Running a business is never easy. Many budding new entrepreneurs seem to think that there is a foolproof guide available for anyone starting a new business, whereas in reality much of a startup’s success is commonly based on factors independent of that business sector. What you will find, however, is that there are certain issues that face businesses and offices across the board, whether you are running a bakery company or a consulting firm. It is wise to be clued up on these types of issues before you dive headfirst into your business plan. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up to fail. The phrase ‘start as you mean to go on’ comes to mind – there’s no point at all setting off on the wrong foot if it could come back to bite you later on. In some ways, it is only natural that there does seem to be a sense of urgency when it comes to business. More of us than ever before are aware of the changing economic climate and the dangers it can bring about for small to medium enterprises. Therefore, many startups these days only plan short-term, rather than long-term goals. But by doing this, and thus not finding a way to rectify the common business problems that could easily hit you, you could be at risk of running your business into the ground. Here are just some of the most common issues that hit companies across the world today, and how you can ensure that you stay in the clear.
You haven’t found the right staff
Hiring staff for the first time is a daunting experience for any young business owner. You may feel as though you have only just found your own feet within a business, and now you are having to bring more people on board and be in charge of them too. The truth is, no business can expect to achieve success without a team of multiple people behind it. Although you might be reluctant to let other people in on an idea you have grown from nothing, it is the only way you can hope to expand your company. Knowing who to hire when you have never done it before, however, can be a tricky one. On paper, you could look at a person’s resume and see that they tick all the boxes. But face to face, you may find that they are difficult to work with and don’t pull their weight in the office. Make sure you have a thorough interview process and even consider holding trial work days so you can see what people are like in action.
Your business isn’t using the right technology
Any business that isn’t full on board with technology, unfortunately, isn’t going to achieve much success in 2017. There are plenty of different types of technology that can aid you with the running of your company, whether you find that you need to increase productivity or protect your data more securely. Not being up to date regarding tech is a common issue many businesses face, and is why you should enlist the help of it services which will be able to recommend the right system for you. A secure VPN is the basis for any private company, as otherwise, anyone can access your important data and/or see staff emails. A good email and messenger provider is also a must to increase the efficiency of communication between employees, and you could also benefit from the use of some kind of storage portal, such as the Cloud. Finally, the actual desktop computers you use need to be capable of all the things you ask of them. If you are still using a model that first came out in the late 90’s, you really need to re-assess the situation! There’s no rule that says you need to go for a Mac over a Windows PC, just speak to your staff about what they would feel more comfortable with.
Cash handling and cash flow
Even if you’ve got a natural head for numbers, it is pretty unlikely that you are going to be able to keep tabs on every single financial aspect of your business. With every deal you make and every client you do business with, the finances of your company get more and more complex. That’s before we’ve even started on tax or VAT too. Before long you will find that you simply can’t keep up, and you panic as you watch your company’s figures get increasingly out of hand before your very eyes. You might think that there’s not much left to do in this scenario, but you will be pleased to know that you can, in fact, rectify the situation. How? By hiring an accountant. Realistically you are going to have way too much on your plate to keep on top of the company finances at all times, so pass the buck to someone else by hiring a professional.
Your business might be the best thing since sliced bread. But if you’re not marketing it correctly, you are going to facing a deep and dark spiral into administration. In an increasingly hectic business arena, the old failsafe marketing techniques of 20 years ago simply won’t do anymore. You should instead be pulling together a highly advanced creative team and thinking of cool and innovative ways to sell your brand to your target audience. Remember that you have many different tools at your disposal: different types of advertising, social media, videography… even throwing live events. Clever marketing is all about doing something to stand out from the crowd, so take your time with pulling something really special together. It may take longer, but a smart and well thought-out marketing campaign will have a much better effect than something basic and rushed.
4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace
A healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.
Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.
Use Snack Services
There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.
However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.
Incentivize your Employees
There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.
Do not Neglect Break Time
You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.
Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture
If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.
Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.
How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer
If you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.
There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.
Enter Writing Contests
Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.
There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.
There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.
Start a Blog
Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.
As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.
Self-Publish your Own Books
Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.
4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings
Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.
Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.
One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.
Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.
However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.
Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.
One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.
The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.
However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.
Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.
Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.
This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.
Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.
People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.
A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.
When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.
Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.
Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.
Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.
These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.
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