Intentionally or not, you may have easily caused harm to your business, whether it was a misguided tweet or your finances come to light. There are so many things that can inadvertently cause your business harm, and not all of them are fixable. After spending so much time and money on creating and developing a business, it can be a fatal – or near enough – blow to your company’s reputation, finances, or foundations,
Let’s look at one of the most successful franchises in the Western world – Starbucks. In 2015 Fortune named Starbucks as the fifth most admired company in the world, beaten by Apple, Google, Berkshire Hathaway, and Amazon – in that order. It was proclaimed that Starbucks was number one for ‘innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, and quality of products and services.’ They are frequently renovating, having opened over a hundred new, franchise, stores last year, in the UK alone. Their cups remain at the top of Instagram, with #starbucks used over twenty-nine million times in recent posts.
However, looking at the same company, Starbucks suffered greatly a few years before the above report, and again this year due to certain tax avoidances. Company tax is something every business has to pay, yet, alongside international top-cat Amazon, Starbucks avoided paying the lion share of theirs. This led to people boycotting the company, bad press, and a slandering bandwagon people always love to jump on. The roll on effect for Starbucks wasn’t minimal – yes, they were able to get back on top, and a lot of their customers didn’t care enough not to flood to grab the first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year, but the money they had to spend on marketing, and the fact that they had to release their financial records to the public, shows how devastating it was.
Social media platforms are no safer from the public eye – in the UK, Facebook and Google were torn into by certain government officials saying that they were ‘profiting from hate.’ One of the arguments states that with the option for YouTubers to add ads to their videos – videos which the YouTuber is earning money from, Google makes more money. And seeing as there are countless terrorist accounts found, and still hidden and in use, on YouTube, Google is making money from this hate mongering.
There are many arguments for and against with this, how are Google supposed to police just accounts that might be run by ISIS, and regulate them against their own policy? And, also, how is it so easy for terrorists to create accounts – why isn’t there more policing on this? The answer is something only Google can say. But, it shows how something you, as a company, might not see, can be picked up on and blown up in the media.
Where larger companies, particularly international empires, can come back from these things due to the money they can afford to spend on marketing and appeasing the public, they also have to answer to more people. If they are mentioned in the press in a negative light – everyone hears about it. Where a smaller company, might only be effected in the immediate area. And where this is still devastating, it’s also not going to be anywhere near a costly, and can be contained and resolved quicker.
Starting out on the right foot is always how you should start; don’t even contemplate trying to cut corners with your finances, it won’t get you anywhere and will always turn around and bite you. Pay what you have to pay and keep detailed records of it. Learn from Starbucks’ and Amazon’s mistakes and stay on the level rather than having to pay millions later on. No one is expecting you to be a financial whiz, but you need to understand the basics. Hire a financial advisor or bookkeeper to look after everything and make sure that you’re on the right track.
Your business reputation is the most important thing. Through all your marketing you will have been building up a brand that is seen as professional, reliable, and the best at what you do. So why put that at risk with a stupid use of social media? Sending out a quick tweet, or replying to a nasty comment might be spur of the moment and seemingly harmless. But everything on the internet can, and will, be misconstrued. You might have meant well, but someone can take offense. You might just be expressing your opinion – but you need to remember that your opinions are not the opinion of your company. You might be an extremely left wing or right, but your company is better off staying neutral so as not to offend or lose customers.
You can comment on political movements but refrain from taking sides. The same goes for extreme views. You might have strong views about people’s lives due to religion. You might have harsh views on the way people express themselves, the sexuality they have, the gender they identify as, their age, gender and even race. Any number of things can cause strong feelings in different people for different reasons, and where you have a right to your opinion, whether they are right or wrong, you can’t impose them on your company without alienating the majority of the population.
Your online reputation can be ruined in seconds thanks to social media, but you can fix it. You can repair online reputation through a management service, where any conflicts, negative comments, and responses are dealt with in a calm and controlled manner. When it’s your company being slate, your baby that you grew and worked every hour under the sun for, it’s easy for tempers to rise and the wrong response made, so in these instances, handing that power to an external moderator can do nothing but help.
Something a lot of companies don’t consider that can harm their business more than anything is the reputation they have within their community. Now, that community can be the local town, the industry you work in, the other companies you work with or are affiliated with. Basically, any circle you company revolves in can be considered a community. And if you ruin your reputation within any of these groups, it can be a death sentence for your business.
Within professional circles, you are most likely to ruin your reputation through late payments, late deliveries, or even rudeness. They might forgive you once or twice if the product or service you provide is good, but after that you’re toast. Not only will you have ruined your chances with that company, but they talk to each other – so chances are that you’ll find it hard to get another contract or deal with another company. You can rectify the situation by not doing it in the first place, and by issuing an act of goodwill combined with time, patience and hard work to earn their trust again.
Losing your good reputation in the town you’re based can be even more detrimental, particularly if you are relying on them as customers. Retail or retail providers might feel this more than others. In towns, normally, there is a vast percentage that are linked and take each other’s word as gospel. There are probably tens of businesses like yours in the area that have been around far longer and have proved themselves to the community. You need to nestle in with them and get yourself established with the locals. Tap into the local feel, the revenue that is waiting for you. But do not alienate a part of the population. You might be a coffee shop thriving on the students at the local college, but don’t let that make you reject the custom of mothers, the elderly, or morning office-goers. No one demographic should feel like they can’t come into your store.
Yes, your coffee shop or barbers might have a younger feel to it, with a modern-vintage look, fancy drinks with weird names, and charger ports at every table, but if a 60-year-old lady comes in for a cup of tea, make her feel welcome and at home, as much as you would any other customer. This sort of welcoming atmosphere will do wonders for your reputation.
At the end of the day, there are a million ways for you to accidentally harm your company, and many of them are due to outside forces working against you. But as long as you avoid the dark side and try to establish yourself as trustworthy and reliable, and live by those morals, you’ll be well on your way to an unharmed business career.
How the Right POS System Can Improve Your Restaurant
In order to improve a business, you must focus on areas that have minor or major inefficiencies. Then, after you gather enough information, you’ll need to develop a plan to resolve every problem that impacts sales and customer service.
A POS system for restaurants should be featured in a basic business plan because it can provide big benefits that can improve business productivity. If you want to enhance daily routines using the right POS system for a restaurant, you’ll need to consider a few things during the scouting process.
Whenever customers stand in line for a long time frequently on a daily basis, you must implement procedures to correct this problem. Speed is important in the restaurant industry because slow service leads to unhappy customers, and people who aren’t happy will be less likely to visit a restaurant a second time. Stability drives a restaurant business; if your restaurant doesn’t get enough repeat sales, profits will suffer.
POS systems can speed up transaction times since they process orders instantly after employees tap icons. These systems perform extremely well when people order more than one menu item, and the software can adjust orders quickly as well.
Consistent Inventory Management
If you experience order inconsistencies because your inventory isn’t properly managed, a POS system with management solutions can help. By configuring the software on a restaurant POS system, you’ll never have to cancel orders since the software will track inventory following every transaction. Inventory management software is strategically designed, so it will track a certain item and different varieties. For example, if you set up a bracket for drinks, the software will track a certain brand along with diet options.
Convenience for Customers and Employees
Often when people visit a restaurant they don’t know what to order. If POS units are installed at every table, your guests will have opportunities to place an order at own their pace. Self-service point of sale equipment is very easy to use, so a teen or a senior will have no problems navigating through all of the available options.
Self-service POS units benefit employees because they give them time to focus on other restaurant tasks. If your restaurant isn’t properly staffed, a few POS systems can ease the workload.
Sales Opportunities on the Go
When a restaurant reaches a certain level of success, expansion is a practical option. However, since the process of conquering a new market isn’t very easy, most business owners test the conditions by investing in food trucks. These vehicles are convenient because they can commute to different destinations during market testing routines. Throughout the early test phase, a mobile POS unit can help a chef process orders behind the counter and outside of the truck.
A Competitive Edge
Businesses that give consumers great options to drive more sales. If locals find POS units in a restaurant, they will remember them because the equipment is sleek, fast, and efficient. In order to gain a competitive advantage in your neighborhood, you’ll need to ensure that your restaurant has technologies that aren’t found in other business locations.
How To Start Your Own Engineering Company
In order to properly start your own engineering company, you must be mindful of a few key steps.
The first order of business is for you to determine what field of engineering you are interested in pursuing in the first place. You will want to narrow down into a specific niche if you want to successfully market yourself to your target audience. Then, depending on what you have chosen, you will need to get the necessary education to grow your skillsets in this field.
Once you have thought about the preliminary requirements, it’s time for you to start thinking of innovative ideas, to hire employees, fund your company, of course, market yourself, come up with a reasonable quote and lastly, acquire clients. Continue reading for more information.
Determine what field you are interested in pursuing
What field of engineering are you most interested in pursuing and starting a business in? Some options include:
- Electrical engineer
- Chemical engineer
- Aerospace engineer
- Computer engineer
- Mechanical engineer
- Civil engineer
There are countless others that you can select from, and the good news is that if you are interested in engineering as a whole, you are bound to find one subdivision that piques your interest.
Keep in mind that you want your future customers to be clear on what type of services that you offer, and this is also yet another reason as to why you need to be specific about what you do.
If you offer scattered services from across the different fields, this isn’t practical, and it will simply confuse people. Don’t let this be the case for you and your business.
Gain the necessary education
Getting the necessary education, and thus having the appropriate degree, is always paramount to your long-term success. Without the proper field knowledge, you can’t possibly understand how the industry works in the first place.
Moreover, if you already have an engineering degree, and it isn’t uncommon for engineers to turn into entrepreneurs if they so desire, you can then pursue higher education in business management. The other good news is that you can even get this degree online nowadays. Take the example of Kettering University that offers MS engineering management online.
Come up with innovative creations
The goal of any company is to stand out from the others and to make a difference in the world. Already, there have been many interesting innovations created by engineers and their teams.
You can take a look at this for some initial inspiration, but you want to make sure that what you create is completely different from what already exists on the market.
Otherwise, how can you prove to people that what you do is unique and that they should come to you for your specific services?
This is one of the most important things you can do as a business, and so it’s essential that you take some time to brainstorm what it is that your purpose will be.
No company is successful when one person is running the entire show and is in charge of everything. Although as an entrepreneur, you must establish yourself as a leader and give direction, you also need to hire the right employee for the job.
The people you hire must not only be experts in their field, but they must be aligned with your bigger company goals. Do they believe in the organization’s values? Are they a good match with the existing team?
This is yet another moment where you should take some time to find the ideal candidates, rather than rushing through anything.
Fund your company
Learning how to fund your business is key if you want your company to materialize into something that is concrete. Whether you seek investors, acquire a loan from the bank or seek crowdfunding, there is always some way for you to find the money your business needs to thrive.
After this point, it will be up to you to make sure that you continue to make a profit, and that is why you must always have someone there to oversee the money coming in and leaving your business. After all, if it weren’t for the profit you eventually make, you wouldn’t be able to sustain your organization or the employee’s that work for you.
In order to market your business, you need to have a strong online presence. Be sure to spread the word about who you and what you do, and so long as you persevere with this and stay motivated, people will start to know who you are.
If you don’t market yourself, who will know what you do in the first place? Whether it’s public relations, or digital or social media marketing, this is something that you must become more knowledgeable about.
Networking and making connections are key to acquiring clients that will benefit your business success.
Attend industry relevant events and be sure to market yourself which, as outlined previously, has many positive points. Continue to update your online presence on a nearly daily basis with new information that is meant to resonate with your customers.
Come up with a quote
It’s incredibly important for you to come up with a quote for the services that you offer that is reasonable. Take a look at what your competitors are offering and use it as a guide to what you should do as well. If it’s too expensive, no one will care to use your services, but if it’s too low, you won’t be making enough profit.
Engineers are able to look at the world around them and provide solutions to technical problems. This is incredibly valued in society, and there is no doubt that you will one day leave your mark on the world with the business you are starting. Of course, in order to be truly successful, you need to keep in mind a wide number of preliminary requirements, some of which have been outlined here.
Think about your long-term goals and aspirations and consider how you can best meet them by thinking strategically and being practical in your company ventures.
How to prepare for the first crisis in your restaurant
Even restaurant marketing that has been well thought out doesn’t exclude a crisis or two. As a restaurant owner or manager, you have to be prepared for everything, even the worst case scenario. Your business may be all well right now – but that’s exactly the time to think about possible worse times.
Listen in order to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
Everyone likes to listen to praise. It motivates us, it helps us deal with everyday work, and it reminds us why we chose to do what we do. As great as it is hearing all about our strengths, you should be all ears when somebody points out any weaknesses of your business. It’s not pleasant, sure, but knowing what goes wrong or could go wrong – this knowledge prepares you for the kind of crisis we’re talking about. So, if somebody points out that your online restaurant marketing needs improvement, don’t belittle the problem or it could grow into a crisis.
Control your reviews
Do you know that the whole concept of restaurant marketing could go badly wrong just because of your customer reviews? What one customers writes, another can read, and then form an opinion about your restaurant without even ordering an appetizer. You have to take control over the reviews – and you can do that using an online food ordering system just like UpMenu which allows you to check the review before anyone else sees it and then share it – if you want to.
Think fast! And react
There’s no way to predict a crisis exactly. When it’s there, it’s probably too late to fix the problem altogether and sweep it under the rug – it won’t just pass by unnoticed. Since you won’t be able to make things right immediately, you have to think of the best plan of action to undertake. For example, if it’s restaurant marketing that suffers, you have to know exactly what is wrong with it, who is responsible for the trouble, what are the options to make it better, and who should be in charge of improving the situation.
Talk things through
It’s all fun and games to talk about success, but nobody really wants to talk about failure. People tend to think that if they don’t address the problem, it will just magically disappear. You have to go the other way: if there’s something wrong with your restaurant marketing, a first step to solving the problem is saying it out loud. It’s better to shout out a question than silently look on as the crisis approaches. You have to communicate your problems, because you won’t get through a potential crisis all by yourself.
Big problems, like a crisis in your restaurant, may wake up some instincts in you weren’t even aware of. When a crisis comes, you will think as the captain of a sinking ship, but you cannot forget you have a crew by your side. Don’t they deserve to know what’s happening? If the ship is sinking, you have to let them know.
Talk to your staff
I bet your restaurant management plan didn’t include a situation when you have to fire somebody who did nothing wrong or tell them you cannot pay them everything they earned. Every member of your staff has to be aware of the situation you’re in. Praise them if it goes well, warn them if you predict some changes when it comes to earnings.
Don’t take anything for granted
One day everything goes great but another – even the best restaurant marketing strategies won’t help you. People’s choices change, the market changes, and so too does the economy. In general, times change and so will your business. If it goes bad, within a few months your crowded restaurant can be empty.
As you see, there are a lot of reasons for your restaurant to fall into crisis. Some of them are irreversible and for those you have to be prepared. But there are also those that are totally up to you. They can happen or not, depending on what kind of restaurant marketing and management you run. Keep that in mind and you will greatly lower the chances of having a crisis.
5 Common Scheduling Issues and How to Avoid Them
Creating a reliable and effective work schedule is crucial to growing your business. A great timetable will make your employees happy, which will attract more customers.
On the flipside, a poorly-constructed schedule could have serious consequences.
Employee fatigue has been the cause of many disasters, like the Chernobyl nuclear explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As a manager, you’ve got to be aware of your employees’ feelings, mentally and physically.
Failing to notice these problems could hurt your company, causing financial loss. Read on to learn about 5 common scheduling issues, and how you can make work schedules work for you.
1. Overworked Workers
As a member of the retail or service industry, you’re no doubt familiar with the dreaded “clopening.” A closing shift (ending at 10 or 11 PM) followed immediately by an opener (beginning 7 or 8 AM) is a lot to put on one person.
Driving and taking care of essential needs can take 2 or more hours. This schedule for work leaves your employee with 6 hours or less to sleep. S/he will come in the next morning exhausted, and you’ll suffer lost time, productivity, or both.
Avoid employee fatigue with software that looks for consecutive shifts and corrects them. Combat it with breaks and regular shift check-ins.
Making schedules for employees requires careful planning. As a leader, understanding your workers’ needs will make you more effective.
They’ll thank you for it by being more productive.
3. Sudden No-Shows
Studies show that 38% of employees have called out of work despite feeling fine.
Last-minute absences can cause severe scheduling issues. Doctor’s appointments, children, and car problems are just a few reasons someone may fail to come into work.
Making a work schedule that fits everyone’s needs is truly an art. Smart software can help alleviate the panic of trying to cover a shift. Allowing employee swaps or having separate teams of workers can help.
Hubworks rolled out their staff scheduling app in order to combat many scheduling issues. Check out their helpful guide to discover the benefits of smart work schedules.
4. Worker Turnover
A long-suffering employee can spell disaster for your company. Losing a few employees won’t be a major downfall. However, high employee turnover can hurt your profit and image.
Hiring someone means investing time, money, and resources to training and onboarding them. If you continue to lose people, it’s time to reassess scheduling issues and management style.
Above all, happy employees mean happy customers.
5. Too Few or Too Many
Too many workers on a shift can be just as bad as too few.
Your budget will shrink fast, and you’ll have to send people home. This means less time and money in both of your pockets.
Only schedule the people you need for that shift. You should alternate workers so that no one works multiple shifts in a row. Employees notice fairness – or lack thereof.
The Art of Combating Scheduling Issues
Figuring out how to schedule employees can be the difference between an okay-manager and a great one. It takes finesse, intelligence, and a dedicated team of individuals to overcome scheduling issues.
To get the best results you’ll need an innovative support system and advanced AI. Check out these great employee management programs to simplify your life.
How to Thrive in a Competitive Industry
There are many competitive industries in the UK. Keeping a close eye on what your competitors are doing is essential to making sure that your business can stay one step ahead of the competition.
Consumers can now find companies in the comfort of their own home. Your business may be great, but it also needs to be discovered by the right audience online. If you find yourself getting lost amongst your competitors, try a new angle and give customers something different.
Kamran Mirshahi is the director of Canary Claims, specialising in PPI claims. Customers can choose to make a claim themselves or use a reputable PPI claims company. But, even if a customer decides to use a PPI claims service, there are a number to choose from. In July 2018, the government put in place a fee cap for all PPI claims companies – and this created even greater competition as many companies now charge the same price.
Despite challenges and rogue PPI claims companies giving the industry a bad name, Kamran has succeeded and thrived in the market. Below, he outlines how your business can do the same.
Create a Unique Selling Point
What is your business’s unique selling point? There needs to be something different about you to stand out. It could be that all UK deliveries are free or you only stock ethical products. For service businesses, do you offer something free to try and convert customers? Whatever it is, make sure it’s different from your competitors.
As a PPI claims company, making our price substantially lower than many other companies was one way to thrive in the industry.
Offer the Best Price
The price point is essential for all companies. How do you balance making enough profit with giving customers a fair price? Return on Investment (ROI) is an important sum to understand. If you believe that a lower price for customers will result in more sales, it could be the right choice for your business. If you are charging a higher rate than your competitors, you should make it clear to customers why this is – and what value you bring to them by charging more.
Have an Easy-to-Use Website
It’s been thirty years since the World Wide Web launched. The technology has revolutionised the way that individuals and companies operate. For companies, the need to stand out during a user’s search is pivotal to success. Creating an SEO-optimised website has never been so important.
But, even once a user lands on your website, they need to be able to access all of the information they require easily. This means your website needs to be user-friendly and transparent. Your target audience might not be tech-savvy – how does the site look to them?
Having an easily accessible website is a winner. Does it have a clear call to action? Is the language easy to read? Can the customer find out all of the information they need quickly and concisely? If not, address these issues.
Be Upfront with Customers
Honesty and integrity are words that a lot of businesses use. But do they all follow them through? Being upfront with customers about what they can expect from your product or service – as well as the cost – is vital.
One of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment is due to high shipping fees that customers weren’t aware of when they started their online shopping. Giving this information to customers can help to reduce this from happening. For those offering services, be clear with your fees upfront. In the PPI claims market, the percentage on a successful claim can make a huge difference to people and showing off a low price can help to increase the number of sales.
Even in competitive markets, you can make your business stand out amongst the competition. Create the best possible website and tell customers why you are the best in your industry.
5 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Rent Office Space
Your business is running full steam ahead! So much so that you’re looking to rent new office space.
But before you sign that dotted line, do you know exactly what you’re getting into and how it will affect your business?
Many people don’t realize choosing the wrong office space can bring business to a screeching halt.
Before you let that happen to you, here are 5 important questions to ask before you rent office space.
1. Is the Location Convenient?
When it comes to real estate matters, it’s always about location, location, location. And the same holds true for your office space.
Make sure it’s a location your employees will be able to get to easily. You’ll want your clients to have no problems finding it. And having good amenities close by is a win for everybody.
2. Will the Size Work for My Needs?
Of course, you’ll want to rent out a space that will comfortably fit your team. But also think about any future growth.
Do you plan to add team members in the future? Will other members work remote and not need a desk?
It’s a balancing act between renting enough space or renting too much. If you think your needs will change, try using flexible workspaces like beoffices.com.
3. Is the Rent Within My Budget?
You want the best workspace possible, but you don’t want to stretch your budget too thin. That’s why you need to take all costs into consideration when renting office space.
Is the rent and deposit reasonable compared to other offices in the area? Are there any extra fees such as maintenance, security, or parking? What are the average utility bills for the space?
Every penny counts when meeting your budget, so read the fine print to find out exactly where your money is going.
4. Can I Get All the Services I Need?
Most businesses rely heavily on a fast and consistent internet speed. Not to mention mobile phone service, cable, and other infrastructures that help a business run smoothly.
Contact the building owner and find out what they offer. It might also be a good idea to ask other businesses in the building, or the area, how their services are.
Check your cell phone service in different areas of the space. Ask if you can do an internet speed test. If the service is great, the owner won’t hesitate to agree to the test.
5. Does the Building Fit with My Brand?
The style of the building tends to be low on many people’s priority list when renting office space, but don’t discount it. If you’re a business that wants to project a particular brand image, your office space plays a key role in that.
Does the decor of the building blend with your brand? Are you able to make changes if not? Would you be proud to post pictures of your office for clients to see?
If any of your answers are no, you may want to keep looking around.
Get All the Facts Before You Rent Office Space
Before you rent office space, do your research. By asking these important questions, you’ll be sure to find the office space that works best for you and your business.
Now that you’ve got your office space in order, ready to build your employee engagement? Check out these 5 tips to boost engagement today!
- Social Media9 months ago
Top 5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
- Management7 years ago
The man who destroyed his multimillion dollar company in 10 seconds
- Management1 year ago
The Five Common Materials Used to Manufacture Reusable Grocery Bags
- Innovation2 years ago
5 Ways How Globalization Impacts Small Businesses
- Management11 months ago
7 Essential Tips For Opening a Mechanic Shop
- Management3 years ago
What Are the Penalties for Hiring Illegal Workers?
- Accounting & Finance8 years ago
Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking Small Business Loans from Banks
- Management8 months ago
The Importance of Presentation Skills in Business
- Management6 years ago
Workforce Planning – Balancing Demand and Supply
- Management1 year ago
Pros and Cons of Offshoring
- Management6 years ago
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
- Sales6 years ago
7 Steps To A Positive Attitude & Better Sales