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Archive for the ‘What You Need To Know About Small Business’ Category

The Top Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing IT Consultancy Services

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on November 12, 2019 at 8:28 am

When you have a small or medium-sized business and you’re looking for ways to expand, outsourcing IT services might be the first thing that comes to mind. A business move that can have a big impact on your infrastructure, it will affect the way that you and your staff will operate. 

Whether you’re beginning to consider this move or you’re unsure as to whether or not it’s suitable for your organization, this list of the top pros and cons of outsourcing IT Support and consultancy might give you the answers that you’ve been looking for.

Firstly, here are the pros that you can expect:

  • Less Downtime 

By outsourcing IT services, you can rest assured that there will be limited downtime throughout your operations. Helping your business’ continuity, you won’t have to worry about any delays occurring due to potential cyber threats, systems going down etc. Giving you the level of security you require, your business will be far more protected than it would have been by relying on your internal staff alone.

Consistently monitoring and updating your systems, the experienced outsourced team will ensure that there is a disaster recovery plan in place to prevent any disruptions from happening.

  • A Cost-Effective Decision

Not only will you not have to pay for more salaried staff (most IT services organizations only require a small monthly or annual fee), but your business will also save money that could have been lost in a cyber attack. Benefiting your company in the long term, you can use the money that you’ve saved elsewhere in your business.

  • 24/7 Maintenance and Protection

No matter what industry your business is in, you need to know that it’s networks and systems are up to date and monitored 24/7 in case a breach occurs – which is where a managed IT company comes in. 

Targeting and quickly fixing any issues, you won’t have to worry about your networks being at risk. You’ll also have access to the most innovative tools and experience – as the outsourced team are frequently being trained in the latest techniques within the industry.

  • Free Up In-house Resources

As your business grows, as with the responsibilities of your IT department. To help ease this transition, a managed IT service will be able to accommodate the extra functions that you require. Bringing their innovation and expertise into your business, your current staff can work hand in hand with them to achieve better networks and IT infrastructure.

Now, onto the cons:

  • They Might Not Be Very Flexible

You need to know that the company will work with your team seamlessly. So before you invest in their services, consider how flexible they are with the way that your business currently operates. You don’t want to feel as though you’re being bulldozed into buying software – you want to know that they will offer a bespoke service that aligns with your targets.

  • You Might Feel As Though You Have Less Control

Following on from the above, once you hire a managed IT service provider, you want to know that they won’t take over your IT team completely. You want to still have control over IT functions, whilst knowing how the changes that they make will impact your business.

  • No Physical Presence 

Unless you opt for a company that offers virtual services that are on hand to answer any queries when you need them (click here to learn more about these), you might feel as though the remote nature of outsourcing is not right for your business. Even though they can monitor and fix issues away from your office, you might feel as though the barrier of communication between you and them is too big for it to work. 

This post may contain affiliate links.

3 Reasons Your Team Is So Disorganized

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on November 12, 2019 at 8:19 am

Nothing stalls productivity quite like disorganization. Even if you want to do something, if you can’t find the right tools and resources, you are going to waste valuable time searching. From the stress caused by never being able to find anything to the resources lost to chaos, disorganization is going to cost you big. 

Most business leaders don’t understand how their business has become so disorganized because most have taken the time to orient their staff in the proper business systems. The problem is that if you are still disorganized with these systems, it’s probably not your staff being lazy or inept – it’s time for a serious rethink. 

So, here are 3 reasons your team is so disorganized. 

You Don’t Have a Unified System

One of the most common office problems is trying to work together when everyone already has their own system. Why is this a problem? Because if one person is using one piece of software to edit a file and someone else wants to use another, there could be clashes that can’t be resolved. 

A single cloud platform for everything is one of the solutions Unified Communications suggests and this is a good starting point. You should also consider having a project management system that allows everyone to know where they are up to and follow on. 

You Don’t Have Time

When you spend half your time searching for things or trying to figure out where you are up to it can feel like you don’t have time to get organized properly. But as logic goes, this is about as flawed as you can get. A simple organization system will save a lot of time and the 2 minutes is might take to put something away properly versus the 20 minutes of frustration is definitely time well spent. 

Being more organized also improves productivity because when you are less stressed, you can think more clearly, be more creative and you are more likely to meet your deadlines with high quality work. Taking just 5 minutes at the end of the day to clear your desk and plan the next day will also really help you stay on top. 

You Don’t Communicate Well

A team of individuals all working on different aspects of the same project can be difficult to manage cohesively. And yet, communication is essential if you want the project to stay on target and on track to finish by the deadline. Good communication is all about clear expression, regular updates and full inclusion. 

If you fail to communicate well with your team, it’s very likely that they won’t know what’s going on so won’t be able to hold their end up well. Group projects rely on people meeting individual deadlines as well as group deadlines but if things change and someone isn’t informed, you’ll have a problem sooner or later! 

The more you can do to improve your organization skills, both as individuals and as a team, the more likely it is that you will finish your projects on time, to a high quality and in a stress-free environment. So, get started! 

This post may contain affiliate links.

4 Ways That Your Business Could Benefit From Hiring A Security Guard

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on November 11, 2019 at 6:21 am

You may not have considered hiring a security guard for your business before, but it’s definitely something that you should think about. A lot of business owners assume that they only need a security guard if they are running a retail store or they are holding stock on site, but that’s not true. All office buildings could benefit from a security guard in a lot of different ways, so it’s a worthwhile investment. These are just some of the reasons why your office should have a security guard. 

Preventing Break-Ins 

The most obvious reason to have a security guard is to prevent break-ins. Your office has a lot of expensive equipment like computers, which are a target for thieves. If somebody breaks in and clears the office out, you will not be able to operate the business until you have replaced everything, and the cost of fitting out your office again from scratch is going to be very high. There is also the chance that sensitive data will be stolen from the office. A break-in is incredibly costly to your business, but a security guard acts as a great deterrent against that, and if somebody does try to gain access to the office after hours, they will be able to stop them. The cost of hiring a security guard is far less than the cost of a break-in, so if you live in an area with a lot of crime, you should definitely think about it.

Preventing Employee Theft 

It’s important to remember that theft isn’t just carried out by professional criminals that will break into the office after hours. In fact, internal theft is a huge problem for a lot of businesses and even though you think that it will never happen to you, it probably is. Sometimes, it might be a small theft, like taking office supplies. But you may also have employees that are stealing money from the company or taking expensive equipment to sell on. If this goes unnoticed for a long while, your business is losing a lot of money. But if you have a security guard in place, it’s a great deterrent and people will be far less likely to try to take things from the office. The security guard can also keep an eye on people that are working late and make sure that there is no suspicious behavior. If you have noticed some inconsistencies with your finances, there’s a chance that you have a problem with employee theft and you should consider hiring a guard. 

Data Protection 

People always think about online security when trying to protect their data, but physical protection is just as important. Layered security is a central concept in data security and if your business does not take this approach, you are asking for trouble. But why is layered security important, you may be wondering? Well, you may be investing heavily in online security to protect your data, but what about protecting the servers in your office or the computers? If it’s quick and easy to access data that way, your investment in cyber-security software is not protecting you and you are still vulnerable, so you need a layered approach that will stop data theft at every level. This is particularly important if you have physical servers that hold your data, and you need to limit access. If your employees can come and go freely, it’s a lot easier for internal data leaks to occur. That’s why you should consider having a security guard stationed on the door so you can be sure that nobody is accessing server facilities without permission. A security guard can also keep an eye on the devices that people are taking out of the office with them, so laptops with sensitive data on them are always kept at the office. 

Customer Service 

First and foremost, a security guard is there to protect your business and its assets, but they can carry out other roles at the same time, which makes it even more worthwhile having one on site. They can act as customer service ambassadors in a lot of areas because they are controlling access. When visitors to the building arrive, the security guard will often be their first point of contact and they can greet people and help out with directions etc. They can also escort customers to their car after dark if they feel uneasy, and people will feel safer in general when they visit your office because they know that there is somebody there to secure the area. 

A security guard isn’t just there to stand at the door and prevent theft, they can benefit your business in all sorts of different ways, so you should consider hiring one. 

This post may contain affiliate links.

Why Getting That Perfect Retirement Beach House Is Easier Than You Think

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on November 8, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Working towards a retirement beach house sounds like a lot of work. Beach houses are expensive to buy and maintain so how can they possibly be easy to get.

In this post, we talk about a simple and easy way to buy and easily pay off the mortgage on your retirement home by the time you retire and enjoy the beach life for the rest of your days.

Before we begin, here’s a disclaimer. We are not really talking about beachfront mansions in Malibu. If you have that kind of cash you are probably not worried about retirement anyways. We are instead talking about regular and small homes in places like Oregon coast.

Turn Your Beach Property into a Vacation Home

Assuming you have a regular 9 to 5 job in a city somewhere, you probably do not have the time to go on beach holidays every month. This creates a perfect opportunity to buy a beachfront property and turn it into a vacation home. The money you earn from rentals should help you fully or partially pay the monthly mortgage rates. Depending on your budget and ability to pay monthly mortgage rates, you can buy anything from a beachfront condo to a 4 to 5 bedroom home.

For the sake of this example, let’s assume you have to pay a $2,000 mortgage for your recently bought beach home.

Now, according to stats an average person renting their property on Airbnb earns $924 per month.

Therefore, right off the bat, you can save almost half the cost of your mortgage rate. However, you can do a whole lot more than average.

To help your beach home reach its full earning potential, it’s best to partner up with a vacation rental service. These companies not only take care of your property and ensure it has all the little amenities people want from vacation homes, but they also help you list and promote your vacation home. While they do charge a commission or a monthly fee, they usually make that up by getting you more rentals. Once you recruit the professionals, people would easily be able to find your listing when searching for beach house rentals online and get great service when they arrive at the property.

Once being managed by a professional vacation rental service, you should set a target of earning enough to pay off your monthly mortgage rate. Remember your goal is to get a beach house for your retirement and not to earn money. Unless your property does supremely well, you are probably not going to make a lot of extra money after paying the mortgage and other expenses.

So, your goal should be to earn enough from vacation rentals to cover the monthly mortgage rate and the expenses of hiring a vacation rental service. Even if you are not being able to fully cover the expenses, at the end of it all you get to buy a beach home at a fraction of the cost.

Things You Need to Do Turn Your Beach Home Into a Vacation Rental

Insurance: While it can be profitable to rent out your home, it can also get damaged by bad weather or drunk guests. That’s why it’s important to get property insurance that will cover the cost of all damages that may happen. Airbnb offers insurance coverage to all hosts to cover the cost of damages. However, you still need insurance for bookings that came through other platforms and damages caused by your staff or the weather.

Toiletries and Supplies: If you partner up with a vacation rental service, then they will take care of the housekeeping. However, if you are doing it on your own, you would need to buy supplies like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, and others.

Smart Locks: Getting a Wi-Fi enabled lock is the best way to grant access to your guests remotely. These locks are opened by passcodes, which you can change after the guests leave. This makes managing your home a whole lot easier, especially if you live far away from your beach home.

Why It’s a Relatively Safe Bet

Buying a house may seem like a big deal, but it’s actually safer than a lot of other investments. People often spend thousands of dollars on investments that hold no real value. That means if the investment fails, they lose all of their invested money. This is definitely not the case when you buy a beach house or a home you plan on turning into a vacation rental. Why? Because the house itself is an asset that appreciates in value over time. If things don’t work out after a year or two, you can put the house back on the market and recover your money. Depending on the real estate conditions, you might just earn a nice little profit just by selling your house at a later date.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Is Your Business The Definition Of Insanity?

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 25, 2019 at 9:29 pm

 

The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The goal of building a successful business is to be…well…successful. But what if you hit a stumbling block that you’re struggling with? Maybe it’s finding the right client base, getting in the right doors to talk to the right people, or solving a technical problem with a product. When do you say enough is enough, I need to make a change? (Hopefully before your business falls apart.) My general rule of thumb is that if you’ve tried something a dozen or so times (sometimes more or less depending on the specific problem), but you aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for, then maybe it really is time to look at the problem from a different angle.

Talk to the Professionals

There are tons of business issues (most in fact) that there is a professional for. A consultant for just about anything can be found, which is great news if you’re having a hard time figuring out your problem. Let’s say that you’re having a hard time getting to the right client base and reaching the right people for your business. Finding someone who can connect you would be very helpful, right? What if that person could also help you refine, and possibly redefine, your pitch? What if that person could help you understand what your core client base is really looking for, what will grab their interest, and what will get them excited about you and your business? What if that person helps you become successful?

Take a Break

There are some business problems that you just need to take a break from. Sometimes walking away and clearing your head will help bring answers you didn’t know you had. This could be a technical issue with a product or even a personnel issue. Has an idea or solution ever come to you when you least expect it, like when you’re at the gym or watching TV? Many times the answers will come when you’re not actively thinking about the problem. Isn’t it great how our brains work?

Get Back to the Basics

Many times a solution can be found when you just get back to the basics. Maybe it’s a challenge with figuring out how to get buy-in on a business idea. Sometimes getting back to the basics of what you want to do can help clarify the best direction to go. Or, maybe it’s an employee challenge where they need extra guidance and coaching on how to capture and keep a sale. Getting back to the basics – Sales 101 – can help clarify concepts and ideas that may not have been set foundationally in the first place.

Research & Modeling

Research is key in making any business successful. Not just research on your product, service, or industry, but also on how others are successful in the same field. Finding someone who has already done what you’re trying to do (or something similar) and learn from their mistakes, model your behavior and practices after theirs, and understand their structure and how it applies to your business.

Be Willing to Change

Not all business models will work the first time you try them out. There is some finessing that usually needs to be done before most business models will work. A business plan is just that – a plan. Plans change. Plans evolve. And sometimes they need to change to meet the needs of business – internal and external customers, suppliers, financially, etc. Sometimes (most of the time) the plan is seen as bigger or worth more to the owner than to outside customers or suppliers, and it should because of the investment the owner has put in. That doesn’t mean that customers or lenders will pay more for the product/service or business just because the owner thinks they should. I once had a student who was attempting to open a mobile coffee shop. He went through the process of building out his business plan and everything looked great on paper. When he went to get financing, he was turned down left and right because the banks did not see the monetary value in his business. He was asking for too much up front. Changing the business plan and scaling the business as needed are ways owners must be flexible.

The bottom line is – don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to make changes to your business! If you don’t, you may not see the success you’re working so hard for. Don’t let your business or business idea become the definition of insanity!