Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

Five Reasons To Start Your Own Business

If there is one challenge that you could set yourself in life, it’s to start your own business. The idea that you could establish yourself in the market in which you are qualified is one that you need to hold very highly. This way, you can make waves in your industry and be a force of nature as a success. You’re going to to work hard to stand out from the crowd, to choose the best place in which to base yourself and you need to ensure that you hire the very best people to work with you.

Through those initial challenges, it may feel impossible, but bringing together your whole business and making improvements across the board is all possible. You can improve the way that people communicate with each other while remaining careful about your IT and business systems AND turn a profit at the same time.  All you need to do is believe that you can do it, and visit Single Point Global to ensure that you have the right communications systems in place. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five reasons you should start your own business.

Paper Boats on Solid Surface

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You’ll Always Have Job Security. Working for yourself means that you will never have to worry about whether you will lose your job. Of course, recessions can and do happen, but you get a better security in working for yourself that you don’t get from an employer elsewhere. You can dedicate your time to your passion, while also benefiting from the rewards it brings!

You Get So Much Freedom. No more being hemmed in by the 9-5, you’ll initially work long hours to establish yourself. It’s after you’ve made such improvements that you will find freedom in what you’re doing, without anyone to answer to.

You Get To Choose It All. From the telephone systems to the automated technology, your business is yours to do with what you will. This means that you get to have the environment that you want for your business, and not the one someone else maps out for you.

You Get To Make More Money. No more being told what you can and cannot earn. It’s all down to you and you’re the one in charge. It may feel daunting at first, but once you’re at the helm of your own business and the steady money rolls in, the profits stop with you. The success of your business is on you, and you get to be the one who benefits overall in the end!

You Get A New Life. Now that you’re in control, you get to run your business exactly as you always imagined you could. Benefits for your employees would be better, as you’re putting yourself in their position. This builds loyalty and a better working environment. You can spend more time with family, too, enjoying your business while also enjoying their company.

It’s all in your hands – are you going to take the leap?

Finding Job Candidates

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There are lots of different and innovative methods of finding candidates for the jobs which you have available. This is something which needs to be paid particular attention to in the modern-day considering the current economic climate. A

Greater strain and importance is placed on filling the vacant position when it comes to highly skilled jobs, such as management consulting jobs. When these management jobs become available there is a very specific type of candidate that a business has in mind and considering the changing face of the recruitment industry, this is something which can be very difficult to find. This is why it is highly recommended that you utilise a recruitment agency in order to give you a helping hand. After all, those who are responsible for making recruitment decisions within a company actually tend to have very little knowledge about effective recruitment and decision making because they are unlikely to have had any training in the area.

The best recruitment agencies can offer you a full recruitment solution. This means that they will use several different methods in order to come up with a solid shortlist of candidates for the jobs you have available at your business. The agency will have a database of highly skilled and reputable individuals already available and they will search through this in order to pinpoint those people that they think would work well for the job you have available. In addition to this, they will also explore several methods of advertising – both online and offline. Therefore you may find your job advertisement placed in the local press or on the internet. Which options the agency chooses to utilise all depends on the vacancy available and the type of person you are looking for. Nevertheless, a full recruitment solution tends to be the best way to come up with a list of the very best candidates.

In addition to this, some of the best recruitment agencies will be able to help you with the interview process and will be able to aid when effectively narrowing down the list of those applicable candidates. Moreover, the agency actually liaises with the applicants as well and thus they will be able to ensure that the job is good for both parties. They can advise on industry trends and certification, such as is offered by commissioning.org, and other important matters for businesses and applicants. This is very important because you do not want to hire someone who is coming into the position half-heartedly, especially when concerned with something as pivotal as management consultancy.

If you have any management consulting jobs available then you should consider the prospect of hiring a reputable agency in order to fill these positions for you.

Pros And Cons Of Letting Your Employees Work From Home

   

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Being able to work from home is a dream for many employees, and especially for those businesses that can allow it, it is something worth considering. However, there are pros and cons involved. Should you be an employer, you might have considered these already.

Still, if you are still undecided, here are a few pointers to help you make the right decision for your business.

PROS

You have the technology available to make it happen

You probably have the technology in place to allow your employees to work from home already. Microsoft DirectAccess, despite some of the disadvantages posed in the linked article, might be something you use already, especially where your company intranet is concerned. This will give your employees the chance to connect to your business remotely, although you might also consider more secure options, as suggested in the link.

Then there are Skype and other video communication technologies, that do away with the need for face to face office meetings. And assuming your employees are where they should be, you will have the option to contact them as and when a bit of facetime and project management sharing is needed.

And talking of project management sharing, while this can be done through some video communication tech, there are other pieces of cloud software that can also afford the possibility.

So, consider what you already have available, and then consider making investments elsewhere to allow remote working a possibility.

You will raise your employees’ morale

Not many of us enjoy the commute to and from work. And not many of us enjoy being surrounded by the four walls of office or other workplace environments. And so it is with your employees. By giving them the opportunity to work from home, you will take away such miseries. They will have a better work-life balance, as they will have the opportunity to spend more time at home. And they won’t have to endure the stresses that a commute or workplace can bring. Instead, they can work in the (assumedly) relaxing environs of their homes, and suffer less stress as a consequence.

Thanks to the raised morale of your employees, they should also be more productive. They should also get more work done because they won’t have wasted time travelling to and fro. We say ‘should,’ as productivity isn’t always a constant for remote workers, but we will get to that in a moment.

Your business will save money

Cost-cutting will be one of your key concerns, of course, so this is another reason to allow your employees to work from home. You won’t have to pay travel expenses if a company car isn’t needed. There will be less damage to your utility bills. And you won’t have to cover the cost of office lunches and other minor expenses.

You can also save money on new hires. If you don’t need people to come into the office, then you might consider remote working a long-term facet of your business. This means you can employ new workers, wherever they are in the world, be that on a full, part-time, or temporary basis.

CONS

Problems with security

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If your employees are accessing important company files from outside of the office, there are dangers where cybersecurity is concerned. While this is less of an issue if they are working from home, there might be issues if they decide to work on unsecured networks in a library or a cafe. You can get around this with VPN software, of course, and employee training on cybersecurity will also be advantageous. Still, you do need to keep this in mind, especially with those employees who are careless in the way they use their computers.

There could be issues with productivity

We alluded to this earlier, and for a good reason. You see, not every employee will be productive at home. This isn’t always their fault, as they might be faced with family distractions that hinder their capacity to work efficiently. On the other hand, they might start to engage in lazy behaviors, such as taking the occasional morning off to do something less productive or staying in bed longer than they should. Of course, if they still get work done, then fine. Remote working is supposed to allow for flexibility. But if targets and deadlines aren’t being met, then you might want to reconsider the option of your employees working from home.

We haven’t listed every pro or con here, but we hope we have given you a good overview. Continue your research online, speak to your employees about the possibility, and then consider the viability of remote working for your business.

How To Keep Hold Of Great Staff

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If you are a small business owner and you want to bring in the best talent, you will need to know that you are going to be able to keep them in your team. It takes a great deal of time and effort to bring people into your organization, and losing them early on can be costly and frustrating.

There are many reasons that staff up and leave within the early days of their employment. Sometimes it is because they have had a better offer from elsewhere. However, on many occasions, it is because they are dissatisfied with something about your company. It may be that they don’t feel as though they have had the training and support that they need early on, or it could be that that they do not feel as though their job is secure enough. Often it may come down to the fact that they worry that they are not going to feel valued within the workplace.

Have The Best Onboarding Process

Getting your team through your doors and allowing them to feel as though they are a fully functioning team member is vital. But when a company seems light on the induction process, it can raise some serious red flags for many new hires. A new employee needs to feel secure in their job and making sure that you have a full personnel file will assure them that you take their employment seriously and that you have the means of paying them.

Following on from getting the correct details on file, you will need to train your staff up. The first things to focus on are any health and safety concerns as well as giving them some onsite orientation. This should lead to a full program where every element of their job is covered. It may be that they learn on the job, or you could allocate a certain length of time before they go live with the company to provide training off the floor.

You will need to know how to choose the best onboarding software. This will help to smooth things over as you can use it in conjunction with your new employee. They will be able to see how they are progressing and will feel as though they have been invested in.

Creating An Environment Of Retention

Poor staff retention can cost a business dearly. If you are continually having to recruit for the same position, it is a waste of your time, money, and resources. You will never get your employees performing to their best, as they are not staying long enough to settle in.

Making sure your new staff members are always made to feel fully welcomed is vital. Feeling part of the team from day one will mean that your employees feel as though there is the support there should they need it.

Make sure you praise everything that is positive, and where constructive feedback is required to develop staff, you communicate this in a positive manner. Working in a negative environment is not good for anyone.

Why Health And Safety Needs To Be A Priority In Your Business

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No matter how busy you are as a business owner, you must never forego good health and safety practices within your company. Not only is it your ethical duty to protect the employees and customers who frequent your premises, but it’s in your best interests too, as your business will suffer if you don’t.

You need to…

  • Use health and safety guidelines when training your staff.
  • Maintain your business premises, so it is a safe place to work in.
  • Risk-assess any area where safety could be a affected and take the necessary precautions.

This should be common sense to you, of course, but in the event that you have been more than a little lax when it comes to health and safety, you need to consider the following.

#1: You might be hit by a lawsuit

Forgive us for spelling out the obvious, but if anybody is injured within your premises or on your worksite, then you are going to be hit with a compensation claim. And again, forgive us for the obvious, but this is going to severely damage your financial situation.

While you might realize this, of course, you might assume your insurance will cover you. But no matter how good your insurance company is, you need to know that there are legal teams within every sector battling for the rights of the people you employ. They know the tricks your insurance company will pull to try to minimize the blame placed on you, so don’t assume you will get away with your negligence. This is true within high-risk industries, such as those within the construction and maritime-related fields, as well as those considered low-risk, such as office and retail-based businesses.

So, talk to an experienced maritime accident attorney today (or similar) to find out more about the efforts they put in to fight for your employees’ rights, as you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of them tomorrow. As we suggested, your business will be badly hit on a financial level if you do. Not only that, but there is also the next point to consider too.

#2: Your reputation will take a hit

A business will live or die depending on its reputation, so if you are hit with a lawsuit, you can expect the world to hear about it. For starters, your employees and customers are hardly likely to keep quiet after an injury, so their friends and family members are bound to find out about your negligence. And the local media might get hold of the story too, and that will damage your reputation further.

So, to protect your business AND to protect your employees, make every effort to follow health and safety guidelines within your business. You will then retain your good reputation, and quite possibly improve upon it too if your attempts at building a safe workplace are noticed by others.

So, consider yourself and your business today. Are you up-to-date with health and safety regulations within your business? Are your employees and customers protected? If not, take the necessary steps needed to care for your business and the people who frequent it.

Are You Working On The Right Schedule?

Scheduling yourself can be a real struggle, especially in a world that expects you to be self sustainable and in charge of it all. Timekeeping is supposed to be a soft skill, after all, and if you’re in search of a career, you need to be a pro at it!

But there’s a chance you’re not currently working on the right schedule. There’s a chance you’re trying to do too much, and achieving too little, simply because you’re spreading yourself so thin across your calendar. Of course, the business world is a busy one, and you need to keep up, but there’s always better ways to cope with this.

So, let’s get into some questions that’ll help to determine if you’re on the right schedule. Ask them frequently, just in case you lose your way.

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How Busy Are Your Days?

The time that work takes up, throughout all of your days, might add up to more than a 40 hour working week. And when you think about it, that’s completely crazy! 40 hours used to be the maximum a person would spend at work, completing tasks and furthering their career, and they’d be just in time to get back home again and be able to relax with the family. But these days we’re expected to go the extra mile, each and every time.

Which is why it might be useful for you to realise how many hours you’re working, how many hours you should be working (if you have a contract that states so), and how you can fix the rift between the two. Even having the power of conference software on your side could fill in the gaps here, to show you where you’re unnecessarily busy, and help to automate your calendar in the process.

Can You Find a Balance?

There needs to be a true work/life balance in your schedule, and neither one should be treated more importantly than the other. Of course, that’s far easier said than done, but it’s definitely something you can work towards!

So, if you’re spending the majority of time in the professional world, what things could you cut out to make sure you’ve got a bit more time at home again? The more effective your rest time, the more powerful your performance. You need to be able to destress and rest up for the working day tomorrow, and that can’t be done if you’re bringing a bunch of working tasks on the commute home with you.

And Most Importantly, Are You Comfortable?

Finally, are you comfortable with the schedule balance you have at the moment? Because if not, it’s a surefire sign something needs to change. Even just taking the initiative to say you can’t stay late today can be the much needed gateway into changing how your schedule is affecting you.

Do you have the right kind of schedule? Because the better you plan your time, the more enjoyable your days will be. Craft your routine!

Six Tips That Will Make Starting Your Own Business Much Easier

There are few things that are more challenging than starting your own business, but there are also few things that are more exhilarating and fun. If you’ve always been driven to work independently and to be an entrepreneur, and if you’re full of ideas, chances are you’ve been thinking about starting your own company. Here are some tips on how you can do that…

Should You Quit Your Day Job?

When you’re starting your own business, life can feel very precarious, and it will feel even more wobbly if you’ve quit your day job. It can be extremely tempting to throw every single bit of your time and energy into your new product and company, but initially that might not be the best thing to do. If you want to get things done, you will manage to get them done in your down time in the evenings and at weekends. You’ll pick up new ideas at work every day, and the regular salary that you bring in from there will enable you to take more risks than you otherwise might be able to. You can also use your day job as a way to network, to meet people, and to pick up new skills that you can then pour into your own business.

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Find Your Investors

Naturally, the top reason that a new company fails in the first year is, to put it simply, running out of cash. You may think that you have enough to fund a start-up but costs will rise more quickly than you thought, and no matter what you plan for, there will always be other things that you find you need to pay for. It’s a great idea to get some investors on board to pour some cash into the business. Friends and family are one option – they will absolutely believe in you and what you’re doing, but equally, sometimes putting money into personal relationships isn’t a great idea. Finding an angel investor is something that many young entrepreneurs want to do, so it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open to find someone that you may get along with and be able to share a vision with. An angel investor is an individual with a high net worth who provides financial backing for small businesses in exchange for some ownership equity. After some time, and after you’ve made some money, you can always buy them out so you have sole ownership again.

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Create A Business Plan

If you don’t have a business plan, your company is only an idea and a dream that probably won’t end up coming true. You need to put pen to paper and outline what exactly it is that you want to get out of your business – what your objectives are, who you want to reach, how much money you need to make in order to continue. You should be able to break down what your business does into an elevator pitch, one sentence that sums it all up and which you can tell people when they ask what you do. Although you have this plan, remember that flexibility is important: you need to roll with the punches and make sure that you amend your plans based on what actually happens.

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Work Out What You Can Delegate

Let’s face it: very few people start a company because they’re desperate to work out how exactly they can do payroll. There are some things that you need to accept that you simply won’t excel at, and those are the things that you can delegate to outside companies. This may seem expensive, but you’re actually partly paying for that free time that you can spend doing something else. IT services are something else that you should outsource unless it’s an area in which you truly excel – areas like internet security and identity governance should not be trivialised, so it’s important to get the professionals in who really know what they’re doing. Likewise, why not hire freelancers for aspects of your business like copywriting and social media? Freelancers mean that you won’t have to hire an office space, which is a huge expense, and you will also be able to hire people who really specialise in certain fields.

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 Learn How To Network

One of the top ways that you’ll end up getting business and finding customers and clients is through networking. It can be difficult to work out how exactly you can network, but it’s an important skill to acquire over time. Attend industry events and awards with some of your business cards in your pocket, and make sure that you mingle, introducing yourself to people there and asking them questions about themselves. At industry events, you’ll find that a lot of guests are silently sizing each other up and working out what exactly they can do for each other. Swap cards with everyone you talk to, and send a follow-up email the next day saying how nice it was to meet them.

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Get Online

Finally, it’s important to get online. There are few easier or cheaper ways to market a new business than through the internet. Setting up a website might sound like a basic thing to do but it’s a hurdle that many people fall at. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate, and add a blog that uses search engine optimisation so that when people google certain relevant phrases, your site ends up at the top of the hits. You should also make sure that you create profiles on social media sites: it’s an incredibly easy way to create a company voice that possible customers will respond to, and you can easily advertise new products and launches on there. It’s a way that you can interact with people and make them feel affection towards your company, which in the future will encourage them to work with you and make purchases from you.

Starting your own company will probably lead to a few sleepless nights, but these tips should help to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Could Company Culture Transform Your Bottom Line?

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It’s the intangible factor that everyone feels. And it’s something which has the potential to make an impact on your profit margins. If things aren’t quite gelling within your growing start-up business, it could well be the missing ingredient. We’re talking company culture – something which can be hard to define, but that nevertheless is a fundamental part of the operation that you lead. Culture defines a company’s fit with it’s employees – it can help you to attract the best talent, even without the deepest pockets – and it can also help to reduce employee turnover, reducing the significant costs of recruitment. If you don’t have a positive working culture, then you’re simply storing up problems for the future. In fact, a recent Deloitte survey found that 88 per cent of employees rated a business’ culture as an important factor in its success. So it’s hard to argue otherwise than that defining and distilling that culture should be fairly high on your list of priorities.

Giving Recruitment A Boost

When it comes time to make a few new hires, you have all your tools in place – from psychometric testing to a personal reference checker, but you also need to make sure you can articulate and sell culture to prospective employees. It’s one of your greatest competitive advantages on the corporates, especially on a lean start-up budget. Generating a reputation as a dynamic and companionable place to work will go far, especially in the social media age when past and future employees are easily connected.

Keep Employees Loyal

When the cost of recruitment and training is a significant hit to your business, any steps you can take to reduce turnover should be considered. Here’s where fostering a positive work culture can be a huge benefit your business bank balance. Involve your staff in creating the company culture- the way to know what makes them feel like they’ve been treated well is to ask them.

Fostering Collaboration

Whether you use agile working methodology or not, you want to create an environment where collaboration is naturally occurring. Social interaction, communication and teamwork go hand in hand when you have a great working culture, and from that you can get some amazing results

Reducing Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is quite literally a killer and can cost your company big – from loss of productivity when someone is distracted to having people actually signed off sick who are still claiming pay and whose positions need to be backfilled. Reducing employee stress makes economic sense – and it’s easy to do if you have a positive, collaborative environment where occasional failure is embraced as part of the learning process and people are trusted and trusting and have open channels of communication. There are many small practical steps to take in this direction, but leading by example is a great place to start. You can also look at instigating employee perks to increase morale – these tend to find the greatest success when they are tailored to the individual and their preferences. It’s a little bit trial and error, but if you start with good intentions and you ask for feedback, you can’t go too far wrong.

Is Your Business Prepared For The Remote Work Revolution?

Remote working is a very popular trend in business right now and more companies are adopting the practise because there are a lot of benefits. The majority of people find that they work more productively when they can set their own schedules because everybody has their own way of working. Studies show that the 9 to 5 day doesn’t work for a lot of people and it’s far better to let them work the hours that they choose. Remote workers also have lower levels of stress, which is a huge benefit because people do not work productively when they are under a lot of stress. Remote working is also beneficial for employers because you don’t need as much office space, so you can cut your overheads significantly. However, using remote workers is very different from your traditional business model and if you don’t prepare properly, you won’t see the benefits. If you are considering using remote workers in your business, these are the preparations that you need to make. à

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Cloud Computing

Making sure that all of your employees have access to the information and documents that they need to do their job is so important if you want them to work productively. You need to make sure that they have the same access that they would if they were in the office, so you need a good cloud computing and file sharing system in place. There are potential security issues when storing sensitive information in the cloud, so it’s best to get managed IT services to implement and manage your cloud system for you. That way, you can be sure that everything is working smoothly and you don’t have any data breaches.

Project Management Software

Managing a project that a lot of employees are working on is always tough, but when they’re all working remotely, things can be very difficult. Trying to manage everybody’s schedule and make sure that everybody is going to deliver on schedule is hard, which is why you should invest in project management software. It will help you to track everybody’s progress, raise and discuss any potential issues, and ensure that all deadlines are met. Without the right project management software in place, your remote workers will have a lot of difficulty when collaborating on projects.

Communication Tools

Communication is one of the biggest hurdles that you have to face when implementing remote workers. It’s important that you keep track of your employees and check in with them from time to time to make sure that everything is ok. Communication is also vital when employees are working on projects together. But maintaining good communication is so much harder when everybody is working from home, so you need to invest in the right communication tools. Live chat services are a great tool for remote workers if they have quick questions that they need an immediate answer for. It’s easy for emails to pile up and important messages can get lost, so a live chat system is always a good idea. You should also get some good video calling software for conference calling. The right communication tools are important, but there is no substitute for meeting face to face, so you should try to host regular meetings in the office whenever you can. It’s important that you try to build a good working relationship between your employees and that’s a lot harder with remote workers, so you need to get people together as often as possible.

Security Concerns

Security is a big concern when you’re using remote workers because people are accessing company data on their own personal computers. It’s important that you make sure that those devices are secure before you allow your employees to access any company documents on them. You need to have a strict policy in place for employees that are using their own devices and make sure that your IT team have checked all devices to make sure that they have the right cyber-security software in place.

Outsourcing

If you are moving toward remote working and scaling back on your office space, you should look into the possibility of outsourcing some areas. If you are cutting back on some departments and you only have one or two people left in the office, you should consider outsourcing the rest of the jobs there and reducing your office space further. You just need to think carefully about it and make sure that outsourcing is the right decision for you.

As long as you make these preparations, your business should be ready for the remote work revolution and all of the benefits that go along with it.

Common Business Frustrations And Why They Aren’t That Bad

Owning a business can come with many frustrations, Whether it’s running out of coffee at the most inappropriate time, or an important piece of paper going missing, it’s not the easiest thing to navigate in life. If you have staff and other colleagues in the same building as you, this adds an extra element of uncertainty. However, there are many ways to overcome these frustrations and be grateful for what we have. It’s all about mindset and how you approach a situation can really affect the outcome.

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IT

If your business isn’t necessarily IT-based or online service, then IT and computer-based situations may not be your forte, this is absolutely fine as everyone has skill sets in different areas. However, to run a business in 2019, you will, of course, need to use technology, social media, websites, and mobile telecommunications. The easiest way to overcome the frustration that modern technology can bring is to get help with any problems that arise sooner rather than later, Such as hiring an IT specialist like Athens Micro.

Of course, it’s amazing that we can log on, speak to our customers directly via social media while sat on our sofa on our mobile phones, but when it doesn’t work smoothly this can cause many frustrations. Plan ahead, find your IT specialist and be confident. Technology is a fantastic tool that will bring many benefits to your business, and if managed correctly, it will help your business thrive.

Taxes

There is no avoiding this necessary frustration, and lots of people complain about having to file their taxes year in and year out, but there is no need to become frustrated about your taxes. They obviously need to be paid, of course. But if you find the right accountancy firm and keep organised, you’ll definitely feel less frustration at the end of the financial year looms. If you don’t have up-to-date records, already this is the first thing you need to add to your to-do list. Once this is done, keep it up-to-date send it to your accountant and relax. The fact that you’re earning enough to pay your taxes is a sign that your business is doing great, so be proud of your achievements.

Marketing

You may hear many small business owners express different frustrations about marketing, and finding their customers. But this is as simple as working out who your ideal customer is, discovering where their attention is online and in real life, and making sure that your services or products are in front of them as often as possible. If you have a fantastic product or service, then you can’t lose. It’s also important to remember that you can’t know everything about everything when setting up a business, it’s not the end of the world if you have gaps in your knowledge. What’s important is that you recognise this and that you find the information you need, and ask for help if required. When it comes to marketing, there is a wealth of information online, however, hiring a marketing consultant is probably one of the best investments you can make.

So remember what your business is all about, focus on the good stuff and try not to get frustrated about things you can’t control. Just concentrate on being positive and take help if you can!