Startup Safety 101

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Safety isn’t exactly the most exciting aspect of starting a new business for the first time, but it is undoubtedly one of the most important.

Let’s face, it not only does no one want to work in a place that isn’t safe, but business owners don’t want to be faced with an employee who’s consulted a law firm for personal injury and is now on the hunt for compensation either. That’s why you need to take safety seriously from the very second that you start your business.

Obviously, you can’t 100 percent guarantee that no accidents will ever occur within your company, but if you take the following steps, you will cut the odds significantly…

Ensure Safety Rules are Easy to Access

There’s no point doing all kinds of risk assessments and setting up the best safety procedures you can think of to protect your employees, and your company from litigation, if you don’t make them accessible. Your employees need to be able to see a clear list of safety rules that have been explained in simple language that anyone can follow if they are to follow them. That’s why it never hurts to create an employee handbook and hang up safety rules around the workspace.

Invest in Employee Training and Encourage Your Staff

It’s much easier to keep your startup safe when all of your employees have undertaken safety training relevant to your line of work. It’s even easier when you’ve made it very clear to them how important safety is to all of you. It is for that reason that you might want to consider encouraging safety by, for example, offering small rewards and bonuses to any members of staff who identify potential dangers in the workplace. It’s a simple way of ensuring that everyone in the office is on the ball and always scouting for potential dangers.

Install Safety Officers

Even if you are a small business with very little money to spare, it is not a bad idea to designate a` safety officer for each floor of your company. That way, you can be sure that if there are unsafe practices going on, you will be notified of it. A safety officer doesn’t have to be a separate employee – just give one of your existing staff members some extra training and a slight pay rise and have them take on the role.

Don’t Cut Corners

So many workplace accidents happen when employees cut corners, often at the behest of their employers. If you don’t want to end up getting sued, you absolutely must not encourage or demand that your employees skip out on safety procedures, no matter how much pressure you’re under. Sure, it might speed things up and ensure that you don’t lose that contract, but if it means there’s an accident and you end up having to pay so much compensation that your business is bankrupt before it even gets off the ground or even worse one of your employees suffers life-changing injuries or even death as a result, is it really worth it?

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re doing it right, you should be training your employees in workplace safety as they join you, but that shouldn’t be the end of it. From time to time you are going to want to get the team together to refresh their memories of the correct safety procedures, work out new improved strategies for keeping everyone safe and do some refresher training where applicable.

Use Protective Equipment

If you work in a dangerous environment, you should always look up the rules and regulations on safety equipment and not only ensure that all staff are using it where necessary, but also that the equipment you use meets official standards. It’s so easy to go for the cheaper option, only to find that it isn’t quite as safe as it should be and end up in a whole lot of trouble. This is one area where, as a small business, you will want to pay more.

Get Insurance

Despite your best efforts, accidents can and do happen, which is why, as a small business owner, you should always make sure that you are insured for every eventuality. If you aren’t and one of your employees ends up getting hurt on your watch, you could be hit with a huge negligence suit that would ruin your company. That is the last thing you want to happen, and you can mitigate against it by having that all-important policy in place.

Stay safe!

Types of Business Theft and How to Avoid It

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If you own a fast-growing company, then you know that protecting your business is your number one priority. Depending on the industry, your business will have different security needs and protections. Let’s take a took at some of the most successful businesses, identify their theft-prone areas and learn what owners can do to protect those businesses.

Finance

In the finance industry, companies are prone to identity theft, fraud, money laundering and embezzlement. Unfortunately, most of this type of theft comes from employees themselves. To prevent this, business owners should have regular audits; hire third-party bookkeepers; never give one person sole responsibility for accounting; conduct thorough background checks; educate and train employees properly; promote trustworthiness and integrity throughout your company. You can’t always prevent everything, but being mindful and taking extra steps to protect your business can prevent a huge disaster from striking in the future.

Tech Companies

With the ever-changing world of technology, digital marketing and other tech companies are on the rise. Unfortunately these companies don’t just have to worry about theft inside their physical businesses, but they have to worry about internet theft as well. These types of cybercrime include data breaches, computer viruses, hackers and more. But there are a few ways in which tech companies can protect their business:

  • Keep all software up to date
  • Set up strict admin rules so that software and other applications can only be download with approval
  • Block access to restricted sites to avoid viruses and prevent hackers from interfering
  • Backup all files
  • Hire a trustworthy IT team to monitor activity and set up cyber security tools
  • Monitor employee computers

Although not all types of cyber theft are avoidable, measures can be taken to make it harder for hackers and prevent it from happening in the future.

Construction

On the other hand, some forms of technology can actually prevent theft. With the need for more houses and buildings, the construction industry is booming trying to keep up with the growing economy. But with that comes the risk of construction site theft, and this is where technology comes into play. Mobile surveillance units provide wireless visual and audio to property owners any time, anywhere. These means that even when the construction workers are away, the construction site can still be monitored 24/7. With the help of these portable security systems, owners can keep their construction sites safe no matter where they are. Mobile surveillance trailer rentals are available if buying is not cost effective.

Retail

Similarly to construction, retail stores face the risk of having their business site robbed. Retailers like clothing stores are at risk because shoplifters find creative ways to sneak away without paying for clothes or shoes. To help prevent theft inside their stores, business owners can do the following:

  • Organize the store so that all exits are visible to employers
  • Never leave your register unlocked or unattended
  • Keep more expensive items in locked cabinets
  • If your business has a dressing room, make sure there is an attendant and all items are accounted for when entering and exiting the fitting room
  • Install security cameras throughout the store
  • Keep the outside of your business well-lit, even outside of business hours

Other retailers that sell laptops or smartphones face the most risk since their products are expensive and can be stolen and sold on the internet. For those business, more drastic security measures may be needed, such as hiring a security guard for your building. However, all of these easy loss-prevention techniques are sure to keep you, your employees and your merchandise safe.

If you are a successful entrepreneur with a thriving business, you may want to consider the tips above to protect yourself and your business from theft. And remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Starting A Business In The Legal Industry

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The legal industry is vast and varied in terms of the options available to businesses. That makes it a particularly enticing industry to entrepreneurs looking to be more than a lawyer working the 9-5. Starting your own law firm can be highly rewarding in terms of building a reputable brand and making a sizeable profit. Of course, you have to get your company off the ground first. It isn’t enough to simply have legal qualifications; you need to understand how a business works. Here are some pieces of advice to help you on that journey if you’re looking to start a business in the legal industry.

Make a plan.

You need a rough plan in place before your business can get anywhere. Obviously, you’ll fine-tune this plan over time and it’ll change as your business changes. You need to constantly adapt to your industry but every business needs a place to start. One of the most important parts of your plan needs to involve your target market. There are so many different kinds of legal practice out there, as mentioned in the introduction.

What kind of legal practice are you going to be? Maybe you’re qualified in criminal law or court law but you should find a niche within those areas. Perhaps you’ll specifically help people with DUI charges or divorced couples. Finding your gap in the market has to be part of your plan. You need to specialize so that you don’t spread yourself too thinly. A successful legal firm finds its market. But if you’re struggling to form a fleshed out plan then the rest of this article should help you flesh out your business model…

Get a team together.

Your legal business also needs a strong team in place in order for it to do well in this industry. Perhaps you and some fellow colleagues or friends have qualifications that you’re ready to use in order to help clients in a certain target market but you don’t have a business yet. How are you going to reach those clients? You need a marketing campaign to do so, which means you need to hire marketing professionals to help with that. You might need financial advisors to help organize your business’ profits. You could also look into a company such as Answering Legal to enlist the help of professionals who could provide the customer service side of your law firm.

And you’ll need managers to manage those sub-teams. As you can tell, there are lots of different departments you need to think about when you’re creating a business. Your law firm will mainly depend on experienced professionals in the world of law but you need employees who are experienced in other areas of business if your brand is going to succeed. It’s very important to have all the components in place for your practice to be more than a small group of legal professionals: you need your firm to be a full business in order for your brand to really take off and conquer the legal industry.

Top Tips to Open a Successful Coffee Shop

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The world’s thirst for coffee only seems to keep getting greater and greater. Coffee shops are springing up all over the place to meet this growing demand, and for many budding entrepreneurs, this seems like the ideal enterprise to start themselves. Of course, it is a highly competitive field and you need to be prepared for various challenges that lie in front of you. In this article, we are going to give you a few top tips to help you in your endeavours.

Create a Solid Business Plan

Every business starts with a strong business plan and setting up a coffee shop is no different. Essentially, you need to include all the key information about your plans including how it will be profitable, your plans for growth, and any competitor analysis that you have done. With so many businesses wanting to do exactly the same thing as you, it is important that you find a few ways that you can stand out from the crowd.

Choose the Right Building

Once you have your initial plan in place, the time has come to choose a location. Ideally, you want something which is centrally located so you have a good passing trade of customers. Be warned that finding your dream spot isn’t something that will happen overnight and you need to be prepared to be a little patient in your quest. When you inspect potential premises, take the time to envisage how your business will run there and how you will lay it out.

Create Your Floor Plan

Once you have your viable coffee shop space, the time has come to create your floor plan. You need to have enough room for a counter and a number of chairs and tables which have been adequately spaced out. Nobody likes a coffee shop which feels cluttered and crowded. Imagine that you are a customer and think about the details that you would be looking for. You also need to consider details like toilets and bathroom partitions. There are plenty of online tools that you may find helpful that help you to map out your floor plan digitally.

Hire an Accountant

If there is one area of your business that is worth outsourcing, it is the accounts. As well as freeing up some of your valuable time, a good accountant will save you money so you can run your coffee shop more effectively. Many accountants also double up as small business consultants as they have worked on so many projects in the past and can spot the common pitfalls and problems. Try to get a personal recommendation from someone you trust so you know you are hiring a high-quality professional.

Shop Around for Everything

Keeping a close eye on your finances is so important when you are starting a business, so don’t just accept the first offer on everything. Search online, visit different suppliers and generally get a range of quotes and be prepared to negotiate. On a similar note, make sure that you have a clear budget in mind of what you can spend on everything. Many small businesses fail simply because they have not put enough thought into financial planning.

Start Marketing Before You Open

The time to start marketing for your coffee shop is a decent amount of time before you open. On the opening day, you want people to have already heard about your business and know a decent amount about it. Make sure that you utilise online marketing channels and set up social media accounts to generate a following. Get in contact with the local press to ensure that they are on hand to cover the launch of your business.

Don’t Just Focus on the Interior

Of course, the interior of your coffee shop is hugely important, but you also need to consider how it looks from the exterior as well. After all, you want people to walk past and feel compelled to go inside. The landscaping, signage, and general exterior appearance are all things that you will need to consider closely.

Hire Slowly

Good-quality baristas with excellent customer service skills are worth their weight in gold, so make sure that you take the time to hire people who are right for your business. The whole point of a coffee shop is that it is a place where customers can relax and feel happy. The staff will go a long way towards achieving this for your coffee shop.