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

Four Steps To Ensure Work Safety

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 29, 2018 at 9:51 am

It is no longer just beneficial for a company to create a positive work culture; it is also now, thanks to regulations around work safety, mandatory. The idea behind it is that a happy employee means a happy customer. Accidents take a toll on productivity. As a business, you want your workplace to be safe if you are going to realize productivity.

Besides, it is your responsibility as a business to safeguard the health and safety of your employees and contractors. A health and safety program helps you to this end and clears you of any responsibility should something happen. In most cases, contractor management software can go a long way to helping with this. However, the scope of your program will depend on how big or small your business is and the specific hazards in your workplace. Nevertheless, the following four steps can help to keep your workplace safe:

  • Keeping the workplace tidy

If your working environment is clean, chances are that it will be safer. As such, tools need to be stored correctly immediately after use, spills need to be cleaned as soon as they happen and paperwork piles need to be controlled. You need to have systems in place that will curb clutter and reduce the possibilities of things going wrong. In an example, a contractor management system can help you reduce the number of paper records that you have to keep as a business thereby improving safety.

Remember that good practices begin from the top and trickle down. Therefore, have management set the example for the rest of the employees to follow. What is more, everything counts – something as small as installing a recycling point can make a huge difference.

  • Inspecting and maintaining work equipment

Industrial machinery can cause severe accidents. You want to make sure that your equipment is routinely inspected and regularly maintained. You also want to keep in touch with industry standards and technological advancements so that if there is lesser risk equipment available that still do the work, they become your priority.

Have the storage areas checked and stacked properly. For damaged equipment such as split electrical cables, broken ladders, and frayed ropes, they need to be disposed of properly. In the same manner, systems that are outdated need to be replaced.

  • Instituting a safety plan

Nothing is as underrated when it comes to workplace safety as a safety plan. Many businesses assume that it would be obvious, for example, that every employee wears the proper safety gear, or clean up a coffee spill. The truth of the matter is that these things need to be spelled out and a safety plan is an appropriate place to do that. Not only can you clarify the seemingly small, but important safety details, you can also have the document detail things as intricate as fire hazard responses.

Make sure that the plan is available to all contractors, workers and even visitors. The plan should detail every risk possible, every person’s responsibility to their own safety, the use of protective gear and the correct response to hazards. Make a point to routinely check the working environments for any evolving hazards.

  • Training, qualification and record keeping

Be sure that every person working in your organization is well in tune with how they can prevent accidents. This kind of training should be a regular affair, giving employees an opportunity to evaluate themselves and get a refresher. In cases of professionals and contractors outside your control, contractor management software can help. Additionally, regardless of how thorough you are, accidents may still occur, in which case you will need detailed records that will inform your future efforts at mitigating risks.

  • How contractor management software can help

Ensuring workplace safety can be a looped task. Between ensuring that employees maintain standards, contractors are qualified and keeping up with safety standards you can get overwhelmed. Contractor management software will take over these responsibilities for you. It will keep records of injuries if at all and help with risk analysis and control. What is more, you can use the system to track contractor qualifications and their compliance with safety standards. Everyone wins. If you want to learn more about contractor management software contact a provider today.

This post may contain affiliate links.

How To Maintain A Balance Between Good And Bad Boss

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 27, 2018 at 7:11 am

Have you ever found yourself in an awkward situation where you were expected to be `good’ and `bad’ at the same time? Providers of professional writing services have highlighted that this is usually the position of some bosses who have friends for colleagues or subordinates. This is always a very tricky situation when one is required to keep friends without sabotaging their career. If you are in a similar position then it will take some prudence for you to strike the good balance. As the boss, there are certain expectations and demands that you must meet. Both your seniors and juniors know what you ought to be and how you ought to conduct yourself so the pressure is real. However, it is possible to be both a buddy and a boss if only you set your boundaries clearly and stick to the rules. Below are useful tips on how to keep your balance on the tightrope between professional and personal:

Set clear boundaries

Rationally relating with your close friends in a work environment can prove to be one of the hardest things to do. This is because sometimes friends ignore rules just for friendship sake. If you are the boss in this case, then it becomes very hard to put your foot down on some issues. However, for you to survive and also thrive in your job you must draw a clear line of demarcation between work and personal or social relationships. Let your subordinates know what will not be tolerated. At the same time, leave room for negotiations and create an environment that is devoid of tension.

Don’t Make your Employees Best Friends

This doesn’t mean you hate on anyone. However, it is one of the best policies not to make your employees the very best of friends. If you find challenges dealing with some of your already close friends, see how to not manage them directly. You can choose to develop an app to help you do give instructions openly on a platform that tells everyone that there is no favoritism. If your friends are really good, they should be able to understand the dilemma that could have arisen from such a situation. All the same, it is important for them to understand that there are no penalties for them being your friend although it will not be used as a means of getting promotion favors.

Emotional Intelligence is Key

The workplace has a lot of dynamics, tension, and emotions running through the different team members. As a boss, you are not an exception but it is important to demonstrate leadership in the way you manage your emotions. Don’t drag these emotions into making managerial decisions. When things seem to weigh too much on you, you can engage an unbiased party to help in making the final decision. To stay calm and effective in all your undertakings, admit when you feel compromised emotionally and seek help from someone when making important decisions.

Interact with the Team Professionally

Your social life has a lot of impact on how you perform and lead others. Make your interactions professional. Other people should not see specific familiarity that they don’t like. When out with friends doing non-work activities, keep off work discussions. Always endeavor to separate these two things. It is not wise and prudent to talk to an employee friend about the stress you may be going through or any issues to do with the company.

Keep Off Crazy Celebrations and Parties

Don’t engage in crazy partying. Again, don’t post fun activities with friends on social media particularly where your team can see them. Doing so is unprofessional and may send a message that they don’t have access to the same fun as you.

Final Thoughts

There is a thin line between a good and bad boss. Therefore, one should make an effort of creating a balance to promote understanding and professionalism as a boss. It is not wrong to stay close to employees but the boundaries should be well-defined.

Author’s Bio

The author is a leadership and management professional in assignments online services. He has vast theoretical and practical knowledge and experience in this field. He has provided coaching services to many in the area of effective leadership.

This post may contain affiliate links.

5 Low-Cost Branding Strategies For Small Businesses That Deliver Powerful Results

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 24, 2018 at 11:17 am

Having a strong product that delivers on its promises is important. But unless your audience knows about it and trusts what you’re saying, it won’t even matter.

That’s why branding is an essential part of growing any business – whether you’re just starting out, or are already established but want to expand, getting your business in front of prospective customers and becoming known in your industry are a must if you’re going to stay competitive.

But why is branding so important?

Well, the main reason why multinational corporations such as Coca-Cola spend millions upon millions on branding is to ingrain their brand in the minds of their prospects so that whenever they’re ready to make a purchase, they think of Coca instead of Pepsi.

But you don’t have to spend millions to put together a successful branding campaign.

With the help of modern technology and some out-of-the-box thinking, even a small business can get their brand out there and form a loyal following of customers that help spread the word even further.

Want to learn how? Then read on below.

Have You Ever Heard of Micro-Influencer Marketing?

If you’ve read a marketing or business blog recently, you’ve probably stumbled upon the term “influencer marketing” more than once. It’s one of the hottest marketing strategies in 2018, and it can be a very powerful tool for any business, given you know how to use it effectively.

Basically, it’s the process of utilizing influencers, or influential bloggers and social media figures in your niche, to help promote your product and position your brand.

But while the potential for results may seem appealing, not many smaller businesses dare to try and put together their own influencer marketing campaign. Some fear that they won’t have the budget, others simply don’t believe they are big enough to compete with some of the more established brands.

However, just because you can’t afford the big celebrities in your niche for promoting your products, that doesn’t mean influencer marketing is off limits.

In fact, being small may actually work in your favor and provide you with a unique advantage over bigger competitors.

You see, while most big brands go after the prominent influencers with millions of followers, savvy small businesses seek out micro-influencers who have anywhere from a couple thousand to 50,000+ followers.

For every big influencer in the marketplace, there are dozens upon dozens of smaller ones who have a following that’s just as loyal, albeit smaller. It could be argued that smaller audiences are much more loyal, focused, and responsive to what the influencer recommends.

So, even though micro-influencers are harder to locate, if you do manage to seek out one that’s right for your branding campaign and write a professional-looking proposal, you will have a much better shot at striking a deal and getting in front of thousands of hyper-targeted prospects.

Now, imagine if you could find five, or even ten of these influencers – you could organize a spectacularly effective branding campaign at a fraction of the cost compared to getting promoted by even a single big-name influencer.

It’s Time to Start a Blog

When you’re struggling with getting your brand more recognition, blogging might seem like something that would take way too much time without any guarantee of it bringing results.

But in reality, blogging might be the most potent branding strategy that you could implement.

To compete with big companies, smaller brands need to be able to tell a compelling story and educate their audience. Since you can’t match the big marketing budgets of your larger competitors, you need to form a loyal following that won’t even care about what the others are doing.

With the help of blogging, you can not only increase your brand awareness but also convert leads into customers by providing content that educates and nurtures your audience.

Blogging allows you to address the most pressing questions that your audience has and, in the process, position you as the authority in your field. You can help your prospective customers overcome obstacles and guide them closer to the point of purchase.

But that’s not all that a blog can offer.

Over time, it can become a powerful lead generation tool – by regularly posting quality content, you’re likely to start ranking for various keywords around relevant search terms on Google. And if you take the time to research the best keywords to improve your SEO, there’s no limit to how many targeted leads you could attract each month.

Up Your Email Marketing Game

For most businesses, email marketing is just another way to make sales. But small companies can’t expect to succeed by simply mailing offers to their subscribers over and over again.

Email marketing presents a unique opportunity to build and nurture relationships with your customers – combined with blogging, it can form an incredibly powerful combination of tools for improving brand awareness on a tight budget.

But how can you use email marketing to improve brand awareness?

Well, email provides an excellent opportunity to showcase what your brand is all about.

By providing helpful content developing your own unique voice through your content, and delivering consistent quality that’s in line with your brand’s image, business values, and vision, you can start setting yourself apart from the competition and forming a more personal relationship with your readers.

People want businesses to be in line with what they believe in, so if you can resonate with your audience and their worldview, it can go a long way in helping you develop a strong brand presence and offer you unique positioning opportunities in the market.

Obviously, you need to make sure that the content you provide is actually helpful and is not just there to fill the pages. What’s more, you need to present the information in an engaging and conversational way that speaks to your readers and makes them eagerly await next week’s email.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be very complicated – if you know your target audience, you should be able to identify the most pressing issues or concerns that they’re facing and then address them.

Once you do that, the technical part of email marketing will be easy – today’s best email marketing tools are not only affordable but very easy to use as well, allowing you to set everything up quickly and providing extensive support in the process.

Consider Setting Up an Affiliate Program

A brand’s influence is largely dependent on how many people are actively having conversations about it, both on the web and in person.

And one of the best ways to ensure that your products remain at the heart of discussions and reviews online is by setting up an affiliate program that offers incentives to members who contribute sales to your business.

While it does take some time to set up, once it gets rolling, affiliate marketing helps you get sales and spread the word about your brand on autopilot – since the members of your affiliate program are rewarded only when a sale is made, there’s no risk to you and you’re guaranteed profits from every purchase.

The important thing to remember is that even though you want to remain profitable, you need to offer your affiliate program members a fair share of the profits. Also, provide them with plenty of seller tools and clear guidelines on how to make sales to make their jobs easier and ensure that they operate as efficiently as possible.

Finally, remember to be accessible – provide an email address for affiliates to reach out to and create a simple contact form on your site as well.

Remember, at least some of your competitors likely have affiliate programs of their own, so you need to offer more value to your sellers if you want them to choose to work with you.

Do You Know What Your Customers Think of Your Brand?

If you don’t know where you currently stand, it will be impossible to move forward with any type of branding strategy. That’s why the first thing you must do is to gain an understanding of your brand’s current position in the marketplace.

You must find out how much is your target audience aware of your brand and your products and how it fares against your most prominent competitors.

Once you gain an understanding of what the strong and weak points are in your branding strategy, you can start making adjustments and achieve measurable results that increase your bottom line.

But how to measure your current brand awareness?

Well, the most straightforward and most accurate method is to survey your current and potential customers.

By collecting feedback and asking a few key questions, you can figure out the associations that are currently tied to your brand, whether consumers are available of what you have to offer, and whether your values line up with how you’re perceived in the marketplace.

Surveys can also help you better hear the voice of the customer and make the necessary adjustments to make your brand more appealing to prospects.

 

About the author:

Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.

 

This post may contain affiliate links.

How To Maximize Efficiency With Good Business Procedures

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 15, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Business processes and procedures are an important part of any company. They help you to ensure that everything is being done in the most efficient way, mistakes aren’t being made, and you’re maintaining a level of consistency. They’re particularly important these days when you’re handling large amounts of customer data because without proper procedures in place, you can easily lose it. Business process can also help to increase productivity in a company through automation. However, some processes and procedures can actually slow things down if they’re outdated or you make employees follow them to the letter even in situations when it doesn’t make sense. You need to strike a good balance and make sure that all of your procedures are logical and work effectively. If you haven’t updated things for a while, here are some great tips on creating effective business procedures.

Understand Your Goals

Trying to create a process to solve a problem is impossible if you don’t know what that problem is in the first place. That’s why the first step when creating business processes is to identify what your goals are. Speak with all of your employees and ask them which parts of their job could be made more efficient and which of the old processes aren’t working well anymore. Then you can start drawing up a list of problems that need to be fixed. Going into it with a solid idea of what you’re trying to achieve will always give better results.

Choose The Right Software

When you’ve worked out what you’re trying to do, you can start building processes. Choosing the right case management software is essential here. Obviously, all of the different companies will tell you that their software is the right one for you but in the end, only you and your employees can decide. When you’re trying to choose one, you need to consider what your goals are and see which piece of software performs in those areas. The main thing to look for is a piece of software that is easy to use so you can create business procedures yourself without having to call in a programmer or take up the time of somebody from your IT team. Good customization options are important as well because you can only maximize efficiency if you can adapt process as the company grows and evolves.

Measure Success Rates

The biggest mistake that people make is implementing business processes and then leaving everybody to get on with it, without really looking at how effective they are. There’s always a chance that you’ll make mistakes but that’s only a problem if you don’t identify them quickly. After a week or so, check in with your staff and see how they’re getting on with the new system and get them to point out any problems. Then you can start adjusting things to make them more efficient. You should be constantly monitoring and updating your business processes so they’re always as effective as they can be.

If you’re not on top of your business processes, things will start to grind to a halt and efficiency will take a massive hit.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Skills You Simply MUST Learn For Your Business

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on August 15, 2018 at 12:26 pm

When you come up with a winning idea and finally decide to say goodbye to your old life on favor of a new one, it can be a truly wonderful feeling to say the least. When you finally start working on your empire after months of planning and work it can feel as if you are free to make your life the way you want it to be, and this is true. However, starting a business will always require more than one skill set, so to make sure you can run your empire effectively this year, here are some of the essential skills you need to teach yourself.

Marketing

The first and one of the most widely known areas you need to think about with your new startup is marketing. You can take an online masters of marketing in your spare time and get to grips with things such as social media, email and web development. All of these skills will allow you to hone in your skills and allow you to create an online presence for yourself to be reckoned with. You need all the help you can get as a startup so make sure you learn marketing as soon as you can.

Negotiation

There is no way you can run a profitable business without learning the art of negotiation. Negotiation makes the world go round and it will be what allows you to go from paying for your supplies fill prices to paying for them at a lower rate in bulk. You can really make a big improvement on your business by doing this so make sure that you spend time learning how to haggle.

Tech savvy-ness

For anyone who wants to run a successful and thriving business in this day and age, it is impossible for you to think that you can avoid computers. Online presence is something which we all need for success and you need to be able to understand how to manipulate tools for your own gain. You can also find that online apps can help you hugely with reporting and analysis of your business, allowing you to see where you are succeeding and where you are failing.

Money management

Managing money is never easy. If you are the type of person who hates looking through your personal accounts, it will be a huge culture shock having to manage the finances for your own corporation. Costing your supplies, managing your profits and forecasting for the future is difficult and you need to learn these skills if you are going to be able to sustain a business for longer than a few months. Take your time and read up on as many things as you can to really build an in depth understanding of your venture.

Organization

Time management and organisation is something you will need when you become a business owner because you will no longer have anyone there to boss you around. While not having a boss is great it can make things more difficult for you when you try to manage your time because we all know the lures of procrastination. If you want to avoid falling into the trap, make yourself a schedule and force yourself to stick to it no matter the cost.

This post may contain affiliate links.