franchise right for you?

Not all new businesses come from nowhere, there are lots of opportunities for establishing a franchise – i.e. starting a business with an established model that’s tried and tested. From coffee to healthcare, language schools to fast food – there’s a huge number of opportunities out there, but is it right for you?

We’ll look at some of the pros and cons associated with owning a franchise…

Franchising pros

  • Recognised brands

When you open a franchise you’re opening a business that people are likely to already know at least a little about – and even if they don’t, there’s a huge amount of information they’ll be able to find if they search for the brand name.

This is especially true if you open one of the big names – such as KFC, McDonalds or Subway. In some instances there’s even a demand from the public for recognised brands like these. Even if you’re looking at a less well-known business, you’re following in the footsteps of people who’ve launched before you, so whatever size, the business already has a marketplace presence and people who know how to make it work.

  • Location support

If you’re starting out on your own, there’s nothing that will stop you opening within a mile of 4 similar types of business – a move which can be catastrophic when it comes to breaking into your market.

When you’re opening a franchise you’ll receive a lot of support from the franchisor around finding a suitable location. They’re going to be looking for an area in which there’s a market for their services and no competition that will finish the location before it’s started – while making sure that you’re not overlapping with another of their franchises.

This kind of support is great, because it helps you to succeed in the very best location by utilising tools and knowledge you may not have access too without the weight of a big business behind you.

  • Banks say yes!

Franchises can vary massively in cost – from a couple of thousand pounds for the smaller – to £500,000+ for some of the biggest names. Whatever the cost, there’s a chance that if you’re starting out, you might struggle to find finance that stretches to some of those bigger figures.

When you’re starting a franchise banks are far more likely to say yes than if you present your own business plan then ask for a quarter of a million pounds!

It’s fairly obvious when you think about it, you’re stepping into a tried and tested business that both you and the franchisor wants to succeed – so whether your business credentials are fantastic or slightly lagging behind, you’ve got the big advantage of having an international company behind you.

  • Support and guidance

With a franchise you’re on a well-trodden path, there are systems that work elsewhere, support that’s provided and the blueprint for success available to you at all times.

Take one of the larger fast food retail franchises for example – you don’t think that they’ll package you off to your new restaurant - hoping for the best that you keep the place clean and don’t damage their reputation do you? Instead, they’ll provide you with the initial guidance you need to start thing moving in the right direction – then on-going support visits, inspections and standards checks to make sure you’re in line with the brand.   

Whether it’s helplines, on-going training or even financial support – it’s in the best interest of the franchisor to provide you with support – because if you win, they win.

Cons of franchising

  • Hard work

There’s no escaping it, owning a franchise is hard work – if it weren’t, the business wouldn’t be using a franchise model, they’d be employing someone who’d earn a lot less than you to apply those lower levels of effort.

Just because there’s a model to follow doesn’t mean it’s easy – it’s not uncommon for franchisors to expect you to be ‘at the coal face’ of the business for a significant period of time before you get comfy in your back-office seat. That means running the business while you learn every in and out that there is.

You’re going to need a good support structure to make sure long hours and some sleepless nights don’t wear you down…

  • A strict path

How many McDonald’s restaurants have you been in where the manager or owner is experimenting with a new burger you haven’t seen anywhere else? A Body Shop that’s decorated totally differently to the rest? Or a Costa Coffee with a lime green logo?

The answer is a solid zero – because as a franchisee you’re not following your own daydreams and hunches, you’re following the multi-million pound established paths to success that the business demands.

While this is a huge bonus for marketplace recognition it does mean that your individual flair can be somewhat hindered. This might be a problem for you – it might not, but it’s one of the things people can sometimes feel constrained by when they’re not making the decisions…

  • Costs

There are a variety of costs associated with owning a franchise – and a lot of them need to be offset, at least in your mind, against the benefits of running a recognised business whose success might be (at least in part) due to its brand.

There’s an amount of money to pay upfront, sometimes it’s a few hundred pounds, sometimes it’s tens of thousands – all depending on the model the franchisor opts for. Materials and location outfitting costs can sometimes come from your pocket too – followed by a proportion of your takings to cover the ‘royalty’ fees that trading under their name entails.

You’ll often be expected to have an amount of money that’s readily available capital before you get started – i.e. money that’s not tied up in any other asset or awaiting approval from the bank.

While starting a franchise can look like the more cost-effective option in the short-term, it’s well worth sitting down with your accountant and looking at some projections.

July 22, 2017

What can I claim as expenses through my limited company?

There’s an increasing number of online accountancy firms that are super easy and convenient to use – but might lack that personal touch the older generation came to expect from the person overseeing company finances. Meetings with accountants used to be full and frank conversations about what can be legitimately claimed as expenses – although now your accountant’s expense advice might only extend to a quick glance over a spreadsheet.

It pays to be well informed when it comes to what can be claimed as expense and what can’t. While it’s no substitute for professional advice we can run you through a list of things you’ll want to make sure you keep you receipts for so you can dig into a bit more detail with your accountant later:

Banking costs

The more established your business becomes the more you’ll incur in business banking charges. Keep a track of monthly or quarterly charges and make sure they’re on your expenses list.

Specialist clothing

If your business requires specialist clothing for any role then this can be claimed for – as can equipment like boots, gloves, masks, helmets and so forth.

Living and working away from home?

If you’re living away from home because of work then you can claim for ‘subsistence’ – this means any accommodation and general living costs should be kept track of carefully as they can quickly add up. There’s a limit of 24 months – beyond which your temporary workplace is no longer considered temporary…

Travelling for work?

In a similar vein to living away from home – temporary accommodation when you’re on a long-distance visit can also be claimed. You can claim ‘incidental’ expenses of £5 if you’re away in the UK – and £10 if you’re away overseas.

Any travel tickets – whether that’s for planes, trains, taxis or boats can also be claimed, as can travel to and from business engagements – no sneaking in pleasure-boat or sightseeing tickets though.

Don’t forget to keep tabs on your driving miles too – you can claim 45p for every mile you do up to 10,000 – with miles beyond that dropping to 25p. Not a driver? No problem, bicycles experience wear and tear too – you can claim 20p per mile if you pedal your business miles.

Computer equipment

Claiming against computer equipment can be tricky – you have to ensure that you’re claiming for something that is used exclusively for work purposes, so if that iPad doubles up as the family music centre or feeds your CandyCrush addiction then you’ll need to scratch it from the list… You may also be able to claim back expenses for things such as web hosting for your business website, for more information on web hosting check out this great guide to wordpress web hosting.

Need training?

If you’re going on a training course that’s relevant to your work then this is also a legitimate expense. If it’s not immediately obvious why you might require the course – jot a quick note of why it’s crucial for the business and it’ll save you trying to justify it further down the line.

Phone use

As long as your phone, internet and mobile packages are registered in the company name then they can be claimed. Are you working from a home office with a shared line? Take a while to look through an itemised bill and pick out what are your business calls – they’ll have a cost attributed to them which can be claimed.

Working from home?

If you’re home based then there’s a varying amount that can be claimed. Let’s say you have 6 rooms and 1 of those is used entirely for work – you’ll be able to claim 1/6th of the cost of heating and providing electric for business use. Even if you don’t keep tabs on this use (it can be difficult to accurately work out) – HMRC allow you to claim £4 a week without receipts or statements.

Professional services

There are some obvious ones here – your accountant, solicitor and so forth – but don’t forget that any work done on your premises, specialist marketing, outsourced services can also fall into the professional services category.

Hire-purchase agreements

A little like mobile phone and utility contracts, finance contracts can be claimed – but only if they’re in the company name.

Insurances

Do you need public liability insurance? Insurances that relate to employee health and safety? Or something more specialised? These are all business expenses that you can’t safely trade without.

Stationary and printing

Any stationary that you buy to support your role is an expense – as is any printing you do. Don’t worry, this doesn’t just extend to the company printer, anything that you’re outsourcing or ordering online falls into the printing category.

Depreciation of company assets

This is a complex area with specialist calculations to be made. Essentially any asset held is likely to lose value as it ages – and this depreciation can be offset against tax. Your accountant is likely to be on top of this one – you just need to make sure you’ve got a comprehensive list of assets held.

Professional magazines, journals and subscriptions

If they relate to your work then subscribing to often costly professional publications is very much a business expense.

Eye-health

If your employees use screens as part of their role then you can claim an annual eye-test as an expense.

Employee general health

Although we have a national health service there’s an allowance made for any company who wishes for their employees to have a private medical health check.

Christmas party!

If  you’ve got a festive celebration planned then there’s an allowance of £150 per attendee that can be claimed, including partners and spouses – which might be some solace if the company credit card ends up behind the bar…

What can’t be claimed?

It’s important to remember HMRC’s guidelines when it comes to looking at your expenses – they clearly state that expenses should be “wholly, exclusively and necessary” for your business purposes. It’s important that you’re watertight on this requirement – when it comes to tax, a ‘little white lie’ is generally referred to as ‘fraud’ by HMRC.

Overview

Because we’re dealing with such a complex and professional area it’s important to note that everything here is intended as a ‘rough guide’ to expand people’s awareness as to what can be viewed as a company expense. You absolutely must seek the professional advice of a qualified accountant with experience in your field to ensure you’re maximising your expenses while staying on the right side of HMRC. 

July 18, 2017

How To Use Your Writing Skills To Make Money Online

Have you ever read an article online and thought I could write that? If so you’re not alone many people want to write for the web and while finding volunteer opportunities is easy if you want to make money writing online then it’s a little more difficult.

But don’t worry we can help you! Whatever you enjoy writing about there’s likely away you can turn that passion into one of the best ways to make money online.

You don’t have to be an English or journalism graduate either, all you need is a talent for writing and the patience to do some research and some waiting.

When it comes to making money writing online there’s some tough competition, new writers are popping up all the time and there’s already a lot of experienced ones out there. But don’t let the competition scare you, it might take a little time but you can use your writing skills to make money online.

Follow Your Passion

Using your writing skills to make money online can be challenging at first but we can help. First of all, work out what your main writing strengths are, is it review writing, general web copy, item descriptions for online shops or articles written for a particular industry like movies, fashion, technology or music?

That can be your starting point, from there you can offer freelancing services writing for your main passion. There’s a wide range of freelancing sites like Peopleperhour and Fiverr which make great starting platforms for writers and you can also search sites like Gumtree and Craigslist to find writing positions.

But Don’t Be Afraid To Tackle New Things

While following your passion and niche is a good way to ensure you always write high-quality content if you really want to make money online using your writing skills then you’re also going to need to be brave.

Following your niche is great but to attract more custom you’re also going to need to be willing to learn and be open to doing research. The most successful online writers today are versatile meaning they can tackle a wide array of subjects and still ensure high-quality results.

While this might require some practice, it's usually much easier than you might think, all you need to do is think outside the box a little. For example, if you enjoy writing about fashion or technology then you could easily transfer those skills into writing shopping descriptions for clothing and tech products.

If you want to make money writing online then you should always be reading as well, don’t be afraid to check out similar pieces for ideas and inspiration, but make sure you don’t just copy what you read.

It’s Not All Articles and Blogs

When you think about writing online you’re probably thinking about articles and blogs, aren’t you? While they’re probably the more fun and interesting pieces to write (for most people) they are far from the only things you can write.

Think about it, the web is full of writing, isn’t it? You could write general web copy for websites like their home and landing pages and you could also offer spell and grammar checking services as well.

Most website like to refresh their copy every now and again and will be more than willing to outsource the work to a freelancer.

Submit Your Own Articles

Freelancing is a great way to make money online using your writing skills, in fact, it is arguably the most sort after online freelancing skill. But there’s a lot of competition and standing out from the crowd can be difficult meaning that you might have to wait a long time for clients or be willing to offer cheaper prices at first.

However, you can speed the process up and network all at the same time by submitting your own writing to websites directly. This might take some searching and your writing might not be suitable in every case but there’s sure to be a site or two out there that will pay you for your writing.

You should also consider starting a blog (writers should really have a blog anyway so they can show examples of their work online) because if your blog is popular then companies or sites may be willing to pay you to write about their products or services.

Review blogs or niche interests’ blogs like fashion and technology are very popular for these kinds of things but any blog, if it's popular enough, could attract interest. You could also volunteer to write for sites for free and try to turn it into a paid position if the site starts making money and your articles are popular enough, although it as to be said this can be difficult.

Always Keep Learning

Making money online can be difficult because of the tough competition but if you can write well then people will usually come back to call upon your services again. There might be a lot of writers online but the more skilled and versatile writers will be able to build a loyal client base.

So, if you’re looking to make money online using your writing skills then make sure you always keep learning and keep practicing. Every time you write you’ll get better and better and that way you can be sure to always impress clients and build customer loyalty. 

July 6, 2017

The pros and cons of working from home jobs

  Image result for working from home loneliness To the untrained eye the idea of working from home might be wonderful, extra time in bed, no commute, the freedom to structure your day as it suits you and lots more enticing ideas – but working from home jobs come with their own set of disadvantages too. Before you jump in a new home-based role, have a think about some of the pros and cons to see if it would work for you. It can be useful to have this list to hand if you’re applying or interviewing for a working from home role too. Your employer is going to ask you what you see as challenges when you’re home based – if you can anticipate and think about how you’d work around some of these ‘cons’ then you’re sure to impress. Pros Freedom! Whether you’re self-employed or working for a company who offers working from home opportunities, there’s a tremendous amount of freedom that goes hand in hand with making your home your office. An increasing number of employers are happy that as long as you’re doing the work – meaning it can be done on your timescales. No commute With the average UK commute taking 30 minutes each way the idea of a 10 second commute is extremely appealing! You’re also removing the cost of commuting – depending on your choice of transport and location this could mean saving thousands of pounds every year. No boss checking up Some people work better without the anxiety of a boss looking over their shoulder at any given moment. This can be especially true if your boss doesn’t share your level of experience in your particular role – they might ask a lot of questions, challenge your practices or suggest working in other ways – without the knowledge to back up their thoughts. Working from home means you get to manage what your boss sees to some degree. Provided your work is done on time, then you’re going to be fairly free to get to that end point however you see fit. Financial incentives It’s not just commuting that adds to the expense of having a job. While the stereotype of home workers never getting out of their pyjamas might not be true – it does mean that you don’t need to be in a suit or other formal work clothing every day – meaning less spent on clothes, dry-cleaning, washing and other associated costs! You might even find that your employer pays you an allowance for resources you provide as a home worker. Family Being at home for your working day can mean being able to operate around the demands that family-life places on you. There are a lot of roles that give the flexibility to mean young children can be dropped off and picked up from school, partner work schedules can be accommodated, family members can be cared for – and many other things that a 9 to 5 office job just doesn’t allow for. Cons Motivation If you find it hard to get started or keep yourself going on work tasks throughout the day then working with no one to give you a nudge in the right direction can be difficult. 25% of working age adults consider themselves chronic level procrastinators – and when you’re at home there’s lot of ‘other stuff’ that can easily take up the time you’re meant to be spending on your role. If you’re employed – this can mean your time with home working freedom could be limited, if you’re self-employed, this could spell a downward spiral for your company… Lonely If you’re the kind of person who benefits from having a bustling workplace then home can feel very quiet, isolating and lonely as an alternative to the office. You might be able to drop into the office every now and again – and it’s likely that the phone will ring, but you’re not going to have those chats at the photocopier you enjoy – or share the birthday cakes that do the rounds. Got the space? You might think that working from home means putting the TV on, sitting your laptop beside you and getting on with it – but your productivity, your back and your general sense of a job well done isn’t going to thank you for it. Working from home normally means dedicated desk space, a computer, storage and any other professional tools – all out of the way of distractions, family and outside interference. Ideally a spare room is a good office – but not everyone has the space needed. Hard to balance Balancing your working from home role with life can be tricky – if you’re a workaholic then sitting until 11pm means it’s hard to keep on top of the life things that you’d normally do when the cleaners kick you out of the corporate office at 7pm. If you find you’re in a role that doesn’t interest you, it can be hard to get started – especially when there’s no boss tapping his watch at you if you’re booting your computer up at 9.15am… Doing too much? Having a job working from home means it’s easy to forget the time and end up sitting until the early hours of the morning tapping away on the keyboard. This can have a profound impact on your ability to do the role for a long period of time – burnout is hard to avoid, even if you love your role. If you’re working from home, especially if you don’t have family around that can spot the warning signs, stress, anxiety and depression can creep up on you if you’re not able to down tools at a sensible time. Is working from home right for you? Knowing what makes you tick is important when it comes to deciding on a working from home job. If you think you’ve got the motivation it takes to keep you on track – it can be brilliant to adapt your work to fit around life. If motivation and the will to get out of bed are things that frequently escape you, then you might want to think twice! If any of the cons on here feel like they might impact you, think about ways around them – for some people putting schedules and rewards in place for getting the job done can be enough to permanently develop their attitudes to work as a whole – and being able to adapt your role to family commitments can be a big driving factoring in developing yourself to make sure the role works for you in the long term.
June 27, 2017
6 low cost businesses you can start today

6 low cost businesses you can start today

They say that if you do a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s a nice sentiment – but how many people can afford to abandon their current work in the hope that you’ll find your dream job before the next mortgage or rent payment is due? For a lot of new businesses, starting out means working alongside your current job – and doing so on a tight budget. Working toward freedom from your regular job means you’re going to have a lot more flexibility to expand and diversify going forward. We’ve compiled 6 ideas that won’t cost a fortune to get started and could be a step toward doing something you love! Reselling books and magazines Your local charity shop or car-boot sale is likely to be awash with books and old issues of magazines – so much so that it’s not uncommon to see ‘5 for £1’ offers to make space on the shelves. People don’t have the time to sort through the huge piles, so everything tends to have one low price – even though there’s money to be made. A quick look on Amazon or Ebay will see back issues of magazines selling for anywhere between 99p and £5 – so if you’ve bought a stack of 20 for £1 you’re moving into impressive profit margins quickly. The internet is going to be your outlet here, so opening an account on a popular selling site is essential. That said, if you’re willing to spend a little more time, you can target your buyers a little more precisely – selling issues of Total Guitar magazine on a guitar forum’s buy and sell section might take a little more time – but you’re likely to make a little more. If you’ve got a particular area of interest then focus on that as your starting point. Pet services There are huge numbers of people who want a pet but don’t want their animal to hinder their lifestyle, offering an opportunity for anyone who’s animal focused to make some money. Could you offer a walking service? Perhaps you could open your pet-friendly home for animals whose owners are going to be away? Do you have specialist knowledge of exotic animals that you could turn into money when their owners go on holiday? Freelance writing Are you knowledgeable about a particular subject? There’s a huge market for good internet ‘content’ whether its a plastic strapping supplier or local digital marketing agency you will be in demand  – in other words, the text you read on websites and blogs. The people who create websites might have the technical expertise needed – but the time and effort required to create the right words to accompany a site means it often works out well to pass that job to someone else. Again, you’re going to want to focus on areas that you’re interested in – not just for your own job satisfaction, but because you’ll stand out from the crowd if you look a little different from the hordes of other writers online. “Freelance writer specialising in health and fitness, yoga and vegetarian eating” An intro like that is likely to attract more of the right kind of work for that person instead of: “Freelance writer, I’ll write about anything, good rates” There are some great freelance websites that you can get started on for little or no sign-up fee too, look at sites like PeoplePerHour and Fiverr as places you could start selling your services. You’ll find some great tips on most sites on how to work with clients too – so you’ll find your feet in no time. Building flatpack furniture If you live within an hour or so of an IKEA store, there are going to be massive numbers of people who buy furniture despite dreading the prospect of building it when they get home. If you’re at least a little technically minded and can find your way through the flatpack instructions then people will be delighted to invest in you putting it together for them. £25 will get you a respectable cordless screwdriver – and save the arm ache that comes after extensive Allen-key turning… Cleaning and housekeeping You don’t have to work on the internet to make money. If you’ve got an eye for cleanliness offering cleaning and housekeeping services can turn your skills into cash very quickly. As people become more and more busy, having someone take care of their home tasks can make a lot of financial sense. That might be cleaning, ironing, general housekeeping (washing up, making beds, tidying) – or even light gardening and outdoor tasks. The great thing is, it’s likely that you’ve got the items you need to clean with already – and if transport is a problem, you’re probably going to be working for someone who already has an ironing board and hoover – so the chances are you could take any other required kit in a bag. Starting by offering your services locally can work well, whether that’s flyer and business card through the door or some advertisements on local noticeboards or social media. Become a ‘virtual’ assistant As more and more people’s lives rotate around working online – there’s a growing demand for people who can help coordinate what they’re doing. The actual tasks are going to vary from person to person, but sending emails, organising a schedule, researching and some data entry tasks are not uncommon. Flexibility is a good trait to carry into your job as a virtual assistant – you might not have a huge amount of contact with the person you’re working for – sometimes you’re just on the end of a Skype connection – but being able to tick jobs off their to-do list is going to make you invaluable. The demand for virtual assistants is high, especially those who speak English fluently. Again, freelance sites are the place to look! Work to suit you If you’re planning on working alongside your current role you can adjust the times you work in your new business to suit your needs. As your confidence grows, that can be the time to start looking at ways of dedicating more time to your new venture. Alternatively, you might enjoy balancing two roles and the financial incentives that come with that!  
June 14, 2017
How to impress a potential new client

How to impress a potential new client

If you’re starting out in business, lets say as an IT services and support company in Glasgow,  it’s important to seize every opportunity – from the initial lead gathering stage to the point you agree to do business. You might think the sales process needed differs vastly company to company, but countless studies and consumer research tells us there are fundamental skills that people respond positively to. Follow these pieces of advice to maximise every opportunity you get:
  1. Do what you say you’re going to do!
This might seem like an obvious first step, but you’d be astounded to discover the sheer number of companies who just don’t do what they tell their customer they’re going to. When you’ve got a client onboard, this can be the thing that makes or breaks a working relationship – if they’re paying you, a customer expects a level of service. You might be able to salvage a working relationship even if you’re a little lacklustre – but if you’re not following up with sales prospects in the way you should, they’re just going to quietly take their business elsewhere. Set realistic expectations No one expects you to break your neck trying to accommodate customer relationships – if you’re pressed for time tell your customers to expect a call back in “3 days” rather than “in the next half hour” – no one minds, as long as you always meet or exceed their expectation!
  1. Ben Duffy questions
It’s likely you’ve never heard of Ben Duffy - although he was an extremely successful advertising salesman who attributed almost all his success to one technique. The great thing is, his technique isn’t quirky, it’s based on displaying empathy for your customers. Empathy, or the ability to understand your customer’s point of view or emotions, is hugely powerful in winning business. How does it work? Ben Duffy would think about the customer he was going to interact with then write a list of questions and concerns that he might have if he was in their shoes talking to him. Fairly early in his sales process he would say something like: “I was thinking about the kind of questions that I would have if I were in your shoes today – I noted those down and brought some information that might be helpful” When he told his customers what he thought they would ask, his questions were almost always identical to those they had either thought or prepared. Using this technique establishes the fact that you understand your customer and their needs – before you’ve even begun answering questions. And the best thing is, if you’ve posed the right questions, you can prepare excellent answers that showcase everything you can do. Expanding on clichés You’ve probably heard the phrase “people buy from people”, but realistically this isn’t the case – it’s certainly not Amazon’s multi-billion-pound business model! The truth is, when people need to interact with a salesperson or business owner, they want to know that their needs are understood. Show people that you understand them and you’re well on your way to securing their business – and if you don’t, you’ve got a deeper understanding of how you can develop to fit the next person’s similar needs.
  1. What is it? What does it do? What does it mean to me?
If you’ve got a product or service to talk about it can be tempting to go off on huge rambles about the ideas or designs behind what your customer is looking at or discussing with you. This is totally understandable, it’s your passion after all. Some people are deeply interested – but if they are, they’ll ask. If you want simple, uncomplicated messages about what you do, stick to this format: What is it? - What is this product or service that you’re showing or talking about? What does it do? - Explain the functions and how it would work for that person. What does it mean to you? - What is the impact your product of service will have on that person or their business? If it helps, prior to any meeting, imagine your customer is asking you those questions – how would you answer? It helps if you consider the person you’re selling to as being selfish – ultimately, they want to know how your product is going to enhance their life. It does not matter if your product or service is £1 or £1 million, people are going to want to know these three things. The questions are just as relevant applied to a cup of coffee as they are to a super-yacht.  Don’t be ashamed to show people that you’re working on this basis either – straight talking is seen as a very positive trait - and explaining that you’re always considering how you will benefit a customer is another tick in the ‘empathy’ box. Think about your competitors You might want to build something into ‘what does it do’ and ‘what does it mean to you’ to reflect why you’re the right choice when compared to competitors – when you learn to differentiate your business based on the value you offer a customer you’re on to a winning formula. Putting it all together Even if you don’t outright communicate these considerations to customers, just working with these points at the forefront of what you do can be extremely powerful. They can even form the basis of how your company works. When you’re a business owner you can sometimes miss the bigger picture. It’s totally natural that your focus is on the specifics that make your product or service just right – but don’t forget to take a step back now and again to look at how your company interacts with customers. This point where your business meets customers is the point at which many companies thrive – or fail. Using these fundamental skills can help give you a customer focused reference point – meaning no matter how passionate you are about the service you provide – your customer always feels like they’re number one.
June 12, 2017

How to Create a Positive Culture in the Workplace

Image result for workplace culture Not everyone is the same and wouldn’t it be a boring world if they were? In spite of this, however, it’s still important that do your best to get all the divergent personalities on your staff pulling in the same direction and the best way to do so is to create a positive culture in the workplace. A positive culture is more than just happy employees (although that’s certainly one of the goals). It’s a culture that recognizes hard work, one that provides staff members with the tools they need to do their job effectively and one that encourages collaboration while all the time giving staff members the sense that they’re championing a product or service that’s worth believing in. This may also include offering help on with things such debt help and advice for employees where a debt expert could come to the office and chat with people about various solutions such as an IVA or Trust Deed should any members of staff be having financial difficulties. 6 Ways to Promote a Positive Workplace Culture Numerous studies show that employees who feel respected and appreciated work more efficiently, take fewer sick days and are less likely to bolt to the competition. All of these things lead to greater company productivity which, in the end, is good for everyone. But exactly what steps can you take that will allow your staff to cross the divide from an assortment of personalities slogging alone up the hill to that of a cohesive unit acting as one to get to the mountaintop? Here are 6: 1. Provide a Sense of Purpose - A team of mountaineers know exactly what the goal is. They can see it every time they lift their head. Does your team know where they’re going? While everyone can figure out that the bottom line goal is the bottom line they typically need more than that before they start pulling together. There should be copious literature available to new hires that spells out who you are and what constitutes the mountaintop for your company. When you appoint different staff members to different tasks explain to them how this task will help the company get to the mountaintop. Don’t just dump it in their lap and mumble something about a deadline. 2. Lead By Example - “Talk is cheap” as they say and as a company leader you’ll be watched for signs that you buy into your own rhetoric. If you are extolling the virtues of a positive attitude and hard work to your staff and yet they hear you complaining constantly and slipping out every afternoon to play golf chances are they’ll be unmotivated, to say the least. If on the other hand they see you, sleeves rolled up, getting your hands dirty and staying solution orientated they’re that much more likely to buy into the mission. The Roman Emperors used to ride at the head of their armies for just this reason. It works. 3. Spread the Praise Around - Believe it or not your employees like it when you compliment them; as long as any praise seems warranted and not simply a ploy to get them to do something you know they don’t want to do. If someone has a good idea acknowledge it. If someone showed initiative that helped move a project forward, acknowledge it. If a normally stellar employee is struggling with a task let them know you have faith in them. Don’t go overboard though. Often times it’s the small gestures that mean the most like a quick nod across the conference room table or pulling them aside in the hall to say “good job”. 4. Encourage Social Interaction - Even the hardiest employees need to push back from the desk from time to time and take a break. Make sure staff have a comfortable, easy to access place dedicated to their use where they can kick ideas around, get feedback or just talk about the movie they saw Friday night. Encouraging interaction is important in building a sense of teamwork. Offsite socializing should be encouraged as well. 5. Promote Good Health - Encourage staff to go for walks at lunch time. Remove the all-sugar vending machines from the break room. Provide pamphlets in the break room with information on how to reduce stress, quit smoking and eat healthier. Sponsor a company football team. Encourage staff members to participate in charity walk-a-thons and the like by sponsoring their efforts. Install bike racks in the parking lot. Open up the floor plan to natural light and make plants part of the office decor. Also - and this harks back to the fact that your staff look to you for leadership - don’t let your own health go to pot. Work out, eat right and get plenty of sleep. 6. Make Yourself Accessible - In the days of yore staff and upper management almost never interacted. In fact it wasn’t unusual for employees who had been with a company for years to have never spoken a word to the owner or company president. If you want your staff to help you achieve your business goals today you need to cultivate trust and a sense of ease. You want staff to see you as one of them, not some authoritarian ghost who inhabits a cloistered part of the building that’s off limits to all but an anointed few. In Addition Making the above concepts and ideas part of the daily life of your company will create a culture wherein your employees feel like they are making a difference rather than just filling a seat and collecting a paycheque. But there’s always more you can do. Any manager worth their salt will be as good at listening as they are at giving orders. If employees feel ignored or feel that the office is nothing but a series of one way streets that end at their desk they’re going to resent it. Also, it’s not just helpful but essential in today’s ultra-competitive business environment that your company retains a level of flexibility in its structure and outlook and that your employees understand and appreciate this. Things today can change on a dime and everyone needs to be able to change with them; like sailors shifting from one side of the boat to another as they tack to the wind. The company that has its feet set in stone is the one that will wind up dead in the water.
June 3, 2017

Tips for managing your business

When you are about to do business, you would think that everything will be fine because everything is under your control and you have people to work on it. The thing about that mindset is it isn’t practical enough to handle the challenge that a business will give you. You see, though you are your own boss that doesn’t mean that you should take things lightly because if you do then your business wouldn’t last through the long run. That is why so that you would be able to manage your business efficiently and effectively here are a couple of tips that you can apply to your business and yourself.

Learn to budget and save Lets say you provide CCNSG courses and training in Manchester! A tip to properly manage your business is for you to learn to budget and save. Remember that in business money has a cycle and if you disrupt that cycle because you are spending too much or you don’t know how to manage your finances then your business wouldn’t last long and could risk going bankrupt or if you're self employed this could result in you having to applying for a self-employed IVA should you need help managing your finances. That is why when you have made sales don’t spend it but invest it in your business so that your business will grow.

Don’t be too harsh on your workers Another tip would be for you to not be too harsh on your workers. Remember that your workers are still learning so it will be common that they will make mistakes. That is why rather than get mad at them, you being the owner and their boss, should educate them properly so that the next day when they work there will be fewer mistakes. Remember a happy worker is a happy business.

Be resourceful Being the owner of the business you should be resourceful. Remember that money only comes to your business when it is doing well but there will be days where it wouldn’t go the way you hoped it would be. That is why if you know that your business is struggling then you should be resourceful and learn to be hands on because a business can’t run without the boss. For example if you're paying a Freelance SEO consultant you may want to take the time and learn these skills yourself.

Have a keen eye for things? If you want to manage your business well, then you should have a keen eye because it can't be helped that sometimes there might be things you didn't notice and it can be crucial to your business or your employees haven’t been being honest and nice to your business. That is why as much as possible learn to have a keen eye for things so that you would know if things are going well or not.

Be updated on latest business news This can help you for when you are about to create an important business decision. You see when it comes to the business news you would know if the price of certain products has increased or decrease and through that information, you would know how to handle your finances in your business and create strategies and make good decisions in your business.

Take things at your own pace Though it would be nice to immediately turn your business into an empire within a span of a day,it would take more than that. That is why you should take things unto your own pace so that you would see how your business have grown and you would also know how to handle things when things in your business aren't going nicely.

Applying the following tips stated above can help you when you are about to start managing your own business. You see when you are into business then everything about it will be in your hands that are why you should make sure that you always know how your business is doing and know how to create strategies to keep it going so that it will last through the long run especially since you will have a lot of competition. That is why you shouldn't forget about these tips and you should learn to apply it because it can help you a lot.