12 articles Tag business

How to Make Managing Your Employees More Straightforward

You might have begun your business as a one-person operation, but once success comes your way, you’ll soon find that it can be highly beneficial to bring other people on board to your team. However, it’s not as if this is just a matter of hiring a person to do a job, and letting them get on with it. As soon as you bring your first employee on board, you’ll find yourself in the role of ‘manager,’ and that’s not always as straightforward as newcomers to the game would like it to be. By the time you have a team of employees, you’ll need to work hard to ensure that things run smoothly. Below, we take a look at a few useful tips that’ll make managing your team more straightforward.

How to Make Managing Your Employees More Straightforward

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Hire Competent People

You’ll find it infinitely easier to manage your team of employees if they’re high-quality to begin with. It’s like cooking: you’ll make a much nicer meal if you’re using fresh, quality ingredients, rather than whatever has been left on the shelf. So before you do anything, take a look at your hiring process, and see how set up it is to bring excellent staff on board. Many new employers end up hurting themselves by writing job descriptions that only appeal to the bottom of the barrel candidates. Improve your hiring process, hire better staff, and make things easier for yourself.

And People You Like

You’ll fundamentally have a professional relationship with your staff, but it is important that you get along with them, and especially so if you’re a small team. That’s why it’s important to look beyond the CV, and think about how you will click with the other person. You’re going to be working closely with them each day; it’ll help considerably if you don’t have to overlook their personality just to get your job done. Of course, this doesn’t mean figuring out if you have the capacity to be best friends with them — it’s just about listening to any instincts that tell you that you might find them annoying.

Software Tools

You’ll soon find that managing involves much more than just telling your team members what to do, and then basking in all their hard work. Having employees means taking on a lot of additional tasks, such as payroll, scheduling, and so on. You can make handling these tasks much more straightforward by getting the right software tools. For example, there is software that allows you to easily track employee hours, which can help considerably when it comes to payroll processing. Downloading the tools that you need will take some of the stress out of managing a team, and also free up your time, so you can focus on the tasks that’ll help to push your business forward.

Team Building

Studies have shown that productivity goes up when people like their work colleagues and their office environment. But really, this is something that you could have guessed without a study saying that it’s the case. You can just feel that there’s a good atmosphere in the office when colleagues like each other. Plus, if people are friendly with one another, there’ll be reduced risk of disagreements and arguments from occurring. If you’ve hired well, then you should have a team of staff who are ready to be friends — but it won’t happen automatically. You’ll need to create the settings that allow people to get to know one another. One option is to host afterwork drinks on Friday evenings, or you could organise a team building trip somewhere fun (such as paintballing or go-karting).

Keep Things Tight

It’s important to remember that it’s not as if you need to hire for every task that has to be taken care of. Indeed, it’s recommended that you don’t do this, since the more staff you bring on board, the more complicated things will become. It’ll be much better if you only hire for the absolute essential tasks, and then outsource the ones that you only require essentially. For example, you probably don’t need a full-time marketing employee, so instead, you can outsource the task to a third-party company.

Give and Receive

Finally, remember that you can make things more straightforward by simply being fair with your staff. You can ask for the world from your employees if you’re also willing to give them the world. This will help prevent resentment from creeping in, which can have a hugely detrimental impact on the overall atmosphere and productivity in the office.

Fun Ways to Make Money Without Huge Investment

Fun Ways to Make Money Without Huge InvestmentPhoto by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

While many of us love the daily routine of having a set place of work and defined working hours, for others, having a flexible way to make money is the only way they can work around their family. Obviously, we’d all love to be able to run successful, and more importantly, profitable businesses, but most businesses require some form of investment to get up and running, and that’s not always available. With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some ways that you can make money without needing to make a huge investment first.

Personalised Gifts

There are companies which allow you to make custom-made gifts and merchandise to order. Dropshipping is becoming a really popular way for people to make money and basically just allows you to act as the middle-man between customers who want things and companies who make them. You don’t pay for anything until someone has ordered it from you and the potential to make money is pretty decent.

Blogging

A lot of bloggers aren’t that open about how they make money, but it’s simple. When you start a blog, your website starts to gain “authority” from Google. In time, this authority will make you valuable to other websites if you link to them. SEO companies will pay you to post links on your site and sometimes companies will send you items to review and write about, which you can either keep or sell.

Write an eBook/Course

Do you have a particular skill that would be valuable to other people? It could be anything; writing, gardening, baking, parenting, car mechanics – if you’re enough of an expert to teach other people then writing and selling an ebook or online course could be a lucrative way to make money. It’s also what’s known as “passive income” because once it’s done, you just have to sell it and thee things often simmer quietly in the background.

Virtual Assistant

If you have good admin or organisational skills, becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA) will allow you to ue this skills from your own home. A VA does everything that PA or admin assistant does, but virtually. You’ll often have a weekly Skype call with your clients to see what they need you to do that week, and you’ll usually share documnts through something like Google Docs so that everyone has access to the work being done.

Sell Photos

If you’re a decent photographer and already have a good camera, selling stock imagery online could be another good way to make cash. There are number of big sites like Unsplash, ShutterStock, Fotolia, iStockPhoto and Photobucket where you can submit your photos. Whenever a customer wants to purchase your photos, you will get paid as per the price you fix and the best part is, you can get paid multiple time for the same photos.

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.

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.

Dressing for Success: What Are 5 Essential Components of a Women’s Business Outfit?

I know; morphing from a beauty diva whose closet has dozens and dozens of casual attire to a smart and decent business lady isn’t easy. You possibly can’t even fathom the prospect of looking stylish on an official outfit, different from your usual casual, attire!

Looking chic on a business outfit

You only have to discern which clothes match with which other one and the mojo to navigate vaguer social rules and dress to kill. And you don’t even have to do a complete overhaul of your current collection or even spend a fortune, shopping for an entirely new set.

Just a little new set of selected types of official women’s attire and you are fully ready to start “slaying” again on your new outfit. There are over five main components that make up an ideal women’s business attire.

1. Start with a well-knitted blazer

Out of all women’s official wear, you will need, a blazer shouldn’t miss. And whether you are new to the world of office wear or not, spotting a nice, cute and quality blazer isn’t hard. Go for something that’s nicely cut and knitted to perfection, slim and fitting, especially on your arms.
The good thing with a blazer – bold colours are cool, is that it goes with pretty much any other attire. It goes well with your dress, that skirt or even that only black pant you love wearing to official gatherings.

2. Accessorize well

Nothing completes a killer look of a smart, focused professional businesswoman more than a nice watch, a beautiful necklace, and a matching earring. Coordinating jewelry with your office attire isn’t hard, provided you learn more about which fashionable brands are good for you. The same is true for a watch.

But for someone who probably has never shopped for a timepiece before, I’d suggest that you don’t splurge on one of those super-expensive brands. Just go for something that will look nice on your wrist and still match with a majority of what’s in your wardrobe.

3. A Beautiful To-The-Knee Dress

Once in a while, you will need to remind everyone that the chic, fashionista in you isn’t dead yet. While doing this, however, choose a well-cut dress that’s thick and flattering, but comfortable when put on.

Naturally, dresses are fantastic for business meetings for they ooze elegance and sheer sophistication. But it’s also an instant choice that doesn’t disappoint during one of those days when you can’t decide what to wear. Just make sure you go for solid coloured dresses – sleeveless or not.

4. IMPORTANT: roomy, high-quality handbag

Don’t forget to tag along with a cute handbag. Work bags that are a little bit of everything; professional, but not too roomy, and not too bulky, will accentuate the calm and organized business woman in you. Ideally, your handbag should be able to comfortably carry all your essentials and still feel comfortable to walk with.

5. Cute, comfortable heels

I’ll not talk about flats and ankle strap (or sneakers) official shoes for women because they are part of everyone’s staples. When it comes to heels, however, it’s okay to have at least a pair – just in case. Pointy or not; super-high or not, your choice should, however, feel comfortable to put on and trendy with your overall office wear.

Going through this list, you should feel confident investing in them, especially if you are considering buying a couple for a start. Other outfits to consider are a beautiful, bold-coloured blouse and a beautiful pencil skirt. The best thing is to have a perfect blend of them so that, choosing what to pair with which another one becomes a breeze!

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.”