Why Companies Are Outsourcing Everything But The Kitchen Sink

network-782707_1280

What is the definition of a company? It used to be quite straightforward. It was an entity that took inputs, combined them with labour and then produced a product it sold on to the next person in the chain of production. But today, the lines around what makes a company are becoming increasingly blurred thanks to outsourcing.

Outsourcing has always been a part of business. Ever since the earliest days of capitalism, firms would take advantage of ancillary companies and get them to do the tasks in which they had no expertise. But since the digital revolution, outsourcing has accelerated, and now many companies are able to outsource vast swaths of their operations.

From an economic perspective, all of this is rather exciting. With greater specialisation comes greater efficiency and lower prices for consumers. But it’s also an exciting prospect for businesses themselves. No longer do companies have to expend enormous amounts of money and effort carrying out basic business functions: somebody else can take care of all that right now, allowing companies to focus exclusively on value added.

Cutting costs is important, of course. But there are plenty of other reasons why companies are now choosing to outsource.

To Get To Market Faster

In many startup environments, getting to market quickly is essential. Often the best protection against competition is to be the first mover. But getting to market quickly is difficult if you’re trying to do everything yourself.

Even large companies have found that outsourcing some tasks can help get them to market more rapidly. Take Procter & Gamble, for instance. The company realized that it needed to adapt its consumer products to the rapidly changing market. Instead of trying to do all the research in-house, it outsourced the projects to third party companies. Procter & Gamble says that it experienced a 60 percent uplift in R&D productivity with the move which helped the firm generate more than $10 billion in additional product sales.

For software startups, the rewards may be even larger. If you’re looking to launch a platform which relies on a network of users, then you could benefit from getting your administration done by a third party company. Without having to worry about accounts on marketing, you’re free to get on with the core business, such as building robust code and ensuring that your product has the features that your users want.

To Add To Existing Product Stack

Companies tend to think of outsourcing as a way to reduce their costs and the burden of administration. But in many cases, outsourcing can actually add to their existing product stack.

Synergist Medical Management says that an increasing number of medical practices are experimenting with outsourcing medical services which they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to perform in house. Things like cancer and screening which are expensive and difficult to offer within any particular doctor’s office can now become a part of the medical services available by connecting with outside facilities. For doctors and their patients, it’s a win-win. Patients get access to the latest treatments through a single provider, and doctors are able to monitor the progress of their patients without having to liaise with multiple institutions.

Essentially, outsourcing is turning more and more businesses into supermarkets. Just like supermarkets, they’re increasingly able to offer everything under one roof that a customer might associate with their business. This isn’t something that’s limited to the hospitality industry anymore – where hotels might have connections with local attractions. This is something increasingly found in financial services, tech and health.

To Move Beyond Traditional Business Models

Today, one of the world’s most successful computer companies is Acer, just behind Dell in terms of its market share. But what made the company so successful wasn’t actually it’s in-house development: it was its ability to coordinate multiple companies to produce incredible products.

Back in 2005, Acer was struggling as a company. It was widely considered to be a third-rate, knock-off personal computer manufacturer with a poor quality rating. The company tried to do everything by itself. But it realised that it simply couldn’t compete with the larger manufacturers. Instead of carrying on as normal, the company decided that it could only rise to the top of the computer market if it radically changed its business model.

Thus, instead of trying to develop its own products in house, the company started outsourcing different aspects of development to specialists. One of its most successful strategies was outsourcing its high-end gaming peripherals, like monitors. Before the change, its products were boring, and consumers simply weren’t interested. But by jumping on new refresh rate technologies early and packaging monitors in a style that consumers actually wanted to buy, the company won market share and a big slice of industry profits.

Today, the company employs just 7,000 staff, less than 10 percent of its nearest competitor. Why? Because it’s outsourced the vast majority of its production to cheaper, better alternatives.

To Benefit From Booming Local Markets

Outsourcing can benefit companies that are looking to break into new, overseas markets. The reason for this has to do with the difficulty of adapting business models to unfamiliar cultures. For decades, international brands like McDonald’s, have struggled to find the perfect formula to break new markets. But because of a whole host of cultural subtleties, this is difficult. That’s why smart companies don’t bother actually trying to learn the local culture. They just employ people who already do.

When AstraZeneca wanted to break into the booming Chinese pharmaceuticals market back in 2010, it didn’t do its own marketing. Instead, it hired a bunch of Chinese marketers to do the work for it, allowing it to penetrate the market much faster than would have otherwise been possible. It also used other companies to manufacture its drugs so that it didn’t have to go through the complexities of setting up its own facilities in the country.

The result? Now AstraZeneca is the largest drug company in the whole of China. With the country’s massive and increasingly wealthy population, that’s a great place to be.

Use A Seamless Marketing Strategy That Won’t Annoy Potential Customers

34155591940_9d28c43f92_z

Everyone knows the trope. The new startup that has plenty of capital thanks to a recent investment, or the entrepreneur with more ambition than sense starting a marketing campaign that they hope will reach all corners of the globe in no time at all. This marketing ambition only usually serves to alienate potential customers, and there are good reasons why this is so.

Marketing plans that seem too aggressive to those it appeals to can seem like a pain. For example, take Google’s recent approach to advertising through YouTube. On some videos, if you are unlucky enough to be stuck with one as you click on new content, you might be subject to a 30-second unskippable advertisement that you must watch before the video is available to you.

This has gained almost universal criticism because sometimes those advertisements might even have played on YouTube videos that are less than 30 seconds in length themselves. Watching content that is shorter than the gate you had to pass to view it not only makes YouTube look bad, but it can reflect badly on the state of the company who chooses to implement these methods.

As a result, more and more people converted to using Ad Blockers as extensions on their web browsers, thus nullifying the advertising revenue of websites from all over. Google has taken a pledge to abandon this marketing strategy as soon as they can. This case study serves to inform you that subtle, indirect methods of marketing that eschew aggressively locating customers with smart, forward thinking strategies is always the best way to proceed.

SEO

SEO is widely becoming the most popular method of advertising and exposing oneself online. It’s important to realize just how many uses SEO marketing actually has. Utilizing a professional SEO company, you will be able to embed your affiliate link using keywords you want into informative online content that allows you to develop a holistic strategy for gaining exposure online.

The informative content that your link is wrapped up in will only be appealing to those who are looking to learn more about the content in question, so hunting down consumers with marketing isn’t a problem here – they are hunting you.

SEO marketing will allow you to stay on top of the modern internet trend of ‘Googling it,’ a verb that has become synonymous with ‘finding out more about it.’ Instead of subjecting your potential clients to an advertisement, SEO allows your clients to feel as though you have provided them with something, in this case, information, before they are referred to your relevant website showing products and features. What’s more, they needn’t know that you were the one to commission the article.

SEO marketing can be used by anyone who owns a startup, runs an event, or wants an important piece of government legislation to gain exposure. It is the most all-encompassing method of giving your audience a natural and organic way to view whatever you want them to view. Unlike those YouTube videos, it does it while respecting their time.

Remember, seamless marketing strategies are a must in today’s seamless online age. Be sure to take advantage to keep your firm relevant, competent, and modern.

Overhead Costs That Your Small Business Can Do Without

referenshanteringssystem_bild

If you are looking to start your own business, then it will be a natural desire to get going with things as soon as possible. You will want to get your business name out and about and establish yourself in your chosen industry. However, there are certain overhead costs that can mean paying a lot of money up front that your business might not necessarily have. Many small businesses make the mistake of doing certain things for their business, just because they believe that they have to. But in order for your business to grow, there are certain overheads that really just aren’t that necessary. There may come a time when they are, but to start with, they are spend that can be avoided.

So in order to keep within your startup budget and avoid unnecessary spending, this article is for you. It will go into some of the ways that you can save money as you start up your business and help you to cut some of your overhead costs. The more profit that you’re making, the more you can help your business to grow and get your business’s name out there. You can reinvest the money straight into the business, rather than paying out for various people’s wages or staff benefits, for example. Where to start, though? Here are just a few of the overhead costs that you don’t always need when you are first starting up a business.

Permanent Staff

When you hire a permanent team of staff, things can get pretty expensive. You become an employer, and with that, comes extra costs. Think about the benefits that employers should be expected to give. Some will help medical insurance costs or other similar benefits. Then there are legal obligations like sick pay or maternity leave. All of which you have to be looking at, as well as covering the costs of. Then there are things like a desk, office supplies, somewhere to park, and certain business expenses. It all adds up when it comes to hiring permanent employees. Some full-time will be needed, but you need to explore the option of hiring freelancers too. There are many benefits to it, even if they might on paper, cost more per hour than permanent staff would.

Freelancers are going to be experts in their field. If you need a graphic designer or an IT specialist, then a freelancer in that field will know exactly what they are talking about. The same goes for accountants or human resource specialists. You can hire them to do just the one job that you need them to do, and that is that. They will get the done quicker than a colleague would who has other obligations in the office. Then there is the benefit of them costing less overall. You quote a single price and are not responsible for their tax, insurance, or any other benefits. You don’t cover the cost of their laptop repairs or internet bills; they are all things that they will cover themselves. There is no set contract, so you don’t have to hire them again at any point.

The same goes for contracts with agencies. Before you jump in and set up a contract with an agency to run your social media or for the business public relations, you need to check if it would be cheaper to hire a freelancer to do it for you. In many cases, it might be. So figure out the sums and don’t get yourself tied into a contract if you don’t need to be. Make sure that you are getting value for money if you do decide to go down the agency route; be clear on what you expect them to do for you. In the early days, there are plenty of things that you can get done by hiring freelancers. Is this something that you would have considered before?

Office Space

This will really depend on what your business is and what space you need. But to start with, is an office a necessary cost? Rent of an office in a city can be pretty expensive, and you might not get much for your money either. So looking into other ways of doing things can be a good idea. First of all, will you be able to work from home or build an office space at home? You could convert an old barn or shed into a small office space for cheaper than buying a suitable building elsewhere. You could simply use a spare bedroom and have that as a dedicated space for your business. There can be a couple of issues that you might be thinking about with that, though. What about space for all of your documents or inventory? There are solutions that you could do for that, that will still cost less than getting an office of your own away from home. You could look into document storage or renting a storage space for any of the office supplies that you need. You don’t need to be overrun with filing cabinets or boxes of business related things in your home unless you really need to.

What happens if you have client meetings that you need to schedule? It won’t look very professional inviting them to sit around your dining table, right? Luckily, there are options here. Many offices that have space for meeting rooms will hire them out to businesses for meetings or conferences. It helps to pay their bills for the office space after all. So you can hire out rooms in existing offices, or even hire out a function or conference room at a hotel that caters for that kind of thing. In the grand scheme of things, and based on how often you actually have client meetings, it could end up being much cheaper than having to get an office space of your own.

If you think that you really do need an office space, then you could be one of those businesses that I’ve mentioned; rent out some floor space to other businesses or hire out your meeting rooms. At least then you can be making some money to cover some of the costs of your rent for the space. The key to starting up a business is to not spend more than you need to.

Company Car or Expenses

As soon as you start a company, you might make the mistake of going all out on various different things that you can spend on, just ‘because you can’. So think before you buy or spend. Can you use what you have already and just make a business expense claim against the business, meaning that it is tax deductible? Otherwise, things like a company car can get quite expensive. It be worth speaking to an accountant, someone that knows their stuff in terms of expenses and taxes. Again, as mentioned, hire a freelancer to pick their brains for an hour or so. Then you will know what they advise to keep your costs as low as possible.

The key thing when starting a business is looking at your outgoing versus incoming. You might get to the point where your business can only grow with permanent staff, for example. But until that point, follow these steps and you will be making greater profit margins to give your new business a boost. Have you ever considered any of these points before? Would be great to hear what you think and if you have had experience of doing any of these points.

Why Being An Excellent Leader Isn’t So Difficult

leadership

You might be able to create a great marketing strategy, and you might be a whiz with computers, but leadership won’t come easy. The truth is that everyone struggles with being a leader because it is one of the hardest parts of being a boss. After all, leaders are born and not made. But, what if someone was to say that transforming into a Winston Churchill type wasn’t difficult? In fact, what if they said it was easy? The chances are you wouldn’t believe them because it goes against everything you know. The thing is they are right, and below are the reasons why.

Look To Others

Leadership isn’t a quality that has appeared in the past couple of years. Since men and women have been around, people have been leading. As a result, there are tons of people to look to for advice and inspiration. Of course, the obvious ones are the famous or infamous characters that achieved great success like Henry Ford. However, layman and your peers have the same qualities. So, it isn’t difficult for most people to turn to someone and ask for tips, or steal their processes. It is even easier to do now thanks to the World Wide Web.

Communication

All great leaders understand the importance of communication. The reason for this is that talking to people is the main part of the job. Braveheart fans might think that riding into a battle against suicidal odds is the key, but that isn’t the reality. Usually, all a boss has to do is sit down and speak to someone to reassure or give them instructions. Then, they sit back and watch as they use the notes to go to the next level. Plus, communicating with people creates a bond that doesn’t break. As soon as they see results, the people you touch will believe in your skill and your advice.

Qualifications

Do the two tips above still not fill you with confidence? Okay, don’t worry because there is an ace up your sleeve. Yep, it’s there, but you just don’t know it yet. The diamond in the rough is a bachelors in business leadership from an accredited university. Schools now understand the role that leadership has to play in success. So, they provide courses which teach students the basics. Anyone that doesn’t have the first clue can enroll and learn the tricks of the trade. In the past, knowledge wasn’t available at the click of a button.

Delegate

Outsourcing has a major role to play in the industry. Any firm that wants to be successful has to outsource. Now, not only have financial impacts, but it also has leadership ones, too. Quite simply, outsourcing limits the number of people you have to manage. As a result, there is a smaller base to worry about and fewer people to lead. Leading is still important, but you don’t have to connect as effectively. Sure, liaising with third parties is a priority, but it isn’t the same as leading by example.

See, it isn’t so difficult after all.

Don’t Make These Classic Startup Mistakes!

17843733454_768d41dfb7_k

Here’s a fact that will shock absolutely no one: running a business is hard. Not only that but starting a new business is even harder. If you’re planning on setting up your own business, then you need to be willing to put in a lot of work every single day. Not only that but you need to be ready to deal with a lot of different problems. There are always going to be issues that come up when you’re running a business, and the last thing you want is to be caught unawares. Even worse than that is when you reach a situation where the problem in your business is because of a mistake that you made. Of course, it’s only natural that mistakes are going to be made in the early days of your business when you’re still finding your feet, but it’s important that you try to make sure to avoid as many of these mistakes as possible. With that in mind, here are some of the most common mistakes made by new startups and how you can avoid them.

Leaving your data unsecured

There are few things that have made it easier for newer and smaller businesses to compete on a larger scale than digital data storage. After all, you once had to keep all of your documents and data stored in physical files in your office, something that could become unwieldy very quickly, both in terms of the space the data took up and your ability to access it as easily as possible. However, that doesn’t mean that digital data storage is completely perfect all of the time. As with just about anything, it comes with its own set of problems. One of the biggest of these issues is the danger of some kind of technological disaster causing you to lose all of your data. Say what you will about physical files, other than a fire or theft, it’s pretty hard to lose all of your data at once. That’s why it’s so important to have data backup in your business as well as having as many security measures around your data as possible. Not only that but you should think about things like cloud storage so that your data is held in a secure environment rather than your own server which is potentially more vulnerable.

Failing to support your employees

Even if you’re the kind of person who excels at creating a product or many of the other things that go into making a business truly successful, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be that great at managing people. This can be a major issue since there are few things more important to the continued success of a business than the people in it. You need to make sure that you’re always taking care of and supporting your employees. If your employees don’t feel as though they’re being valued, then they’re not going to be willing to put their best work into whatever they’re doing. Even worse, if employees feel as though they aren’t being appreciated, that can lead them to decide to leave your business altogether, leaving you in a pretty dangerous situation. Even simple things like recognizing great work or being flexible about working hours can make employees feel much more valued and more inclined to give 100% to your business all of the time.

Trying to do everything yourself

This is often something that comes from the fact that many businesses start off as single person endeavors. When your business was very small, it might have made sense for you to handle everything from the accounts to the marketing, but as it grows that becomes are a far less viable option. The problem is that a lot of business owners don’t tend to fully realize this and they try to keep taking care of everything little thing themselves. Not only does this leave your employees feeling a little pointless but it also leaves you feeling completely and utterly exhausted. As the business owner, you’re simply too important to the business to risk burning out altogether. You need to think of your role as more of a bird’s eye view of things. You can give guidance and instruction to your employees, but they’re the ones on the ground doing the legwork that you no longer have the capacity to do.

Letting your ambition get out of control

Having clear goals and ambitions is incredibly important to any business. After all, the moment that you decide your business no longer need to keep pushing itself forward is the moment when it begins to stagnate and fall behind the competition. However, there’s another side of this coin that far too few new business owners tend to consider. If you get too ambitious and try to hard to push your business forward, you could end up losing control of things. A larger business comes with more responsibilities and higher expectations from both customers and investors. If you and your business aren’t ready to meet those expectations, then things are going to fall apart very quickly. It’s much better to stay within your limits until you’re absolutely sure that there is as little risk as possible in branching out in a new direction.

Keeping your customers at arm’s length

One of the things that a smaller business simply cannot afford to do is keep its customers at a distance. It’s one thing when a huge, established company has some kind of distance between them and their customers since they have a lot more influence over the broader culture. When you’re running a smaller business, you can’t compete with that so you should instead think about how you’re going to be able to connect directly with your customers in a way that a larger business can’t. By doing this, you’re leveraging your size in a way that turns it from a disadvantage to a specific selling point. If you interact with your business in the way a larger company would, you’re always going to end up falling short.

10 Effective Ways To Manage A Team

joint-effort-1162805_960_720

It’s not easy being a manager. Not only are you responsible for the work you do, but you are also responsible for other people and the work their do within your company. While you need a team to achieve set goals, managing people is easier said than done. As the leader, you need to motivate and inspire your team, while investing time and money in making sure they work to an optimum level. You also need to manage issues that can arise in any workforce, such as confrontations, poor timekeeping, and personal problems.

No-body said your job was going to be easy, and there will be times when you yearn for simpler times when you weren’t in charge. However, we are here to help. Being a manager isn’t easy, but here are some top tips to help you in your leadership.

Be a good role model

You are in charge, but that doesn’t mean you should have the power to throw your weight around or have extra days off each week because you have earned the right to do so. As the leader, you need to be a good role model. Your team will be watching your behavior and how you handle situations. Be somebody who inspires them by promoting a good work practice, such as turning up for work a few minutes early, getting your hands dirty on jobs that may not be part of your pay grade, and being respectful to all those who work around you. Lead by example, and you will earn the respect of your team to follow you into battle.

Communicate your feelings

Be honest and transparent in your communication with your team. When they don’t pull their weight, let them know you are unhappy. Should they excel within their work, praise them for their efforts. Your word holds a lot of sway, and your team needs to hear your voice. There are many weak leaders who are bombastic or afraid to share their feelings, and the workplace suffers because of it. Be bold when you need to be, and stay silent only when you are wise to do so.

Listen to your team

Being in charge doesn’t mean you have the answer to everything. There are times when you need to listen to what your team has to say. They may have feedback to your ideas or have innovations of their own that they are keen to implement. There are many skills and experiences within your team that you should take advantage of. Otherwise, people will feel unmotivated and undervalued when they are aren’t given the opportunity to have a say in the workplace.

Implement technology

Technology is great, and there are many ways you can implement tech into the workforce to make managing your team easier. For example, a work schedule app will help you coordinate your team and plan to individual strengths. You could also use cloud technology, giving your team the option of working at home occasionally, while still being to collaborate on projects. Not only can you make your job easier by allowing technology to take on some of your responsibilities, but you can also streamline the efficiency of your workforce and make their job easier, too.

Create a positive environment

There are many ways you can create a positive workplace, from the aesthetics of the building to the relationships among staff. Considering your team probably spend more time at work than at home, you should concentrate on making it an attractive place to be. There is more information on our site to show how this boosts morale, and you will also enjoy the benefits on a social and working level.

Focusing on the building, allow your team to personalize their work areas. Have a designated break area where your team can unwind and offload. Ensure there is plenty of ventilation, with natural light coming in from the windows. There are other great ideas here, and when implemented, the workplace will become a safer and more comfortable place to be.

Of course, you may have created the best office space in the world, but if the people within it are always fighting and complaining, the negative atmosphere will destroy the positivity you have tried to create. As the leader, you need to squash negativity as soon as you can, dealing with confrontations rather than turning a blind eye and finding ways to improve workplace relationships. You can’t control people’s feelings and emotions, but you can put your foot down when people get out of line and offer support when somebody feels aggrieved.

Make time for team-building

Directly tied into the issues raised above, a positive team is one who works well together. Now, many employees hate the idea of a team-building day, especially when it involves getting muddy or taking part in blindfolded trust exercises. Instead of breeding further resentment, find activities that can be enjoyable. Here are some great ideas to get you thinking when planning your team day, and they can be done in and out of the office.

You don’t always need to force your team together through activities designed to highlight strengths and weaknesses. Simply going out for the day, such as on a peaceful walk, or going for a meal, is going to bring people closer together. Conversation is an ice-breaker in itself, and people will find out more about each other in a natural way.

Reward good work

Some bosses constantly criticize their teams, even over minor details. Unless you want a workforce that feels demoralized and lacks confidence, you need to offer positive feedback instead. Take the time to recognize your team’s good work, and say ‘thank you’ once in awhile to show your appreciation. Go one further, and find opportunities to reward your team. Should you be stuck for ideas, here are 52 self-proclaimed ‘epic’ ideas for rewarding team members. They don’t need to break the bank, but spending a little money occasionally will give your team the sense of value they need when coming into work.

Focus on training

An untrained team will feel unmotivated when they can’t do the jobs they are given, and productivity will also suffer. Investing in training is crucial to keep your staff up to date with the latest work practices and technology. This will make your job easier, as well-trained staff will need less support from your expertise, though you should never neglect your own training needs, either. You may have risen to the ‘top’ but there are ways you can become a better manager by taking the right training courses.

Offer opportunity for growth

Tied in with training, your team needs the opportunity to grow. In some instances, team members will outgrow their position within your company, so you need to consider promotion options. Failure to do so will result in poor job satisfaction for the individual and may see them moving to on to a job elsewhere.

Your workforce also needs to grow together, as this will benefit your business in the competitive marketplace. As well as training events, find other avenues to gain knowledge such as business conferences where you can all learn from other industry professionals.

Show your human side

Whether your workforce believes it or not, you are only human! As the manager, you may want to hide your feelings and cover up any mistakes you make. Always putting across a superhuman image is not going to help your cause. Show your team your human side, and they will feel more comfortable about approaching you when they need help, and you might also gain some useful allies to aid you in your role.

Is Your Office A Bacterial Breeding Ground?

woman-coffee-cup-mug

Did you know that the average computer keyboard contains five times more germs than a lavatory seat? Whilst our offices may not look so dirty, it’s possible that they could be crawling with bacteria – bacteria that could be making you and your workforce sick.

Whilst you may already have a cleaning routine in place to keep the office tidy and presentable, here are just some of the measures you can take to tackle those hidden bacteria breeding ground.

Have a yearly deep clean

You may already have cleaners that come in on a weekly or monthly basis, but they’re likely to only do the surface level stuff such as getting rid of dust and mopping stains of tiles. Many businesses will invest in an annual deep clean on a day when no-one is in the office in order to fully sterilize the office from top to bottom. A professional company will be able to scrub away any mold and use a carpet cleaning machine to fumigate any foul flooring. This annual purge will stop any bacteria from setting in.

 

Use cleaner tech

 

The tech choices you use can help your business to stay cleaner. When it comes to toilets, don’t let these become smelly and unappealing – do your research into the most effective urinal cleaning practices so that they’re always fresh. Also consider air conditioning units that have an auto-clean feature. Air con units can build up with dust and bacteria over time, which is then circulated around the office. You can keep this air constantly clean by buying the right tech.

Sterilize cups

A grim study of office mugs found that twenty per cent carried fecal bacteria. Office mugs may gather germs simply from certain people on the office skimping back on cleaning. It could be worth every so often sterilising all cups in bleach. Alternatively, you could keep onto your own cup and take it home with you (few workplaces have dishwashers – if you have one at home why not use this?).

Make ill employees go home

Ill employees shouldn’t be in the office. Some bosses may like to keep staff in due to under-staffing, but what they may not realize is that this behavior could be causing more under-staffing in the long run as more employees catch the bug. Besides, if you’re dealing with clients face to face, it doesn’t look good on your company if you’re surrounded by coughing and sniffling employees.

Don’t forget about your smartphone

Few of us clean this personal device, which we take everywhere with us. Some of us may even use our phone when sitting on the loo. Even if you don’t use your phone for work, many of us are likely to put it on our desk where the germs can then spread onto other objects in the office. Regularly clean your smartphone with microfiber pads (avoid alcohol solutions as these can damage the screen) and it will no longer be a contaminant.

4 Easy Ways To Make Your Ebay Store Sales Soar

webhomes-our-work-ebay

Whether you sell custom T-Shirts, vacuum cleaner parts or drum kits, the option of opening an eBay store is hugely appealing. With low fees, the opportunity to receive payment via PayPal and the ability to sell worldwide, there is no need to design your own website or lease premises for a physical shop. The online presence that eBay affords your products enables you to launch a hugely successful business venture provided you follow these simple tips.

1. The Photo Never Lies

It’s absolutely vital that you get yourself a decent camera and upload the highest quality images you can to accompany your product descriptions. Consider purchasing a white or black screen to place behind your products to ensure that there is minimal distraction from the item itself. We have all seen the blurry photos of second-hand DVDs taken against a floral sofa of pink and green hues. Utilize the maximum number of photos you are allowed to upload to your store. Don’t just upload one single image. Not only does it look unprofessional but it does not fill your potential buyers with confidence. They may feel like you have something to hide and are unwilling to show your product in all its glory.

2. Words

Make sure the product descriptions that you write are truthful and accurate. Don’t elaborate or stretch the truth. You are building a brand and want to develop a reputation of trust. Put as much information on there as humanly possible. If you are selling furniture, include the dimensions; if raincoats are your products of choice, include the sizes available. Ensure that each description follows the same format and is checked using www.online-spellcheck.com to ensure accurate spelling and grammar.

3. Delivery Charges

Make sure you charge accurately for delivery. You do not want to be undercharging so much that you are effectively providing free delivery. If you are selling larger items, look into sourcing an experienced logistics company such as www.jetexlogistics.com who can deliver state-wide. Unlike regular courier companies, these specialist companies can deliver your products the same day giving you and your customers the option of speedier service.

4. Build A Brand

If you are in the embryonic stages of setting up your eBay store, consider the style of branding you want for your business. Get yourself a cool little avatar that will appear on every page of your eBay store. Make sure it exudes the ethos of your products. If you are selling baby clothes, opt for a gentle font with pastel blue or pink shades. If you are selling sexy kitten heels, opt for something more sophisticated with a monochrome design. Google is your best friend and will reveal plenty of free online avatar creators like www.canva.com that allow you to experiment with different designs.

With eBay, you know that you are gaining exposure on a well trusted and renowned online platform. By utilizing the features that eBay provides and creating a unique brand, you will see your sales increase. So, take the plunge and venture into the exciting world of ecommerce.

How To Boost Employee Morale To Get More For Your Business

empower, enhance, enable and engage - business motivation concept -  handwriting on sticky notes

Starting a new business can be a stressful time with the pressure of ensuring everything operates smoothly and efficiently while pleasing your customer base. To provide your clients with a pleasant experience staff must be fully equipped with the skills to solve any complaints. Once your employees have had the training to interact with their roles in your business, boosting staff morale is critical in ensuring they enjoy their positions and exude a positive vibe to clients they interact with on a daily basis.  There are many ways to boost staff morale – from lighting to providing a flexible work environment. Have a look at some of the best ways to ensure you can get the best out of your employees in any new business.

Vibrant Working Space

Providing a dynamic and vibrant working space for your staff presents them with an opportunity to feel relaxed during their work day. Research has shown that if employees feel comfortable throughout their work day, they will be more motivated to be productive. Essentially, the more relaxing your work environment is, more work will get done by the end of the day. Having splashes of color on the wall can give a room a whole new identity, and ease the anxiety that comes with having a heavy workload. One risk many companies take is not providing much natural light. Provide lots of natural light within your work space allows employees to feel less trapped. If your office not in the position to get those natural sun rays, many LED suppliers can provide lighting to trick your brain into feeling like it is outside.

Flexible Work Hours

No one likes their schedule being dictated by higher powers, and there is nothing worse than being forced to attend an 8am meeting without the option of rescheduling for a later time. Admittedly, sometimes those early morning meetings can not be avoided, but if you provide your employees the flexibility to dictate the majority of their work day, they will be much more bearable in those early meetings. Allowing employees to choose what hours they work and whether they work from the office or their home promotes the productivity of employees.

Furniture and Decor

No one likes being surrounded by boring old office furniture. Many people feel trapped when they only have a divide between them and their co-worker. Rather than going for the traditional office style, attempt to make your working space feel more like home to your employees. Try decking out your office with some lounge chairs, a ping pong table and possibly even a beer fridge to provide a more enjoyable office environment. Collaboration is key to a good business, so removing any dividers between colleagues can allow for more ideas to be shared. Shared knowledge and opinions can only result in more enthusiasm towards your business.

There is a lot you can do to ensure your start up achieves the most it possibly can. It can often feel like an impossible task pleasing everyone in the business while providing a pleasant experience for your client base, implementing these simple changes can only boost the morale of everyone involved in your business.

Confused About Your Cash Flow? Read This!

1024px-Money_Cash

As a startup business leader, one of the things you must do is ensure your firm has enough capital to pay its bills. While you may be waiting for your clients to pay their invoices, you shouldn’t rely on those customers to pay you on time. The ugly truth is that many businesses end up going bust because their clients are bad payers.

It’s likely you are reading this article because you are concerned that your company might be sailing a bit too close to the wind from a financial perspective. If that’s the case, it makes sense to rethink your cash flow strategy. If the whole subject confuses or annoys you, don’t worry because you aren’t alone!

In today’s blog post, I’m going to share with you some ideas on how you can improve your business cash flow and have a healthy balance sheet. Here is what you need to do:

Credit check your customers

Before you offer any clients a credit facility, it makes sense to determine how creditworthy they are first. Doing so will spare you the headache and cost of having to chase for invoice payment, especially if significant sums are involved.

Should any potential customers fail your credit checks, you can, of course, offer them to option to pay in advance for any products or services they use from your business. Companies like Equifax make it easy for businesses and organizations to check the creditworthiness of their clients.

Borrow some money or build up your balance to cover your regular expenses

Let’s face it. There will be times where your business experiences “quiet periods” and makes little profit. As you can appreciate, such times can be stressful for business owners! You want to make sure that you have enough cash to pay your bills, staff wages, and so forth.

One idea is to have a “float” of money in your bank account that takes care of such situations for you. Business loans can be flexible and cost-effective ways of navigating any stormy financial periods. Another option is to invest more of your profits into the business and essentially build up your company’s bank balance.

Set up a savings account for your tax bills

Anyone that runs a business will have to pay various taxes on a regular basis. To make your life easier, siphon off some of the profits from your main bank account into a savings one specifically set up for your tax bills.

In some cases, you might find that the cash you save could even earn a bit of interest! From a bookkeeping point of view, it also makes it easy to determine the financial health of your business.

Don’t forget to project your future revenue

One last thing you should never forget to do is calculate how much income your firm is likely to make in the next year or more. Doing so will help you work out how much money you need to set aside for your expenses (including tax bills). Plus, it gives you an accurate indication of how well your business is growing!

Top Tips For Seamless Processes And A Smooth Running Business

pexels-photo-487785

As a business; you’ll already understand how vital it is to keep up with the competition so that you can grow and succeed. Therefore, the smooth running of your company is an essential part of your brand that will ensure you’re able to progress. By making sure that each of the processes in your business runs as seamlessly as possible; you’ll be increasing your financial efficiency and your customer satisfaction. Take a look at the following areas and focus your attention on improving your processes, so your business can thrive and flourish.

Happy Staff

Keeping your team members energized and motivated will have a knock-on effect throughout the whole of your business. Regular meetings, where everyone is kept up-to-date and informed of what’s expected and what’s happening in the business is a great way to encourage people and ensure that they are fulfilling their job role with you.

Incentivizing your staff members to reach company targets and exceed their personal goals within the business is another great tactic to ensure each task is being carried out smoothly and on time. Check out some ways to motivate and empower your team here: http://seriousstartups.com/2014/12/01/4-tips-empowering-team/ and get inspired to implement some changes in your business. The more you encourage and inform your staff, the more they’ll feel appreciated and willing to contribute all they can to your company, so make sure you’re investing in them and your business’ future.

Stock Efficiency

Having enough stock available to supply your customers and clients at all times is crucial to the progression and growth of your business. Therefore, you need to make that all processes related to the intake, export, and delivery of stock are in place and working successfully. Looking into supply chain finance will ensure that you are given better control of exchange rates with foreign suppliers, and you can navigate and secure deals with your suppliers at a quicker rate. Utilizing a financing company, will ensure that you have a strong and secure supply chain, and you can manage any settlements, discounts, and the flow of your supplies with ease.

Becoming well-known for your great delivery system, or always having hard-to-get products and services on hand, will attract a loyal and ever-increasing group of consumers, who will keep returning to invest in your business. If mistakes and hiccups do happen along the way; make sure that your whole team know exactly what to do to rectify them as quickly as possible. Processes that result in successfully solving problems are another attractive quality to a company, and your customers will appreciate it.

Software And Tech Updates

Try to keep abreast of the latest technology and software that will help your business to run as smoothly as possible, without the effort you’d have to put in manually. Investing in the latest tech where you can will give your company a boost, and will free up time, so that your team can focus on the areas that software and tech can’t help with. Know when to update old processes and systems and always be forward-thinking with your choices; seek expert advice where needed, so that you can invest wisely and your business will grow in no time.

Emergency Planning: Advice For Protecting Your Business

6818192898_c132e81824_b

All business owners need to create emergency plans for their companies. Many different issues could affect your ability to accept orders and make a profit. With that in mind, you need to identify the most likely problems and come up with some solutions. At the end of the day, most firms will face the same threats, and so this advice could assist your research. Today, we’re going to offer some simple tips that could help your company to stay afloat if the worst occurs. So, put these ideas into action as soon as possible. That should be enough to ensure you can deal with most stumbling blocks fast.

Create a digital disaster plan

Firstly, you have to think about what might happen if your computer systems stop working. Maybe you become the victim of a hacker or something similar? Well, there are specialists out there who focus their efforts on providing support in those instances. With that in mind, it’s sensible to contact them as soon as possible to create a digital disaster plan. Once you have that in place, you should feel a little more relaxed. The experts will then swing into action whenever you report an issue. Hopefully, that should mean your network is never down for more than a few hours when something bad happens.

Design a physical disaster plan

You never know when your company might face a natural disaster. Global warming is affecting our planet in many different ways. For that reason, all business owners have to become a little more aware of the extreme weather. A storm could result in a power cut at your office. If that happens, you will struggle to continue working until the problem is solved. It might be worth taking the time to read a generator blog to assess your options. Sometimes arranging a backup power supply could mean you don’t fall behind. It should also mean you can continue you accept orders and work as usual. You also need to create a plan for what will happen if your premises suffer flooding.

Build relationships with legal experts

It’s impossible to know when a customer or another company might try to take your brand to court. Maybe you didn’t complete an order as you promised? Perhaps a rival thinks that you’ve infringed on their copyright? The Business Dictionary provides a lot of information on that subject. Whatever the situation, you need legal experts willing to swing into action. So, do yourself a favor and build a relationship ahead of time. If you do that, the specialists will find it much easier to begin fighting in your corner. If you overlook that tip, you might have to spend a long time explaining the ins and outs of your operation. You can’t afford to do that when you have an impending court date. You will need to work on your case as fast as possible.

In this article, we’ve covered digital, physical, and legal threats that could affect your company. Make sure you remember this advice and put it into action as soon as you can. Planning will make your life much easier when something goes wrong. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that won’t happen to your company because it will. Good luck!

Why Communication Will Always Be Your Most Important Tool!

pexels-photo-207531

You can ask a million different entrepreneurs, and you will get a million different answers to the question, what is the most important thing to your business? And while lots of people will answer in a roundabout way with regards to their finances or their workers, the most important thing is much simpler than that and carries weight in a small startup company, established business, or a multinational conglomerate, communication is the key. A lot of people look at saving money on communication because they can easily do it via emails, Skype etc., but communication only works in this technological setting if you have laid the foundations already.

The Importance Of Collaboration

A vital component of communication is the ability to collaborate with your peers, and while 20 years ago this could only be done by assembling everybody in a room, it is now possible to collaborate using software like Evernote, but this only works effectively if you’ve got staff that are willing to collaborate. Evernote and Google Docs are fantastic collaboration tools and work people who know how to work together already, so with these tools they have to be a natural extension of the fluidity of your team. If you don’t have a team that works together well, collaboration tools won’t nurture it.

Being Contactable

In this day and age with so many different ways of being in contact, we seem to be laxer in picking up the phone or answering those emails off the bat because we have too many things to keep track of. It’s important to remember that while technology is something that will get you ahead when it comes to social media marketing, PPC marketing, and general all-round communication, there are still some people who prefer the more traditional methods of contact. While it is being phased out somewhat, there are some people prefer to use fax as a means of contact. And so while getting an online fax number might not be a priority it will certainly help to navigate with those more traditional customers that seldom go online. Communication tools are great if you know how to use them properly, so use them all or just a core few.

Personal Communication

The bare bones of any startup are really all about a core team that communicates with each other well. And albeit, there is plenty of technology that can make for a wider network of contacts, clients, freelance contractors, etc. if you are looking for a staff workforce that can organically build your business you need to be promoting a culture of personal communication, not just relying on technology. This means regular team meetings and encouraging a working environment that is thriving and palpable and above all else, inspiring. This will be what pushes your business forward.

It appears that the more technology we have, the less we communicate properly with each other. Striking the right balance between technology and personal communication and making sure that you are using technology assist your endeavours rather than do them for you will improve your business.

Are You Good With Numbers? Why Not Consider A Career In Finance?

office-pen-calculator-computation-163032

Business graduates have a never-ending array of options when considering their career aspirations. Some graduates will venture into the thrilling world of advertising, the dynamic marketing industry or the stable environment of HR. However, many well-educated graduates seek the competitive finance industry as their career destination. The roles available within the finance industry are varied and exciting, enabling those graduates with numerical minds to utilize their skills within their day to day working lives. Take a look at these top financial jobs and consider which one may be best suited to you.

1. Banker

Investment bankers have had a bit of bad press recently with the most recent recession placed firmly at their door. Bankers are stereotypically seen as arrogant risk takers with a total lack of respect for those people whose money they are investing. This may be a tad harsh. Investment bankers work ridiculously long hours in an attempt to see the largest returns possible on investments for shareholders. Investment banking is a hugely pressurized job where your career will depend on meeting and exceeding targets. If you relish working under pressure and can analyze data and make astute financial forecasts, this could be the thrilling career that you have been looking for.

2. Tax Advisor

If you enjoy working with numbers and having your calculator permanently fixed to your fingers, then a jaunt into the world of tax could be your ideal career. Companies across the UK utilize the skills of specialist tax advisors to guide them through the arduous process of an HMRC tax investigation. You will need to be a good listener, non-judgemental and able to articulate solutions to people who struggle with their finances. Taxation is a notoriously difficult and, at times, an ambiguous area of finance that needs individuals who are confident with calculations and problem-solving.

3. Accountant

An accountant will always have a specialism. This may be working with large corporations to make them as tax efficient as possible, individual contractors to help them set up limited companies or self-employed sole traders that require help with their tax returns. Accountants need to be good with numbers, able to learn quickly and have a firm grasp of a wide range of financial legislation. If you venture down this career path, you will need to keep your finger on the pulse of government budgets and new tax laws to ensure you are always applying the most recent legislation to an individual’s or a company’s financial affairs.

A career in finance is seen by outsiders as a boring mathematical desk job. Nothing could be further from the truth. The finance industry offers opportunities for lifelong learning and qualifications, the ability to meet new and interesting people and the chance to become an expert in your field. You could find yourself on the busy trading floor at the London stock exchange, advising public sector bodies of their financial obligations or traveling around the country meeting with finance directors of large multinationals. The opportunities within an exciting career in finance are endless.