Everybody knows that a businessman needs business cards to conduct business. If you try to compare various ways to promote a business, you will discover that business cards are indeed one of the cheapest ways to promote a business. The question is how to distribute business cards. Probably one of the most obvious situations is after closing a deal or when you just made a sale. What is the right amount of business cards to hand out? It is at least seven or eight. One business card is not usually enough to make a difference. You need to give a person more than one so that the person will have enough of them to give to other people if an opportunity arises.
Health and safety may sometimes seem like one of those things that only affect certain Industries, but whatever field you work in as an entrepreneur, you have a serious responsibility to make sure your staff are not at risk of Injuries or health problems as a result of the environment they work in or the duties they are expected to perform.
Here are three of the reasons why you as a business owner need to pay serious attention to your responsibilities when it comes to workplace health and safety – aside from, of course, the mandatory requirements for being in business at all in your state.
Avoid Expensive Lawsuits
Almost every day, there are stories in the news about companies who have been sued over workplace injuries or other health and safety cases. As an example, there were some high-profile McDonalds employee complaints where people who worked with the fast food joint giant were litigating because they had been injured in grease accidents, had experienced unnecessary risk due to being expected to work too fast by the computer systems monitoring them, and because they felt they had not been given the proper training to operate some of the equipment in the McDonald’s kitchens. These cases became complex because McDonald’s restaurants are, in most cases, operated by franchisees rather than the overarching corporation. Both McDonald’s and franchise owners had cases brought against them.
While businesses do have insurance against this kind of thing avoiding, lawsuits are obviously something entrepreneurs need to take seriously to protect both their finances and the reputation of their brands.
Even businesses that don’t have things like kitchen equipment or machinery on site need to consider things pertinent to health and safety when it comes to using computers and other hazards that can exist, even in offices.
Better Staff Retention
Another concern for entrepreneurs, especially when the business is a startup, is being able to keep the staff that you managed to attract. Businesses that are able to keep the talent that they recruit and train tend to be more cost-effective and can gain an edge over their rivals. When staff feel that their well-being is being regarded as a priority by the business that they work for, they are far less likely to consider moving to another company.
If a company does more than the bare minimum when it comes to health and safety and actually goes out of their way to follow best practices, this can make the business compliant at a higher level. This can be important later on if you want to make a public offering or sell the business.
As you can see, there are lots of benefits to taking health and safety seriously and to looking at ways that your business can go beyond what is required by law and become a company that is seen as a center of excellence in this respect. A regular audit of your current processes can be a good place to start.
No matter whether your business budget is a mighty one, or you’re working on a shoestring, saving money always needs to be a priority. Those big corporations didn’t get where they are today by over-spending. It’s important, therefore, to look into what you are paying out for in your business and reducing as many of those costs as possible. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Double Your Advertising
Paying for marketing and advertising can take a big bite out of anyone’s budget, and it is, of course, extremely important. However, there are ways to get more advertising for the same amount of money. For example, you could send a flyer in with an invoice – you’re mailing it anyway, and the flyer will cost a minimal amount. You could include a special offer actually printed onto your invoice, or a coupon to encourage repeat business. If you are selling items in a physical store, tuck business cards and leaflets in with your customers’ purchases.
Ask For Referrals
Having your current customers give referrals to bring in new customers is one of the most cost-effective ways of building your business. You could offer a loyalty scheme so that both parties feel they are getting something out of the deal.
Buy Second Hand
If you need more office equipment, tools, or machinery, look at the used market before you spend out many hundreds or thousands of dollars on something brand new. There are many bargains to be had by buying second-hand, and you can save a huge amount of money. It may feel good to buy brand new items for your business, but if you’re spending too much it won’t feel good for long. The important thing to remember when you are looking to buy a used item is to do as much research as possible first. Ask questions, make sure it all works, check that it is compatible with modern systems. If you don’t you could end up buying something that is no good, and you’ll have wasted crucial cash to do so.
Do It Yourself
In some situations it’s definitely a good idea to call in the professionals. At tax time, for example, a qualified accountant will always be worth the money as mistakes can be seriously costly. However, there are times when you can try to do things yourself if possible, as you will save yourself some money which could be used to reinvest into the business. If you have a fleet of vehicles, you might want to tune them up yourself; the instructions can be found online and you can buy parts at some excellent places online including http://andantex.com/product/spiral-bevel-gearboxes-z-series/. If you need to design a logo or other branding, you can do that yourself too. Unless it’s truly specialized, doing it yourself will always be worth trying.
Don’t Rent Office Space
One of the costliest parts of running a business is paying rent on office space. If you don’t have to pay this money, you’ll make massive savings. One way to stop paying rent is to work from home. This is great if you are a solopreneur or you have a remote team working for you. When you do need to get together for meetings you can rent a room and it will cost a fraction of the cost.
For every successful entrepreneur, there is going to come a time when you need to hire more staff and have a location to put them in. Although working from home is entirely reasonable in an age where we have so many ways to communicate, with an office based environment it is possible to implement more shortcuts to productivity. It also allows you to monitor the morale of your staff closely and provide perks that wouldn’t be possible if everyone was scattered. Although the basic requirements of an office seem obvious, some tips might help you improve efficiency, productivity and staff morale. Making efforts to make sure your staff’s working environment is a pleasant place to be can ensure their happiness, and a good business leader will work hard to keep their staff motivated and content.
Don’t fill the space
Clutter is not helpful for creativity and is one of the main causes of wasted time. If you can streamline your office, you will find that you will naturally produce better work results, simply because the distraction caused by unnecessary elements in your environment will vanish. Sometimes, decluttering your workspace is as simple as having a brisk tidy-up before the working day starts, but more often it’s a case of not having unnecessary items in the office to start with.
It might seem redundant then to suggest scattering color around the office in the shape of flowers. The effect plants have on the people around them is well documented, with different colors producing different moods. Surrounding your workplace with red flowers is likely to boost productivity, whereas blue flowers are known to produce a calm state of mind. Depending on your work methods and business style, you can tailor the colors of your flowers to different areas of the office, further adding that individual touch to the environment.
It’s all well and good to declare yourself a paper-free office, and it is certainly a worthy target to aim for. However, paper is a useful thing to have close to hand for those times when you need to make a quick note. Useful for during phone calls, and if you’re adept at shorthand, then paper becomes a vital resource for when taking minutes of meetings or simply doodling during a brainstorming session. Doodling on a notepad is proven to be conducive to cognitive activity, so make sure that pen and paper are available to all of those that need it.
Having a water cooler isn’t just about giving your employees a place to stand and discuss the latest episode of Game of Thrones. A water cooler is considered a vital piece of office equipment, especially if you live in a warm part of the world. Keeping your staff hydrated is good for work reasons, but also helps to reduce the sugar intake of everyone. People are less likely to crack open a can of soda if there is cold, fresh water close to hand. Having a water cooler in the office is easy to arrange, and no matter where you are in the country, it’s easy enough to get a water delivery San Diego, New York or the middle of nowhere.
With iPads and projectors so prolific, you might think that the humble whiteboard has no place in the modern office environment. They are more useful than you think though, as they can transform any part of the office into a meeting space. They can start at someone’s desk, then be moved into your manager’s office, then moved down the hall (stopping on the way to show a passing member of staff the latest brainstorming results). The simple whiteboard is handy to keep everyone in the office focused on specific tasks which can then be physically wiped away once completed. The fact that they can also double as a screen for your projector is simply a bonus.
A gloomy work environment is going to kill your productivity rates faster than someone bringing a baby into the office. At all possible places, you should use as much natural light as you can, utilizing windows and mirrors to reflect all the ambient lightings. If that is simply not an option, then you need to make sure that the artificial lighting is as close to natural as possible. Overly harsh lighting and unnaturally gloomy lighting is going to have an effect on your employees and office morale, which will ultimately affect your bottom line.
Monday mornings can be so much more productive if you don’t start the day off with a bag of candy and a can of soda. Having already discussed the importance of water, fresh and healthy food being made available to staff is a huge boost in every area of office life. A study showed that staff members who were offered the option of healthy food and snacks were up to 16% happier than those without. Millennials especially have proven to be very responsive to free food, as more and more offices adapt to the changing status of the workspace.
These tips and suggestions are just the start of the changes you can be making to your existing office, or a good starting point to bear in mind when you are considering leasing your first business premises. As an entrepreneur, it is up to you to work out exactly what you need, while balancing it together with what you feel your staff needs. The ever constant battle between profit and expenditure is one that you have to work out and clarify. It can also help you to work out what kind of business you are going to be, and further create your own brand identity that will be seen by staff and clients on a regular basis. Considering the importance of brand identity to a start-up or new idea, it is vital that you give it serious consideration before starting off incorrectly and buying the first things you see.
If one monitor is not enough for you, you can always buy another one, if that will satisfy your needs. Both of them can be connected to the same computer if your graphic card supports that. There are many benefits of having at least two monitors:
1. You will have more than one desktop. This will give you more space to put all the necessary files you use. That can be quite handy if you work with many files like, for example, images.
2. Different monitors might be used for different purposes. One of them can be set to serve you as a working space (with emails etc) while another can be designated to serve as an entertainment station to play games, watch DVDs and listen to the music.
3. Many 3D games like Unreal Tournament or Microsoft’s Flight Simulator enable multiple monitors in order to enhance the gaming experience. Not many players have such a setup, but those who do, really appreciate it.
4. In business environments multiple monitors can be very handy as well, in order to allow employees to see more data on many monitors.
Ultimately, the decision whether to have a dual monitor setup is up to you, so you should take into account your needs.
Most entrepreneurs understand the benefits of using video as a marketing tool. With YouTube the second most popular social network, it’s clear we all love video. Of course, it is not surprising given that video is incredibly versatile. Words and images are powerful, so when you combine the two, you can tell a story and persuade potential customers to buy your products and services. So, where do DVDs fit into this plan?
Uploading a promotional video to your website or sending clients a link to your YouTube channel is a no-brainer, but there are times when an online video isn’t appropriate. For example, if your clients live in a developing part of the world where internet connectivity isn’t so great, directing them to a website and asking them to stream a 10-minute video might not work.
The Value of a DVD
DVDs provide instant access to video materials and can be played on a DVD player, laptops, and desktop computers. A DVD player can also be connected to an audio-visual system and projected on to a large screen, which is handy if you are a keynote speaker at a conference and you want to show off a promotional video of a product your company has designed.
Here are some of the scenarios where a promotional DVD could be used to market your business.
Key Places to Use Promotional DVDs
As we have already mentioned, DVDs are a useful tool if you are giving a presentation. It is easy to stop/start a DVD, so you can let your audience watch a few scenes and then stop the film to add your own commentary or further explanation. Once the presentation is over, hand out copies of the DVD in marketing packs, so attendees can take them home to watch again at their leisure.
Distribute DVDs in marketing packs if you attend a trade show. A DVD takes up less room than a company brochure or magazine, yet you can include a lot of information on one disc, including software, a catalog of products and services, detailed information on each product, and clips on how to use various products.
Offline marketing is often overlooked by companies, but offline marketing is still valid and promotional DVDs can be a part of your next marketing strategy. Send out DVDs to your loyal customers. Include software they might find useful or ‘how-to’ videos of your best products. It is bound to capture their attention.
Creating a Promotional DVD
Quality is very important. There is no point burning a hundred DVDs for marketing purposes if the quality of the product is below par. Customers are more discerning these days and they expect a decent quality product. Spend time and money creating a good quality promotional film or ‘how-to’ video. If you don’t have the right equipment, outsource the production to a third-party company. If you want to duplicate your own DVDs, visit Burn World for advice.
Don’t dismiss the notion of DVDs. They still have plenty of clout in an internet-obsessed world, especially for marketing purposes.
It’s not uncommon for established businesses as well as startups and entrepreneurs to explore their options when it comes to developing a mobile app.
With the pervasive use of mobile devices and apps, most businesses have realized that it’s a necessary way to reach their customers where they’re most frequently at, which is their mobile screen.
Even for entrepreneurs, developing an app independent of an existing business can become a stream of revenue, but it’s not just as easy as having a great idea. There’s an investment of time and money that goes into creating an app.
It can be better in many cases to work with an experienced app development agency like Buildfire so that you can avoid many of the more expensive and disastrous pitfalls, but what about the timeline?
What should you expect regarding how long it will take from concept to launch? There’s not one set answer, but there are some factors that play a role.
What Do You Need?
If you want a complete app, it’s going to take more than a few months for a quality product.
However, that’s not necessarily the case if you’re just looking to create a minimum viable product or proof of concept. With something like a minimum viable product, the period of development is going to be much shorter than it would be otherwise, with simple development and a short period of fixing bugs.
Another way you might see a relatively short development timeline is if you have a simple app without much complexity.
In these scenarios, speeding up the development timeline is possible.
Some app features take longer to develop than others, as would naturally make sense
For example, games, complex navigation, books, education, and catalogs all tend to be on the longer end of the development timeline.
Some of the things that tend to be shorter are news, utilities and newsstand categories.
Size of Your App
App developers refer to something called the size of your app when they’re determining an estimate of how long development could take. This usually includes four primary factors which are scope, features, depth, and purpose.
We’ve already touched on some of these above, but one we haven’t is the scope.
Scope refers to the audience you hope to reach. As an example, if you want to reach people who might visit your brick and mortar business in your local community, the timeline of development is likely to be shorter than if your audience is international.
An app full of bugs and errors isn’t going to work for today’s discerning user, so testing is a massively important part of development.
The amount of testing required is also going to dictate much of the timetable you’re looking at, as well as the cost of development.
To sum it all up, no one can concretely say how long it’s going to take to develop an app, but it’s likely to take more than a few months for something very complex and full of features, or an app designed to have a broad reach. The more you can prepare yourself for a longer timeline, the more prepared overall you’ll be for what it takes to develop a high-quality app.
Good online reputation can be very useful when it comes to business relations, or even when it comes to our daily lives. Is it possible to manage our online reputation? It seems that it is, but the price is $88 per month. I am talking here about a tool that scours millions of blogs, news sites, images, and videos for you to track your name, company brands, industry trends, and news about your competitors. This tool allows you to search for any keyword or keywords, and makes it possible for you to indicate with what words you want your keywords coupled. It also allows you to specify which words to exclude. The results can be saved and emailed to anyone. Having said that, I do not really see the reason to pay so much money for this tool, but companies that are interested in their reputation will probably benefit from it a lot.
Anyway, I wonder if the company that I am discussing was able to detect that I wrote this post about them. If they care about their reputation, I am sure that they are monitoring who is writing about them and what this person is writing. It might be fun to check who is writing about me.
Even if some people are born to be their own boss, being an entrepreneur requires talent, hard work and dedication. Some are more likely to make it than others because of their habits and willingness to not give up.
You too can become a stronger leader and boss if you put your mind to it. Learn about the behaviors that allow some business owners to succeed. You can work your way to the top if you have the right attitude and are continuously brushing up on your skills. Understand what the entrepreneurs who are getting ahead are doing on a daily basis to keep themselves and their business going strong.
Aren’t Stuck in their Ways
Successful entrepreneurs aren’t set in their ways and don’t believe that their method is always the right solution. They want to do what’s best for the company and are always willing and open to trying new approaches. For example, they’ll do their own research into the topic of avoiding a fake paystub maker until they find an online tool that will get the job done right for their employees. They believe it’s better to be flexible and open-minded than it is to shut out new ideas and make assumptions.
Willing to Take Risks
Entrepreneurs who thrive are willing to take risks and do what the competition isn’t doing. While they’ll still weigh the pros and cons of a situation, they aren’t afraid to make bold moves and decisions if it’s going to get the company ahead. A good boss understands that there’s nothing wrong with creating a new path if the one you’re on isn’t taking you anywhere.
Surround themselves with the Right People
Strong business owners know they can’t do it all alone. They understand that they need people by their side who are in their corner and able to offer support in various circumstances. It’s important to network and build a list of contacts who you can count on throughout your career. Mentors, other small business owners and industry leaders are all great people to connect with and get to know better. Surrounding yourself with strong leaders versus people who don’t care too much about their future makes a big difference in your own development.
Let their Employees Make Mistakes & Learn from them
A successful entrepreneur is sympathetic of mistakes his or her employees make and willing to give them another chance. They know no one’s perfect and that talented people will make poor choices or mess up once in a while. They’re focused on building a solid team and can quickly identify the strongest and most talented people who will help them do that. Entrepreneurs who thrive know that building a successful company takes a talented group and not one leader.
Keep these ideas in mind as you work toward being your own boss and building a company. There’s a reason some business owners get to where they are. They care about their own personal development and that of others and are set on thriving.
After you’ve been in business for one whole year, it’s time to celebrate! You’ve made it successfully through many of the first year obstacles, you’ve created a clever and innovative working business model, you’ve found the perfect location and premises, you’ve recruited and hired hard-working employees, and you’ve kept on top of your finances. It may feel like the hard work is done and dusted but it’s barely beginning. Your business may be ticking over nicely but if you want to continue to enjoy success and if you want to keep growing, the beginning of your second year in business is the perfect time to take pride in your achievements, but also plan for bigger and better in this upcoming year. Whether you own an online service provider, you own the hottest marketing firm or you’re a retailer on the high street, it’s time to review year one and see what improvements can be made to make your business continues to go from strength to strength in your second year!
Review & Update Your Business Plan
Your business model and plan were clearly working well if you’ve made it through year one! However, it’s vital to keep your plan updated to continue to have a clear goal and vision of where you want your business to go, and most importantly, how you’ll get there. It is essential that your business plan contains the objectives and strategies that you need to put in place to keep growing. After you’ve completed your first year in business, it should become clearer where you appropriately need to make changes to your business plan. You may have found one strategy you chose originally didn’t work as well as expected when you implemented it, there reviewing the business plan will help you decide and put in place new strategies. Updating your business plan will also address any new financial changes. In your first plan, you may not have accounted for how many employees you hired or how expensive the rental on your premises is now if you’ve changed location as you’ve grown. There are a variety of business plan samples available online to help point you in the right direction as you enter year two.
Assess Your Current Finances
It’s vital that you continually monitor your business’s finances whatever year. However, sitting down and assessing every incoming and outgoing of your finances is worthwhile now you’ve left year one. While you may have been extra vigilant in year one, you may have found you had costs that you hadn’t accounted for. Taking the time to comb through your companies bank statements may seem like a lot of effort, but it’s imperative that you take this step to continue to enjoy as much profit as you can. Assessing your finances will not only show you where and what your money is going towards, but it can help prevent unnecessary outgoings or show you where you can improve your business. You may discover you are paying for extra services in your office building that you don’t need, or you may find you can employ an extra member of staff to take the pressure off your current workforce.
Continue To Make Sure You Get Paid On Time
Have you found your clients have asked for extra time to pay their outstanding balance? Or have you enjoyed success in getting paid on time? Whichever you’ve found, it’s important you keep on track of any invoices and make sure you follow up whether it’s been received and when you can expect payment. If you haven’t already, consider hiring a new member of staff to deal directly with invoicing clients. If one person takes charge of this job, it will mean they are responsible for ensuring you are paid on time, and they have the time and energy to dedicate to it. If you are trying to run the business, keeping track of your staff and trying to invoice every client, it will wear you down.
Address Any Financial Strains
When you’ve assessed your situation, you may find you have concerns about your finances. Take the time to address them as soon as you can. It may be financially beneficial if you look into a small personal loan to help you through a rough patch. If you have experience with bad credit, then look for companies that offer bad credit installment loans; by doing so, you can ease your mind and ensure your business credit isn’t affected. These work by allowing you to borrow a small, set amount and works with you to find an affordable and realistic repayment plan. It’s important you ensure you can pay the repayments set because if you don’t, it can damage your credit rating and you will personally find you have a bad credit rating. It’s easier than ever to apply online for affordable personal loans with professional and knowledgeable consultants to help you find the one perfect for you.
Look Towards The Future
Where do you want your business to go? Do you want to be the lead in your sector or do you want a hit a profit target? Wherever you vision your business going, setting clear goals for year two and beyond will help you strive for them. You should always monitor any trends that could improve your business, whether that’s brand new software to increase productivity or a new marketing technique to try and hook new customers into your business. There are always new trends appearing in every industry and every sector.
Know Your Limits
Now you’ve completed year one successfully, you will also be aware of any limits that may put a strain on how you increase and grow as a business. It’s important to be realistic with these. While you may want to be a millionaire at the end of year two, is it realistic for your company? Knowing your business’s limits will help you find areas that can be worked upon in year two and the most effective way of doing so. It will also help you not only set a target for yourself, but for your staff too.