Monthly Archive for August, 2020

Getting Your Home Business Taken Seriously

As unfair as it might be, those who run a home business face a specific uphill battle that often isn’t encountered by those who start off with an office or retail property. That battle is getting taken seriously as a professional outfit. However, that doesn’t mean that this stigma is inconquerable. Here are a few steps you can take to correct it.

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Stay organised

An inability to effectively be organised, to make sure that you get your work done on time, and to ensure that no road bumps of your own creation get in the way of your business is essential. If you make plans for meetings or set deadlines with clients and then fail to meet them due to your own mismanagement, then that will fairly reflect on the professionalism in your business. When it comes to organising your time, your finances, and the other elements that dictate how effectively and efficiently your business runs, it might be worth relying on software that can help you track and schedule everything so you don’t have to do it entirely by yourself.

Stay professional

Part of the challenge of getting your business taken seriously is acting like it’s already taken seriously even if it doesn’t feel that way. You have to treat it and have it be treated like any other business. This might first mean that you stop referring to it as a home business and give it the professional presentation that it needs. This can include having a well-built professional website and using a virtual office or virtual address to make it look you’re a little more established. You don’t have to be outright dishonest about your business’s size, but you shouldn’t be volunteering that information.

Stay visible

Effective marketing that’s able to keep your brand visible and help you grow recognition over time will have a tangible effect on the way your business is treated. When it comes to digital marketing and search engine optimisation, people are a lot more likely to trust a brand that they have encountered before. Making sure it has the visibility and reach to make a good first impression means that people are easier to convince when they become part of the lead nurturing process.

Stay secure

If you have to rely on customer and client data to any degree, such as personal or financial information, then it is essential that data is treated with the care that it needs. Invest in effective website security that includes encrypting any data sent your way. Make sure your own workspace and connection are protected, too. Professional standard anti-malware software, firewalls, and a strong professional virtual private network can all help you better protect any data you’re entrusted with.

Your home business is going to face an uphill battle with some of your customers and clients if you’re not fully prepared for the stigma that can come with starting off small. Eventually, your reputation will speak for itself and you won’t have to worry about this but, for now, you need to address it head-on.

3 Useful Considerations Before Implementing Changes to Your Business

It may be hard for you to grow without changing your business tactics. However, implementing the wrong changes can pose big risks to the future of your business. Making the right changes, on the other hand, can help you increase your profits. So, before you rush to introduce changes in your business, you may want to consider the following factors to increase your chances of success.

  1. Differentiate what works from what doesn’t

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In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have had to make a lot of changes to their normal practices. For example, brick and mortar businesses are thinking about how to take their businesses online, and restaurants operators are switching to delivery services. These changes are happening because things that worked well before the pandemic are no longer effective. Consequently, businesses simply can’t help but adapt. Therefore, to prevent the worst, try your best to distinguish what works from what doesn’t, and adapt accordingly. You can learn from Instagram’s development story. When the social media app was first launched, it came with a lot of features that weren’t really necessary to users. The Instagram team later analysed their users’ behaviour and realized that more people were interested in the photo-sharing functionality of the app than any other options. Instagram’s developers then did away with its unnecessary features and recreated the highly successful social app that’s trending today.

  1. Approach changes gradually

Always remember that slow and steady wins the race. Running a business takes a step-by-step process to yield lasting results. Therefore, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to implement them in the first place. Gradually changing, will give you enough time to piece together the crucial pieces of information needed for the change. For example, if you are a property developer who is planning ahead for roof safety options on your next project, you can contact Stainless Steel Wire & Mesh and carefully consider your choices in roof safety mesh. Whatever the new change may be in your business, only take calculated risks when analysing the change that is required.

  1. Evaluate yourself and the business

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It’s necessary to understand the affairs of your business and other professional matters when you want to implement drastic changes to your operations. For example, a change may not yield effective results if your customers are simply not ready to welcome it. So, first, engage with your employees and your customers, and brief them about the changes you want to effect. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page with you. Also, let the change begin with you and your personal life. For instance, a CEO who wants to change opening hours from 9-5 to 8-4 may want to ensure that they are mentally prepared for that change. It will set the stage for you to lead your team by example.

The final thing to note is that changes may come with setbacks. Therefore, arm yourself to the teeth to steer your business through any resistance that could stem from the changes you are making. A change can make or break an organisation and so approach it with caution.

5 Ways To Keep Your Business Protected And Secure

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If you want longevity and success for a sustained period of time, then you’re going to need to do a few things in order to achieve that. Unfortunately, you can’t just come up with an idea, set up a business, and hope everything falls into place – you need to actively take steps to ensure the right things come your way. The right plan, the right people, the right decisions, and the right amount of risk need to all be exercised.

Something that is just as important, however, is the security and protection with which your business is accompanied with. If your business is stripped of any fortification, then it can be attacked by anyone looking to commit problems. There are so many areas that a business can be vulnerable in, so it’s your job to make sure you’re covered from head to toe.

Due to the current pandemic we’re going through, these ideas may not be as easy to get sorted as perhaps they might have been prior, but here a just a few things you might want to do in order to protect and preserve all the hard work you’ve put in over the months and years:

Hire Personnel To Help Out

If you feel as though you might be under a little pressure from criminals and vandals, then there’s no problem with bolstering your workplace with a few security guards. Your vulnerability can be capitalised on by lots of different outside factors, so you need to do what you can do to protect yourself from these things. People will think twice before causing any problems when they see a few large presences standing outside your place of work.

Purchase Cameras And Alarm Systems

If you have things like CCTV cameras around your premises, then people are going to be hesitant regarding any thoughts about causing mischief. If they do decide to go through with the likes of stealing or vandalism, then they’re going to be caught red-handed. An alarm system will, of course, alert everyone nearby that something shady has taken place.

Protect The Perimeter

You need to make sure the area surrounding your place of work also manages to keep negative things from happening. This might not seem like a big deal at first, but if people can’t even get anywhere near your office/warehouse/factory, then you’ve won the battle straight away. Think about adding some extra fencing or gating around the outside to keep ne’er-do-wells and other problematic beings away.

Make Use Of External Storage Facilities

When you have lots of different pieces of equipment that might be quite valuable, you’ll then be a target for people looking to break into places and steal things. If your valuable pieces aren’t stored in your workplace or warehouse, then you have little to worry about, right? Well, that’s where the likes of Mammoth Storage and many other storage facilities can come in handy. Keeping your items locked away in a safe place can be a lifesaver.

Keep Everything Digitally Protected 

It’s not just about what’s tangible anymore – a lot of the work we do these days is online and digital. Whether you’re an e-commerce business or partake in manual labor, you’ll have things logged down on computer systems. Make sure you have a good piece of software protecting your systems. If you feel as though you need deeper protection, then you could always get in touch with a managed IT company – they’ll watch over everything like hawks.

Tips For Changing Your Career

Have you ever thought about changing careers? Perhaps the recent pandemic of COVID-19 has meant that you’ve lost you’re job, and you’re now floating along with no focus on where to go next. Or maybe, you’re ready for new opportunities and challenges within a different industry. Here are some tips for changing your career.

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Ask Yourself If It’s The Right Time

Think about your current career and whether it’s the right time to move on. Sometimes, it might be a case of there not being the right jobs within the new industry you’re stepping into, or it’s during an event like the pandemic, where it’s better to have a secure job than risk losing it because someone found out you were looking elsewhere. Question yourself on whether this is the right time to move on or whether you might need a bit more time in deciding what’s best for you at the moment. It’s important to be wise with your decision and to make sure that you’re not putting yourself in jeopardy by leaving your current place of work too early on in the game. Weight up the current situation and consider the pros and cons of leaving or remaining in your job.

Look At What You Need To Gain

With some career choices, there’s going to be certain things you might need to gain before you go applying for a job. It might be that you need to go back to study at a university or take a course or two in order to get the right skills and qualifications. Consider what it is that you need to gain first before you decide on what type of new career you want. You might find that you’re talented and more suited to one career option than another. It’s also worth looking at multiple career choices so that you’re not just stuck with the one choice.

Consider The Job Roles

Job role are something that is worth exploring when it comes to changing careers as there’s lots of different job role and duties out there. It’s worth knowing what to expect with each one and which one is going to identify closer to what you’re after. Make sure you do your research and figure out which ones are going to be suited to you. You want to give yourself plenty of options, just in case you don’t manage to find the right role and will, therefore, rely on the backup available.

Find A Mentor

Mentors are great to have if you’re branching out into a new industry or field and want some advice on how to get there. You can find connections on LinkedIn, or you might wish to look internally with you current workplace or social circles to see if there’s anyone you might find useful as a mentor. They can help guide you and give you the advice needed to branch out into your new career choice.

Changing your career isn’t easy, so make sure you’ve planned it out!

Adapting Your Company During The Pandemic

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Many months after the first cases were confirmed, businesses are still adapting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While there may be many challenges for your company, there are also opportunities to do things differently, and improve your services in the process. As you create your post-COVID roadmap, keep these five pointers in mind.

1. Improve delivery options

Online delivery services are more popular than ever before, if appropriate, it’s worth improving your delivery options, in response to consumer demand. When you are organizing your delivery, you’ll need to prioritize contactless delivery, in response to safety guidelines. The majority of consumers require fast delivery and want the ability to track their items, along with an easy returns policy.

2. Health & safety focus

Companies must focus on health and safety during Covid-19, or risk endangering people’s health and damaging their reputation. If you haven’t already, it’s advisable to install cough guards. These screens can separate staff and customers, helping to prevent the transmission of coronavirus. To implement social distancing, it’s likely that you’ll need to redesign your office or store. To free up space, it can be useful to use a secure, local self-storage solution. With a self-storage solution, you can make some space at your location, without needing to get rid of anything.

3. Provide virtual services

You might be a brick and mortar company, but as our climate has changed, many customers have a preference for virtual experiences. If you can offer any of your services online, it’s a great move to do so. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to stop offering services in-person. Providing a combination of both in-person and online services will ensure that you do not alienate any of your customers.

4. Motivate your staff

During these uncertain times, it’s essential to keep your staff motivated. Some employees might struggle to adapt to remote working, so it’s essential to offer support. Utilize the latest communication software to improve your remote communication. A few software examples include:

Flock: With this business communications software, you can unify your teams, increase productivity and collaborate with ease.

Jostle: Using this staff intranet platform, you can increase employee engagement and keep your company culture alive.

Podio: Podio helps staff to collaborate on projects, here you can organize your content and conversations, all from one app.

Besides the right software, ensure that you keep up team morale with plenty of Zoom socials, and one-to-one catch ups.

5. Adapt your marketing

Now more than ever, the public are looking online to find answers about the pandemic. To improve your content marketing, your company should create informative COVID-19 related content, answering questions and increasing engagement at the same time. As much as possible, keep your customers informed, provide emails about what your business is doing to keep your staff and customers safe. Businesses who are seen to be inappropriately responding to the pandemic may come under fire and compromise their brand image.

Getting Health and Safety Right in the Post Lockdown World

Many areas around the world are starting to reopen following a lockdown to slow the spread of a deadly pandemic. These lockdowns could continue to come and go, either locally or nationally for who knows how long, but despite not knowing what might come next, most businesses have either reopened or are trying to find a way to do so.

As a manager or owner, one of your main concerns should have always been health and safety. Some of these concerns would have been specific to your business and the nature of your work, and regulations and health schemes such as the coal mine workers health scheme and their coal board medical are on hand to help with these. Others will be more general health and safety considerations which apply to all of us, whatever we do.

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But things are changing. Now, not only do you have to minimise the risks of falls, trips and spills. You also have to prepare to reopen with social distancing considerations. Here are some tips to help you get health and safety right in the new world.

Make It Covid-19 Secure

Right now, your priority when it comes to reopening, or staying open while keeping people safe must be making sure your business is Covid-19 secure. Your local government or council will have plenty of information on what needs to be done. But, a few tips include installing sanitiser stations, moving desks further apart, or changing the layout of your store to allow customers more space to walk around, and reducing numbers, by limiting customers capacity and staggering employee shifts. You may also want to provide PPE, add extra deep cleaning to your day, and install screens. You may find a cleaning checklist, detailing touchpoints and other high contact areas that need to be sanitised throughout the day, helpful.

Stay Up to Date with Current Guidance

Unfortunately, we still know little about the pandemic and how it is likely to progress as we move forward. Guidance is expected to change, new lockdowns or restrictions may be imposed, and things can change very quickly. Keep an eye on updates and make changes as needed.

Listen to Your Team

If anyone is going to spot potential risks or problems, it will be members of your team that spend their days working in your environment. Listen to their concerns, work with them to find solutions, and try to be flexible with them if you need to. You may have employees that would rather stay working from home, in which case, ask yourself if this is possible?

Don’t Forget Previous Responsibilities

Covid-19 hasn’t replaced all of the old risks; it’s just added to them. You will still have other health and safety needs, and you should make sure your workplace is still health and safety compliant as you add covid-19 protections.

Complete New Risk Assessments Regularly

The best way to make sure your health and safety standards is to complete risk assessments regularly, these will help you to spot issues, and things that might not be working quickly, and implement changes before they cause problems.

4 Things You Must Consider Maintaining Your Business Right Now

Maintaining your business during the pandemic might not be easy, but it still needs to be done. In this article, we’re going to be looking at four of the things that you need to consider when taking on this task. Keep reading to find out more.

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Is Work Essential?

One of the most important considerations is whether or not the work is essential. If whatever repair needs doing isn’t essential, then there is no need to have it done right now. You are simply going to be putting yourself and others in potential danger by taking unnecessary risks for something that you don’t need right away. Of course, this is an entirely different story if it needs fixing right away. For example, if there is a burst pipe somewhere, that is going to need to be sorted as soon as possible because it could cause further damage and be potentially harmful. However, something small like a crack in the wall is going to have to wait a little while.

Is The Company COVID-19 Compliant?

It is essential that you check whether the company you hire to take care of the repair is COVID-19 compliant. Everyone needs to be taking the correct measures to ensure everyone is as safe as possible, so if you don’t think that the company you’ve hired is taking these measures, call someone else. For example, you might need to hire a level 2 electrician to fix an issue that you are having, but if they turn up without any kind of COVID-19 measure such as a mask, don’t let them complete the job. The safety of you and everyone in your building must come first and do that, anyone coming in needs to be taking the correct precautions.

Will You Need To Interact With The Workers?

You should also think about whether you are going to need to interact or connect with the maintenance company. If you are, then you will need to put the right measures in place. They will likely be wearing PPE and you should be too. The benefit of doing this is that it prevents the potential of anyone spreading the virus. You should also make sure that you are washing your hands thoroughly and do not shake hands with the workers.

Do You Need To Improve Business Safety Standards?

Of course, if you are working with a contractor, then it’s advised that you do consider whether or not they can help you with increasing the safety standards in your business property. It is possible to make key changes to your business that will keep you, your clients, and your customers safe. For instance, plexiglass can easily be installed in key areas such as between shared desks. This will guarantee that facial expressions can still be clearly seen and people are able to communicate effectively. At the same time, it will guarantee that germs are not spread through the air.

Contractors will also be able to add clear markings on the floor of your business. This is going to help team members and customers adopt the right stance when it comes to social distancing and keep people separated.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now have a better understanding of four of the things you must consider when maintaining your business during COVID-19.

Making The Business Location Work For You In The New Normal After Covid

We have all just faced a very strange first half of the year when it comes to our businesses, and so you may be wondering what it is you can do now we enter this new phase of getting things back to normal. You may want to head back to your business location but how will it work now? Here are some of the things to think about.

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Social distancing in place

There are strict guidelines in place now when it comes to things like social distancing, and so you need to ensure that your business premises are up to scratch. Having markings on the floor can help and guide your customers and clients. You might also want to ensure that the staff follow procedures and keep a distance from each other as well as when dealing with customers. This helps everyone to feel safe.

Encouraging the use of face masks

Another thing that we are all having to get used to is wearing masks, so you may want to ensure that you encourage this with customers and clients. It can also help your customers to feel safer if your staff wear them as well. PPE is an essential to keep everyone safe when it comes to COVID. You may even want to supply it so that people feel like you are taking the threat seriously.

Ensuring all facilities work appropriately

Things are getting back to normal, which means you will need to ensure that your faculties are working appropriately and have the right guidelines in place when it comes to social distance. So whether you need to secure against things like backflow prevention in the bathrooms or keeping the electrics checked over for your tech and lighting, don’t let these things slip.

Regular risk assessments for staff

It is important now more than ever that you have regular risk assessments when it comes to your business location. You will need to not only count your usual health and safety checks and procedures but you will also need to factor in the new guidance to protect customers and staff from covid-19. Doing this regularly will help to better protect you as a business.

Flexible working options

These last few months will have made many people see how easy it is to work from home thanks to VPN access and the latest technology in things like video calling and communication, so why stop now? It might be easier to offer flexible working arrangements and keep people working from home. Not only for their safety but for your business as well.

Helping customers to feel safe

Finally, the main priority would be to keep customers safe and to help them to feel confident in using your business. So having the right procedures in place and also having staff that follow the guidance will help your business to get used to this new normal and to also thrive as we progress out of these strange few months we have experienced.

Let’s hope these tips help your business location to get used to this new normal we all face.

Should You Start Your New Business NOW?

Let’s scroll back four months – maybe five. You planned for 2020 to be the year you finally put your business out there into the world. You had the business plan finished, you were waiting on finance from the bank (and you got it!) and you were just about to look at properties for commercial lease. And boom – COVID-19 happened. The world went into pandemic mode, lockdowns began worldwide and the gates for all sorts of countries slammed shut.

There are people now unemployed due to businesses failing in the wake of Coronavirus sweeping the planet. Trying to find premises for your business just became ten times harder because lockdowns rocked the real estate world, too. Searching for the right insurance to cover you during a pandemic is hard, and while there is research to be done on companies like Grace Insurance, you need to find something that will back you up if you want to get going. Launching a business right now might sound like a crazy idea – but we have some of the best reasons you should just go for it!

Young troubled woman using laptop at home

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  • You May Be Coveted

If your business was in creating face masks, or hand sanitizers, or offering food delivery services, you are coveted. Your business is going to be needed in a time of crisis, and if you can start a business to meet a need, you’re going to thrive rather than fail.

  • You Can Get Small Business Funding

Believe it or not, economic disruption shouldn’t prevent you from gaining access to small business funding grants and loans. The world NEEDS you to have something to give back to the economy to keep it going. We may all be headed into a global recession yet again, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow if it is going to be obvious you can make a profit.

  • You May Be Able To Innovate

If your business is going to allow you to innovate at this hard time, you are needed by the world. The average income for a small business owner right now is just under $70,000 per year, and that can be pumped back into the economy. You can do more with your business and give back a little, and you can keep the economic wheels turning.

  • You Can Offer Work

With the number of people unemployed right now, the country needs you to be able to hire people. People need to work, and you can offer work to those looking for it. You have to have a business that is able to get off the ground, and if you can expand and hire new employees, you’re going to help people to avoid financial ruin while boosting your business at the same time.

It may not feel like the right time to start a business, but we’ve given you enough reason to see that actually, now is the best time to get started. You could solve a problem, and you can be part of a solution.

4 Ways Business Owners Can Protect The Mental Health Of Their Employees

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There is another form of safety in the workplace that is as important as physical safety, and that is psychological safety. Creating a psychologically safe work environment means prioritising employees’ mental health and putting measures in place to preserve it. Here are a few ways in which you can do that for your staff.

  1. Encourage open communication

Communication allows you to know what your staff members are going through so that you can help them overcome such challenges. Therefore, invest in creating a system where employees can easily forward their concerns as well as receive feedback for their work. You can start by creating a committee or group that staff can report any issues to. Try not to put limits on what topics to have conversations on, so that everyone feels confident enough to voice out their concerns. It will encourage people to come forward, including those being sexually harassed in the workplace, so that you can address such issues that can potentially destroy the business you’ve worked hard to grow and build.

  1. Encourage creativity

Creativity is another way that people express themselves and gain satisfaction. Placing too many restrictions on employees can be detrimental to their psychological safety as it prevents them from expressing their true selves. So do your best to encourage your employees to be creative and acknowledge individual differences as well. It will help if your employees know that you’re willing to hear them out. Also, give room for failure and allow your employees to learn from them and try again. It is a good way to motivate them to keep going even if they experience setbacks, which will, in the end, help your business.

  1. Hold people accountable

Giving room for failure or not harshly punishing does not mean letting people get away with everything. Establish with your employees that there are consequences of actions and try not to give off the impression that ‘anything goes.’ Let them know that while they will be rewarded for good work, they will also face required criticism for work that does not meet the standards. While you’re at it, make sure these accountability principles apply to everyone and do not favour some. That way, your staff will be more self-aware of their actions.

  1. Encourage respect in the workplace

It might be challenging for your employees to feel comfortable in the workplace if they do not feel respected. Respect involves acknowledging everyone and the contributions they are making to the organisation, no matter how small. You can show everybody how it’s done by doing it yourself for others to follow. For example, whenever an employee is talking to you, give them your full attention, listen, and ask questions so that they know you are interested in what they have to say. Let everybody know they are valued no matter their rank.

If you want to get the most out of your employees, then you’ll have to consider their complete well being. This includes their mental health, and these few tips can help you create a psychologically safe and healthy workplace environment.