Are You One of Those Businesses?

One can still find a staggering number of businesses in the UK who seem to have entirely forgotten that we are in the digital age today. Not all businesses and companies in our nation have an internet website and many of those who do seem not to be aware of the importance of having a proper web presence.

You don’t  necessarily need to sell physical goods online nor do you require a super-fancy website that represents your business or company. However, with no or a poorly made website you will surely miss out on many potential customers and therefore profit.

Today, many businesses in the UK get the majority of their revenue from online sales or by acquiring clients via their Internet website. A large portion of those successful businesses doesn’t even have a physical office but functions with their online website only.

You need to know that as compared to a decade or two ago, an appealing company website will not cost a fortune anymore. For a few hundred British pounds is possible today to get a professionally designed Web presence no matter what type of business you own.

As compared to the potential benefits a website will provide for  your business, this is a very small investment. Think about it!

Keep Business Tidy

export softwareI’m a messy person generally, my study at home is full of junk, hidden underneath even bigger piles of stuff. I’m not great at washing dishes up after myself, or taking the bins out when they’re full. My house, as you might have gathered is really untidy and it takes me forever to find anything, but that’s kind of ok – because it’s home.

This is not the case at work.

I can’t afford for it to be.

Efficiency is extremely important to us as a business, because we have a lot of clients to juggle, all with different expectations, budgets and deadlines. Nowhere is this more true for us than with our international clients. So I expect everyone in my office to be tidy too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I can’t stand mess or I’m a neat-freak (see above) or I’d be a massive hypocrite.

Of course, we like people to feel comfortable in the office, and we have a lot of fun here, but there has to be a different environment to the one at home, purely for one reason; efficiency. We made a conscious decision when we started the business to keep everything as streamlined as possible, and I’m pleased to say it has paid off for us; we found by keeping the office well maintained and up to date with all the most useful software and technology relevant to us, we created a professional and efficient business.

Take for example our international clients since we mentioned them. We have one shipping software package which covers every single requirement we have for dealing with customers abroad. This includes all of our quotes and invoices, shipping and delivery, as well as every transaction and product requirement each individual client has had with us. This package was provided by freight forwarding software if you want to look it up.

One process. It’s as simple as that, and it means we don’t have to be cross checking databases and stock levels constantly, we can just get on with giving our clients a really swift result.

Is there somewhere you could be tidying up your business to make it more efficient?

Boost Your Business and Employee Satisfaction

talent managementA traditional approach to recruiting may be all well and good but modern methods of hiring staff have been proven to be more effective in increasing staff loyalty and worker job satisfaction. Talent Management is the most common and popular way at the moment to recruit new employees, and tracks them not just through the interview process but through their career at a company as well. Like the name suggests Talent Management sees workers as talent, rather than just workers. Investing in this talent can pay dividends for businesses as well as the talent themselves.

The part of Talent Management that tracks a worker throughout their career is known as Human Capital Management, which is offered by a lot of professional business management companies like http://www.exelsys.com. This highlights the fact that workers are assets to be invested in, something that has the potential to improve over time in ways that will positively affect the business as a whole. Human Capital Management monitors an employee’s performance within a company, rating how well they are doing their work and looking at any strengths or weaknesses in regular assessments. These regular assessments will be used to create new targets for an employee to aim for which when reached will help them to feel more satisfied in their job.

Once these goals are set it’s important that employees are not left alone and are helped to attain these goals. This is in the best interests of both the worker and the business with company productivity and worker happiness intrinsically linked. In addition to this Talent Management also encompasses Absence Management. This is a system that ensures any planned time off is booked in a way that makes sure there aren’t any unproductive overlaps that might put an unnecessary strain on the workforce when too many people are away. It also allows managers to monitor how much time and for what reasons employees are taking time off.

Stay Fire Safe

Today our whole building had a fire safety inspection, and I had absolutely no idea how outdated we were.

Apparently our buildings insurance would have been completely invalidated if we had needed to make a claim, because our fire equipment and prevention systems hadn’t been checked frequently enough by someone qualified. Clearly this was a failing on our part, so I wanted to make a point of mentioning it here in case it prompted somebody else who, like me, may have fallen behind on quality control and hadn’t realised it.

Argos FireThe inspection team have pointed out that we need to be more consistent in our safety checks, and they are absolutely right. I have just arranged for a local fire protection company (http://argosfire.co.uk/) to come and do our dry riser testing and service all our safety equipment properly. Once they have done that, we will be all up to date again and can plan ahead properly, and get all the safety checks scheduled in the diary well in advance.

I didn’t realise you needed so much specialist pressure testing for leaks and faulty parts, but they were impressively efficient and we were able to carry on with business as usual in the office. Fortunately for us there were no obvious problems with any of our systems flagged up by the initial inspection, which is a huge relief as failing to meet the safety regulations can end up in costly penalties and a law suit.

We have already scheduled the next safety check in six months, so we can keep one check ahead and not ever get behind with them again.

My advice to you would be to take the rest of this week and get ahead of the game with all the office administration that needs to happen to keep your business running properly and above all safely, for the next six months to avoid any unwelcome surprises and maintenance bills.

Online Revamp

Mac Laptop

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you probably already know what a valuable resource the internet is. Obviously it’s a great way to get information, and it’s also a fantastic way to get your business noticed and off the ground.

A lot of new businesses completely miss the opportunity to build a really good site right at the start, with all the proper website maintenance and support that is required to keep it running well. The reason that they miss out because they see a website as simply an expensive advert.

The reality is that a really good website can have a huge impact on your business, it’s a really quick and effective way to reach new clients, because there are already so many people out there looking for sites like yours. There is a lot of competition online, so you need to do something that sets your website and your business apart.

The key to standing out from other similar websites give away as much information to your readers as you can. It might sound strange to give away something for nothing, but that’s how you become reputable online.

For example , if you own a construction company you might have a website that offers a lot of helpful advice on how to best to do basic DIY jobs at home, or which gives weekly updates on the latest tools and equipment and advice on which ones to buy. By doing this, your website builds up a positive effect on your reader and they associate you with all that useful advice and helpful information you have given them for free, so when they come to a problem they can’t fix for themselves (perhaps like a loft conversion in this example), then they already have a rapport established with your company and are likely to come to you for advice.

By building up that confidence in your website, it also implies confidence in your company and your services – which clearly is going to be absolutely great for a new business.

There are various good quality web companies around online, however there are also the cowboys, so do your research! Recommendations are key.

Working Holidays

Golf Breaks FranceBusiness holidays are a great idea in principle, but are rarely as effective in practice as you might hope. Let me tell you how I have found golf holidays to be the perfect solution!

The Principle

  • A predetermined time away from the office to have some fun.
  • Plenty of time to talk business without having to rushing away.
  • A relaxed atmosphere

This is all very well meaning, and sounds like the perfect opportunity to combine business with pleasure. Just the sort of thing to boost spirits back in the office, and to improve the all-important business connections.

The Reality

  • Very difficult to find an activity that everyone can take part in
  • Time is often spent working for the whole break, or nothing gets done at all
  • Competition can create tension, which inevitably runs over into the business talks

In practise, nine times out of ten you either end up excluding someone or having a completely counter-productive time, and on top of that business holidays rarely come cheap.

The Solution

Golf. Yes, it is the stereotypical businessman’s sport – but there are several excellent reasons that make a business golfing holiday a great idea.

  • Anyone can play. It’s a sport which is open to all ages, skill levels and is accessible to disabled people.
  • Flexibility. Hours of play can be moved around to accommodate meetings if required, and not all 18 holes need be played for those who want some more time in the clubhouse.
  • A natural atmosphere of community. There are always scorecards to compare, bunkers to discuss and double-bogies to lament – which means plenty of casual conversation to build friendships and professional relationships.
  • Talk business as you go. The very nature of golf requires people to spend time with each other in between shots, which is perfect for friendly business chat.

If you are looking to book golf holidays for next year’s season in Europe, myself and my colleagues have used both biarritzgolfingexperience.com.

Enjoy your golfing holiday, and as always, if you have any questions or comments, get in touch!

Work Hard, Play Hard

Horse Racing Tips

I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a good one.

There’s no point working yourself into the ground without having some kind of fun on the side right? I find a good way of splashing out and having a bit of fun is to pit yourself against the local bookie.

There are two schools of thinking when it comes to the occasional punt on a horse. The first is to go little and often, say once a week and keep up to date on all the latest races, and which horses are on form etc. Good fun if you’ve got the time, but probably impractical if you’re running a business full time.

The other approach is to find a proven and trustworthy source of regular horse racing tips. Keep an eye on the advice they give out week to week, and once a month go to the bookies to back a horse that they’re really keen on. That way you don’t have to spend as much time tracking all the tiny details of horse racing, and you get the added thrill of holding out for one big win.

It’s probably the more risky approach of the two, but so long as you’ve got a predetermined monthly budget to blow on a horse, the idea of winning big is so much more attractive than little and often.

The tips I’ve been following are from horseracingpro.co.uk. Set a monthly budget, read up on the advice, and give it a go.

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Can Power Bands Provide a Focus Boost?

Infinity Pro Power Bands

Everyone wants to be more focused and more alert at work, after all that’s how you become a success.

We’ve been trialing some power bands from infinitypro.com, which are supposed to give you a boost, just from a simple band you wear on your wrist.

Straight off, I have to say most of us noticed a difference within the first day. We were all skeptical before trying them out, but since then the atmosphere in the office has definitely improved, and we’re all getting more work done!

Even though we’ve noticed a change in the workplace, there are a few amongst us who are still unconvinced that they have any real lasting effect. Frankly, I’m not bothered whether the bands themselves make the difference or if it’s the associated mental attitude of “I’m wearing this to be more productive” which has the effect. Either way the result is the same, and they are so cheap that even if they are just a placebo – you still wouldn’t mind paying for one. Plus, they look good.

These power bands come in all shapes and sizes, but they are always very slim and made from soft silicon. As such, they are very comfortable to wear even under a long sleeve shirt.

They’re really easy to order online, but if you’re buying multiple bands then make sure you get on the phone and negotiate yourself a bargain!

Being an Entrepreneur Sucks!

Not something that most people would say, right?

But what if you ask an actual struggling entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur has definitely got it’s benefits, think:

  • Having complete control of how much money you earn
  • Deciding when you want want to work
  • Having a say over where you physically work

However, as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, getting there is seriously hard work! The stress that can come with “being in complete control over how much money you earn” can be hard, especially when times get tough.

Becoming your own boss is a tough game, and not for the faint hearted, but if you have the commitment and drive, you can certainly go places.

There are certain things that you can do to make the road less bumpy, here are a few:

  • Find a mentor
    Having a mentor as an entrepreneur can be an absolute game changer. Someone who has “been there and done it” can offer a lot of insight and perspective on your business endeavours. Don’t underestimate that. If you don’t have a mentor, get one TODAY!
  • Get organised
    Being an organised person is KEY if you want to make it in the business world. Stop using your inbox as a to-do list, and get serious! If you haven’t read Getting Things Done by David allen, GET IT DONE!
  • Read, a lot!
    You may well have your degree, but you certainly aren’t done when it comes to learning – far from it! Blogs such as this one which talks about the latest trends and tips in the business world are a MUST. So, bookmark this blog, or put it in your RSS reader, and stay up to date.

We have some great posts lined up with some really great resources that are going to help you be a more awesome entrepreneur.

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