For most people who are going into business, it’s a very common misconception that the biggest challenge lies in the beginning. “Getting things off the ground”, as it were, remains the number one concern for those about to build a new business enterprise. It may come as a surprise then, that this is comparatively the easy part.
Of course, getting started is hard work, but the real challenge lies in the long term growth of any brand that you build. Having a good idea and being able to execute it is one thing, but how do you grow stronger and more powerful? So many businesses fail especially because they simply get ahead of themselves and rush into decisions – ultimately leading to a crash and burn. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all.
So, what exactly are the best ways to ensure long term growth, instead of being a flash in the pan? Here are 3 exceptional pieces of advice that, if you take notice of, should really help you along your way. Courtesy of leading UK Spraybooth Services company, AGM Services. Enjoy!
The biggest and most costly mistake of all time – hiring blindly. Perhaps you need an expert to give you a foot up in SEO (search engine optimisation) and it’s a bit technical for your knowledge. This is just one of many, many examples, of course, but it’s a common one. If you hire someone to do a job and it’s clear you have no idea what they are doing, how will they? How will you mentor them or measure their success? This is in layman’s terms a trap, as you have no idea whether or not you have a valuable member of the team. The solution? Get your hands dirty and learn a little about the tasks in hand. Ask people you trust how they did it, and if you do take someone on, make sure you know exactly what for.
As the saying goes, “you stop growing, you start dying” – as philosophical as it may be, it couldn’t apply more to business success. You have to be constantly moving and evolving, aiming for the next step, and trying things out along the way. However, it’s absolutely vital that you do this at a pace you can manage. As exciting as it can be to get a nice first-year turnover, you are never as safe as you think you are. So before you make huge plans on expanding the team and investing in things because you can suddenly (seemingly) afford to, wait it out for a while longer. Slow and steady wins the race. The sheer amount of startups which rise and fall within the first year of trading should tell you that it’s a very, very common mistake. It’s only one that is easily avoidable, once you are aware of it. A little patience can and will go a long way.
This may seem like a fairly obvious thing to develop in a growing business – but it’s not always as easy to achieve in practice as in theory. Employees that get along and develop a professional harmony is one thing, and that is by no means an insignificant advantage. But developing mentor relationships where the less skilled can come in and be supported in house, that is priceless to any business. In-house promotions over external recruitment – not only cost-efficient but more meaningful for you all as a company. You want long term employees that are striving to develop, with the more advanced ones willing to help and train those following behind. This approach, of course, takes time – more time than quickly recruiting and forcing a quick expansion. Let things blossom in-house – it will pay off in the long run.
- AGM Services operate across the UK with engineers specialising in spray booth maintenance, parts breakdown, servicing and repair. Established in 1993 in Heywood, Greater Manchester.
Protecting Your Retail Stores Finances
You have worked hard to build your retail store into a profitable business. Providing your customers with safe and secure credit is what keeps them coming back, but how can you protect your finances? Here are a few steps your retail store can take to protect itself from financial loss.
Make sure your data is well protected
The world of retail is changing. It’s gone from floor to web, and now it’s in the air. Technology is advancing faster than anyone can keep up with. How we buy and sell goods has changed, but the basic rules have stayed the same: you need security.
Investing in cybersecurity for your business is a big part of protecting your retail store finances. Data breaches are reported in the news every day. Be prepared to defend your assets by ensuring your data is well protected from threats, viruses and hackers.
By safeguarding your finances with Internet security systems that aren’t easily hacked into, you’ll be able to focus on the rest of your business.
Invest in the proper type of insurance
Business insurance helps protect your business finances by providing you with protection when you need it. Public liability insurance can protect your business finances against a variety of risks from property damage to customer injuries and legal claims. This will also stop you from going bankrupt if someone makes a claim against your business.
Protecting your retail store finances can provide peace of mind for you and your business. Whether you’re a new or existing business owner, learn about how the right retail business insurance can help protect your business finances and assets.
Control your expenses
Understanding how to control your expenses is crucial for any retail business, big or small.
Reducing the amount of expense in your retail business is a good first step to protecting your money. Know what you are paying for, how much, and if you’re getting value for it.
Make it a point to keep an eye on your budgets, but you also want surety that you’re aware of every penny that flows in or out of your business. With timely, easy-to-read reports and data-driven insights from book-keeping apps, you can be certain that every transaction counts toward your bottom line.
Separate personal finance from business finance
Business owners are highly motivated to grow their business. From hiring additional staff to purchasing expensive equipment, you’d like to have funds available when you need them. However, a lot of companies do not separate their personal finances from the finance of their business. Everyone knows that mixing your personal and business finances in a single bank account is not a good idea, so always separate them.
If you are like many small business owners, your personal finances and business finances are mixed. If the two are intertwined, then business decisions can have a direct impact on your personal financial situation and vice versa.
Explore additional sources of funding
Protecting your retail store finances is one of the biggest challenges faced by small businesses. Growing insurance costs, cash flow shortages and general overheads often get in the way of long-term financial planning. For many, a bank overdraft is used to balance books and stave off insolvency, but you could be risking much more than just your overdraft interest rates.
Furthermore, as a business owner, you are personally liable for all company debts – which could leave your personal credit rating negatively impacted if the unexpected happens, and your retail store can face financial challenges that could threaten the success of your business over time. It’s important to explore funding options and solutions to help protect your profits in the long-term.
No matter how much you invest in your retail store, your ability to protect yourself and your store’s finances should be the most valuable investment you make. Protecting your retail investment is important, and hopefully, this short article has provided somewhere to start from.
A Great Start: How to Plan a Successful Business
While there is no denying that starting a business in any industry is considered a milestone and an achievement to be proud of, the prospect of trying to keep the business afloat during the first one or two years is another story entirely. It can be challenging enough trying to keep your business afloat by gathering clients and clout within the community, but preventing a new company from being overshadowed by industry giants requires passion and careful planning.
When you consider that the slightest mistake could lead to potentially devastating consequences for a new business, it is almost ironic that one of the most challenging phases of business management is typically helmed by inexperienced business owners.
Fortunately, you do not have to go in blind. Here are a few ways you can plan ahead for a successful business.
Knowledge is power
While it is common knowledge to gather as much information as you can about your industry, many startup owners end up focusing on the immediate needs of their business. Keeping in touch with the latest trends in your industry ensures that you have a wealth of knowledge to consider when you start making big decisions for your business.
It also helps to keep in touch with industry trends, as it allows you a glimpse at what your competitors might be into. For contracting businesses, it might be techniques such as using a precast retaining wall, and for restaurants, it might be a new superfood making waves as an ingredient in common recipes.
Focus on the loyalty of employees
For any business out there that makes use of employees, they are the lifeblood of a company. For startups, how your employees perform dictates whether or not your business falls flat. Fortunately, one of the tried and tested ways to bring out the potential of your staff would be through the use of employee incentives. It is all right to start small if you do not have the budget to go for an all-out incentive plan – the crucial part is your staff understands that you are looking out for them.
The moment your employees start thinking that you have no intention of providing an incentive, they will likely only give the bare minimum to keep your business going.
Look into reasonable coverage options
While it might not seem like an immediate issue, coverage is undoubtedly one of the most crucial aspects of building a business. The right type of coverage means you can focus on building your company without having to worry about legal issues potentially making your goals impossible to achieve. It would be a good idea to look into a business owner’s policy (BOP), as it typically combines coverage types your business needs while simultaneously being cheaper than the sum of its parts.
There is no denying that running a business and keeping it afloat amid a competitive industry is a substantial challenge. That said, the tips above can help you maintain a foothold and forge ahead in your chosen industry.
4 Ways To Encourage Health And Well Being In The Office
Your workforce is your most important commodity. It, therefore, pays to take good care of them.
Yet the latest statistics show that poor health and wellbeing measures in the workplace is the prime cause of absenteeism. As a result, enterprises suffer diminished productivity and turnover, and high medical, legal and insurance costs.
The World Economic Forum says work-related stress is a pandemic and costs the global economy £255 billion a year. Moreover, stress is the largest single predictor of absenteeism and poor workplace performance.
Promoting health and well-being in the workplace essentially revolves around four pillars; eating healthy food and drinking more water, managing stress levels, promoting mental health and getting sufficient sleep.
Offer Nutritional Snacks and Meals
Chocolate and sugary snacks may be more appealing but they are not good for the health of your staff or the productivity of your business. Sugary foods may provide an initial spike in energy, but quickly crash. This leads to fatigue and a deterioration in cognitive function.
The best healthy snacks contain protein, fibre and carbs such as nuts, banana cake and popcorn. Homemade energy bites and smoothies go down a treat as well!
According to the American Heart Association, sitting is the new smoking. Sedentary jobs increase the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular-related illnesses.
Encoring employees to move around the office has been identified as a potential solution. Today’s agile office designs encourage employees to work in specified zones and take the stairs instead of using the lift.
Agile office designs also incorporate break out areas which encourage people to take the regulated 20-minute break every hour and refresh their brainpower.
It’s likely that all your employees know that exercise is good for them but few of them actually engage in physical activity. Motivation is the key issue – so why not poke your workforce with an exercise stick.
For example, you could organise weekly sports events, or encourage a work team to enter in local sports events such as 5-a-side soccer. Perhaps you can strike an arrangement with a local gym or yoga class, or install bike racks to encourage people to cycle to work.
You could also encourage your staff to download the Sweatcoin app which rewards people for walking. The app counts your number of steps and converts them into a digital currency directly on to your smartphone. You can then exchange the sweatcoins for merchandise and earn massive discounts.
Invest in Mental Health Strategies
Now it has come to light that mental health issues impact work performance, more companies are investing in strategies that place health and wellbeing of their staff at the centre of their workplace strategy.
Human-centric approaches include offering childcare benefits and e-coaching services that help staff manage stress. Virtual support systems for employees working from home also help people feel less isolated and part of a team.
Experts also advise employers to remove the pressure of targets. Stress can drive people towards drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. In doing so, their workplace performance suffers.
If you notice signs of workplace stress in your employees, you should seriously consider installing strategies that foster health and wellbeing. Companies that neglect their workforce will notice a drop in performance and a rise in absentee-related costs.
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