Monthly Archive for April, 2019

Dealing with Legal Issues Swiftly and Effectively

Most businesses at some point or another will hit a legal bump in the road, and it is how they deal with it that shows just how competent and professional they are. For smaller businesses, it can be a more significant issue because they don’t have the budget nor the experienced legal team that large corporations have. We have compiled some tips to help you get through the problem.

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1. Do not ignore it

Unfortunately, legal issues do not usually disappear, and in fact, the longer they are ignored, the more difficult and complex they are to sort out. Dealing with problems swiftly as they arise will save you time, resources and ultimately, your reputation.

2. Determine the urgency

This is one of the most important things to consider, as how urgent it is will determine how best to go about dealing with it. The urgency may be apparent – debt collectors at the door, for example, but sometimes, a little further investigation is needed to find out the time frame you have available to sort it out.

3. Seek legal advice

No matter how much you think you know or understand about an issue, seeking legal advice is imperative. A good attorney such as Tully Rinckey will offer you a consultation to determine how best to go about dealing with the issue.

4. Buy Yourself Some Time

Consider sending a letter where you are being hassled for a response and need to buy some time.  You can send a message acknowledging the issue, informing them that you are considering the problem and will get back to them appropriately.

This may be useful where, say, someone sets a supercilious deadline, as it can assure the other agent that you are taking action and investigating the matter.  However, remember that this can not always be done, particularly when formal legal proceedings are underway.

5. Be proactive

Proactively dealing with legal matters and keeping them in the back of your mind when making arrangements and plans is always a good idea. This will help avoid more severe issues from arising later on.

6. Increase your knowledge

It is always worth paying for training so that as an organization, you get better an at identifying potential legal issues before they become a problem.

Some of this can, of course, comes from experience, but do also go along to conferences and training courses.  There are plenty of charity law specialist firms that hold free or reasonably priced sessions to give you a solid starting point.

All of these tips will better help you to spot any potential legal issues as soon as possible.  This additional time gives you more options, and ultimately, more control over getting the result that you need. Make the most of the time you have and get some advice or guidance early on, be it through researching yourself, asking advisers or peers that you trust, or getting formal legal advice.  Prevention is always a lot better than cure!

New To Business? Here’s How To Make Your Workload More Manageable

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When you’re new to the world of business, it’s safe to say that things can get a little overwhelming at times. At first, you think that you have this great business idea, and that’s all you need to get working on. Whether you’re a freelance writer, a consultant, or you’re creating a product, it’s easy to believe that working on your craft or selling the product is all that’s required of you. But that’s just not true. While your main job is to work on the task at hand, as the business owner you wear a lot of hats. And this is where things start to feel a little bit intimidating. However, they do not have to. Instead, you can learn to manage it all on your own.

Now, the first way that you’re going to do that, is by realizing that you’re not actually doing this alone. It’s so easy to think that you have to struggle and muddle along – but you don’t! Because there are a wealth of resources and experts out there to help you. And sure, at first, you may believe that you’re saving money by doing everything yourself, but you will not be in the long wrong. See this as an opportunity cost. Instead, it’s much better to be efficient, use the right resources, and then allow yourself to grow and make more money. So let’s take a look at how you can do this.

Hire An Accountant

First of all, if you’re doing all of your financials yourself, this needs to change. Because you may spend a lot of time trying to track everything and process your taxes because you’re not an expert. But when you hire an accountant, they can save you time and money in the long run.

Use Systems

Next, you’re then going to want to put systems in place. These days, you don’t have to keep repeating things over and over again. When there’s something that you need to get done on a regular basis, create a system for getting it done.

Turn To Software

Next up, you will always find that there’s software out there that you can use to speed up certain jobs or to do a better job altogether. And if you’re doing everything manually, you will be making more work for yourself. Whether you’re looking at online invoicing or social media scheduling, there will be a software program out there than can help with your needs. So don’t think that you have to do everything manually.

Get An Assistant

One of best things that you can do for your current workload and your future growth, is to get an assistant. Because there will be a ton of things that you do on a daily basis, that you really do not need to do yourself. And there is where an assistant can come in. If you hire a virtual assistant, you can give them tasks to do so you can focus on what you do best.

Work With Experts

If you are doing absolutely everything yourself, and you know that you’re perhaps not doing the best job at it all, you’ll want to chance that. And you need to be hiring experts to help you. This could be a marketing consultant that can make your marketing a whole lot more effective. Or a graphic designer that can make your work look more professional. Plus, you don’t have to worry about doing a subpar job on things you’re not an expert at yourself.

Increase Productivity

The next thing you need to focus on, is your productivity levels. Because if you want your workload to be a lot more manageable, then you need to be doing as much as you can, in the time that you have. And this is all about working smarter, not harder. So ask yourself, what can you do to be more productive? What might you need to stop? Is there steps you can put in place to make sure that you’re boosting your productivity levels, thus making work easier?

Streamline Processes

And finally, something that you’re going to want to work on to grow in business, is to streamline is everything. Because if you’ve been spending a lot of time on the same processes over and over again (especially admin), then you’re making life harder for yourself. Instead, you need to think about ways to speed this up, so that you can focus on the things you do best. So quicker ways of doing things will help you massively on a day to day basis.

How To Present In An Assertive Manner

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We often think of public speaking to our colleagues to be a worrying thing. But sometimes, it might be that we absolutely cannot let our nerves show for a moment. Of course, if celebrating something internal, it might be that your presentation is a lot more relaxing and showing the nerves might not be as worrisome. But let’s say you’re standing in front of the entire department. Perhaps they haven’t been as active and hardworking as they could have been. You know that all the variables were accounted for, and for some reason, the staff just didn’t engage this year, despite the investment in training and positive working atmosphere you have built. You have investigated all other causes and have come up with nothing.

You realize that actually, you might need to be assertive, remind them of their jobs, show them their negative performance and inform them with constructive criticism and then encouragement. This is the only way to hammer the point home. But, as you’ve noticed, preparing an assertive presentation is harder than being Mr. Nice Guy. How do you begin?

Let us help you out:

Posture

Posture can truly help your case, no matter what that case is. We are physiologically wired to respond to presence, and the stature of that presence. For example, we see someone who is in the foetal position to be scared, vulnerable, perhaps injured or harmed in some way. In fact, you may have noticed this of yourself in the past. Let’s say you were at a party. Perhaps you weren’t comfortable in the social setup there. You felt out of place, and surrounded by people who didn’t understand you nor wished to. Subconsciously, it’s likely that your posture started shrinking in on itself.

Of course, you likely didn’t adopt the foetal position, but you may yourself a little smaller, and a little lower to make yourself less visible. It’s a natural tendency. But the reverse affect can be true. Standing up straight, being forthright with your gestures, and projecting your voice helps you feel strong. It subconsciously raises you taller. This will help you be more assertive, quicker in your thoughts, and more willing to do a good job. Practising your posture can also help your lungs breathe more easily, allowing your voice to carry much more than it might have.

Make It Seamless

You can’t particularly give a pressing presentation should your slides have trouble presenting themselves, or if the information you need to hand does not appear. This is why you should use smart templates to wow your bosses and colleagues alike. Making the transitions seamless, allowing the information to speak for itself and to ensure a standardized format can take the hard work out of your hands, and allow you to focus on the content of your speech.

Keep It Pressing

We can all ramble about subjects we find interesting, or that we feel important to express. But keeping it simple, punctual, pressing and strong can also ensure people remember it, and feel the weight of emotion and logic behind your argument. Keep it pressing and refine your script. Stick to what matters. Then you will enjoy the perfect end result.

With these tips, your presentation is sure to be as assertive as you need it.

Why It’s So Important To Outsource In Your Business

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When people start a business, it’s because they obviously want to help people with their solution, whether that’s a product or service, but another reason is that they also want to do things on their own terms, which often isn’t really that easy when working for an employer who is calling all the shots.

However, the reality for many business owners is that they often find themselves overworked, stressed out and not really making as much money as they could be, and certainly not having the freedom they set out to have.

The main reason for this is that they’re trying to be everything in the business, and not able to let go of any of the control by hiring people. Although it’s certainly good to get your hands dirty and be able to understand the different parts of your business, there is going to come a time when you need to be able to let go if you want to grow properly.

So, in this post we’re going to share with you some of the main reasons it’s so important to outsource in your business.

You can’t do everything:

As touched on above, most business owners are trying to do everything, and although it’s not a bad thing to be able to handle different parts of your business if necessary, it’s important to remember that you’re human and no human can possibly be good at everything – even when it’s your own business, so there’s no shame in this. For example, maybe you only need to hire someone to manage the organizational and admin side of your business by bringing in an assistant for a few hours per week who can manage things like document and file managment, answering emails and keeping your calendar up to date. Simple things like this will save you so much time and reallz make a big difference in your energy levels.

You’ll make more money:

Many business owners avoid outsourcing because they look at it as a cost instead of an investment, but the truth is, if you’re outsourcing something that you’re not good at to someone who is a specialist in this area, then they’re going to do it a lot faster than you, which means that the time you’re spending on it is going to be costing you money by taking you away from the things you truly are good at.

You’ll have more balance:

If you’re trying to do everything in your business, then you’re likely not going to be having much free time for yourself since there are only so many hours in the day, so this means that you’re going to be stressed out and not able to enjoy the freedom you set out to have when starting your business. If you’re able to let go a little, then you’ll have this balance.

You’re providing someone with a job:

In a world where people are really struggling to find work, companies going bust, and many economies majorly failing, then small business owners and entrepreneurs are really becoming a way for many people to find work in their area of expertise, so if you’re able to, then this is a win-win situation since you’re getting the help you need, and someone else is able to have a job that allows them to provide for their family.

Hiring Help – What To Look For In Applicants’ Resumes And Cover Letters

Recruiting for an open position in your company can be hard work. Even though on the face of it, going through all of the resumes and cover letters that you receive won’t be especially taxing, it can actually end up being a lot of work. You will have to read through them all in full to make sure that you don’t miss any detail. If you receive a large number of applicants for just one position, this can become very time consuming.

It’s really worth putting in the time and going through all of the resumes and cover letters as thoroughly as possible, though. It’s the only way you can whittle all of the candidates down into a shortlist of individuals who have the right kinds of skills and experience for the job.

It might be painstaking work, but these are things that you need to look out for when you are going through resumes and cover letters.

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Spelling And Grammar Errors

Any spelling or grammar errors that you notice in either the resume or cover letter should be a red flag. This either shows carelessness and that the candidate has not bothered to review and edit their writing, or it shows that they lack the necessary writing skills. Either way, there is little chance that you will want to interview this candidate, so disregard their application.

Relevant Previous Experience

All of the top candidates will have been able to list relevant work experience. This could be from previous jobs or internships and work-experience placements that they took at school or college. It’s always best to consider people who have some solid work experience for the job as they will be able to quickly adapt to working life in an office. Those who lack this experience might struggle to adjust, and this could result in them taking a lot longer to settle into the role in a productive way.

Check Social Media Too

These days, it is also a good idea to go online and check out a candidate’s social media profiles. You might notice that they have voiced some opinions that are not suitable for the working world and with which you do not want your company to be associated. Be sure to look at professional social media networks as well, such as this professional profile, as there might be a lot of extra information on them that is not mentioned in either their resume or cover letter.

Examples Of Skills Mentioned On Your Job Description

In the original job description that you posted to advertise the open position, you will have listed some of the desirable skills that you want applicants to possess. When you are reading through everyone’s resume and cover letter, be sure to check off when each of these skills are mentioned. They should also give a real-life example of using this skill in a professional environment.

Hopefully, looking out for all of these points above can help you hire the best candidate for the job!

Why You Should Be Monitoring Your Employees

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In the US, citizens have fabulous protection from the government. The authorities cannot monitor people from afar without the consent of a judge, something difficult to get, and impossible without a warrant indicating clear criminal intent.

But private companies don’t have to jump through the same legal hoops. In fact, private companies are viewed in much the same ways as private citizens, and there are few if any legal impediments preventing them from monitoring each other.

Companies need to monitor their employees for all kinds of reasons which we’ll discuss below. But suffice to say that monitoring has become big business and an essential part of how firms operate. We’re not just talking monitoring of emails or voice conversations either, but also GPS monitoring of company fleets and purchase tracking using fleet gas cards.

What Are The Pros Of Employee Monitoring?

When it comes to monitoring, many companies do it. But why? What are the advantages?

Lower Administrative Overheads

Administration is something of the bane of most companies, eating up large amounts of time and providing little value in return. But the burden of admin could be about to decrease substantially with the widespread adoption of employee monitoring.

One of the byproducts of employee monitoring is that you can easily see when they’re productive and when they’re not. You can also see things like where they’re working and which currencies they use.

Why is this important? It’s important because you can use that information and feed it into software which then calculates how much someone should be paid automatically, without having to do it all by hand. You can use software to determine how much a person should get paid and in what currency, cutting down dramatically on the amount of background admin work and payroll.

Improved Delegation

Without constant feedback, it can be difficult to tell to whom you should delegate. But with monitoring, you can gather all the information you need to make the best decisions. When you delegate to the right person, you improve team morale and boost the productivity of your team, enabling you to focus on the bigger picture.

Monitoring is a great way to build up a profile of each team member. Once you have data on their performance, you can use this to pick employees with the right strengths to perform the task that you want doing. You can also avoid employees with weaknesses that you don’t want.

Better Transparency

Sometimes things can go wrong in the office or at your place of work. In the most severe cases, money can go missing, and a team member could be held under suspicion of theft.

One of the great things about monitoring is that it can be used to clear the names of people in your organization under suspicion. Clear monitoring helps to prove people’s innocence, or provide the evidence needed to expel them from the firm.

Security isn’t the only realm in which better transparency helps. It’s also invaluable in situations where you have a team that you manage remotely. Remote groups can fragment over time, and workflows can become confused. One person can be working on one stage of a project without realizing that a critical component has not yet been put in place.

Monitoring, however, helps to build granular transparency. Everybody can see what other people are doing and then coordinate their efforts more effectively. The person working on an advanced stage of the project can step back and make sure that the other pieces are in place before continuing.

Better Security

Employee monitoring has already proven extremely helpful in reducing incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. Monitoring can pinpoint where bullying is taking place and provide evidence to suspend or fire the offending employees.

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But monitoring goes well beyond cases of inappropriate workplace behavior. Many companies use monitoring to ensure the ongoing safety of their people.

Take a company that has a large number of operators in the field. The roads can be a dangerous place. A company without monitoring may not be able to raise the alarm if a colleague doesn’t show up at the office at the expected time. But one that is tracking the vehicle driven by that employee has all the data that it needs to send out help in the event of an emergency.

Improved Ability To Promote

Employees and managers tend to view monitoring in a negative light, seeing it as something that can be used to catch criminals operating in an organization. But while monitoring is highly effective at preventing crimes against a firm, it is also great at identifying people who are the most productive in your organization.

Suppose, for instance, that you employ a team of waiters that serve tables in your restaurant. You want to choose a waiter to promote, but you’re not sure which. Just watching them do their work, it’s hard to tell who is the most productive, and who needs to do some work. But when you institute proper monitoring, it quickly becomes clear who is a high-performance star and who isn’t. Monitoring collects data on the activity of each employee and then feeds this information in a bitesize format to managers who can then interpret it.

Promoting an employee to a management position is always a challenging decision, but with the right data, it is much easier.

Reduced Errors In Your Business

Errors can be very costly and add up over time. But with a good monitoring system in place, you can cut down on mistakes and get better insights into where your team is going wrong.

Errors can crop up in all kinds of places, from the content that your marketing team puts together to the implementation of services at a client’s premises. By collecting data, you’re often able to identify where errors start and then set in place strategies to prevent them from recurring.

For instance, if errors are more likely on Monday than on Tuesday, could it be possible that employee excesses over the weekend are taking their toll?

Less Time-Wasting

You pay your employees to work, say, 8 hours per day with an hour for lunch. But when you look at how workers spend their time, you find that for 90 to 270 minutes per day, they’re not performing the task in hand but doing something else non-productive. Now, we’re not saying that employees should be glued to their monitors for a full eight hours every day, but spending 270 minutes on social media and chatting to colleagues is a little excessive.

How do you cut down on this? The first thing to do is put in place a robust monitoring system. Yahoo, for instance, decided to eliminate its work from home programme after monitoring work-from-home employees.

What they found won’t surprise most people: the people who worked from home were far less productive than their in-office counterparts to the tune of nearly 50 percent. It just didn’t pay Yahoo to continue the work-from-home option, giving just how much less value-for-money the firm was getting.

Conclusion

So while monitoring has typically been seen as a big brother approach to management, it has many other side benefits which could benefit your company. It can make your employees safer and identify those who should be promoted, based on their output.

Monitoring also helps to prevent the recurrence of errors and makes the workplace more transparent, which is great for remote teams. So what are you waiting for? Is it time you tried out monitoring in your organization?