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

3 Simple Ways To Restore Employee Motivation

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on June 17, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Hiring the right people takes time, effort, and resources – so you’re thrilled when you assemble the ideal team. Your staff start out motivated and excited by the work they do. But somewhere along the line, enthusiasm starts to dwindle. Some show up late to work, while others seem disengaged. Perhaps the team spirit is not what it used to be, and you start to worry that some of your best staff are looking elsewhere. Where did it all go wrong – and how can you turn it around? There are many reasons why employees become disengaged. But luckily, there are plenty of ways to motivate employees and develop a thriving workforce again.

Open door policy

Help employees to feel valued and secure if you want them to be motivated at work. An open door policy is a great way of doing this. It’s all about creating an environment where employees feel comfortable talking to you about things that are a little more private, for example, a bereavement or family illness that requires time off work. Adopting this policy can create a less stressful environment, as the employee feels like their personal well-being is supported at work. It also creates more transparency, so an employee can ask up front for time off when needed, rather than feel like they have to hide it.

Flexible Working

Another way of motivating the team is by allowing flexible working. This style of working will enable employees to balance their work and personal lives a little better, potentially leading to a happier workforce. Providing the option to work remotely one day a week, or to come into the office later, can also mean a more peaceful and productive office environment. Flexible working might be more challenging in a small business environment. However, by adopting unified communications (UC), employees can connect to work using any device, enabling them to collaborate with colleagues from the comfort of their own home. Look into services like IntelligIS, which provide unified communications in the workplace.

Celebration

All work and no play is highly demotivating. Celebration is an essential part of creating a cohesive company culture that people feel a part of. There are so many opportunities for celebration, whether that be company milestones, birthdays, or cultural events outside of work. Try to set aside some time and budget where you can all spend quality time together as a team, doing something outside of work.

Regular praise is also crucial for morale. But make sure it’s sincere and targeted to ensure it has the intended effect. You can even set up an initiative that encourages staff to nominate each other for awards to promote team spirit. Rewards should be part of a meaningful system that recognizes behavior and performance, according to the company culture, goals, and targets. Think about what rewards and benefits you can offer your staff to help them feel valued. It might not have to cost much, but it could go a long way to boosting positivity at work.

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The Importance Of Compliance And Why It Applies To Your Business

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on June 17, 2019 at 4:19 pm

A lot of small business owners skirt rules and regulations due to either a lack of awareness or simply because they’re looking to save a buck or two. This could be something rather malicious such as not paying the correct licensing fees for using certain images and videos, or it something forgetful like neglecting to renew a license or subscription to an important service. There are many different rules that we must comply with in order to run legitimate businesses, but very few businesses seem to respect them because they’re rarely ever penalized.

However, there’s still always a chance that you will be caught for doing something against the law or regulations. Especially with concerns such as the GDPR fines lingering around, no one wants to get caught red-handed breaching any kind of contract or regulations. As such, compliance has become more important than ever–especially for small businesses that don’t know any better.

No matter what industry you’re in, you need to be compliant

It doesn’t matter if you’re a small dental office or a drop shipper–you need to follow the rules. No amount of penny-saving will help you recover from the damage caused by a breach in healthcare security or a public witch hunt against your business for failing to credit a photographer correctly for their work. With how quickly news (and also misinformation) spreads through the internet, it won’t take long for your business to become completely ruined because you failed to comply with a set of rules and regulations.

Honest mistakes are fine, but be truthful about it

No one likes a business that lies all the time, so even if you do make a mistake and fail to remain compliant, you should simply admit to your mistakes and deal with it accordingly. No amount of lying or excuse-making is going to save you from public humiliation, so make sure you’re honest and transparent about the mistakes you make regarding breaches of compliance. The sooner you admit to your mistakes and work together with your audience and staff to mend the damage, the sooner you’ll be forgiven and be able to continue doing business uninterrupted.

A compliant business is an efficient one

Many compliance issues are there to deal with the poor treatment of employees. For instance, employees deserve breaks when working and they also need to be comfortable and happy with their working environment. If these compliance issues are not met, then you’ll not only be eligible for a fine, but you may even upset your employees to the point that they’re not working efficiently anymore. In other words, compliance can help improve a business’s efficiency especially when it relates to practices that can actually help improve the way your business operates.

Compliance might seem like a nuisance; a checkbox that you need to tick off or else you’ll get in trouble, but it’s there to also help protect your business. If you don’t follow with regulations and rules, you’ll be putting your business at risk.

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21st Century Small Business Trends Worth Following

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on June 14, 2019 at 2:25 pm

When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands the role encompasses. However, it’s important to take time to examine how the landscape is changing, and what 21st-century trends could be valuable for your business. Start-ups, enterprises and small businesses have been revolutionized in recent years, so it’s well worth considering the trends which could be right for your company.

Take an enterprising attitude

Social enterprises have risen considerably over the last decade, and many companies have benefited from incorporating a social consciousness into their branding. Whether you donate a percentage of profits to charitable causes, host events to raise money for disaster-stricken areas or encourage customers to foster social change, adding a social enterprise to your corporate structure could benefit your business, your local community, and your environment.

Be a trailblazer

Industries can evolve at an alarming rate, so businesses need to be at the front-line if they want to get ahead. Embrace new technologies, processes, and operations so that you can deliver increased value to your customers. With increased automation, for example, you can enhance your products and services, as well as reducing your company’s costs.

Build a network

Small businesses no longer have to struggle with the cost of hiring in-house workers. Using an outsourced service provider to access specialist skills, such as strategic IT consulting, means you have access to the expertise and experience you need, whenever you need it. By outsourcing your business needs, you can maintain a relatively small in-house staff, and save a significant amount in the process.

As well as reducing your wage bill, a smaller in-house team means smaller premises and less equipment to purchase and maintain. With considerable costs to be made, outsourcing can be a viable way of reducing your outgoings and getting access to a wide range of specialist service providers.

Engage with customers

The internet has given consumers the opportunity to voice their opinions to a much wider audience than ever before. Companies that offer consistently low value will soon be named and shamed online, so don’t be one of them.

Read your online reviews or search for your company name on social media, and take a look at what consumers are saying about your brand. By gaining an insight into what consumers think, you can make appropriate changes to your processes and improve the service you’re offering.

Furthermore, engaging with consumers when they discuss your brand online givens you a great opportunity to showcase your customer service skills. If a customer has publicized a negative brand experience, your response gives you the opportunity to rectify the situation effectively in front of the same audience. When done successfully, your response to the issue can promote trust and loyalty, so one customer’s negative experience can be turned into a chance to highlight your brand values.

As industries continue to develop and new technologies change the way we operate, embracing the latest trends could be an effective way to future-proof your business, increase turnover and build a loyal customer base.

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How Online Retailers Can Improve Their Shipping Operation

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on June 14, 2019 at 2:20 pm

If you’re running an online retail business, shipping should be one of your biggest concerns. When you’re competing like Amazon that is offering same day delivery in some places, it’s important that you’re getting products out fast. Consumers have very high expectations and if you take more than a few days to get products out to your customers, they’re just going to go elsewhere. You aren’t going to be able to compete with the big companies because you simply don’t have the resources, which is fine. However, you will need to offer a good shipping service if you’re ever going to make your online retail business a success.

If you find that you’re struggling to get repeat customers, it may be because the first order didn’t arrive very quickly and they weren’t impressed so they’re not going to use you again. That’s a big problem for you because repeat customers are the backbone of any business. What you need to do is find ways to streamline your shipping process and get products out faster. Here’s how you can do that.

Limit Your Delivery Area

When you’re first starting out and you don’t have much money to spend, it’s important that you recognize your limitations and limit your delivery area. For example, you shouldn’t start selling products abroad at this point because you’re just taking on extra work that you can’t really handle yet. Stick to domestic sales from now on and make sure that you’re getting products out to people in your own country on time before you start looking at selling products abroad. It’s important that you build the business up slowly and don’t try to sell globally right away.

Streamline Delivery Routes

If your delivery drivers are taking inefficient routes, you’re not making as many deliveries as you could be in a day and that means some customers are waiting an extra day when they shouldn’t have to. That’s why it’s important that you streamline your delivery routes. You should fit all of your vehicles with fleet dash cameras that have GPS function so you can track all of the routes and see whether there are ways that they could cut time on deliveries and get out to more customers in a day. There is also route planning software available which will help you to create the most efficient route, especially when you start to grow and you have a lot of deliveries to manage. It’s tough to plan all of those routes manually so some software can be a big help.

Open A Second Shipping Location

If all of your deliveries are coming out of one location, you may be wasting a lot of time. Opening a second shipping location is expensive but if you’re seeing some growth and you’re looking to reinvest in the business, this is a good way to do it. If you have multiple shipping locations around the country, you’ll be closer to your customers and deliveries will get out quicker.

Improve Warehouse Systems

Often, it’s not the delivery drivers that are the problem. Things are slow because the packing in the warehouse is slow and drivers are waiting a long time for the items to be picked and loaded up before they can head out on their delivery routes. If your warehouse systems are inefficient, you may also have trouble with mistakes and that’s going to cost you. You’ll have to pay for the correct item to be delivered again which means you’re wasting money and the customer is also unhappy and unlikely to use you again in the future.

If you don’t have a barcode system in the warehouse and everything is being picked using paper lists, you need to update things. A barcode system means that they can immediately find the location of any item that needs to be picked and collect it a lot quicker. You also need to have good communication with your warehouse staff so they can inform you of anything that is slowing them down and you can rectify it.

Consider Outsourcing

If you’ve tried all of these things but you still can’t get products out in a timely manner, it might just be that you don’t have the financial resources to run your shipping operation effectively. In that case, your best option is probably to outsource your shipping operation to an outside company instead. They will have all of the necessary infrastructure in place to get products out quickly and it will be cheaper overall for you as well.

If you can’t manage your shipping operation well, your online retail store is really going to struggle to retain customers so make sure that you do these things to streamline it.

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Employer Tips For Managing Work-Related Road Risks

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on June 13, 2019 at 12:57 pm

As an employer, you should already have taken steps to safeguard any of your employees who regularly use company cars or other types of vehicle for work purposes. It is your duty to do so because if your employee is involved in an accident, it is you who could be held responsible. Your business might then suffer financially because of legal proceedings and insurance costs, and your reputation might also be badly affected. Of course, you will also have to live with the knowledge that you should have done more to protect your driver and other road users.

So, what should you do?

You do as you would do within every other aspect of your business, and concentrate on health and safety. This includes the following.

  1. Ensure your drivers have sufficient training behind them

Of course, you need to check your employee’s driving license before they get into a company vehicle. If they haven’t passed their driving test, then you obviously shouldn’t let them out on the roads. Still, assuming they are qualified, you might also consider sending them on an advanced drivers course, and you might work with fleet risk management to help you assess if any other training is required. And if your employees are working with vehicles unfamiliar to them, such as construction vehicles and HGV’s, then you need to find the appropriate training for them, so they are able to work safely.

  1. Regularly maintain your vehicles

Despite the expense, you should get your vehicles serviced regularly. If there are any faults, steps can be taken before the state of the vehicle gets any worse, and this will safeguard both your company finances and your employee’s safety on the roads. You should also make it a policy that drivers report any concerns they have with the vehicle they are driving, and that should they be involved in an accident, no matter how minor, that they should inform you so that any damage can be properly assessed.

  1. Fit the vehicle with safety aids

Again, there will be an expense if your vehicles don’t have safety aids fitted as standard, but as the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry! As seen in the linked article, safety aids go beyond airbags and safety belts, as with such things as blind spot detection cameras and automatic braking features, you can do more to secure the safety of your drivers and other road users.

  1. Use your common sense

Don’t be directly responsible for putting your employer at risk. If you call them while they’re driving, regardless of any hands-free system you have fitted in your vehicle, you might distract them while driving. If you allow them to drive after doing a long shift, you might put them at risk of an accident because of tiredness. And if you ask them to drive in hazardous conditions, well… you don’t need us to tell you how dangerous this could be! Be sensible then, because your employee’s life depends on it.

Thanks for reading!

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