Are Exotic Investments a Wise Investment for You and Your Company?

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An ever-increasing number of companies are choosing to invest their profits in the stock market or other forms of speculative investment. As such, there are now entire sections of libraries dedicated to these supposed guides, which profess to offer that elusive fast and easy track straight to the peak of success as an entrepreneur. The reality, of course, is that even a particularly well written and researched book produced by an expert cannot guarantee its reader success any more than a book on the cessation of smoking is a surefire way to defeat the addiction.

That’s not to say that there isn’t useful advice and insight to be found from a variety of respectable and internationally recognized businessmen and women, however there are also a number of books whose overriding concern is for a large financial return rather than any feelings of altruism or concern for the success rate of the endeavor. The truth is that while it is certainly possible to learn and acquire business acumen, there are clear and increasingly recognized benefits to receiving a formal business qualification. There is also a prevalent belief that natural talents such as salesmanship and showmanship are equally essential.

Investing money is an art and it requires and equal blend of a grasp of business, razor sharp intuition, a measured level of ruthlessness and, especially in the early days of your company, the ability to make informed and considered choices about where to allocate your budget and how to justify your allocations to the appropriate members of your team. In short, the more cautiously you approach your initial investment opportunities and the more willing you are to learn, the more likely you are to maximize your profits.

What Are Exotic Investments?

Exotic investments, or exotic options, vary in structure from the traditionally encountered American and European options. The difference in structure is reflected in the fact that exotic options are generally much more complicated in their rules and regulations when compared to the American and European options. Exotic options are options that take a very different format than usual in terms of both structure and payout.

One of the more popular types of exotic option is the so-called ‘binary option’. Usually, investor payouts are proportional to the increase in value of the underlying asset. Should this value fall, the investor would find themselves losing money instead, which would also be proportional to the loss in value of the underlying asset. In a binary option, however, the payout is a flat sum which is paid as long as the option taker has correctly predicted the rise or fall of a stock from a baseline at a specific point in time. If you’re interested in finding out more about opportunities in exotic investments look for a service such as Stern Options.

What are the benefits?

Exotic investments differ greatly in structure and regulatory burden when compared with the so-called American or European styles. One example of this is compound options. Compound options are designed so that the owner (buyer) of the option has the right, but crucially is not obligated, to purchase another option at a precise price or by a specific date. The most common arena for compound options Is the foreign exchange and fixed income market. This is a perfect illustration of where greater freedom in structure and regulation pay off.

Barrier options are another commonly encountered form of exotic option taking, especially on the foreign exchange and equity markets. Under a barrier agreement, the price and payout structure is rather unique; the way in which the value of barrier options is pinned to their underlying assets means that the value of the option is extremely volatile, often rising and falling by considerable margins.

What Are the Alternatives?

If you are looking to increase your businesses visibility and profitability, the obvious questions are; how much money do you currently have to invest back into your company, and how can you most efficiently deploy it to maximize return? Investments and stock options are good ways to achieve this, but require a good deal of prior experience less the venture becomes more akin to gambling than a serious moneymaking exercise.

There are a number of other areas where investing your company’s surplus cash flow could prove beneficial in the short and long term. Employee training is always a good investment, but many managers are reluctant to pursue it too heavily for fear that their business will become a revolving door of young graduates looking for some free on-the-job training before settling for a career elsewhere. However, the realization of these fears, while a genuine concern, has been far less prevalent than was expected.  In fact, employee training is a fantastic way to build loyalty as well as give your company the ability the option to nurture the kind of talent that one day may change the face of an entire industry.

So Are Exotic Investments Worth it?

Whether exotic investments are the right move for your company is, of course, entirely your decision, but they are something that is definitely well worth considering, especially as a growing approach that was outside the standard business paradigm and is now slowly making its way in.

Exotic Investments are certainly not without their own set of drawbacks, though. For example, there is a perception that despite, or perhaps in spite of, the greater flexibility surrounding the rules and regulations for exotic investments, they tend to be much more risky and often much more demanding insurance wise. Another issue is that exotic investments are often considered disproportionately costly and time consuming to negotiate and implement.

There is no doubt that in some situations, these alternative option arrangements are hugely beneficial and contribute to the development of much needed public services and infrastructure in some parts of the United States. Certainly, in the future when considering how you could potentially invest some of your cash surplus, spare a thought for exotic options opportunities and seriously consider whether you could make a promising long term investment.

 

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Marketing Gems Your Online Business Needs To Succeed

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Marketing is all about visibility, It’s about getting your message out there. But it can take a lot of effort to get your brand in front of the right people, the people that are going to put their hands in their pockets and actually make a purchase. However, online businesses can struggle to get their name out there is a sea of similar competitors.  With that in mind, keep reading for some marketing gems to make the whole process a little easier.

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Your reputation is worth more than gold

In business, you are only as good as your reputation. That is the thing that can help you stand out from the rest of your competitors. The one thing that can convince a customer to buy from you and not them. But how can you keep your reputation in tip top condition?

Well, to do this it takes a combination of marketing and PR and branding. You need to have a solid brand on which to build the rest of your reputation on. That means not only ensuring that the branding is great, but also that your customer service reflect the same values as you brand promotes.

Remember you need to have plenty of customers, willing to testify to the positive experience of both your product and the service you are offering. You can encourage this by joining feedback and review sites. Or offering this service on your own website.

SEO

A huge factor in marketing and online business is to have strong SEO. That means that when customers type in keywords linked to the field that your company deals with, your brand is on the first page.

This isn’t always to do, especially if there are a lot of companies offering similar products in the area that you are working. However, it is possible by creating relevant and SEO optimized content as much as possible. Something you can find more about at http://glowingstart.com/dead-simple-white-hat-seo-techniques-new-businesses/. Or you can even get a professional firm to do this for you.

Keep the costs down

As online businesses usually work on a low-cost model, it’s a good idea to try and keep your marketing costs down as well. But how can you do that? Many companies choose to do at least some or all of their marketing themselves to save money.

However, marketing is a specialized field in itself, and homegrown content can sometimes be a false economy. As it less likely to get the impactful results that a professional campaign would.

So instead of going down that route why not save money in marketing by looking for professional press release companies that are offering free service such as http://theprauthority.com/they-get-the-word-out-can-you-say-the-same-about-your-press-release-distribution-services/. Then you will have access to their extensive database and tools while leaving money in your marketing budget for other actions as well.

Do your research

Lastly, remember not all marketing is about the outgoing stuff that you are producing. To ensure that it is really effective your marketing campaign needs to be rooted in research. Find out how to do this at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241080.

The aim of such research is to find out what the target group of customers thinks about certain things and then apply that knowledge to how you run your campaign. For example, if they have reacted with apathy to a competitor’s new product, you may choose to launch yours in quite a different way.

 

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Knowledge, Mindset, Ideas: The Ladder To Entrepreneurship Success

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Don’t you wonder what can turn a simple startup into a national – or even international – success? Most entrepreneurs like to address the fact that they entered the business world at the right place and at the right time as if their success could only be a happy coincidence or a sign of good karma. Naturally, you can’t schedule success in your diary in the same way that you would with a dentist appointment. Success is probably not coming tomorrow at 9:30 AM. However, you should plan for success if you want it to happen. Yes, you’ve read correctly: Success does not appear out of nowhere; it can be planned. At least, you can make sure that you’ve got all the right tools at hand to make it possible. It naturally doesn’t mean that it will happen. Let’s be honest: There is indeed a part of luck in every success story. But luck is only a tiny portion of it. Hard work is the most common element that defines success. But it’s not any kind of hard work. It needs to be in relation to the appropriate knowledge, entrepreneur mindset and business idea.

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The Right Knowledge

Not everyone needs to go to university to succeed. But everyone needs to have a way of developing the relevant knowledge for their field of business. Whether it is by studying for a bachelor of business management degree or by taking applying for an apprentice position in a large company. Everyone learns in different ways, so you need to be aware that there is better or worse path to knowledge. What matters is that you find the right method to acquire the relevant entrepreneur knowledge. A last piece of advice, though: Entrepreneurs need to be business educated, what this means is that you need to understand how the business world works, which often combines a mixture of reading and empirical experiences.

The Right Mindset

Starting your business is not a piece of cake. It demands a strong mental and dedication. Indeed, when you launch a company you need to consider when the market is ready for your business. Remember that keeping your company out of the red is a fight for survival during the first months or years, so timing its launch can have a huge impact on it. Additionally, even though the use of digital technology means that you can work anywhere you want to, your choice of location still matters when it is related to the choice of audience and resources. For instance, the cost of living and the access to the relevant suppliers play important roles in your decision. Getting the essentials right relies entirely on your entrepreneur mindset, the ability to think in terms of profit and loss.

The Right Idea

You can’t start a business without a business idea. Thankfully you can find inspiration in a variety of factors, starting from the observation of trends and technologies. Thinking about what there is to come can help you to consider new ways of living and working. Watching what the big business players ignore can be helpful too, as there are always opportunities that are left untouched. Niches can make extremely profitable business strategies if you know how to plan.

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4 Ways to Cut Your Company’s Operational Costs

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4 Ways to Cut Your Company’s Operational Costs

Managing operational costs is a priority for successful small businesses. A CB Insights survey found that 29 percent of 101 small business startups that failed cited running out of cash as a top reason, while 18 percent cited pricing or cost issues. A U.S. Bank study found that 82 percent of all small business failures can be attributed to poor cash flow management. Keeping costs under control is key to maintaining profitability. Here are four ways to cut your costs and improve your operational efficiency.

Payroll and Benefits

Payroll and employee benefits such as insurance typically form companies’ largest operational expense. For example, in 2012, U.S. retailers on average spent 43 percent of their operational expenses on payroll and 9 percent on fringe benefits, Census Bureau data shows.

One way to trim payroll expenses is to reduce full-time staff size by using part-time workers or outsourcing functions that do not require in-house staff. For instance, accounting can be outsourced and billed on an hourly basis, significantly reducing the expenses that would be accrued from having a full-time in-house accountant. Forty-one percent of companies outsource their general accounting, a Deloitte survey found.

A second way to reduce staff size is to make better use of automation. For instance, McKenzie research found that 29 percent of customer service functions could be automated by using technology such as chatbots, translating into $23 billion in annual salaries saved by U.S. businesses.

Rent

Census Bureau data identifies leases and rental costs as the second-biggest expense for retailers, consuming 9.5 percent of operational expenses. One way companies can cut this cost is by renting an office business center or executive suite, which subleases shared space to provide smaller companies and startups with limited office space plus services such as receptionist services, conference center use and IT network use. Knoxville company Marine Accessories Corporation was able to reduce its rental costs by 50 percent by moving its operations from a traditional office into an office business center.

Another option is to rent virtual office services, which provide a physical mailing address along with services such as phone answering without use of dedicated office space. A third option is to work from home and employ remote workers who also work from home. Partneris owner Guntis Endzelis runs his small company entirely from home using the Hubstaff time tracking platform to remotely employ several permanent employees, a part-time assistant, and contractors.

Marketing

The Small Business Administration recommends that companies with an annual revenue below $5 million should allocate 7 to 8 percent of their revenue to marketing. Your marketing investment has a direct impact on your sales revenue, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting a good return on your investment in order to stay profitable.

A first step toward improving your marketing efficiency is tracking which of your campaigns are generating the best return. Don’t waste money on advertising campaigns that aren’t returning your investment. Here’s a breakdown of the highest return on investment (ROI) for each marketing campaign type:

  • Email 21%

  • Telephone 19%

  • Social media 15%

  • Mobile 12%

  • Paid search 9%

  • Internet display ads 6%

If your marketing isn’t generating the return you need, considering reallocating your marketing channel mix. Triumvirate Environmental found that it was able to increase its marketing ROI to $1.2 million by switching from Google AdWords campaigns to a mix of blogging, SEO, white papers, social media, email marketing and PPC advertising.

Supplies and Inventory

Supplies and inventory can be another major expense. Choosing suppliers and supply methods carefully can help cut costs. Many suppliers today use economical methods such as 3-D printing, on-demand order fulfillment, and just-in-time shipping to keep supply and inventory costs low.

For example, Apple Rubber uses 3-D printing to produce customized rubber seals, sealing devices and o-ring seal designs for its clients. Three-dimensional printing enables Apple Rubber to keep its prototyping and production costs low, a savings passed on to clients.

 

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Energy Efficiency for Business

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A building with energy efficiency measures incorporated is much more effective at controlling air, moisture, and heat flow across the structure. Since most humans spend a majority of their time indoors, it becomes more important to ensure optimal temperatures, enhanced air quality, and low humidity. Moreover, energy efficiency for business means lesser energy consumption and lower operating costs. From an environment perspective, this means fewer greenhouse gases get produced.

Let’s discuss the benefits of energy efficiency in a bit more detail.

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Cost Savings

Energy expenses may seem petty. But if efficient measures are put into place, even a small business could cut out a tangible portion from its costs. Those minor changes can have a big influence on a firm’s profit margins. But monetary takeaway isn’t the only reason why you should consider getting efficient with your energy consumption.

 Environmental Issues

Climate change is real and the more we rely on non-renewable sources of energy for our routine power requirements, the more damage we are inflicting upon our environment. Thankfully, quite a lot of people are taking cognizance of this phenomena and resorting to corrective measures. Some are also associating with only those retailers who have strong environmental credentials.

Remember, enhanced energy efficiency won’t just cut down your company’s carbon footprint but it would also improve your reputation within industry circles. And this enhanced company image may lead to more customers and sales.

Pro-Health

Controlling the air quality in the building means a positive impact on the health of the inmates. Microwaves, printers, photocopiers, and several other things that you would have possibly not imagined are capable of emitting moisture. Air laden with this moisture isn’t the healthiest thing to breathe since it’s contaminated. When you control airflow using mechanical ventilation, the stale air within gets replaced with fresh outside air every few hours. The incoming fresh air consumes less energy than inside air to heat, which means reduced energy consumption.

Longer Life

An energy-efficient building tends to live longer. It also means lower operational costs and maintenance fees. From a productivity standpoint, comfortable indoor temperatures, natural light, and increased quality of indoor air means a healthy and energetic workforce. All of these attributes also mean a building that wears down at a snail’s pace, and which manages to keeps its value in the property market.

Get a Building Designer for the Job

To create an energy-efficient building, you would need a building designer – someone who is experienced, skilled and trustworthy. To locate the right designer for your project, you must do your research. All of this research would take time. But it would be worth it at the end of it all.

The best designers are the ones who get work through customer referrals. Therefore, if you have friends or relatives who have hired a designer before, ask them for suggestions. If they cannot guide you, go online to find building designers serving your locality or region. While you’re at it, make sure you go through reviews or read what other people have to say about the designer(s) you’ve shortlisted. Remember, the designer need not be located in your city or town. You would only be restricting your options by doing this and losing out the opportunity to work with some truly skilled professionals.

 

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How to Make Your Employees Care about Cyber Security

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Cyber security is something that all business owners need to be concerned with today. It seems that a day doesn’t go by at the moment without news of another breach. However, while you may care about the security of your business, getting your employees to care is another matter entirely. It can be difficult, but it is something you need to achieve, especially when a large number of breaches arise due to employee error. So, how can you ensure your employees care about cyber security at your business?

Encourage sharing – Create an environment whereby employees are encouraged to raise the alarm if they receive a potential phishing email or malicious attachment. Ensure there are communication procedures in place should the worst happen.

Provide continuous training – Cyber security training should be available to all employees throughout the year, at all levels of your business. Moreover, the training provided should be specific to each worker’s job. This is something an IT consultancy firm like CyberJaz can assist with. They will be able to tailor the training to suit the individual in question. For instance, for workers involved in IT, the attacks can be a lot more complex and technical in nature, and so they need to have an in-depth understanding of the threat landscape. For end users, the consultants will provide them with knowledge regarding the likes of attacks on their email and social media.

Appoint cyber security culture advocates – It is important to have cyber security culture advocates in place in every department. This will ensure that everyone is motivated and that standards do not slip. They can monitor all employees to ensure they are using and storing data correctly and that they are changing their passwords every few months.

Create a formal plan and policy – You need to develop a formal, documented plan for cyber security training, and you need to ensure this plan is reviewed and updated on a regular basis. You should distribute an employee cyber security policy that outlines everything from safe browsing to access parameters.

Make the message stick – You need to keep preaching the gospel with regards to cyber security until it becomes second nature. Education is key, as mentioned above, but this goes way beyond a training session. Here are some tips to help you get the message across to your employees:

  • Promote the theme with follow-up campaigns every three months that stress the importance of cyber security. Send out occasional phony phishing emails to check how your team responds to them to ensure they recognize the threat.

  • Don’t waste time sending out long emails that are only going to get ignored. Keep it short, and keep it fun.

  • Start with infographics or a few videos. Your employees are much more likely to respond to this type of content.

  • Don’t opt for scare tactics. This is the worst thing you can do. If your employees make a mistake, they may be too scared to report it.

If you follow the five tips mentioned above, you can make sure that your employees work together to promote effective cyber security practices at your business.

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Interview with Henrik Wessels about online marketing and starting a food website

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I recently interviewed Henrik Wessels, founder of a cooking website https://sous-vide-profi.de/ about starting his business. I hope this interview will shed some light on how to start such a business, and starting businesses in general.

1) Tell me about your business.

Originally, I am an Online Marketer. I studied business and started my first job in a German agency for Online Marketing. There i was responsible for the paid search engine advertising (SEA). So my background is Paid Traffic. But i always was interested in SEO Strategies and i learned some things in my agency time. Besides of marketing and sports i love good food and cooking. I searched for some new ideas to cook the perfect steak and so i stumbled over the topic “sous vide cooking”. With this its nearly impossible to fail at cooking a perfect steak. So i ordered my first sous vide machine. It was a Sous Vide Stick from the brand Caso. I also orderd a vacuum sealer. This is not necessary but for the perfect steak it should help. This whole sous vide thing is more a men thing. Its like doing BBQ. You buy some cool electronic stuff and get fun without doing so much in the kitchen. ;-) And after this experience i thought about starting a website or a blog. And here it is: https://sous-vide-profi.de/ This is my first real web project. Besides that, I still work as Online Marketing Consultant / SEA Specialist.

2) Tell me what inspired you to start your business.

I wanted to know more about SEO and how all the things work together. And i wanted to have more freedom in my life. So i started my own business here in germany. Its the freedom to do things i love and try new other stuff i always wanted to try – like SEO and website-building. And put things together like a hobby i.e. cooking.

3) What has been the biggest challenge in your business so far?

Often its all about the money. And this is one big challenge. To get enough money to make a living or some more. And with starting a business in SEO and SEA the biggest challenge was to get more knowledge in SEO and get enough customers in SEA. And then spend enough time on both project to be successful. My biggest plus was that i am already a SEA specialist and that i dont need to start from point zero with that. This gives me some room for some experiments with SEO and get more knowledge in that. Another thing is to motivate yourself every day and not getting lazy.

4) How do you generate revenue?

Like i mentioned in point 3 – most of my revenue comes from my SEA business. But my biggest goal is to succeed also with the SEO project(s). For that set a milestone for each project. Get min. of 500 Euro a month out of it. At the moment i havent reached this milestone but my first project is only 8 month old. The main revenue is coming from affiliate marketing.

5) What is your big goal for the business?

My first big goal is to get the same amount of money like in my old regular job. In some month i reach it but not in every month. The second goal is to reach this only with SEO project. And this is a long way to go and hard work. There are some “gurus” out there who are teaching stuff like “get rich in 3 month” – but i think this is bullshit. It can happen – but most of the time it was luck. Or the guru is lying but makes enough money with some courses he sells.

6) What’s the biggest thing you learned from your business so far that you can share with the readers of this blog?

Work hard and you will be successful. It is like in most things in life. If you put enough work in it you will get the success. And if you fail dont stop and learn from it. Besides of this phrases i learned so much stuff in the last 12 month about SEO and Affiliate Marketing. This is awesome and i love it. I learned so much more then i would have in any company. And if i will work later in a company again, i have so much more knowledge. And the best thing is – i am far away to be advanced in SEO and Affiliate Marketing. So there is more to come.

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The Law Of Attraction: How Can Your Legal Attorney Business Win More Clients?

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Clients are the lifeblood of any company, and your law firm is no different. After all, it doesn’t matter how well your team performs in the courtroom if there’s nobody to represent. However, choosing a legal representative is a huge decision that can bring huge ramifications for better or worse. Therefore, you must do everything in your power to show that your company is the right selection.

Any success in this industry stems from being able to win clients, especially as there are so many different options for the customers to choose. Here’s what you can do to stand out from the crowd.

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Dress To Impress

When you meet a client, your job is to sell yourself and your services. Given that they will form an immediate judgment, a professional appearance is essential. You don’t have to look like a magazine model, but you should wear a great outfit and take care of your general aesthetic.

It’s not all about your individual looks, though. The business needs to make a winning impression too, which is why a good office design is vital. As well as aiming for comfort to make clients feel relaxed, you should aim to build trust. If you’ve won any awards or accolades, don’t be afraid to show them.

Those feelings of trust can be further embraced with positive traits. A strong handshake, followed by looking a client in the eye instantly forms a trust. Try to spark a connection with them as communication is at the heart of representing them. This way, you should see conversions soar.

Get Online

Ultimately, the firm will never gain clients if it isn’t visible. Even as a service that deals primarily with local cases, the modern culture demands a strong online presence. Without it, you’ll struggle to command any reputation with new people.

The company website is arguably the greatest tool at your disposal. It gives clients a fantastic opportunity to research the company, key personnel, and find out more about the services on offer. Once again, first impressions are everything, which is why using a law firm website builder is key. When the site satisfies their expectations, clients feel more positive about the business as a whole.

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For many potential clients, the first step to finding a lawyer is to search for one on Google. Ensure that your site is supported by a strong localized SEO strategy, and traffic will climb steadily.

Don’t Be Too Generic

Finally, you need to realize that clients are simply looking for a lawyer. They’ll want one that specializes in their specific field. This could range from family matters like divorce to personal injuries.

Narrowing your services may feel restrictive, but it’ll actually boost your authority in those chosen fields. Taking extra courses and gaining experience in specific areas will boost reputations in that sector. Combine this with testimonials from previous clients, and you’ll soon start to win over a far greater number of clients.

There’s nothing wrong with specializing in several fields, especially if you have several attorneys working for the firm. Just remember to keep internal communication flowing, and the attraction will be stronger than ever. Start winning cases too, and sustained success is assured.

 

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Cultivating Proficient Employees That Create An Ambitious Work Environment

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When you own a business, you carry around with you a heavy set of burdens on your shoulders. The smooth-running of a business is something that as an aspiring business owner, wish you could master. However sometimes, this can only come with experience, and that comes through trial and error along with a certain amount of tribulations. Productivity is the key, for success which every small business must value; even above marketing in some cases. This is because, it doesn’t matter how many clients you can attract if you cannot give them a service that is up to standard; they won’t come back, and bad news travels fast. The employees of a business can be compared to the oil in a car’s engine because without high-quality people willing to give their time and effort, the cogs won’t turn and things grind to a halt. However, human beings are dynamic, and that’s what makes the world great. You can, set in place certain doctrines and company practices that can aid and abet happy yet busy bees.

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Image credit – Bill Branson

Organization and workflow

One affects the other and most certainly has a dulling effect on the efficiency of a business. By conducting an operation that reviews these two aspects, you can correctly correlate trends which show themselves to be detrimental, to an exacerbated concern. This process will pick apart the inadequacies of function or lack of, and identify procedures that need to be put in place that will eventually lead to increased customer retention. This is a learning exercise and will take time, but the benefits are immeasurable in the long run.

Look at your business from a customer’s point of view. Start by calling your business with a question or concern, or perhaps make an inquiry online. How smoothly regarding the final answer you want or result in a solution being offered, is the process? What if you called up as a client, looking for a service, how much information is given and what’s the proficiency of the staff on the telephone? You’ll immediately start to see, the clutter and needless waste of time and this will endeavor you to look for a slimmer approach to acquiring customers. Leading onward from this, study and access your internal communications. How long does it take to get a response from department to department? The time spent waiting, will add up and cost you in money and workforce productivity.

Source - Governor Tom Wolf

Cultivating a proficient workforce

Every successful business operates in a collaborative environment, consequently, every employee must be up-to-date with the current systems being used regarding the CMS and Cloud systems. Working in unison can only be done with absolute dexterity in done in real time. Employees that are unable to show up to work, break the chain and their workload not being picked up and done at the same rate everything else will slow progress down.

Companies may find that streamlining and consolidating the monitoring of staff reliability in the form of a centralized attendance hotline via a single point of contact can give businesses a prior warning of absences. This means that deadlines, managers, and tasks can be updated with news of the lack of manpower at the office. Knowledge is power, and being informed of whether or not your business is firing on all cylinders, with the aid of custom notifications and reporting tools, can cushion the inauspicious effects of lacking team members.

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Photo by – DFAT

Give your employees support

Behind the ironed shirts, polished boots, and well-groomed hair, there’s a human being. In times of personal crisis, you should try and do anything possible to assist your employees that would make their life easier. Although this is a hallmark of a large company that can afford to lose a bit of time, small companies should buck the modern business trend and show similar levels of support. The main resource is the fountain of talent you have; the employees make your wish come true and breathe life into your business. It’s not advisable to see them as walking money signs, but they should be treated that way. In their time of need, an understanding and helping hand by their boss will go a tremendously long way in generating genuine appreciation for each other.

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Credit - ITU Pictures

Uncover who you are

One of the barriers which inauspiciously erects itself is the rift between leadership and staff. You want to be like an officer in the army, kind and encouraging, but you still demand the utmost best from your staff and expect them to meet deadlines and goals without improper reason of failure. Niceness is not a substitute for a firm hand and vice versa. However, many employees may feel intimidated by their boss and thus lack the motivation to please them. One way you can destroy the image of a ruler, who controls his subjects with an iron fist, is to be able to joke around in meetings. Levity goes a long way, and a little self-deprecation breaks the ice and the ‘untouchable’ stony image of the beast. Setting goals and chasing margins is an emotionless mission at times, connecting with your staff on a human level is something they won’t teach you at business school.

Create tangible goals

Running a business is actually a lot like the universe; in the regard that it has no true end. However, you must chart progress for any business that doesn’t know if it’s getting closer to a goal is rudderless and setting an objective in the first place is null and void. Each month, sit down with your staff and managers to go over the capital gained and improvements that can and have been made. Your business will need a new goal every month, therefore, by setting up a routine, you have something your employees to aim for with a clear aspiration and a promise of the rewards that’ll come with it. Some people need challenging and pointing in the right direction due to a lack of motivation. Deliver sound fact-based criticism to your employees, but do so in a manner that is not disrespectful. Don’t set out to make examples of anyone in front everybody in the meeting, because stirring up resentment and embarrassment fosters an atmosphere of fear, and doesn’t push for growth.

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3 False Economies For Business Startups

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When you’re in the process of fulfilling your entrepreneurial ambitions and launching your business, the term “startup costs” will be something you come to hate. Of course, launching a business is expensive – even the most basic, small enterprise is going to have expenses. The bigger your project becomes, the more likely it’s going to add a few zeroes on the end of the total amount you’re spending just to get off the ground.

The idea of beginning your business journey by spending a lot of money (or accruing a lot of debt) is not particularly attractive for most entrepreneurs. It feels like you’re getting off on the wrong foot, spending money before you have even had the chance to make it. With proper accounting your personal finances won’t be at risk, but the business ones – and thus your future – starting in the red can feel like something you have to avoid.

That’s true, too. It’s very easy for startup costs to get out of control, meaning a business begins its life with a debt that it cannot repay in a reasonable length of time. This puts an immediate pressure on the business to thrive from the moment it’s established, which ignores the simple reality that all new companies tend to need at least a few months without immediate concerns for profit. So there’s no doubt that limiting your startup costs and being parsimonious is a good way of handling the process.

It is, however, possible to go too far. There is usually a point in a business where it becomes tempting to “do it yourself” rather than spending money on hiring professionals to do it. These areas are rarely absolutely fundamental to your business, so it seems like you can afford to handle them for yourself.

Again: sometimes, that can work. If you’re willing to put the extra hours in, then it can make sense to try and come up with something that will suffice for the opening stages. You can always replace it later on with the work of a professional. However, you’ve got to be very careful that you don’t force yourself into a false economy, where it’s actually costing you money to DIY an aspect of your business.

Which areas should you never attempt to do for yourself? There’s a few of them, so let’s crack on…

#1 – Anything Relating To Safety

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If you’re launching from a premises or even just converting a room in your house into an office, then you’re going to need help. Unless you are a qualified electrician, then you shouldn’t have anything to do with the electrics. Unless you are a qualified plumber, then the water heater should be off limits to you – and so on and so forth. These might be tasks you’ll have a go at in regards to your home, but as a business owner, there are far more regulations that you have to satisfy.

So while it may put a hole in your startup costs, it’s a hole that’s absolutely necessary when it comes to ensuring everything is as safe as can be.

#2 – Website Creation

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It might sound extreme, but – as many businesses have discovered – the cost of bad website design is one of the most expensive mistakes your company can make. You might think that you can hop onto one of those WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) sites and click around until you have a simple business design, but that’s not true functionality or creativity. That’s going to be a shell, the only use of which is to tick off the fact you know you need a website.

Proper website design will not only bring customers to the site, but ensure they stay there by providing a seamless process for the user. Then there is the appearance aspect; poor website design is not going to impress prospective customers, to the extent they might perceive your site to be behind the times. It’s not worth it in the initial few months when you need to hang on to every conceivable customer, so dip your hand in your pocket for this one.

#3 – Written Text

 

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There are numerous areas in a business that may require written text. There’s your social media posts, the text for your website, even the outline of presentation that you might take to investors.

 

Writing is something that we all can do, so of course it feels tempting to just write all of this yourself. Writing well, however, is a very specific skill set that only professionals can manage. There is a difference between jotting a diary entry and producing copy that someone is going to want to read, or might attract customers to your site. So hire a writer for the essentials, or you might find yourself regretting this oversight.

 

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