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Imagine a typical office. Is it boring and stuffy? Is it filled with grey cubicles, with harsh lighting thanks to the ceiling strips overhead? You may think that this is how all offices look, but thankfully that isn’t the case. In fact, some offices are even cool! Around the world, companies are breaking free from the mould to create workspaces that are inspiring, comfortable, and above all, fun.
Here are some of the best offices around the world:
Autodesk is a software company, renowned for their work with 3D design. In fact, the designers actually used Autodesk technology to develop their designs of the office space. They wanted the office to reflect the minimalist yet futuristic nature of 3D printing, which is why you’ll find a simple colour scheme and plenty of geometric shapes throughout the building. Different teams and parts of the office are connected to one another via the community tunnels, the walls of which double as whiteboards. Meanwhile, the adorably named ‘Cozy Corridor’ is instead a place filled with quiet nooks, for those in search of a tranquil spot to get in the zone. The office is made all the more special by the company’s quest to keep things environmentally friendly, with chairs made from 100% recycled materials and many other pieces of furniture sourced from local suppliers.
Each Airbnb office around the world has its own unique vibe, and nowhere is this more true than at the company’s international headquarters in Dublin. Airbnb is a global platform that allows individuals to rent out spare rooms or even entire homes to travellers. The décor of their HQ pays homage to the company’s purpose, with each meeting room offering a completely different style. Local staff provided the finishing touches to the décor, putting a personal stamp on their work environment. In terms of desks, the design follows a ‘neighbourhood’ concept, with 29 separate (and yet connected) work areas designed to give employees a bit of privacy. Alternatively, teams can gather in the central space and work collaboratively. The ample choice of seating means staff can socialize and engage with members of different teams.
For those of you who have been living under a rock, Pixar is a film studio that specializes in computer animation. The team at Pixar are responsible for creative classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. With so much creativity involved in their day-to-day work, the top dogs at the company decided that the office should be a place of inspiration. In reality, it’s much more than that! The Pixar office in California is made up of a lap pool, beautiful gardens and open plan steel frame buildings that look more like aircraft hangers than office spaces. When do I start?
WeWork offices are co-working spaces, designed for companies and individuals to come together and be inspired by their surroundings. The company has work spaces in the UK, US and China. Shanghai’s office sits within what was previously a series of laneway houses. The building’s past is honoured in design features throughout. Visitors will also be impressed by the play of light and shadows, and the way such an open space can somehow feel enclosed and private. In honour of the local community, motifs from the streets of Shanghai are displayed within, while the wallpaper in each meeting room gives a nod to traditional Chinese games that are popular in the area.
The company was previously spread across Philadelphia in six different buildings, but can now be found on one giant campus in the city, which was once a navy shipyard. If you’ve visited an Urban Outfitters store then the office interior will seem familiar. It boasts the same mixture of the old and the new, meeting in a pared back, open and airy design. However, that doesn’t mean it feels empty. Instead, bursts of colour give the place a homely feel, and can be found everywhere from the giant sofas and the office chairs, to the spacious canteen. Since moving to the new premises, Urban Outfitters have reported an increase in staff morale and a decrease in the amount of sick leave being taken. It’s also lowered the staff turnover by 11%. Evidently, it’s a place that employees are happy to
As an architecture firm, Selgas Cano decided that their office should be an example of their expertise. And their office in Madrid, Spain, surely delivers. It’s sleek and futuristic, and in direct contrast with the surrounding nature. The north-facing wall comprises a 20mm thick curved acrylic window, while the opaque south-facing wall is made of layers of fiber-glass and polyester, offering employees shade, and a touch of privacy from the outside world. At one end of the building, a hinged mechanism allows for the wall to be lifted, giving the office a natural ventilation system. Due to its size, the office has limited space for employees, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s cramped. Instead, employees enjoy giant desks, and control of their own lighting.
Bright colours and open spaces are in great abundance at the Cisco-Meraki office in San Francisco. The company is a world leader in cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. When the company moves offices in 2013, they began by asking employees what they enjoyed about their current workspace, and any requests they had for the future office. Taking on-board their feedback, Cisco-Meraki moved into a spacious, hangar-sized complex, with meeting rooms ranging from formal and fancy to relaxed and homely. Yurts, cabanas and phone rooms found within the building offer employees a moment respite from the lively atmosphere, while giant chalkboards and corkboards promote collaboration. To get from space to space, staff are welcome to walk, or hop onto one of the company unicycles and pedal. Colour plays an important role in the Cisco-Meraki office, working as a space separator, as there are few walls.
Research attributes only thirteen percent of most companies downtown caused by natural disasters
Downtown time due to other types of incidents, not including natural disasters, is a whopping eighty-seven percent. Which is quite alarming when the statistics show that every year seventy-five percent of company’s experience outages. With company’s revenue losses totaling more than $25 billion a year due to IT Outages in America alone. Yet nearly sixty percent of businesses in the USA have no Disaster Recovery Plan implemented. The worse fact of all is that more than a quarter of these businesses that close due to downtown never re-open!
A Business Continuity Plan needs to be structured and implemented properly
Most companies put off the planning and implementing a Continuity Plan because it can be quite costly and time-consuming. So, they adopt the “It will never happen to us” attitude and put it to the back of their mind each day breathing a sigh of relief that it did not happen today!
If a business is going to put the time, money and effort into creating a Continuity Plan they must do so with the utmost commitment and ensure that it is basically an iron-clad one.
There is noway one could ever predict every single threat, disaster, incident or casualty that could occur. There are just too many variables not to mention it would probably take a lifetime to do so!
But a good place to start is with some company research and a good old Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment!
Once they are done it will give the company a better understanding of the core processes, key personnel and acceptable loss levels. The Risk Assessment covers the potential threats from which is a good grounding to start.
Some of the common mistakes made by companies with their Continuity Plan are:
- Not covering all potential threats
- Has the company consideredthreats and potential risks from within companies, such as employees? Research showed that a high percentage of security breaches came from employees either unintentionally or intentionally not securing their passwords
- Have acts of nature been considered right down to infestation with insects? There was an incident whereby an entire organization shut down for days due to an infestation of small flies.
- What about power-outages due to many reasons such a power box being struck by lightning?
- Lack of communications amongst peers
Just like the mandatory fire drills that have companies piling their employees out of the building for a drill and having the procedures for the drill clearly defined for them, a companies Continuity Plan should be administrated and communicated along the same lines. With staff aware of the key personnel to contact and actions to take. Just as the “fire-escape Plan” is mounted to the walls at various points in a company so should an outline of the Business Continuity plan.
- Lack of knowledge about the business, its operations and key processes
As Business continuity requires a complete knowledge of the company, it processes, etc. The BCM Manager should be someone who knows the business inside out and preferably from top-level management with the support and backing of their peers!
The Business Continuity Plan is a vital part of a company’s recovery process and should be implemented by key personnel with an in-depth knowledge of the company.
They should also be committed to the keeping the plan updated, well documented and communicated throughout the company.
Launching your own business from scratch is a challenging and monumental time. There is enough stress on your plate without you having to worry about your cash flows and costs. Accounting is a critical part of any business, especially in its preliminary stages.
You may be a superstar, but there is a limit to which you can stretch yourself and utilise your energies. If you feel accounting is not your forte and will only take more of your precious time, then you may want to consider hiring an accountant to ease your accounting processes.
No matter what the scope of your business operations are, there are professional accountants available to help you out. However, if you are completely new to this, and need a bit of guidance, then you are in the right place.
What does an accountant do?
Accountants such as Atkinson Chartered Accountants, tax advisors in Brighton are masters of the art of accounting and offer a diverse, wide portfolio of services to their clients. These include but are not limited to:
a. Deciding whether registration for VAT is required or not
b. Helping you decide which software to procure and how to set it up, including defining variables
c. Deciding whether registration for VAT is required or not
d. Helping you choose which business category you should officially be registered in by assessing and analysing your business situation: partnership, sole tradership, or limited company. This decision will impact your tax requirements and personal liability equation. Hence, it is critical you make the right choice in this matter.
Once you are up and running, an accountant can benefit you in a lot more ways:
a. Give ideas and advise on how to onboard employees’ payroll
b. Make sure that you utilise all the possible tax relief conditions that your business qualifies for
c. Provide guidance on how to reduce tax liabilities in the future
d. Manage and optimise your company’s cash flows
e. Assist or lead in preparing fiscal forecasts and relevant business plans
f. Identify the right kind of finance to be raised and in help in doing just that
g. Ensure that tax returns are filed within deadlines and that the right amount of tax is paid
When is the right time to hire an accountant?
It is never too early to start consulting an accountant. From the moment your business idea is born in your mind and you begin to formulate a plan, schedule a preliminary appointment with an accountant. He can guide you and help you develop an accurate, realistic business plan with appropriate financial forecasts. Not only that, he will be able to direct you in the class of finance that would best suit your needs. Your accountant will be able to inform you of any legal and regulatory requirements that you would have to meet as well as a start up business. He will provide a complete end to end roadmap that will tell you whom to inform, where to file your business papers, deadlines and a lot more. It will make your work a lot easier and allow you to concentrate on building your business, instead of worrying about bureaucratic and administrative issues.
As stated, your accountant will instruct you which business category to fall under: limited liability, partnership or sole trader. Remember this will impact every dimension of your business operations and change the scope according to the business format you decide to go for. This can include any intellectual property rights you want to patent, your letterheads, paperwork etc.
What do you need to know before hiring an accountant for your start-up?
it is always better to compare oranges with oranges and not compare with apples. What do we mean? Seek out accounting firms that are the same scale and size as your business as they are the ones who will best understand your issues and custom needs. Not just that, perhaps you want an accountant who has experience and expertise in your field of business. Of course, that will make a positive difference and probably make you feel more comfortable with him as well. Do assess their reputation in the market as well and check which accounting body they’re a member off. Credibility is everything!
Take your time and touch base with four to six accounting firms that appeal to you. Fix meetings with them and request proposals. Ask them why you should hire them and how they can help your business. Spend some time on this as this is going to be a long term business relationship. Always ask before your first meeting if there are any prerequisite charges or the introductory meeting is free. If you ask for serious advice on a specific matter, you may just get charged.
Give the accounting firm you are meeting an overview of your business and what your expectations are from your hired accountant. See if their portfolio of services can cater to your demand. Can they offer any improvements?
If you already have a business plan, get them to review it and share comments. However, if you are looking for ways to raise capital finance, tell them you need a fiscal forecast. Clarify from before what the cost would be and if you can afford it. Check when they expect their fees to be paid and how frequently.
After the Meeting
Suppose you have found an accounting firm you love and you have hired it – you will a contractual letter from them that will outline their working terms and conditions. Once you have signed the paperwork and have made things official, clarify to your accountant that you need his services on a frequent basis, not only at the end of the tax year when fees are due. Tell him he can talk to you and disclose if there are any alarming discrepancies that he identifies in your financial statements as you want to be protected and not find out issues at the last moment.
Develop Your Relationship
Utilise your accountant as much as you need and get advise on how to expand or improve your start-up business. There is no harm in doing this! Just do a yearly review of your accountant’s services and make sure his capability is what you need.
The tech industry might seem pretty calm and relaxed from the outside and it certainly has a reputation for being a little more laidback just look at Google’s HQ! But just because things seem a little less serious that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for executive protection services.
In fact, executive protection services are in high-demand when it comes to the tech industry, you might not really notice it but if you ever see footage of tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg out in public he will usually be flanked by bodyguards.
These bodyguards will be part of a professional executive protection services team and be responsible for ensuring the safety of important business leaders. Sticking with Facebook for a moment do you know how much it costs the business to protect their founder and leader?
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news lately you might have already seen a report about it but if you haven’t then I’ll answer the question for you. In 2017 alone, it was reported that Facebook spent $7.3 million dollars on personal security for Mark Zuckerberg, a 50% increase on the amount spent in 2016.
Robert Frank, writing for CNBC estimated the cost at around $20,000 dollars a day which goes to show how important keeping their leader and founder safe is. While available data shows Facebook spend the most when it comes to executive protection services many other leading tech figures also have large budgets when it comes to their protection.
Amazon reportedly spent $1.6 million on executive protection services for Jeff Bezos in 2016 while Apple spent $224,000 on protection services for Tim Cook. These might seem relatively small when compared to the amount spent on Mark Zuckerberg, but while the amounts are smaller they still show that tech companies are willing to spend a lot when it comes to protection services.
After all, can anyone really argue that even the smallest of the three figures is not a lot of money? You also have to take into the account the amount of traveling Mark Zuckerberg did in the last year compared to the other tech leaders. Travel protection is what usually increases the price of executive protection services.
But whether it’s a million dollars or ten thousand many tech companies will be willing to pay to protect their leaders and other key figures. Executive protection services are also rarely focused on a single person they can be used to ensure the protection of larger groups like a group of board members or a tech leader and their family.
You might be reading this and thinking well that’s all well and good but what does any of it mean for me and my business? You might be the leader of a smaller business or in the process of setting one up and thinking I don’t need that level of protection, it’s way too over the top.
That’s understandable and you might even be right in your assumption at least right now but what about in the future? You might also be underestimating just how valuable you actually are, even in the early days of your business, you could need the high level of protection on offer from professional executive protection service providers. Let’s look at the benefits in more detail, shall we?
Why You Need Executive Protection Services
Many people reading this might be in the early stages of setting up their business, or you might even have it set-up and could be doing business right now. You probably fit somewhere into the rather wide category encompassed by SME’s don’t you? But while every SME is different I’ am willing to bet many don’t have executive protection services.
Many small to medium-sized business leaders probably don’t see the point or can’t justify the expense. But remember you can get professional protection services on a smaller budget you don’t have to spend millions like Facebook did, many service providers know that level of expense is an exception and not a common occurrence.
But even when you know you can afford it many SME tech business leaders will still think the money could be better spent elsewhere or think they won’t need the level of protection an executive protection service provider could offer. There’s a variety of reasons why they could believe this but some of it does go back to what I said at the beginning of this piece.
Many people hold a very common misconception when it comes to the tech industry, they see it as being more playful and relaxed unlike other big industries like finance or the media. But the tech industry is arguably the most important business industry around today and it is heavily connected to almost every other industry.
It might all seem like fun and games but many of the leading businesses today need the protection provided by executive protection services. And it’s not just the tech leaders who need high levels of protection but their families as well and you might be a smaller tech business owner, but you could still need a high level of protection.
Think about it like this every big tech business you see today started out as a small business somewhere. Some leading tech companies expanded an insane amount in just a few months so don’t think just because you’re a small business now that you’ll stay that way.
And even if you are a small business that doesn’t mean you won’t be a target! Yes, it’s not as common but small tech business leaders have found themselves targets of a variety of crimes because of the ideas they have. So, every tech business leader out there big or small should think about hiring executive protection services from a professional provider.
That way you can ensure you, your employees and even your family are always protected and remember despite what you might have heard you can still get high-quality protection on a smaller budget.
Every Business Continuity Plan should be about preparation
A Business Continuity Plan offers a company many key benefits besides being prepared for almost anything.
Some Key Benefits of Business Continuity Planning:
- Identification of Risk
As one of the building blocks for the Continuity Plan, a Risk Assessment needs to be carried out for each function and process for various threats and vulnerabilities which would have to be done at every office or factory site within the organizations jurisdiction.
With the many new regulatory compliance requirements that are becoming mandatory by various governments and worldwide governing and or regulatory bodies, companies have started to ensure that all their operations and systems conform to the required standards, rules and regulations as stipulated by each one.
- Improvements to Operational processes
When a business sets about analyzing various processes it gives them a unique opportunity to examine the current processes and implement changes that could improve the efficiency and increase productivity.
· Staff Training and Support requirements/needs Identification
Whilst examining the various procedures a company can assess and evaluate staff requirements in forms of training and support they may need. This, in turn, leads to a better working environment for all, cutting down on tired, overworked staff members that could get injured or cause a potential incident.
By training and bringing about more staff awareness programs, it gives them the tools to react more efficiently and effectively to counteract the more minor incidents that occur daily,before they escalate into a major incident thus strengthening the organization by empowering their employees.
- Effective Cost Savings
A tried and tested Business Continuation Plan is usually looked upon favorably by most insurance companies so can potentially cut down insurance costs. Better trained employees with great support systems cut down the costs for temporary staff to pick up the slack. More streamlined processes could potentially cut down costs like materials, etc.
· Organized and Structured Knowledgebase
Usually, a company’s data is rather scattered across shared directories or hoarded on management laptops. Implementing the Business Continuity Plan is a great excuse to start gathering up and sorting out the information into more accessible and document controlled environment. This also ensures the data is being correctly backed up and is easily accessible should it be needed for some reason.
Having an efficient and effective Business Continuity Plan can help prevent negative publicity a lot of companies are plagued with due to disruptions, disgruntled staff members and poor organization.
Whether you are choosing an office space for the first time or expanding to open another branch, selecting an ideal vicinity can prove to be a challenging and stressful task.
For instance, you have to balance off between cost optimisation and the perfect location. You have to assess your current requirements and anticipate future needs as well.
Keep in mind that commercial rental leases tend to be long-term with a duration going from three to five years. Apart from your workforce, you also have to factor in whether the property in question is suitable for your customers, vendors and other partners who venture to your headquarters.
With this in my we had a chat with http://securemoveservices.co.uk/ who have shared some tips on what you should look out for when searching for an office space.
Plan in Advance
Get a head-start on your planning so you are able to enjoy flexibility in time and choose a property that suits your needs. Trust us, you do not want to be pressurised into choosing the wrong space nor do you want to make a hasty decision. A bit of love, time and planning is required for this.
Of course, the monthly or annual rental price will be at the top of your factors list. Ideally speaking, your office should be located centrally with a high number of bus routes facilitating access to it.
When you do find a space that appeals to you, do a walkaround and assess the area. Get to know it a bit and see if there are plenty of parking options available as well. You should ask yourself to the following questions: is the locality feel safe?
Is it a good neighbourhood? Are there other businesses operating out of here? What are the food options? Any supermarkets around? Where is the nearest clinic or hospital? A well-feed staff is a happy and productive one.
Not only that, you want to make sure that the public transportation choices are of reasonable costs.
If you decide to opt for a choice outside the city centre and go for a suburban district, do a cost-benefit numerical analysis to comprehend whether the lower leasing cost justifies the potential rise in conveyance expenses as well as client travel time.
Yes, we do live in a digital age with countless video and audio calling tools available at our fingertips – yet nothing can compensate for a physical face to face presence of an individual.
What would the cost of parking be? Incorporate parking fees for both your clients and employees. Abundance of parking is as important as its cost.
Maybe there is an option for you to reserve a number of spaces or get your staff members parking priority. Perhaps, there are special company rates you can negotiate with your local community centre. Do try to validate your consumer’s parking tickets if possible.
As stated earlier in this article, it is essential that an office manager must consider the future when booking and researching possible spaces. Potential growth, further hiring of employees and other expansion scenarios must be factored in as well.
However, at the moment, if the parameters of your financial budget do not allow you to stretch to take on additional space, then we recommend you negotiate a short-term lease.
If that is not possible, try to incorporate a clause or condition to your commercial rental contract that will allow you first call on any nearby property space that becomes available.
Nature of Business
Firms functioning across diverse industry verticals will have varying specifications in terms of office space.
For instance, if you are a start-up with a restricted budget and fewer employees, you can consider a shared working space with other businesses in the heart of your city’s business district and utilize is as a networking opportunity as well.
On the other hand, if you need physical storage for goods and services, then you may think about taking on a space outside the city border to benefit from bigger office spaces that would also be within your budget.
How have you positioned your company? Do you cater to premium clients or do you have a more homey, friendly brand feel? Remember whatever your choice is, your office branding has to be in sync with your positioning strategy.
In today’s day and age, an office space is much more than a collection of desks, computers and chairs. Employees like to personalise their working spaces with pictures, decorative items and such. It will also indicate towards the performance of your entity.
Security of Lease
Imagine you have settled in well at your new space, it’s decorated, your employees are adapting and simply loving it! A few months later, you are informed by your landlord that you have to leave as your lease allows him to give you a certain notice and he has found another potential occupant who is willing to pay a higher leasing fee.
What is the solution? Put in a condition in your contract to allow you the right to renew or refresh your contract first before it is offered to another entity. You can also attempt to negotiate a rental increment cap (usually not more than five percent) for the next renting season.
All premises require regular maintenance and upkeep. Who will be responsible for this? You or your landlord? Get clarity on this and try to negotiate your leasing contract to be as such that your landlord becomes accountable for all maintenance costs.
If this is not clarified, it could be slapped on you and would drain your office management budget to an extent as maintenance expenses can operate at the higher end of the cost spectrum.
No firm can exist without a strong digital business connection nowadays. Certain requirements have to be fulfilled in order to maximize productivity and efficiency.
Reliable and cost-effective phone lines should exist within the chosen geographical district along with an internet connection. If you believe in fiber internet technology, you may want to check what fiber internet service providers are operational within the area and get in touch with them to get their package details.
If you’re a small business and offer services such as commercial cleaning in Glasgow then you’re likely to be quickly realising that you need all the help you can get when it comes to making your business a success, espcially online.
That might mean taking on staff members, contractors or even unpaid help – but then again, sometimes just a few extra hours in the day would be the most desirable options.
There are no time machines on this list – but if you want to maximise the time you do have, we can recommend some great time and sanity saving tools!
- A website designer
Mention web design and you could be forgiven for thinking of complex lines of code and years of training.
In actual fact, there are quicker ways to get an online presence.
Take a look at a tool like Wix or Squarespace. They’re both ‘drag and drop’ style site designers and can see you with anything from a holding page to an online store in literally a matter of hours.
You don’t need to have the eye of a designer either, with a series of great looking templates you’ll find that dropping in your own logos and products makes a site uniquely yours with a fraction of the project management effort needed to get a traditionally coded site in place.
In the long term you might decide to look at something more flexible – but to get you out of the gates, especially when money is tight, these tools can be invaluable.
- A project management tool
If you’re putting a team together, whether that’s with permanent or freelance staff, having a central place to coordinate your efforts is worth its weight in gold.
Rather than hoping that everyone’s going to take great notes or read and reply to emails as diligently as you do, you might want to think about a tool like Basecamp, Trello or a similar alternative.
With tools like these you have a central ‘board’ or virtual office space to work from. You can do virtually anything you would in a real office, from having discussion areas, post to-do lists, allocate tasks, share files, invite guests to collaborate and much more.
If keeping everything in one place is becoming difficult, opt for a free trial and see what a project management tool does to your productivity.
- Book keeping software
It’s easy to let money management matters go to the back of your head when there are more pressing jobs at hand – but when there are some exceptionally quick and easy tools to use, you really don’t have to – especially when putting that stuff off causes headaches at tax return time (or a telling off from your accountant…)
Take a look at tools like Xero and Quickbooks, they’re modern book keeping tools that, dare I say it, actually make keeping tabs on your finances quite good fun. Both have nice looking and very usable apps with quick functions that allow you to categorise your transactions with a sweep of your finger.
You can link them with your bank accounts and online payment gateways – as well as being able to quickly scan and categorise expense receipts. You can even generate or pay invoices on the fly. It’s incredible how one app can revolutionise your business financial dealings.
- Collaboration tools
Although tools like Basecamp and Trello have some collaboration tools built in, you’ll find that true collaboration comes with a tool like Google’s G-Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365.
With these options you can almost entirely abandon your office space and set up online!
Setting up folders that you can share with your team means there’s no doubt where that proposal, brief or invoice is to be found – and when it comes to collaboration there’s no longer a need for emailing versions of files to one another. Instead, you can access a document, spreadsheet, presentation or much more and work on it virtually at the same time.
Then, no need for emailing attachments – just share the file and it’s with someone else in the blink of an eye. What’s more, you can message, call or video call from within the service too, meaning you don’t even have to move your chair to work next to someone else.
- Email marketing tools
Despite social media’s rise to the top of most people’s marketing hitlist there’s still an enormous amount that can be done with a good mailing list.
Equally, with the right tools in place you’re going to struggle with the sheer magnitude of putting a mailer out – especially with new data protection laws looming.
This is where tools like MailChimp and Get Response come in. Starting with a list of emails and a drag and drop mail composer you’ll quickly find yourself putting together something beautiful that ticks all the necessary compliance boxes. You’ll find dozens of great templates to work with if you don’t have an eye for design and a few clicks later you’ll have your mailer either sent – or scheduled to go at a time that suits you and your customers.
- A central social media desk
If conquering social media is on your list of things to do you’ll quickly realise there’s a lot of logistics involved – not least remembering a massive number of passwords so you can cut, paste and post across them all.
Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer takes a LOT of the effort out of your social media activity. Connect your accounts, then send your communication from the one central desk – choosing which of your feeds it’s posted to. You can even handle replies to direct customer interaction too, making it a great way to keep all your social communication in one quick and easy to use place.
- An online calendar
Our final suggestion is one that’s easy to use – but also easily overlooked!
Having an online calendar is essential if running a tight schedule is important to your business. Microsoft’s Outlook or Google’s Calendar provide simple interfaces and sync with your mailbox and other apps, meaning missed appointments, double booking and needing to get back to people when you’ve checked your diary is going to be a thing of the past.
Keep hearing SEO and think of it is as a buzzword? Sure, it is part of digital marketing jargon, but it is also an awesome marketing technique that seeks to drive traffic to your website. With the right targeted keywords and some professional guidance, your website can take the first position on search engine result pages.
Everything and everyone is online now! Hence, crafting an effective, engaging digital presence is critical to the success of any commercial venture today. If you want people to find you on the worldwide web, then SEO is going to be the tool that does this magic for you! Unfortunately, there is no free lunch and requires some marketing dollars to be invested.
The great thing is that digital marketing is effectual yet friendly on your company’s financial belt. You do not need to break the bank to tap into the power of SEO. But before you loosen the purse strings, you should comprehend the essence of SEO and the reasons why SME owners aspire to be at the top of Google’s search results with the help of companies such as SEO Edinburgh.
Awesome User Experience
A lot of individuals are under the misconception that search engine optimization is all about ranking websites. Whilst that is certainly true-SEO is also about fashioning user-friendly, streamlined websites that offers your visitor an auspicious online experience with your brand. To break through the clutter, companies are now mostly opting for minimalistic sites with a clean, clear look. When a customer has direct access to clear-cut information about your product, he will loiter around your website and browse. This will effectively reduce bounce rates and improve the number of page views. Providing pertinent, interesting content will definitely capture his attention.
Amplify Brand Awareness
It does not matter whether you have been functioning in the business arena for twenty years or only twenty days, building brand awareness will always be one of your primary long-term goals. In order to maintain growth rates, especially, as a small entity or start-up, it is imperative that you continue to attract customers. When you deploy the right marketing strategy and utilize both traditional/digital channels of marketing, your website will appear at the top of all search engine results. This will mean that you are generating the correct keywords and buzzwords in your content that your customers are familiar with and apply when seeking out your brand. Of course, your website traffic will grow and eventually lead to an increment in sales.
As a start-up, you may have limited access to cash and may need to tighten the financial belt whilst simultaneously striving to increase your current volume of sales. Search engine optimization provides an effective return on your investment as it can be customized to match the parameters of your marketing budget. As one of the most economical marketing instruments available, it will aim to build your digital footprint over a lengthy period of time with marked, quantifiable results. The reason for this is because every marketing dollar you dedicate to SEO can be accounted for.
Stronger Conversion Rates
Websites that are backed by search engine optimization are easier to use due to fast loading times reader friendliness, and general responsiveness. Not only that, the process of SEO permits you to gain access to your most relevant customer segment. The reason for this is as the power of SEO exists on its associated keywords. You an estimate and predict the capacity of incoming orders through keyword analysis and understand the size of the market potential. It is important to remember that many SEO gurus combine behavioural reasoning to infer the intent for keyword selection. Once this has been understood, you can amend your brand as per your clients’ issues and truly be a solution provider.
Strategic Consumer Insight
Once your website jumped on the internet bandwagon, ensure that you set up your Google Analytics account as this service will become your best friend. You will be able to view and analyse your visitor base from sundry dimensions such as their topographical situation, what time they visited, what time are the most active, what keywords they implemented, how much time they spent on each web page, and how they ended up at your website. These insights can be incorporated into your marketing plan for better targeting messages and promotional efforts.
Without engaging content, any SEO strategy will render useless. It has to be a part of a combination of efforts which enforce other channels. Then only, will it make your brand more visible, credible and win your customer’s trust.
Everyone is Online
A study conducted by Bright Local, an SEO company, discovered that ninety-seven percent of online users searched for all kinds of brands within their district in the year 2017. Out of this sample, fifty-four percent frequented the web at least once a month for such research purposes. One cannot disagree that any brick and mortar entity may not require a digital presence. Yet, it can benefit from positive online reviews, structured consumer information and location data. Hence, local search optimization may prove to be an effectual marketing means to gain consumer trust.
The world is getting more and more addicted to its smartphones. As a species, we are spending more time interacting with our network via our mobile phones. It also means that we are using the internet more through this medium. This implies that websites have to be SEO-backed to appear on SERPs effectually.
Social media platforms are evolving into trusted forms of search databases. SEO and social media go hand in hand in improving your brand’s visibility. Let’s not forget that brands that come recommended from references and friends will have a higher probability of sales than your competitive counterparts.
The Disaster Recovery Plans Value
A Disaster Recovery Plan when in place is the instrument that ensures the company has the tools and knowledge to efficiently and effectively recover from an incident, event or disaster with the minimal amount of downtime as possible!
The Planning and Responsibility of the Disaster Recovery Plan
The responsibility for the planning and implementing of the Disaster Recovery Plan is that of a senior managers function who must have the support and backing of the rest of the management and higher-arci of the company for the plan to succeed. Once the plan has been approved and tested it must be made clear to the rest of the company’s staff!
The Disaster Recovery Team
The Disaster Recovery Plan is vast and concerns most of all departments of a company, so a Disaster Recovery Team should be established. The team members should comprise of a manager or supervise from each department and or various department functions, for instance in IT you may need a person from the Infrastructure Team, another from the backup team, another from the support desk team, etc.
There should be a timeframe in place for the deadline of the plan to be in place.
The plan should be tested, maintained and updated on a regular basis the times of which must be agreed upon by the DR Committee.
DR Team Roles and Responsibilities
The Plan should include the roles and responsibilities of each of the key members of the DR Plan and or the DR Committee.
Although each key member of the team will have a specific function and duty to perform considering a disaster, event or major incident it should be the explicit and documented role of the DR Manager or Co-Ordinator to declare a disaster and the put into the action the Disaster Recovery Plan.
This will require sign off and authority from the governing bodies and heads.
Some of the Procedures to Include:
There must be instructions on who and how to contact key personnel in event of various situations, as well as any suppliers, standby teams and remote teams.
There should be clear and concise instructions on what constitutes a major and or minor disasters with the policies, procedures and various contacts for both scenarios.
A comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan will include the phone number of the Fire Stations, Electricity Boards, The police, Hospital/ambulance services, Disaster Management, Environmental Agencies, etc.
Working a conventional 9 to 5 job isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It involves you sitting behind a desk everyday and constantly trying to satisfy your boss. If the company is under stress, you will be too. If it prospers, hopefully so will you.
However, having said that, a typical work life does not reward you a daily degree of flexibility. As a salaried employee, you must work extremely hard to catch the attention of upper management and earn a promotion. Being your own boss is an appealing notion.
This is where your own business comes in handy. Business is more of a lifestyle than a profession that requires devotion and struggle. Starting a fresh business requires no age limit and no educational degree. All you need is a solid business plan, some stable capital and you’re good to go.
For most young entrepreneurs, a startup can be difficult to begin. This can be due to no access to capital or to a weak business plan. While we cannot really help with reinforcing your business plan, we can definitely suggest how you can raise capital.
Use Title Loans to Fund Start-up
The working mechanics of a title loan are like that of a traditional loan. But the catch is that your property title or car title acts as the collateral.
Basically, a title loan is a secured loan where the lender such as https://toploancompanies.com/title-loan-lenders/ puts a lien on your property or your car and keeps the copy of documents until the loan is returned with an interest sum. It is an excellent entrepreneurial opportunity for individuals to launch their startups especially when the capital is unstable.
Hence why most entrepreneurs turn to title loans to run their fresh business seeking solid returns on their investment. If the loan is paid back due time, everyone goes their merry ways. But in case the borrower fails to return the loan, the lender can possess the title, sell it and equalize the debt.
How to properly utilize your title loan for a startup
To run a successful business, it is very important to have a solid business idea. With a perfect game-plan sorted out and the best business idea finalized, you can claim a title loan as a capital. But remember, your capital is a loan that you must return it in due time so it’s very important to secure monthly payments to the lender while sensibly investing the loan in to your products or services.
The average loan term is typically of 30 days. In case you’re unable to pay, the lender can extend the loan to another month increasing the interest rate and the fees. But the law regarding title loan varies from state to state. Before taking the title loan, it is important for you to educate yourself and make yourself aware of your state law.
Rules and regulations vary from state to state and company to company providing these title loans. In case of car title loans, the lender may or may not keep the car you have surrendered as a collateral, until you return the loan. Title loan businesses are required to be certified in many states.
Know what you’re competing against
Ask any successful business owner and he’ll tell you one thing: know your competition. Running a business with no goals or aims is just like walking into a golf field blindfolded. For a successful business, you must always be two steps ahead of your competitor to maintain dominancy.
Benefits of using title loan as a capital for your startup
Title loans for a startup can be advantageous in many ways such as:
- Fast application process
Unlike a traditional bank loan, a title loan is quicker to claim and does not specifically require any document for proof. Hence, the hurdle of going through all the paperwork is saved. All that is required of you is to provide the title of your vehicle or property that shall act as a collateral for the. The loan usually gets approved within 24 hours and is irrespective of applying online or physically.
- A quick and easy way to repay your loan
The lending companies provide an in-depth explanation regarding the complete process of paying back the loan and its rates etc. There are many easy strategies you can use to repay your loan.
Many companies provide flexibility in the loan term period and renewing the loan term. Using specific strategies, title loans are also faster to repay. Loan amounts are covered quicker regardless of the size. Moreover, if you have thought your startup through, the profit can be utilized to easily repay the loan faster.
- Cheaper than traditional loans
Title loans are cheaper than a traditional loan. This is usually because you share the title of your property or vehicle with the lender and they have keep the collateral as a security.
Therefore, in case of worst case scenario, the lender can utilize the collateral property or vehicle to clear the payment of the loan. Having this security affirms the lender’s trust and often interest rates are decreased depending upon the value of the collateral.
- You can still use your property/vehicle
We mentioned earlier that the lender may keep your car until the loan is returned-but that is hardly ever the case. Hence, the best part of utilizing the title loan is that the collateral property or the vehicle can still be used by you.
The company however shall assess the value of the collateral property or the car regularly to make sure that the value of your collateral hasn’t depreciated. The lender however will keep the stake in your property/car and duplicate keys/registration. The keys and title will ultimately be handed over as soon as you repay the loan amount.
Is it really worth it?
All such schemes have pros and cons. To be on the safe side, it’s important to understand both side of the coin.
- Some companies intentionally target those with an unsecured secondary form of credit. Young entrepreneurs must be aware of such controversies.
- In case your business fails to float, you will be unable to make monthly payments and will ultimately lose your property or the vehicle.
Considering these factors, if you have a solid business idea or a secondary credit source, a title loan may be a good idea since the risk percentage is not relatively high.
A title loan is a good option that can be used as a capital to start business and get it going until you stabilize. Since you’re handing over the title of your property/vehicle, it’s important you must have a solid idea for your startup keeping in mind all the aspects such as repaying the loan via monthly payments.
With a good business pitch, the loan can easily be returned with the profit generated while maintaining dominancy over rivals and gradually increasing the demand of your product or service.
Debts are not fun to experience, are they? But thankfully when it comes to our personal finances we can avoid them. Sure, we can sometimes be struck by bad luck or an emergency that means we have no choice but to go into debt to prevent a potential problem from getting worse.
But those rare occasions aside you can usually avoid debt by staying on top of your finances and budgeting. However, if you have a business then debt is likely always going to happen sooner or later especially in those early days of your business’s operation.
But that doesn’t mean you have to just put up with it even if it is considered the norm. Remember you will need to get out of debt as quickly as possible or at least be able to manage it effectively. So, how do you do that?
Managing business debt can be done by following many of the similar tips and advice that would be useful for dealing with personal debt. However, not all the advice is the same and it can’t all be done in the same way either. Dealing with business debt (even with a small business) can be much more complicated.
So, let’s break it down and examine how business owners can deal with their debts more effectively with our budgeting tips.
Cut Your Spending
This is much more difficult than it might sound in many cases and it could even take some rejigging of your businesses budgets. But usually, there will be at least one or two ways you can cut your businesses costs.
If your business is still in the early days of its conception, then you’ll need to spend money, won’t you? Those advertisements are not going to pay for themselves, are they? But you can be smart and find ways to carry out your businesses operations for a fraction of the price.
For example, instead of printing posters or flyers for your business stick to posting them around social media instead, it’s free after all. If you need to kit out your office get furniture second hand and look for deals when it comes to software programs if you need them.
Also make sure you’re not overindulging on things you don’t actually need, sure fresh fruit for breaktimes and fancy stationary might make your business very popular with your staff and customers. But if you’re struggling with debts they are a cost you could do without.
Consolidate Your Debts
This tip is actually part one of two possible paths you could take to cut debt, consolidating your debts is an effective way of reducing them because you’ll be able to pay all your creditors in simple monthly instalments.
There are a number of ways you can go about consolidating your debts but one of the most popular is to use an individual voluntary arrangement. Commonly known as an IVA these arrangements can be carried out by a wide variety of different groups such as The Debt Advisory Service but in order to work, you will need 75% of your creditors to agree to the arrangement.
There are some downsides to IVAs which may make them a poor choice for dealing with your businesses debt or you might wish to simply pay your creditors individually. If that is the case, then the next tip will likely be of interest to you.
Prioritise Your Debts
So, if consolidating your debts isn’t something you think will work for you then you should instead prioritise your debts. This might sound like obverse advice, but you’d be surprised how many business owners can make mistakes. Your repayments should be carefully structured so that debts that have the highest rates of interest or have been outstanding the longest are paid first.
It might be tempting to focus on smaller debts first, so you can get rid of them but in order to tackle debt effectively, you need to be able to prioritise payments. Interest rates can make a difficult debt unmanageable in some cases so make sure those monthly payments are made on time.
Find Away To Increase Your Profits
What business doesn’t want to increase its profit margins? If you’re finding yourself struggling with debt then you should start looking for ways to attract more customers, sure that’s easier said than done right?
Especially when the first tip was all about cutting costs, but it can be done and no one said running a business would be easy. Be smart about it though, for example expanding into a new location might increase business and attract new custom but it will certainly be adding to your debts so is it really worth risking?
Instead, focus on the small-scale by increasing your local marketing efforts and social media presence. Depending on the type of your business you could do all kinds of things to attract new customers and raise profits. Like hosting community events and offering special discounts for a limited time.
Stay on Top of Your Debts
Again, this might seem like advice that everyone who runs a business will know, by whether you’re a veteran businessman or a complete beginner staying on top of your debts can be very tricky. There is a lot the average business needs to keep track of and even if your business is only small it can be a difficult and time-consuming job to ensure everything is paid on time.
You can get so carried away with things that you can easily simply lose sight of your creditors, but they won’t forget you. To borrow a phrase from one of my earlier tips you need to prioritise your debts at all times. If these means a new plan, product or deal as to wait a bit longer then it will usually just have to wait till your business is in a stronger position.
So, that’s five tips to dealing with business debt, in many ways personal debt and business debt are very similar. But your business sinking due to debt is something everyone wants to avoid so be smart and follow our advice to ensure it never happens to you.