14 articles Articles posted in Business

3 Principles to Keep in Mind When Starting a Business with a Friend

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Thanks to the resources and possibilities available to us all today via the web, entrepreneurship is skyrocketing, with more and more people feeling driven to start their own businesses, and to take their professional and financial lives into their own hands.

An entrepreneur’s life can certainly be very fulfilling and rewarding, but it’s also inevitably going to be challenging. Even the most accomplished entrepreneurs in the world tend to have a good number of failures under their belts by the time they end up “making it big.”

While the life of an individual entrepreneur can be challenging, though, what about if you happen to be starting a business with a friend.

On the one hand, this can be a very powerful and positive experience, but on the other hand, there are all sorts of new pitfalls that await.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind when starting a business with a friend.

  • Look out for one another

This point should be self-evident, but if you’re starting a business with a friend it’s essential that you don’t both let your competitive natures, and the stress of the job, turn you into rivals rather than partners.

A business is unlikely to thrive if the two driving forces behind it are at loggerheads, and your friendship certainly isn’t likely to remain in good condition either, if you and your friend are practically coming to blows on a regular basis.

So, look out for one another, and be sure to always treat the business as a collaborative experience. Take steps to protect each other in the event of catastrophe, by, for example, looking into things like mortgage payment protection insurance.

And, by no means must you ever throw your business partner under the bus if a client is unhappy.

  • Choose your business partner very carefully

As mentioned at the beginning of the article; entrepreneurship is filled with challenges and obstacles, and the challenges and obstacles are, in some ways, magnified when you’re running a business alongside another person.

One consequence of this is that your partnership will be placed under stress, and you will be in a vulnerable situation, with regards to what the other person choose to do.

What that means is that you must choose your business partner very carefully, to minimise the chances that you will be exploited, or that the partnership will crumble under the strain.

  • Good communication is essential

A business partnership absolutely requires good communication if it’s going to succeed – because without good communication, you and your business partner will almost certainly end up working at cross purposes to one another, stepping on each other’s toes, and unintentionally undermining each other’s efforts.

Be sure to schedule in regular meetings and catch-up sessions, and have systems in place whereby you both know to consult with one another if you are presented with a particular opportunity, or have to make a particular decision.

For those circumstances where you can’t both be actively involved to the same extent, you should have agreements in place beforehand that determine how you should each conduct yourselves.

5 Entrepreneurs Every Millennial Should Follow

More millennials are now choosing to be entrepreneurs. Once viewed as an unconventional path for success has now become a method that makes many young ones are able to make thousands a month if they apply themselves and work hard.

There are many success stories of regular people doing extraordinary things. These entrepreneurs started out with nothing, and they’ve built an empire. These are the successes millennials today should emulate.

These are the 5 entrepreneurs every Millennial should follow.

1) Gary Vaynerchuk

When we think of digital marketing Gary Vee definitely comes to mind! He’s a special individual from how he talks, the content he puts out and his utter assertiveness. As the chairman of VaynerX and CEO of VaynerMedia, it’s fitting that he’s known as a serial entrepreneur.

As a young boy in Belarus, he worked with his father selling wine. The marketing genius that he is, he transitioned his fathers business online and went from selling 3-60 million in a period of 5 years. If that’s not inspiring in itself; I don’t know what is?!

Gary Vee puts out remarkable content on his social media accounts. If you’re looking for the truth, for inspiration or to learn digital marketing. Closely following Gary Vee because he’s truly fearless.

2) Grant Cardone

At 60 years young he’s an absolute sales savage!!! He provides training for Fortune 500 companies, businesses and entrepreneurs with his highly successful sales platform.

Additionally, Cordone is a real estate guru in his own right! He has built a real estate throne with a $900 million evaluation on his real estate portfolio. With over $800 million in real estate transactions covering close to 4700 units across America. He built with this with help from his close family only.

Millennials should be closely watching what Cordone does because he’s humble beginnings can be relatable to anyone wanting to create an empire of their own just ask Tai Lopez.

3) Tony Robbins

Yes, Mr motivational himself has become a household name in the entrepreneur world. He’s also a best-selling author, philanthropist and a highly successful business and life strategist. People love to hear him talk, he’s very motivating; no wonder he’s had 50 million people at his events over the last 40 years.

People are very enamoured with his spirit and his way of making you feel as if you can do anything. This is why over the years he too has inspired many people to follow their dreams be successful.

American Express has named him one of the ”Top six Business Leaders in the world.” he’s worked with US Presidents, to entertainers, sports teams, billionaires and so many more. How much more authority do you need??

4) Robert Kiyosaki

When most entrepreneurs are starting out they read ”Rich Dad Poor Dad.” courtesy of Robert Kiyosaki the immortal. He’s an American businessman and best-selling author. His ”Rich Dad Poor Dad” book series has sold over 27 million copies worldwide and translated into 51 languages. 

If only for the books alone, entrepreneurs should take an interest in what this man says. 

5) Mark Zuckerberg 

We can call him Mr. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Zuckerberg is one of the ultimate goals for entrepreneurs. Yet, he too started with nothing; in fact, he was a college dropout. Not much needs to be said about him, just check his net worth. Just remember if he could it, you can do it too.

Work and Home – Five Ways to Keep Them Separate

How to Separate Home and Work LifePhoto by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

As someone who works from home, I’d be the first to say that there are a lot of pros to the arrangement. I get to work in a familiar environment, Maureen the Pup doesn’t have to be left by herself and I get to dictate my own hours (and eat lunch whenever I want!). However, there are also downsides, and it can be difficult to create separation between home and work life – I say this as I sit here typing on a Sunday afternoon, between cooking dinner and doing loads of laundry!

There are, however, ways to ensure that work and home don’t bleed together – here are a few of them:

Invest in Office Space

This might seem counterproductive if you want the freedom of self-employment, but there are lots of small office spaces where you can work, distraction free, which don’t cost a fortune. Click Offices London guide can help you to find serviced office space in the City, which will fit your budget and help you to look more professional to your clients.

Set Work Hours

I’m very guilty of taking work at a moments notice, which means working at times when I should be with family. Set yourself hours in which you’ll accept work and don’t do anything outside of this. You could even set yourself an out of hours notification for your emails so that clients won’t expect to hear back from you until the next day. It can be daunting, thinking about losing work, but setting parameters like this is good for everyone.

Ditch the Work Phone

For those of us with work phones, consider implementing a ‘no phone’ policy at home. There’s nothing worse than a fun time with the family being spoilt by a call from work about something that could wait till Monday. Of course, there are some exceptions to this but in most cases, the job can wait till you’re on the clock.

Delegate as Much Work as Possible.

If you have others that work with or for you, make sure to assign a reasonable amount of tasks to them, instead of trying to do everything yourself. Give your assistant or team members tasks that are lower on your priority list, but that you can trust them to accomplish. You may also think about assigning tasks or activities that will build and enhance their skills.

Keep Your Social Media Separate

If you’d like to separate your work relationships from your personal ones, it’s a good idea to keep them separate online as well. The easiest way to avoid overlap is to use different social networking sites for different purposes. For example, Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent tools for developing your professional network, whereas Facebook is often better suited to sharing photos and news with your family and close friends. If your business page is linked to your profile, there’s temptation to answer questions doing downtime, but you should try to keep notifications off at weekends, at the very least.

How to Make Your Home Office Feel Secure

Feel Safe in a Secure HomeWorking from home has many advantages, but it can be difficult to separate home from business. If you have an office in your home, you might worry about security, especially if you keep documents containing sensitive information, cash or payment details. With new GDPR rules in place, it’s even more important to protect your client’s information, or you could land yourself a hefty fine. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about some ways to make your home office feel more secure:

Barriers

Having barriers from Barriers Direct across your driveway might not stop people from coming onto your property, but they’ll give a clear sign that security is on your mind and that you want to keep a line between yourself and the outside world. They also stop people using your driveway as a turning circle, which can be very annoying if you live on a busy main road.

Lights

Exterior lights are proven to be a deterrent to people coming onto your property for nefarious reasons late at night, but they also give you an extra feeling of safety if you come and go when it’s dark. Use a selection of carefully placed lights to give you illumination in all of the areas you’re likely to use, once the sun goes down, for the ultimate feeling of safety, but be mindful of lights which might shine into your bedroom if a cat wanders past!

Get a Dog

While I’m not suggesting you have a team of German Shepherds patrolling your perimeter, dogs can really help to make you feel secure in your home office. When Sausage was a baby, Husband worked nights and having Chuck there made me feel so much safer as he’d let me know if someone so much as breathed in the direction of our home!

Camera ACTION

You’ve probably seen headlines about burglars being foiled by security camera footage. This is one home office security solution that works as both a deterrent and a means to get justice. You can get security cameras that are part of a complete home office security system, or you can use cameras that work on their own. Whichever way you go, we recommend using a security camera with a mobile app, so you can see footage in real time and store it if you ever need to go to the police.

Get a Safe

If you’ve got things in your house which are of serious worth, installing a safe might be a good way to feel more secure about your belongings. Safes can be good for keeping company records and payment information safe, too. If anyone does manage to break into your home office, it will be a lot more difficult for them to steal anything of value, and in a lot of cases, having a safe can make your contents insurance premiums go down. Make sure they’re installed by a reputable company and think about going for a safe which has two separate locking mechanisms for an added layer of security.

What do you do to ensure you feel safe and secure in your home office? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Take Your Business to the Next Level

Starting a Small BusinessPhoto by Clark Street Mercantile on Unsplash

If you’re starting a business, be it a shop selling handmade items or a restaurant serving high-end dishes, you’ll want your premises to make an impact. Most of us walk around only half-noticing our surroundings, so creating a space which is enticing and exctiting to prospective clients can make a big difference when it comes to your profits. When making plans for yur new premises, you should be thinking about how you can take your business to the next level and blow your competitors out of the water – here are some suggestions of how to do it:

Get Your Design Right

If your new premises is an empty space, it’s full of potential but it can sometimes be hard to visualise. Invest in bespoke interior architecture  which will compliment your business and create a space that your customers or clients will WANT to spend time in. Restaurants often benefit from a variety of seating areas, from large open areas for big groups to smaller, more intimate nooks for couples. Adding to your architecture could help you to create all of these in one space.

Think About Your Signage

Shop and restaurant signage can be a tricky thing to get right. You want something that represents your shop and looks good on the front of the business, but it also needs to look fitting in the street location and complement the surrounding businesses. Sticking out like a sore thumb ight get you notices, but if everyone else has muted, vintage styling and you opt for a neon sign that you can see from space, you might not win too many friends!

Sound it Out

When it comes to shop and restaurant design, it’s also important to consider music, volume, and how it will sound around the space and affect customers. Research has proven that background music has a direct effect on shopping behavior, so it is something business owners should always keep in mind. Bluetooth speakers are the ideal solution to creating a pleasant shopping environment for retail stores and small businesses.

Tech to Make Running a Small Business Easier

Whether you’re working from home as a one man band, setting up a side hustle in your spare time, or run a business which employs lots of people, there are certain bits of tech which can really make your life easier. We’ve put together a list of the top five tech items you can buy which will help to take your business to the next level:

A Good Camera

This won’t apply to all small business, but if you’re selling products or run a business which depends upon you have decent images to display then a good camera should be one of your main investments. If you don;t have thousands to spend but still want a high-end set up, look online for second hand stuff – lots of people plunge hundreds and even thousands of pounds on photography equipment, only to realise they never use it, and then sell it on for way under the new price.

Packing Machines

If your business requires you to package something, then investing in a packing machine from C Pack Ltd will save you time and money in the long run. They have machines which can package just about anything and they’re guaranteed to do it quicker and with less error than a human! They’ll even build a custom packing machine for your exact requirements.

Travel Laptop

If you spend a lot of time travelling for your business, investing in a good travel laptop could be invaluable. It will allow you to take with you all of the files you need for your business when travelling, and means that you can leave your every day tech at home because you have a dedicated laptop just for travel.

Cloud Services

The old fashioned way of doing things still clings on in some respects, with many people struggling to trust Cloud services because they’re just not as tangible as paper files or a physical hard drive. However, Cloud services are actually the safer and more reliable way to store your data and you’re less likely to suffer a loss with one of these services.

Chatbots

You might see chatbots as something way out of your business’ league, or as something that’s just a bit too futuristic for your needs, but using chatbot software to deal with some of your communications can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Security

Ransomware has become a billion-dollar business and that makes sense: it’s finally a way for clever hackers to actually make money with their malware. We read about the stories of hotels, transit systems and city governments brought to their knees by security breaches like this, but we don’t hear of the thousands of small businesses that are also affected. To protect yourself you need to use a good cloud backup service, keep your operating systems updated and use a good security application in your company.

 

Make Your Life Easier as a Mumpreneur

With childcare costs at an all-time high and earnings not really falling into line, it’s little wonder that so many women are turning to the idea of running their own businesses from home. The advantages of working in your own home are numerous, allowing you to set your own hours, work around school times and school holidays, and ultimately save a lot of money on childcare. It’s not for everyone, and some people struggle with the challenges of running a business in their home, but if you’ve got the drive and the patience, it can be a great alternative to a traditional 9-5 career.

If you’re thinking about becoming a work-at-home-mum, or even if you already are and are looking to make your life a bit easier, we’ve got some tips on how you can delegate certain tasks.

Get an Assistant

If you’re not keen on the idea of having someone coming to work alongside you in your home office every day, virtual receptionist services could be a great solution. For as little as 30p per day, you could have an automated service to handle all of the calls you don’t have time to deal with. It also means that you’re not tied to a desk and have the freedom to work from absolutely anywhere without the risk of missing important calls or losing business – far cheaper than a human assistant!

Outsource the Cleaning

Having a cleaner may seem like a luxury you can’t afford, but when you think about how much time you spend cleaning in a week, and then consider the fact that you could spend that time working on your business instead, can you afford NOT to have a cleaner?! Taking the domestic chores off of your plate can free you up for more important things and increase your earning potential.

Co-Parenting

As we mentioned above, childcare is a massive expense for many families, which is why homeworking is good for parents of younger kids. However, when you’ve got a deadline or an important meeting to deal with, having kids around isn’t always doable. Teaming up with another Mumpreneur could be the answer – arrange to cover each other’s childcare during important times and the reciprocal arrangement means your childcare won’t cost anything and you both have the opportunity to develop your businesses when you need to. This can also work when you have to start doing school runs – take it in turns each day to take the kids to school while the other works.

Do Everything Online

The world is set up so that most things can now be one online, so set aside a couple of hours each week to get as much done online as you can. From your weekly shop to paying bills and even booking appointments, doing things in a set time slot each week can save you lots of time and give you a clearer head for dealing with work-related tasks. You can even use services which will not only remind you that someone’s birthday is coming up but will also send a card out to them without you even needing to go near a post box!

Get Your Beauty On!

If you’re the kind of person who likes to look ‘put together’ but struggle for time, there are a few things you can do to help you feel good without spending hours in the bathroom each morning. A Brazillian blow dry will cut down on hair styling time and keep your mane sleek without too much heat. Having your eyelashes permed and tinted could help give you the confidence to go out without mascara and having your eyebrows micro-bladed could save you loads of time each day, too. Think about your beauty priorities and see if there’s a permanent or semi-permanent solution.

How To Protect Your Business Online

Image Credit: Pexels

43% of all cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses; 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of an attack and only 14% of small companies to rate their ability to mitigate cyber risks and attacks as “highly effective.”

When was the last time you reviewed your security policies and looked at your protection against online threats? What sort of systems does your company have in place and are they carefully enforced? Did you know that weak passwords cause more than half of all data breaches, but only 24% of SMEs have strict password policies in place, and of those that do, 65% of companies say they don’t actively enforce it. Your security policies need to be reviewed every few months to make sure they’re comprehensive and enforceable. You should also be on the lookout for new strategies and technologies that you can put in place to shore up vulnerable areas of the business. Several highly advanced techniques can now help to keep your business secure and help to make sure that no one is abusing your systems, meaning that your customers are protected too. According to 2018 Identity Fraud, ‘Fraud Enters a New Era of Complexity’ from Javelin Strategy & Research’, in 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud, a record high that followed a previous record the year before and criminals are engaging in complex identity fraud schemes that are leaving record numbers of victims in their wake. The amount stolen hit $16.8 billion in 2017 as 30% of U.S. consumers were notified of a data breach, an increase of 12% from 2016.

Just as people regularly practise fire drills, you should do the same in case of a cybersecurity attack. During a cybersecurity drill, you should look at response timing on multiple levels, see how quickly individuals and teams respond and either thwart or mitigate a cyber attack and also how fast are you able to inform customers of the most current and accurate information.

Cyber liability insurance helps to mitigate the costs of an attack and is usually available both as a standalone policy, as well as an add-on to a business owner’s system. You can have first-party and third-party insurance, first-party coverage helps you to cover expenses when your network is hacked, or your data is stolen, and third-party coverage offers protection when a customer or partner sues you for allowing a data breach to happen.

If you are victim to an attack, you need to take everything offline as soon as possible as if someone has managed to access your data; you need to limit the amount of information they can get.

It is essential that you can quickly assess and block the entry point as you might be able to act quick enough to stop any data from being taken. But, you still need to check everything to ensure that nothing is lost.

Whether you have a large company or a small business, stealing or attempting to take someone’s data is a severe offence, so the authorities need to be informed immediately to commence an investigation. You will have to make all your systems and data available to the authorities, so they can see where any entry has occurred and hopefully trace it back to the perpetrator.

Informing your customers is essential, and you will need to prepare a statement that outlines what has happened and any potential data that has been lost. If you are not sure what data has been lost, or what details they may contain, your customers need to be aware so that they can monitor their bank accounts to see if anything suspicious has taken place. Your customers and clients will likely have a lot of questions that they want to ask. So you should also have a dedicated email or telephone line established to field such queries.

Your company will need to establish how and when your security was breached. It is also essential to ascertain whether the breach was external or internal to your company.

Some companies offer computer evidence recovery services that can help you and the authorities discover any potential evidence. They can then provide that to you so that you can see if there are any apparent suspects.

Before you put your services back online, it is essential to conduct a thorough audit of all your procedures and safeguards and even get an expert to come in and check your systems and advise on how they can be improved.

Ways To Save Money if You Run Your Own Business

Running a Small BusinessWith rising living and childcare costs, more people than ever seem to be looking at ways that they can work from home so that they can limit their expenditure and maximise their income. Starting a business and becoming self employed may seem daunting but there are a lot of advantages to flexible working and many people have huge success. Although it may seem like you’re spending more than you make when you first start, it’s all part of getting started, and we’ve got some tips on how you can save money as a small business owner.

Do Your Own Accounts

Unless your accounts are really complicated (which is unlikely in your first years as a small business) it’s actually really easy to do your accounts yourself online these days, which cuts the need for accountancy fees or an external payroll service. This could save you a lot of money in the long run and is also a great skill to have under your belt for the future.

Online Printing

If you need to use flyers or posters for promoting your business, using an online printing service like https://www.helloprint.co.uk/ could save you a small fortune. Their service is really easy to use, they offer free delivery on all products and they print on an incredibly diverse range of media – you could even print your company logo on a load of umbrellas!

Negotiate

Here in England, so many of us seem uncomfortable with the idea of bartering on prices but it’s common practice throughout almost the whole rest of the world! If you’re doing business with other people, never accept their first price as bartering could save you a lot of money. Many small businesses offer services as part payment for things too, so if you have a valuable skill you could offer this instead of cash.

Check Your Tarrifs

If you use your home as a place of business, check to see if there are better tariffs available for your energy costs, broadband supplier or telephone contract. Many companies offer special business rates, or even if there’s no money off, some companies will prioritise repairs if they’re for business users, so it could be worth a call to find out if it makes a difference.

Learn New Skills

If you’re looking to save money then taking a few courses could be an investment which saves you money in the long run and give you even more autonomy over how you want your business to run. Need to keep marketing costs low? Take a course in social media marketing and run your campaigns yourself. Need to save on accounting costs? Some companies like Sage offer day courses in small business accounts and payroll which will be a lot cheaper than years of services from an accountant or payroll person.

Luke from Caelum Communications said: “Having a quick and reliable internet connection is a basic essential for a running a business. Failover services and other installations are also great considerations for small and large businesses.”

Streamlining Organizations Operation Efficiency Using CRM

The world today is fast becoming a global economy and people communicate, sell, and buy in different ways. Customer relationship management is critical in facilitating and achieving better communication and analysis by securing, simplifying, and scaling the customer engagements. There are a lot of benefits that businesses and organizations can attain by taking advantage of CRM. Here are just but a few:

Business growth

Some businesses believe that prospecting is a salespersons job, but this is not the case. In fact, it’s the collection of automated and manual information across different channels that can result in a business opportunity. A CRM system helps in prospecting since you can acquire leads from trade shows, email campaigns and websites then send them to your sales people. Additionally, the system can identify market opportunities and new products, and this helps in improving the calling efficiency.

Customer intimacy

Customer intimacy involves the tailoring of client engagements, services, and products to match customer’s industry or business. This is one of the best ways for medium and small sized businesses to compete in an overcrowded and competitive market. CRM system helps such companies to capture their customer and behavior which is great in streamlining sales activities, product development, and also enable target marketing. CRM provides the customer with the impression that you know their preferences and needs and the system can take note of these things for hundreds of customers at a given time.

Replication businesses best practices

Businesses will always have an idea on how to go about engaging their customers, but the problem for most businesses is how to deliver a consistently high-quality customer experience. CRM provides an efficient way to embed the best customer service and sales processes that are effective in guiding businesses through different aspects of customer interaction. There are different websites that outline how Workflow animation and Templates can be used to create and simplify complex processes. That said, by visiting the Salesforce website, you will discover how various activities are automated to reduce the administrative overhead of the CRM and ensure that best practices are followed. You’ll also get answers to questions like what is CRM?

Defining your future business metrics

CRM is a valuable tool, especially when considering events and trends that act as a lead indicator of your profit metrics and revenue. Managers can use the CRM dashboards to consider the lead indicators, especially when pipelining value to spot any indicators of future problems, opportunity creation, and also lead creation. The sales leaders can also view the activities of teams or sales people to trace problems that might affect revenue generation such as the opportunity to close rates, lead conversion rates, customer calling activity, and territorial coverage.

The marketing leader will be able to trace the marketing campaigns and activities to make adjustments to the marketing plan in relation to the failure and success of those activities. On the other hand, the customer service leader will take a closer look at his/her people and take note of the most efficient individuals. Additionally, the service leader will monitor escalations and get alerts in cases that are past due date. It will now be up to the product manager to analyze cases and monitor products to evaluate whether there is any defect and also feature requests that are important in improving the products and services delivery.

CRM presents different advantages that are useful in pushing the business forward. However, it’s important for businesses to consider future goals and business strategy since it plays a huge role in the overall business success.