Top 15 Skills That Every Entrepreneur Should Develop
Venturing the world of business is both an excitement and a challenge. It’s a dream come true for entrepreneurs and people who really wanted to start a business. However, it is really a risk. Along the way, you will encounter a lot of challenges and different circumstances. With all of these, you need to be prepared for everything that may come.
Before you invest for your business, you better invest in yourself first. Build “you” as an entrepreneur. There are a lot of skills that you should develop and strategies to learn. Every entrepreneur should also have the necessary traits and characteristics needed for the success of the business.
In this article, we will discuss the top skills that every entrepreneur should develop:
Every person who is determined to pursue their dreams and passion in life should have focus. Focus requires both discipline and consistency. An entrepreneur should be disciplined in every step she takes. Moreover, she should be consistent in maintaining the discipline. Together with these two, she will be able to gradually accomplish her business goals.
Running a business requires employees to work hand-in-hand with you in reaching your business goals. Of course, you should set a good example for your people. If you do not know how to lead, your employees will work astray. They will become inefficient and unproductive. It is a must that you know how to manage people effectively.
Empathy is a very important skill for an entrepreneur. She should have a heart for her customers. A good entrepreneur thinks about the consumers more than her business, her products or services. Why? Without the customers, a business would fail. The people you serve keeps your business alive. It is important that you put your customers on top of your priority.
Being strategic comes in many forms. You have to be both smart and critical in handling certain circumstances. Basically, you should have your own unique strategy in running a business. But it doesn’t mean that you have to stick to it. You have to adapt to the trends and the changes in the market. Make sure that you undergo careful research and planning before moving further.
Authenticity is very important. You do not want to be labeled as a copycat. Apparently, some businesses may inspire your idea and concept. But you need to challenge yourself. Think of something that will differentiate your businesses to the ones that are already established. Be original in a sense that you re-create something existent and make it unique. For sure, this will help build the brand of your company.
Our imagination has no limits. Just like you. You have no limits in reaching your goals for the business. When we say imaginative, you should be creative in innovating ways and strategies in your business. You need to think out of the box and explore what’s on the horizon.
Good at money
This is one of the most important skills that every entrepreneur should develop. Financial management is important. According to Success Harbor, poor financial management is one of the reasons why businesses fail. Entrepreneurs should realize the importance of keeping financial records of all the profits and costs. This will determine whether the business is really moving up rather than failing.
Some entrepreneurs are so full of themselves to the point that they don’t listen to others. It is very important that you are open to some ideas, thoughts, and suggestions that may be helpful in the growth and development of your business. Find some time seeking the wisdom of some successful entrepreneurs. Moreover, always listen to your people and your consumers. They hold the best words that will help your business thrive.
A successful entrepreneur thinks about the future of her business. If I do this, what will happen to my business in the next 10 years? Every entrepreneur wishes nothing but the success of the business. Success does not take place overnight. It is built every day for the future. Do not be afraid to take risks, but, think about these risks that you are entering.
Being resourceful helps you to reduce costs for your business. One of the major reasons why businesses lose profitability is that they spend too much money purchasing brand new materials and equipment. If you are resourceful enough, you know other alternatives which may be helpful in running the business.
As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t be afraid of taking risks. Be brave! If you think it will benefit your business, then do not hesitate. If you believe it will hurt your business, find some time to prepare your business. Bravery is also important in facing various battles that your business will encounter along the way.
Unexpected events are inevitable. Your business may experience ups and downs. During downtimes, you should be resilient. According to Forbes, resiliency enables the entrepreneur to keep going despite certain circumstances. Hard times are normal. But what’s not normal is giving up. Always be strong to carry on.
Persuasion is always important in marketing. If you are not confident enough to promote your business to potential clients and customers, then you are not yet ready. Make sure that you know how to communicate your vision and goals to the people. In content writing, being persuasive means knowing how to write the right ‘copy’. In marketing, persuasion is next to increased sales.
Integrity is always important in all aspects. If you do not know how to play the game honestly, then you are increasing your risk of failure. Every entrepreneur should value the virtue of integrity. Who wants to work with someone who lacks integrity?
Lastly, make sure that you have a good network of people. Widen your connections. Reach out to clients, consumers and other stakeholders who are essential for your growth as an entrepreneur and the growth of the business.
9 Basic Steps for Employers to Choose the Best Employee
Hiring the best people to help you in achieving your goals for your business is crucial. Of course, every employer is after for the applicant that is most-skilled, goal-oriented, and versatile in various tasks and responsibilities that are given. According to statistics, 50 percent of businesses fail after four years of operating. Among the leading reasons why businesses don’t work are incompetence and lack of experience of employees.
There are billions of applicants in the pool. It is very important that an employer is keen and strategic in choosing the best people who will be part of the company. Here are the 9 basic steps in choosing the right employee:
Identify the job vacancies
The first step of the recruitment process is simply identifying the job positions that are vacant. Vacancy happens when there are new functions in the company or simply because an employee vacated the position. Most vacancies are entry-level positions as internal hiring normally happens for senior positions.
Plan for the job recruitment
After identifying all the vacant positions, it’s time to plan the recruitment phase. Basically, you need a human resource management team to do this. This involves the people who will draft the job description or specification; interview the applicants; choose who to hire; and the people who will organize the venue for the recruitment.
Publicize the job hiring
After finalizing everything, it’s time to announce the company’s search for brilliant employees. There are a lot of avenues to publicize the job hiring. The most common is through posting on newspapers’ classified ads. On the other hand, the digital era has paved the way to LinkedIn and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to make it easier to reach applicants. Some companies also connect with schools and organizations to outsource applicants.
You will know that your call for new employees is effective when your HR email is full of applications. Basically, applicants will initially send you a resume or a CV, and a cover letter. As HR manager or employer, it is your responsibility to review applications.
According to Glassdoor, a job opening attracts over 250 applications. On the other hand, only 4 to 6 candidates will be interviewed, and one will get the job. With this number of applications, a recruiter can only scan a resume for about 6 seconds, according to TheLadders report. Moreover, 87% of the recruiters will also check the LinkedIn profile of the selected candidates.
Choose the most qualified
After reviewing all the applications, choose the candidates who will go to the interview phase. These selected applicants will initially undergo a phone interview. The phone interview’s purpose is to save the recruiter’s staff and time by eliminating candidates. The most qualified ones will receive a notification, either by phone or e-mail that they will be scheduled for a face-to-face interview.
Check the background
The interview proper is basically performed between the applicant and the HR manager or the chief executive, herself. In this phase, the employer will ask about the candidate’s experiences, strengths and weaknesses, achievements, accomplishments, awards, and basically everything about the applicant’s background.
Make the job offer
After much deliberation and judgment, choose the best candidate that stands out among the rest. Notify the applicant about the decision and see him or her again. This time, make the job offer and discuss the details of salary, benefits, privileges, nature of work, job specifications, and the start date of service, among others.
Notify the unsuccessful candidates
Part of the recruitment process is informing the other candidates about their applications. Notify them politely about the company’s decision. Don’t leave them hanging. It is a bad impression for the company to just ignore the other applicants. In your notification letter, tell them to apply for the company’s other job vacancies or tell them that you will inform them in case the position they applied for is again vacant.
Welcome the new member
The last phase of the recruitment process is apparently welcoming him or her to the company. Basically, the new hire will be brought to the department where he or she will work. The leader or the manager of the department will dedicate time to knowing the new hire. The manager will then introduce the new member to the other employees. The manager shall also brief the new hire about department rules, some facilities, utilities, specific tasks, goals, etc.
The recruitment process is never easy. You do not want to waste time and money for the wrong person. As per the side of the recruiter, you should also be mindful of the proper way of choosing the employee. Here are some of our tips:
Avoid biases and prejudices
Do not bring your biases and prejudices to the table. Physical appearance, color, sexual orientation, or even hair color are never the primary qualifications for choosing an employee. Do not judge immediately. These things do not tell about the applicant’s skills and expertise. As long as they do not violate the company’s standards, they are considered as a candidate.
Probationary period is alright
Some companies are providing a probationary period for their employees before hiring them full-time. Basically, new hires under probationary period are not entitled to benefits and privileges. Probationary period provides you an opportunity to know more about the new member if he or she is really deserving of the work. On the other hand, it is not just to prolong the probationary period for any under-the-table reasons.
Invest in behavioral tests
Some companies are really strict about behavior. As a matter of fact, personality matters. Some companies invest in supplementary behavioral screen procedures. This includes handwriting analysis, skill and aptitude tests, lie detector tests, and psychological testing. This will help greatly in selecting the best job candidates.
This is how the hiring and recruitment process takes place. Again, companies should invest time in looking for the best candidate. Avoid any rush. Remember, your people are vital to the business’ growth and success. It is best to settle for the best!
17 Realistic Ways to Cut Down Business Expenses
In running a business, entrepreneurs should not just focus on increasing sales. They should also reduce too many expenses to maintain or boost profitability. Based on a study by Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 small businesses do not last for over a year because of too many costs. In the United Kingdom, 4 in 10 small businesses fail within five years.
Well, now is the time to not just focus on sales, but also to reduce expenditures. Here are 17 realistic ways of cutting down business expenses:
Maximize office space
Always allocate your office space wisely. Most businesses spend too much on leasing commercial spaces because they fail to manage their location properly. According to CCIM, every worker should be allocated with just 185 square feet. They should also go for collaborative workstations and multipurpose rooms and equipment.
Hire the right number of people
While it is important that you have people to work with you, it is equally important to hire the “right” people. Employers should go for the skilled ones instead of hiring three people doing multiple functions that can be done by one.
Work with freelancers
Hiring freelancers and independent contractors will also help you reduce costs. Basically, you are not obliged to provide them with health insurance benefits, sick and vacation leaves, pre-tax retirement accounts, and other benefits that full-time employees enjoy. On the other hand, choose the right freelancers as some of them are less loyal and may be committed to two or more projects.
Take advantage of interns
Take advantage of interns…in a good, professional way. Schools and organizations are sending interns to furnish their skills. This will be an additional to your workforce. Most interns do not require payment for their labor. However, you need to invest time in training them so they do not interfere with business productivity.
Try X-deal agreement
X-deal or exchange agreement is most common in design and multimedia works. But some companies are already adopting this style. In X-deal, companies agree to exchange products and services. For example, a restaurant agrees to sponsor the food of the guests in an event by a construction firm in exchange for free marketing and advertising.
Buy company vehicles
One of the greatest expenses of businesses is travel or transportation. Some employees are still riding public transportation to meet clients. Further, products and services are being delivered by a third-party shipping firm. It is best that businesses invest in company vehicles to make transportation more convenient and cut down travel expenses.
Invest in technology
The best impact of technology on businesses is increased productivity and efficiency. Technology helps a lot in business operations. Computers automate certain functions. Instead of hiring bookkeepers, computers can do bookkeeping through certain software. In manufacturing, equipment can produce more materials than workers manually crafting the products.
Use digital marketing
Marketing is very important. However, it may really be costly. Good thing we have internet now. Marketing is way cheaper than before but still in best quality. There are various digital marketing strategies available. If you want to save a lot, go for social media marketing. Over 4 billion people are using social media now.
Go for paperless transactions
Printing is so ‘yesterday’. Now, we can have everything online. Reducing paper use is an effective way of cutting down costs. Instead of printing too much paper, why not produce digital copies. Besides, most people now are using smartphones and other mobile devices. With this, you are not just saving your business but the environment as well.
Save the environment, save your business by saving energy. It is advised that businesses are conscious of their energy use. One of the biggest expenses of businesses goes to energy fee. Practice greenways by turning off the appliances that are not used, use solar panels for power, turning off lights, buying energy-efficient appliances, etc.
Buy refurbished equipment
A company is not required to purchase brand new stuff to run a business. Actually, there are hundreds of gently used and refurbished equipment out there that still works like brand new. This includes office printers and copiers, smartphones and tablets, delivery vans and company cars, furniture, etc.
Manage payables on time
There is so much advantage if you keep up-to-date all your payables. Experts suggest that businesses should pay invoices on time or even early. Paying early is healthy for your cash flow. Further, it will skip your company from paying late-payment charges. Payables include supply costs, loans, and debts, among others.
Boost employees productivity
If your employees are not productive, more time and money are put to waste. That’s why it is very important that you boost their productivity and efficiency. Set little goals for them. Moreover, provide training, workshops, and teambuilding activities that will improve their skills and expand their knowledge.
Don’t sign the contract yet. Test your convincing powers. Always negotiate in simple to complex transactions. Is this the final price? Can we have 5% discount on all these supply purchases? How about we move to another supplier? Most suppliers are open to changes especially if you are a loyal customer.
Buy in bulk
If you are looking for supply, always buy in bulk rather than by piece. It will really save you a lot. There’s a relevant discount if you buy in bulk. The wholesale price is different from the retail price. On the other hand, be careful in bulk purchases especially those items with expiration.
Explore other suppliers
Don’t limit yourself to one supplier. Outsource the market. There are hundreds of providers in the world. Some of them offer greater deals than your supplier. So, make sure you have two, three or more choices.
Get rid of unnecessary stuff
Reflect on some items that you order from your supplier. Do you really need them? Will the company still survive or work even without this stuff? These are the questions that you should ask yourself in order to cut down expenses for unnecessary things.
15 Best Strategies to Promote a Business in 2018
One of the most important factors in a business success is marketing. Every business should invest in marketing as it helps introduce a product, service, or even the business to the market. Without marketing, businesses wouldn’t be able to establish their brand and reputation. Marketing helps businesses build a strong presence in the market which will generate higher sales.
With the advent of technology, marketing has been revolutionized. Today, there have been various digital marketing strategies available. In fact, 34% of the businesses have integrated digital marketing strategies in the businesses. On the other hand, 49% uses digital marketing but has no defined strategy yet, based on the research of Smart Insights.
In 2018, various marketing strategies will be helpful for businesses. Some of the most effective strategies in 2017 still work for 2018. While some of the most obsolete ways are still effective ways of promoting businesses. Here are the 16 best marketing strategies for 2018.
Create a website
Website marketing remains to be one of the strongest. In the U.K, over 2 million small businesses still do not have websites. According to Clutch.Co, 92% of the small businesses are going to have a website this year. This is the direct response of businesses to consumer trend.
Use social media
Social media marketing is definitely one of the most powerful internet strategies. It has the widest scope among others. More than 4 billion people have social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. These social networking platforms have devised varied advertising tools and programs that can reach a specified audience.
4 out of 5 customers use the internet to shop. In fact, Google gets more than 100 billion searches every month. However, it is very difficult to rank first in Google search. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the answer. According to HubSpot (2017), 61% of businesses are targeting to improve their SEO to boost their online presence.
Publish YouTube videos
Based on the research of HubSpot (2017), 48% of the businesses are planning to integrate YouTube marketing into their content strategy this year. In fact, YouTube is one of the favorites of larger companies and corporations. YouTube has over one billion users. According to Google 2016, people spend more time on YouTube compared to watching television.
Pay-per-click marketing is one of the most effective internet strategies. Currently, Google AdWords is the most popular. According to WordStream (2016), over 60% of consumers click Google ads when they are looking for items to shop online. In addition, the average click-through rate in AdWords is 1.91% for search and 0.35% for display.
Email marketing is the earliest form of digital marketing strategy. According to Econsultancy (2016), 75% of the companies worldwide believe that email marketing offers excellent to a good return on investment. Based on statistics, 86% of consumers love to receive newsletters or promotional emails at least monthly.
Update local standing
Local marketing is very effective for small to medium-sized businesses. According to Google (2016), 30% of the mobile searches are related to location. In fact, 72% of the consumers visited a store after conducting a local search. Thus, it is important to update your local directory and standing.
Get reviewed online
Consumers now are smarter. They surf the web to look for reviews and feedback from customers. One of the most effective ways of building your good reputation is to be reviewed positively. Basically, you need to sign for popular sites that offer reviews about products and services. Aim for 5 stars.
There are thousands of influencers on the web. This includes bloggers, celebrities, and public figures. They are either on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube, among others. One way to effectively promote your business is by connecting to these influencers. It is best to sponsor them with products and services in exchange for promoting your company to his or her followers.
Be part of trade shows
Trade shows are one of the earliest strategies for showcasing products and services. In 2018, it still a good opportunity for businesses. Most people love to attend trade shows and exhibitions to get in touch with a wide variety of products and services according to their preferences. Being a part of trade shows is very effective in connecting with consumers more personally.
Consumers love contests and giveaways. Businesses should try conducting marketing events that will provide freebies and great deals for customers who will participate in these contents. It can either be on trade exhibits or through online platforms.
Apply for awards
As mentioned earlier, consumers today are smarter than ever. They are choosing products with a good reputation. To establish your business in the market, apply for awards. There are various award-winning bodies that recognize the best among the rest in the market. You should always aim for an ‘award’ which you can boast to your customers.
Use traditional media
Print, radio, and TV – these are the conventional forms of marketing. But up until now, they are still very effective. According to Statistic Brain, 99% of the world have television. Majority of the people have access to television shows. This is a great opportunity for businesses to reach their audience. However, TV commercials are a bit costly.
Conduct free seminars
Some of the consumers are interested in opportunities where they can learn a lot of things. Businesses should always find time to conduct seminars, workshops, and conferences. The aim of these events is not just to promote your business, but to impart knowledge to your market.
Be more personal
If you are still in doubt of the abovementioned marketing strategies, well, get personal. Talk to the person. VoIP telephony is raising the standards for this in which company representatives communicate with consumers personally. You can also do house-to-house. But remember, getting personal really takes a lot of time.
These are just some of the marketing strategies that will surely work this 2018. Remember, always conduct a thorough research of what marketing tool to use for your business.
11 Ways Virtual Reality is Changing the Business Landscape
Virtual reality or VR is one of the most technological breakthroughs in the 21st century. It has a great impact on education, entertainment, and most especially, business. Basically, virtual reality is creating a vision of reality in the virtual space. The concept of virtual reality can be traced back to the early 19th century. But it was only in the beginning of the 21st century when virtual reality gradually dominated the market. Today, virtual reality can be best experienced through the use of VR headset. Since then, businesses have started integrating the virtual reality technology in their various operations.
According to the research firm KZero, this year 2018, it is expected that 171 million people worldwide will be using virtual reality hardware and software. In fact, virtual reality technology is projected to impact the economy of the United States to about $15.6 billion. Definitely, more and more individuals are using virtual reality technology in their personal life and most especially, in running businesses.
Let us know how the virtual reality technology changed the business landscape:
Technology has remarkably changed communication. Today, we have smartphones, social media platforms, high-tech computers, and VoIP telephony, among others which raised the bar of communication. Apart from these, a new player came – the virtual reality.
Virtual reality does not just settle for just video chat. But it actually brings you the person near your virtual space. It has helped businesses communicate with each other. There are various teleconferencing and telecommuting platforms that enable members of a company to gather and discuss corporate matters. It skips the hassle of going back to the office just to officiate or attend the meeting.
Virtual reality has also set high standards for education and learning. A few companies are already integrating virtual reality technology in their training programs. Apparently, virtual reality provides a more immersive opportunity for new hires, applicants, and employees to learn new skills and expand their knowledge. Because of this, employees are becoming more equipped which would help the business in terms of productivity and efficiency.
Apart from training, the recruitment phase has also changed. Before, the applicants are required to talk face-to-face with the employer or the hiring manager. According to experts, this situation reduces the applicant’s ability to sell his or herself. With virtual technology, applicants can confidently impress the employer even at the comfort of their home.
Due to the internet and technology, many people now are employed online. According to statistics, online freelancers within the European Union increases up to 45% from 2012 to 2013. India is among the largest online workforce in the world with over 15 million in population. They make up 40% of the world’s freelance jobs. Currently, UpWork and Freelancer are the largest online freelance marketplaces. With virtual reality in the market, online freelancing will rise. It will be much easier for freelancers to communicate with their employers.
One of the strongest capabilities of virtual reality is improving marketing and advertising. Before, promoting one’s business is limited to traditional media and popular internet marketing strategies. Now, some companies are starting to use virtual technology to introduce their products and services to the people. In trade shows, most enterprises are using virtualization to immerse the customers in the experience.
In relation to marketing, virtual reality offers a much better customer experience. Consumers can have a real-life experience with market’s offerings. But more to this, virtualization is also used for customer service. VoIP telephone has gradually replaced the traditional telephone line in answering queries and concerns. Social media and other internet marketing strategies also flourished for more accessible avenues for customers. To make it more unique and advanced, virtual reality makes customers feel like they are being served “face-to-face”. Some companies in the United States are exploring virtual reality in serving customers.
Companies now are using virtual reality and augment reality to visualize the products that they want to build in the future. Commonly, developers create dozens of prototypes and designs for a particular model of a product. Through virtual reality, they can save time and money by creating prototypes. It will also be much easier to delve into the characteristics and features of the products.
Some real estate agents are now taking advantage of virtual reality to present properties to their potential buyers and customers. It is now much easier to show residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Through virtual reality, customers do not just see the exterior of properties, but also the interior. Everything is much more detailed and vivid. According to Adam Blaxter, co-founder of Rentr, turning architectural and construction designs into virtual models is becoming part of a normal workflow in real estate business.
Apart from developers, it will be much easier for engineers and architects to visualize their projects through virtual reality. Apart from the designing software, virtual reality provides a virtual equivalent of a real structure. It is more convenient to design, alter, or change anything from a layout. Gone are the days when architects manually draw a blueprint. Now, virtualization takes engineering to a new level.
Entertainment is another form of business. Well, virtual reality has redefined entertainment. Businesses that specialize in gaming and entertainment are using virtual reality to bring their services to new heights. In the gaming industry, customers can feel like they are the real players. They are being exposed to the virtual gaming environment. On the other hand, the audience can also feel like they are part of the show or movie through virtual technology.
Lastly, the most important impact of virtual reality on businesses is its economic effects. Virtual reality reduces costs in running a business. It promotes efficiency and productivity. With all mentioned above, businesses clearly benefit from virtual reality. It has modernized the way business is done, opening more opportunities. This technological breakthrough really contributes to the growth and the development of the business.
Top 9 Impact of Technology on Business Growth
Starting and running a business has never been easy. It requires determination, discipline and of course, a lot of money. Moreover, you need to hire people who will do all the necessary functions. But with the advent of technology, everything has changed. Business activities have become automated. Computers work along with people to accomplish goals. Technology helps businesses to flourish.
In fact, small businesses are integrating technology into their business. According to John Wandishin, Marketing Vice President for Brother, the majority of small businesses now are investing in technology to boost productivity and capitalize on new trends. Definitely, technology is redefining the business landscape.
Let us know more about the positive impact of technology on business growth and development.
Everything is ‘mobile’
Telephones have evolved. Today, we have smartphones. These smartphones are literally “smart”. They can do various functions and operations through digital applications and programs. In fact, 99.99% of employees in a company own a smartphone device. Smartphones offer mobile solutions in which people can still work even if they are not in the office. Moreover, 4 out of 5 consumers in the world shop through smartphones based on ComScore’s report. With this, businesses have to keep up with this trend, thus, entering the digital landscape.
Trust the ‘cloud’
Cloud is one of the most brilliant technological breakthroughs that changed the business landscape forever. It has made the transfer and exchange of data and information much more convenient and easier. It was in the 1950s when cloud computing was initially conceptualized. Only in the 21st century when it was widely used. Brother International Corporation conducted a survey of small businesses in 2010. They found out that 62% of these small enterprises used cloud-based services in their business operations. According to them, cloud technology offers more secure and reliable access to information. In another research by Microsoft, they found out that small and medium-sized businesses experienced a reduced IT workload to about 42% using cloud technology.
Less cost, more functionality
In business, money matters. As much as possible, you need to boost cash flow and reduce expenditures. Through the use of technology, a business can cut down costs. Simply because the use of technology in business operations increases productivity and efficiency. For example, instead of collecting payment from customers, you can use an online invoicing service. Also, use a comprehensive accounting software instead of hiring an accountant to do basic accounting tasks.
Technology has also redefined education. In business, training and learning rely on technology. Technology provides a more fun and interactive way of imparting knowledge to new hires and employees. Modules are now more personalized of technology. In fact, most companies now are utilizing webinars in training their employees. Some companies are also exploring virtual technology to elevate the level of learning and education.
One of the greatest impact of technology to businesses is in the field of marketing. Before, businesses have to roam around every town just to promote their business. In the mid-20th century, traditional media flourished – print, radio, and television. Although they are still very effective today, they cost a lot. With the advent of the internet, digital marketing strategies flourished. There are different strategies available – social media, website, SEO, and email marketing, among others. Among them, social media marketing is the most used. Why? It is cheaper and it reaches a wider scope. Over 4 billion people have social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Through technology, promoting a business is a lot easier.
As mentioned earlier, technology provides mobile solutions to businesses. Part of this impact is the improvement of communication. Today, people can connect with each other instantly. Gone are the days when businesses have to send their messages through a written letter. Now, we have messaging apps, email, and other instant communication platforms. People can easily text, call, or video chat. Through technology, everyone in the world seems to be connected with each other.
Improved customer service
Technology has greatly helped business serve their people even better. The advent of instant communication makes it easier for businesses to reach customers and vice-versa. Most companies now utilize digital platforms for customer service. Today, VoIP technology is rising where customers can connect with company representatives to raise queries and concerns. Social media and websites are also a way of gathering customer feedback. Moreover, clients can now schedule their appointments online.
Higher efficiency and productivity
One of the problems of most companies now is that most employees now spend more time in the office but are still less productive. In fact, business productivity affected the recovery of UK economy. The biggest reason why employees are becoming less efficient and productive is that companies do not invest in technology to automate operations. It is also one of the factors why workers are less motivated to work. Thus, it is important that companies now embrace technology. Basically, computers are very important now. There is readily available software which can perform various functions – accounting, bookkeeping, database management, payroll system, email management, and document creation, among others.
Smarter than ever
Businesses now are also becoming smarter and smarter because of technology. Today, there is various software that can analyze the performance of your business. These technologies are like an independent brain which can operate and decide on business operations and functions. Moreover, virtual technology is starting to dominate the business industry. Most companies now are utilizing virtual technology in teleconferencing, training, engineering, and learning, among others. In the years to come, technology will again innovate. These innovations will surely help in business growth and development.
Modernization and advancement are surely inevitable. Technology will change in the decades to come. On the other hand, businesses should always be smarter than technology. Using technology entails greater responsibility. If not used wisely, it can affect your business operations. Technology also has risks and threats, especially in security. Thus, no one should abuse the greatness technology offers to humans.
The Importance of Training Employees for Business Success
Your people are very important. They are behind the business operations. Without them, your business won’t work nor grow. As a manager, it is your primary obligation to motivate them in order to increase their productivity and achieve your business goals. However, according to U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, workers’ productivity decline in some labor areas including manufacturing and services.
There are many factors why employees are becoming unproductive. Basically, they are not motivated to work. Some of the primary reasons are lack of job security, poor work environment, and their unhealthy relationship with their boss.
Thus, it is very important that employees are fueled to work harder and more efficiently. According to business experts, it is best that employees undergo consistent training. Training employees may cost time and money, but the long-term effects will be very beneficial to the business. Employees will become more effective and productive.
4 Importance of Training Employees
A company or a business shall invest money and time on training and re-training their employees, both old and new. Training helps in motivating workers to contribute towards the achievement of your business goals.
Makes them happy
Generally, untrained employees are unhappy employees. Answers Cloud Services surveyed 4, 115 employees in America about employee productivity. Based on the results, a huge 72% of the employees stated that formal training increased their commitment towards their work. According to Eric Feinberg, senior director of Answers Cloud Services, training and education provide a perception to the workers that the company is investing in them and their success.
Increases their productivity
In 2015, the Office for Budget Responsibility found out that decreased employee productivity contributed to the delay of the economic recovery of the United Kingdom. Apparently, untrained workers are producing less, poor quality outputs. Training employees will help them realize of their tasks. It will also help in improving their skills and expanding their knowledge to be productive at work.
Untrained workers are prone to delivering poor outputs. They also tend to make more mistakes. With this, more time and money are lost due to their inefficiency and unproductivity. To solve this problem, training is needed. If employees are productive and efficient, costs will be reduced.
Improves customer service
Lastly, employees who are poorly-skilled are most likely to lose customers. This happens when they do not know how to interact with customers. It is very important that they undergo management training on how to deal with clients.
8 Strategies for Training Employees
Managing and training employees demand time, patience, and money. Different types of employees require different types of training programs as well. Here are 8 effective strategies on how to train your employees:
Use advanced technology
In this digital era, technology is already a part of everything. It redefines how business is done, including training employees. Through the use of technology, lesser time for preparation and lesser expenses are needed. There are various ways on how to innovate training programs and modules through the use of technology. E-training is also more fun and interactive and is very effective in imparting knowledge to employees. Apart from computers, virtual reality (VR) is seen as a breakthrough technology in training employees.
Encourage workers to share
Communication is very important in every aspect. In training, you should encourage the workers and employees to share their experiences, their insights, and their problems. From here, you can extract the factors that are affecting their performance and productivity. Moreover, most employees who are not motivated to work do not have an outlet to express their ideas. Thus, it is important that during training, their voices should matter.
Customize training programs
Of course, the training should be specifically designed for this group of employees. Training for managers is different from training for handyman contractors. The module and the exercises should be customized and are targeted towards the improvement of their respective skills. There are many experts in making training modules. Further, you can actually ask your workers when you create the training module.
Focus on their strengths
Some employers and managers conduct training to revert the workers’ weaknesses. This is wrong! Training is initially done for you to be aware of their strengths and edges among others. It is your responsibility to optimize their strengths. Through this, you know what area of work they will be much more productive and efficient. You will have the idea where they will likely excel. Every member should be comfortable with what they are doing. If they are given tasks they are not familiar with, they will spend too much time and effort learning the skill which will affect productivity.
One of the reasons why employees are not motivated to work is because of their fellow workers. Their relationship with each other affects their performance. It’s either of unhealthy competition or personal ill-will. During training, it is important that you make them work altogether. They should develop the value of teamwork. Remember, when they help one another, the business will be productive. According to a research from the Gallup organization, employees are inspired to work if they have a best friend at work.
Let senior employees inspire them
Senior employees came from their level. They are likely to be aware of what it feels like when they are down and not motivated. It will be helpful to let senior employees share their experiences and struggles and how they overcame these. Let senior employees inspire them to work harder and make them believe that perseverance and determination pay in the long run.
Set achievable and realistic goals
Introduce the business goals during the training. Make them realize how important it is to achieve these goals. If the company meets its goal, the employees benefit. Thus, set goals that they can achieve and accomplish. These goals should fit their skills and work.
Definitely, training employees is so important. It reinforces to them the importance of working hard. Their productivity and efficiency as employees do not just benefit the business, but themselves as well.
12 Proven Strategies to Increase Employee Productivity
The core of a business is the people. Without employees, your business wouldn’t grow. Together, they will work towards the achievement of your business goals. Ideally, employees should work 8 hours a day in five days. On the other hand, some employees work beyond the expected hours of work.
In the United Kingdom, researchers found out that employees are spending more hours for work, but, they are less productive compared than before. According to the Smith Institute, two-thirds of the employees they surveyed believed they worked more hours today than two years ago. But, only 10% of them believe that they are productive.
The Office for Budget Responsibility measures productivity through calculating a number of outputs over hours rendered by employees. In 2015, they found out that productivity downgraded which resulted to the delayed UK economic recovery.
As a business owner or employer, it is your primary responsibility to watch over your employees. If they are being unproductive, you are increasing your costs which is not contributing to your business productivity. Here are 12 proven strategies which will surely motivate your employees and will increase business productivity:
Treat each other as family
Employees are people. Even if they are “under” you, still you are not entitled to treat them as less than human beings. According to a research, two-thirds of the surveyed employees said they quit their job because of their “bad manager”. Treat your employees nicely. It wouldn’t cost you dollars to greet them in the hallway, say nice things about their performance, etc.
Know your employees personally
Make a connection with your employees by taking an effort to know them personally. Know their personal background, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and even simple things like what he or she does during the weekends. Knowing your employees does not just make them comfortable with you, but it will also help you identify some strategic areas which may help you determine the factors that affect the performance of your employee.
Perform teambuilding activities
Training is vital for every employee. It refreshes their knowledge and skills about their work. One of the best way to train and re-train your employees is by conducting teambuilding activities. These activities are engaging and interactive which make your employee enjoy the session. Moreover, it is a perfect way to socialize and develop the value of teamwork which is very important in the business landscape.
Do not hesitate to invest in technology. Poor technology or resources is among the reasons why employees leave the company. Make sure that the workplace is equipped with adequate technology that can help employees increase productivity and efficiency in their work. Basically, computers are must in businesses. It is where they can store files, create marketing materials, etc.
Set little and big goals
Make your employees realize that your business goals are their goal as well. That is their “big” goal. In order for them to achieve this goal, they have to accomplish little goals. These little goals are their tasks every day. Set little goals for your employees. Make sure that these goals are realistic and achievable. Do not ask them to transcribe a book in a day. That would be harsh. Give them goals that are within their skills and capacity.
Probably the most effective strategy to motivate your employees to work hard, exceed expectations and accomplish goals is to offer them incentives. Based on a study by Genesis Associates, 85% of the employees are fueled to do their best at work when incentives are being offered. Basically, incentives come in various forms. It can be a performance bonus, goal-oriented incentives, or even things like free movie tickets, all-expense paid trip, and free dinner, among others.
Listen to their sentiments
Communication is very important in all aspects. It is a key to understanding. It is important that you listen to their problems, their feedbacks, suggestions, opinions, and insights. Their ideas may be helpful in the improvement of your business. Make them feel that their sentiments are always welcome. Be an open-minded leader to all your employees.
Recognize good work
Apart from incentives, acknowledgment and recognition are also good methods of motivating your employees. A simple “heads up” to all employees regarding the good performance of an employee will do. But if you are a little bit extra, you can conduct a monthly awards night in which you recognize the top performers who exceeded expectations and achieved little goals throughout the whole month.
Regulate use of internet
The internet is vital in business operations – research, analysis, database, etc. On the other hand, there are cons to the internet availability. According to this study, internet lowers employee productivity. Why? People tend to check their notifications, scroll through their social media accounts, watch YouTube videos, tweet their sentiments, etc. Apparently, these things will hinder employee productivity.
Give them appropriate work
Another reason why employees become unproductive because they are given work that is not matched to their skills. You cannot expect a bookkeeper to do content writing tasks or even a plumber to fix a computer. If you give a work that is not matched to the skillset of your employee, the tendency is that he or she will spend too much time learning the skills, thus, decreasing productivity.
Always evaluate their performance
Make it a habit to evaluate their performance based on the little goals (tasks) you gave them. Assess the quality of their output, their productivity (number of output over time), their responsiveness to tasks, etc. It is advisable to do an evaluation every week. Moreover, when evaluating, make sure you are personally talking to them.
Promote work-life balance
Lastly, be an advocate for work-life balance. It is not healthy for them to prioritize work over their personal life. Of course, they have to spend time with their children or families, hang out with their friends, make time for their other passions, etc. Avoid calling them beyond work hours. Their lives do not just revolve around their work. Give them a break!
10 Secrets to Grow Your Business Successfully
Entrepreneurs and investors have goals and objectives for their business. Of course, they wanted to grow their business and establish it in the market. However, success is not done overnight. It takes series of challenges and failures to strengthen a business. You also need to be determined in maintaining your business – increasing profits and decreasing losses.
There are various strategies in order to grow your business. As a business owner, you need to be keen and cautious in deciding on your next step for your business. In this article, we will discuss the secrets of successful enterprises in growing their businesses:
Branch out to another location
If you want to literally grow your business, then you can “branch out” to other locations. Through this, you can be able to expand your reach to different markets in different locations. According to small-business consultant Frances McGuckin, physical expansion entails careful research and planning. It is like re-doing the methodology of starting a business. You need to choose the best location, read the consumers, etc.
Open for franchising
If you want to expand your business while skipping the burdens of starting up, be open for franchising. Through franchising, an entrepreneur can “duplicate” your business legally. A franchisor (you) will provide a licensed privilege to the franchisee to operate a business just like yours. The franchisee will pay the franchising fee before they can sell your products and services, use your rights and trademark, etc. You just need to craft a perfect franchising agreement.
Explore other products and services
You can also grow your business by expanding your product offerings and services. According to Frances McGuckin, diversifying your products and services is an excellent growth strategy as it allows you to explore more streams of income. You can sell complementary products and services. You can also make money of your other interests and skills. For example, you can offer classes and workshops to other startups who are seeking for knowledge about the business.
Reach out to other markets
If you are doing well with your target audience, do not settle for it, instead explore other markets. Through this, you are growing your business by expanding your reach to other markets. If you are running a business for adults, think of ways and strategies to make it sell for other markets like the young professionals or even millennials. If you only target businesses and enterprises, why not explore schools, organizations, and other institutions?
Be partners with other businesses
Build a relationship with other businesses. This is an excellent strategy to generate more income while gaining free promotion. Make sure you find a business that matches your business. For example, if you are a business that provides computer and IT consulting services, you can partner with BPO companies and even corporate companies that largely depend on computers and networks.
There are also other ways to partner with businesses. You can work hand-in-hand with other organizations and businesses and craft a promotional advocacy together.
Expand through the Internet
In this digital world, the internet is very essential to the success of your business. Apart from your physical business, you need to work on developing your online presence. The internet can help you largely in the marketing process.
According to statistics, almost 2 million small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom do not have a website. Website marketing is seen as one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies. In fact, it can uplift the revenue of a business to £173,769. Apart from website marketing, social media is seen as a powerful tool to reach audiences across the globe instantly, and for free. You just need to play with content.
Be part of trade shows
Trade shows are opportunities for your business to showcase your products or services, make a sale, and promote your brand. Trade shows gather people who are interested in a particular niche. It will be an excellent avenue for you to reach out to your people. On the other hand, carefully select the trade shows that you are going to participate in.
Cut your costs
One of the factors why some businesses still do not grow because they spend too much more than they earn. These extra costs may include space, transportation, food, manpower, and equipment. Some costs are even unnecessary. Do you really need this and that? Start evaluating all the things that you are paying and cut the things that you think your business can still exist without them.
Start a related business
Another best tactic to expand your business is to start a related business. Through this, you can reduce costs from hiring third-party companies to provide you a service or product. This allows you to have a flexible flow of income and benefit within your businesses. For example, if you are selling computer products, smartphones, and the latest technology, you can also start alongside a computer repair and troubleshooting business. With this, you can gain contain your customers and provide them more services.
Take advantage of technology
As mentioned earlier, the internet can help greatly in marketing and promoting your business. The internet is part of technology. Furthermore, other technologies can help your business grow more. Invest in various equipment and technologies that can help boost the productivity of your business operations. If you can buy a single technology that does the work of 15 employees, then take advantage of technology. On the other hand, you can purchase productivity software and tools that will make your employees work faster, more productively and more accurately.
There are various ways on how to grow and expand your business successfully. But the heart of these all is to treat your customers rightly. Without them, your businesses would not flourish. Always reward them for their loyalty. Make them feel like they are so special. A business that cares less about their customers is unlikely to succeed. Thus, feed your customers with lots of perks, deals, and bonuses so they will stay to keep your business stay in the market.
9 Easy Steps in Starting Your Own Small Business
Starting your own business is one of the most exciting ventures if you want to get out of working for somebody. But of course, it entails hard work, determination, and money to start your own business. In the United Kingdom, people engage in businesses – small, medium or large-scale. According to the statistics from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, there were 5.5 million private sectors businesses in the United Kingdom at the start of 2016. It is expected to increase more in the years to come.
On the other hand, not all businesses are geared towards success. In fact, experts suggest that two-thirds of the businesses with employees succeed for only two years. According to analysis, these businesses have not undergone thorough research and planning leading them to rushed business venture. Thus, if you want to make sure that you are doing alright in the procedures before running your own business, follow these 9 easy steps in starting your own small business:
Do a research
Research is very important in all aspects. In business, you need to perform a thorough research about the businesses that are going to survive and succeed in the market. Know about the products, the competitions, the trends, etc. In conducting a business research, the key is to identify the problem. Does this community lack grocery marts? Does this community lack event planners, plumbers, handyman, etc.? These are the questions that you are going to ask in order to determine if your business is going to be a “need” in the community.
Read your market
This phase is basically included in the research process. However, this should be given more importance. Your business’ success is dependent on your customers, audience, and target market. Without them, your business would be a flop. Thus, make sure that you spend time in reading and analyzing the “market demands” and “trends”. Identify who you are going to target – children, adults, millennials, music lovers, sports enthusiasts, etc. There is a wide range of market categories. As part of your business research, collect data from the people in the community you are planning to start your business to.
Find your niche
Basically, you have a business in mind. But it is important that the business meets the results of your research. If you love cooking and you found out in your research that there are many “cooking mothers” and food shops and restaurants in the community, these are indications that you can start your food grocery store. But if the results tell otherwise, go deeper into your “self” and find your niche. If the community is filled with millennials, ask yourself if you love gadgets and other trendy stuff so you can start a gadget accessory shop.
Always ask yourself first. Remember, you are going to run your own business. What’s the use if you don’t like it in the first place? Choose the business that matches your niche and the market.
Plan your finances
Money is very vital in starting a business. The startup phase will really be expensive. But it will be worth it in the long run if you plan your business well. This includes planning your finances. There are different things that you should consider in financial management – equipment, location, building the establishment, legal fees – in short, the overall startup costs. Moreover, anticipate the expenses in marketing, travel expenses, employees’ salary, etc.
If you have adequate capital, great! However, if you think your money on hand is insufficient, go for loans, credits, small business grants, and crowdfunding, among others to fund your small business.
Decide on a business structure
Choose a business structure that will benefit you and your business. It can a sole proprietorship, a partnership with other businesses, an LLC, or a corporation. A business structure is very important in a lot of ways. We recommend you asking an attorney or CPA to provide you a legal advice on what business structure to choose.
After choosing a business structure, you need to name and register your business. You need to make sure that the business name is not currently used by other enterprises. Then, proceed with the licenses and permits. We do not want you to work underground or illegally. Make sure you secure business licenses and permits. It is part of your research process to know what licenses and permits may be applied to your business during the start-up phase.
Set up your location
Now if you’ve met all the demands of the law, start setting up your location. Location is vital as well in the research process. Make sure it is in the area that is accessible to your target audience. Your business location can be a home office, a private office space, or you can rent in a building or commercial establishment. After settling the location, complete all the equipment, the utilities and all the finishing touches that are needed in your business.
Hire and train people
Your business wouldn’t operate without people. Hire workers that will maintain your business productivity. It may include accountant, sales manager, marketing officer, customer service representative, general manager, etc. By hiring people, you can be able to delegate tasks and jobs which make your service more efficient to your customers. Make sure you let them undergo proper training so that they can be ready during your business operations.
Promote your business
Lastly, choose the best marketing strategy that will help build and establish your business in the market. There are different ways on how to promote your business. You can explore offline and online ways. But in the digital era, we recommend you taking advantage of social media marketing and even website content marketing. These are new and “more effective” ways of promoting your business to the people.
Always remember that starting your own business is a risk. It may be a boom or a flop. Just always remember that you performed everything that should be done in order to achieve your business goals and objectives.