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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Moving Office

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Moving to a brand new office is an exciting time for your entire business. Not just because it’s probably a bit newer and fancier, though, but also because it’s the next big step in making your business grow and prosper. You may make it or break it in the new area but you’ll never know unless you actually make the move.

It helps a bit to do some thorough planning first, however, and you can certainly increase your chances of making the move successful by following the tips below.

It won’t guarantee you from experiencing any hiccups along the way but at least you know that you’ve covered everything on the checklist – and you’re ready to move.

First: Use a spreadsheet for planning

While online articles can give you generic advice and try to help you with making the transformation fuss-free, every business is different and you need to go through all the tasks that are specific to yours. A spreadsheet will help you out with this; write down all your tasks, compile them into bite-size chunks, and tick them off as you go.

That way, you can feel a lot more confident that you’ve got everything covered before it’s time to get a hold of a Ute hire or a van hire to get all of your office stuff to the next location. Remember to use a sharing software as well, by the way, so that everyone in the office is able to stay up to date on what remains to be done and what’s already taken care of.

Next: Time your move

This is definitely a part of the planning process but you need to decide on this sooner rather than later. Moving is definitely a disruptive time for your business but you will still need to operate and keep those doors open, so to speak; by timing your move perfectly, you’ll avoid going through this during the busiest time of the year.

Plan it for a time when you expect that traffic is a bit slower so that you’re able to get back on your feet as soon as you’re settled into the new office. Making this move in the middle of your busiest period will not only ensure that you forget about something in the rush – but you’ll risk losing out on quite a lot of money as well.

Take care of your business processes

Finally, you can’t even think about moving before you’ve handled the most important processes of your business and had a chat with your suppliers. They need to know where to find you, after all, and it’s important in order to maintain a good relationship with them as well.

Don’t forget to let your cleaning company know as well, by the way, as well as anything else you usually get delivered to your office.

Go through your office furniture and consider what you’re bringing with and what you’re purchasing, have a look at your new office contract to see exactly what it covers in terms of essential amenities and talk to your current suppliers for their support during the move as well.

While there is a lot to take care of before you can move office, the rewards are definitely worth it whether you’re doing it for the sake of having more space or just taking back control over your brand and environment. Get the steps above over with as soon as possible and you’ll be able to settle in a bit quicker.

 

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Get Your Business Going Global

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If you can get your business to go global, you can open the door to so many different possibilities. Going global is the ultimate challenge, as well as goal, for any company. But not just any company could make it there. There’s so many factors to think about, and so many risks that your business could face if the gamble just doesn’t pay off. Because at the end of the day, we definitely do think that it is a gamble. But if the gamble pays off, there’s no end to the things that could happen to your business. The potential to earn would increase more than you’ve ever known, and the possibilities you’ll give your employees would grow and grow. We definitely do think that trying to go global is something you should think about starting, or even better put the wheels in motion for. If you want to try and put the wheels in motion, read our article, and get your business going global.

When Would Be The Right Time?

You really do have to know when the right time is for something like this. It most definitely isn’t something that you can just dive right into, or you really will risk coming into some big financial trouble because of it. We also think that you will just know when it is the right time. You’ll see the figures that your company is bringing in, and you should be able to see a way into the overseas markets. If you just sell online services, then everything gets so much easier. All you would need to do is market in that country. But if you were to sell products abroad, it’s all about finding the right trade deals and the right companies to facilitate them. You might have every idea about the products you want to sell over there, and where you want to sell them, but it’s never going to happen unless you secure yourself a trade deal. Get researching today, and see what you can find! The right time is most definitely when you’ve got the profits to do so as well. You have to be super comfortable, and have plenty of money spare to facilitate an idea like this!

Get Your Business Overseas

Moving your business overseas is going to he hard because you’re going to have to consider two things. Where will you base yourself, and where will you base your overseas company. If you’re moving an entire office there because you have staff that want to follow you, you’re going to need an overseas office relocations company to help you with the move. It’s going to be expensive, but as we’ve said, the gamble should eventually pay off. Once your business is overseas, there’s so many people that you’re going to have to make connections with aside from the trade deal. Employees, fellow companies , it all needs to be thought of!

Managing A Global Company

Finally, you need to make sure you have the right mindset to run a global company. You have to think about how busy your company is at the minute, and how busy it would be if you were running it in two or more locations. It is a huge commitment you can’t really back out of.

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7 Ways to Make Your Home Office Safer

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When we work as employees out of the home, our workplaces are subject to rigorous health and safety checks and risk assessments. Every layout is inspected. Every piece of equipment has a safety check, and anything that could pose even the slightest risk or threat to our health and safety undergoes a risk assessment, to ensure that those risks are kept to an absolute minimum.

When we work at home, we take our safety into our own hands, as we do in all other areas of our houses. You probably don’t worry about your safety outside of making sure you are comfortable. You assume that you are safe because you are at home. But, this might not be the case. Your home office could be posing more dangers than you might imagine. Here are seven ways that you could make it safer.

Get a Chairmat

You probably don’t think your office chair poses much of a threat. But the addition of chairmats can make moving around smoother and softer. Your chair won’t get caught on the carpet, and it won’t be able to tip over if you get it stuck and put too much pressure on the wheels as you try to move. A chairmat will also protect your floors.

Think Ergonomics

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time can damage your back, your neck, and your legs. It can lead to long-term issues with your posture, as well as sore wrists and achy legs. Lay your desk out ergonomically. So that you can see your screen without straining either your eyes or your neck. So that you can sit straight and comfortably while being able to reach everything. Set things up so that your wrists can rest comfortably when you type. Just a few small changes can make things much more comfortable and prevent long-term risks.

Clean Up

Clutter and spills cause a lot of accidents. Keep your office space clean and tidy and mop up spills as they happen. Get into good habits, and you’ll be much safer.

Maintenance

Another leading cause of injuries and accidents is faulty equipment and machinery. Clean these regularly, have them serviced once a year, and fix any faults as soon as you can.

Keep it Bright

A dark office is never good. You won’t feel alert and focused. You will get sleepy and distracted. You’ll strain your eyes, and you’ll risk tripping. Keeping things light and bright is a much better option for your health and your mood.

Clear the Air

If your office is a smaller room, it might quickly become musty and dusty. This can be bad for your health. Open a window if you’ve got one, keep the air clean, and add a leafy green plant to help.

Lock it Up

Your health isn’t the only thing that can be unsafe in your office. You might assume that it’s secure because it’s in your home. But, if your office contains expensive equipment, it’s worth updating your home insurance, looking at your home safety and adding some extra security measures.

 

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Is Your Office Comfortable?

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Something which is important to staff, guests and partners alike is just how comfortable your office is, and yet this is something that is often something of a last minute concern when business owners are setting up their offices. If you have come to realize that you could probably make your office considerably more comfortable, and that there would be many benefits to doing so, then you are on the right track. The truth is that a comfortable office tends to have higher morale, and is much more likely to be the home of good work as a result. If you are wondering what you can actually do in practical terms to make sure that your office is comfortable, then read on. Here are some of the best ways to go about that, so that you can make sure that your employees and your guests are as happy as possible in the workplace.

The Right Furniture

The furniture is hugely important if you are to make sure that you office is comfortable, and it is probably going to be the first place you look and the first thing you think of changing if you want to make this particular change in your office. By playing around with the furniture, you can hope to keep your people as comfortable as possible, but you will want to consider how much of a difference it will make to treat yourself and your staff to some really good quality comfortable furniture like that from civic australia. You will find that that really does help to make the office much more comfortable, and fast, so it is something that you should think about first and foremost if you are hoping to achieve that in particular.

Enough Space

You will also need to ensure that you are providing plenty of space if you want your office to be truly comfortable, as this is just as important as what kind of furniture you happen to be providing for your employees. By ensuring there is enough space, you can be sure that your employees and guests are not going to feel too crowded, and that the office itself will have a generally calmer atmosphere, which also helps with such matters. Often this is a simple case of playing around with how things are laid out, but sometimes you will need to downsize or do away with some of the items in the office too.

Light Levels

There are a whole range of subtle things which affect comfort levels too, and you need to pay attention to them as well if you are to keep your office as comfortable as possible. One in particular which can make a difference is the light levels in the office, which can really dramatically affect how comfortable or not people feel. Fortunately, it’s also something you can control fairly easily, so make sure that you are doing so if you want everyone to be as comfortable as possible in the office.

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Making Money From Property: Whether You Rent or Own

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Whilst making money from property, as a tenant is a much more contentious issue than if you own the property yourself, as many tenancy agreements include a strict clause pertaining to subletting and making an income from the property… today, in the world of AirBnB many tenants are making extra income from hosting people via AirBnB for instance.

This is a particularly good option if you live in a prestigious property in a good location, such as those by Meriton. Yet, today, there are all sorts of ways to make money from property whether you are an owner or a tenant.

1. GET A LODGER
If you have a spare room, then getting a lodger can be a great way to make a consistent and reliable monthly income from your property. Of course, if you rent, you must be a little careful in terms of violating the terms of your tenancy agreement – and similarly, if you own the house, you must be careful in terms of what is considered a “commercial arrangement” versus merely renting a room out, as a “normal” person.

Renting a spare room often provides a more reliable monthly income than concepts such as AirBnB that are more sporadic in nature, yet of course, monthly rent will be capped in terms of the amount you can make – whereas AirBnB has potential to make a lot more money.

2. HOST AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT
Something that pays quite a lot of money is to host an international student; this often requires you to provide two meals a day in addition to a little tutoring when it comes to learning English, along with providing a room, but the amount you can make from this is substantial.

3. AIR BnB
AirBnB offers a more profitable alternative, at least in terms of the amount you can charge each night, than the idea of getting a full-time lodger. It’s also much more flexible in the sense that you can decide when people stay or when you want your house to yourself – by simply blocking out time on your availability calendar.

There are pros and cons to both AirBnB and having a long term lodger, so it depends on what you’re looking for, but if you live by a major airport or venue, AirBnB might make a lot more sense as you can sell your room at a premium due to the economics of supply and demand.

4. RENT OUT YOUR GARAGE
Many people don’t want someone else living in their space, but are happy to rent out their garage as storage space in order to make some easy money.

5. RENT OUT YOUR DRIVEWAY
If you live in a busy town and are centrally located, or near a transport hub, such as a train station you might want to consider renting out your driveway as a parking space. If you work office hours yourself this could be particularly useful, as during the day, when the driveway would otherwise be empty you can make money whilst adding to the security of your home due to it looking like someone is in.

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3 Things You Must Never Do When Hiring

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When you’re hiring for your business, there are all kinds of things you can do to make sure you end up with the right candidate. Somebody who has the qualities that you really want and fits in with your company culture. However, there are 3 things you absolutely must never do when hiring. Take a look below and get an idea of what they are:

1. Discriminate

Discrimination, whether for somebody’s sex or skin color, does still happen. You can’t discriminate because of these things, nor can you discriminate because of things like age, sexual orientation, etc. You need to give everybody a fair chance and be open to hiring the best candidate whatever those circumstances are – but hopefully, you already know and believe that.

2. Look For The Wrong Things

Before you start interviewing, you should have a very good idea of what you want in a candidate, but you should also remain flexible – what if your candidate is a great match for the culture and the role in other ways, but has very little experience? It’s important to consider just how essential some things you’re asking for are, so you don’t rule anybody out for poor reasons.

3. Fail To Structure The Interview Process

Structuring the interview process will mean everybody is interviewed the same way and has a fair chance. Have the questions you want to ask written down, as well as who else will be involved in the process.

Below, you’ll find 7 essential recruitment steps so you know what you actually should do when hiring!


credit to  7 Essential recruitment steps by ELMO Software

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The Experts Your Home-Business Needs

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More and more young adults are looking into the prospect of starting their own business. In fact, some of them might have already established their first commercial entity as they were still studying.

The surprising reason for this increase in independent career choices can be directly linked to the need to maintain a healthy work/life balance. As too many employers have failed to adjust to a remote working society, the employees of today prefer to launch their own business from home, where they’re close to their family. However, working from home doesn’t mean that they have to do everything by themselves. On the contrary, if you want your business to flourish, you need to surround yourself with experts who know what they’re doing. Indeed, multitasking is never an option. But outsourcing to professionals can be the way to many home-based businesses.

Building the basics

Before you can rely on experts to help you make the most of your business, you need to establish a stable and healthy base for your career to grow. Indeed, you can’t afford to get stuck in your everyday routine on things such as naturally occurring distractions. You work from home, needless to say, your pets, children and chores are likely to stand in your way. Your job is to stick to your work schedule and ignore everything that isn’t relevant – unless there’s an emergency, of course.  

Only then can you consider hiring professionals to tackle challenges that can prevent your business from growing.

Someone who gives your clients a professional greetings

When you work from home, it can be tempting to share your personal phone number and email address with your clients. However, you should refrain from doing so. You need to maintain your privacy. Consequently, you should ensure you’ve got a business email address and phone number, preferably with a virtual assistant who can take calls on your behalf and schedule appointments. You can also ask your assistant to answer simple questions about your activities. In the long term, being able to filter your leads saves you precious time.  

Someone who looks after your accounts

Growing your business comes with additional financial challenges, from tax returns to cutting business costs. In your day-to-day business operations, a professional accountant can be a life-saver when you’re trying to maintain your cash flow afloat. You can rely on their expertise to oversee all financial processes and prevent issues with the IRS by keeping your books up-to-date.

Someone who manages your marketing presence

Last, but not least, you need a digital presence. While building a website can be a one-off project, your social media presence requires constant attention. Working directly with a social media manager will help you not only to make the most of the marketing tools available for your social platform, but also to establish an engaging social media strategy. Too many entrepreneurs use social media as a way to shout out about their news without engaging their audience. A professional manager can ensure your message is heard, shared and appreciated.

Being your own boss is a challenging career that requires dedication, entrepreneurial mindset and strategic approach. If you are to succeed, you need to surround yourself with experts you can trust to maintain the professional profile of your business on the market.

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Are You At Risk Of Making These Mistakes On Your Business Tax Return?

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Are you setting enough aside?

Are you setting enough aside?

We’re here to talk about the much-dreaded tax return. Is there a more hated word in the small business vocabulary. Heck; is there a more hated word in all language? If there is, we haven’t heard it yet. We all feel the pressure of upcoming tax forms. This is especially the case when you’re filing for a company rather than just yourself. Suddenly, you’ll have so much more to think about. Not to mention that you’ll be accounting for a whole load more money. That alone could end up making you hot under the collar.

That fear only gets worse when you consider everything businesses get wrong when it comes to their tax returns.  Even big names make significant mistakes here. That doesn’t bode well for you, with inexperience and first-time nerves working against you. Luckily, we’re going to look at a few common mistakes you might make, and how to avoid them.

You haven’t set enough aside

Around 32% of companies fall foul to not having aside enough to cover their tax returns. This causes them to dip into profits elsewhere. That can even lead to them clearing themselves out. The fact is that you’re sure to owe more than you imagine, especially if you only have personal returns to go off thus far. Your best bet to weathering the tax return storm, then, is to set money aside for this through the year. A good way of doing this to start with may be to use one of many tax calculators out there to estimate how much you might owe. Keeping your accounts together using software like Xeppo, as discussed here by Umlaut, could also help you here. By giving you a birds-eye-view of every aspect of your business, such software can ensure that you consider the whole picture. That includes your tax allowance.

You’re mixing business with pleasure

Another fatal mistake would be to mix both your personal and business finances. This is yet another reason it’d pay to develop a separate system for business finances. If your business is a corporation or independent entity, you can’t risk slipping so much as one piece of personal finance into that return. Make sure, then, that your personal receipts are nowhere near your business office. One slip here could see your whole tax plan come crashing down.

You’re too keen to claim

Tax returns are the bitterest pill. Claiming things back is the best way to wash it down. However, you could soon trip over this, too, if you try to claim too much. Filing for things which don’t qualify could fast see you facing legal issues and hefty fines. As such, you need to be 100% clear on what you can and can’t claim from day one. Things like start-up cost up to $5,000, and even the cost of training counts here. But, things like personal transport and entertainment do not. Learn the rules and play by them to ensure your tax return journey runs smoothly every time.

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Close To Home: Running A Business From Your Own Property

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In recent years, small business has been getting more and more popular all over the world. Thanks to the dawn of the Internet, this sort of field has never been so accessible, and loads of people are taking advantage of this. Of course, though, while it is easier to get into, things like property haven’t gotten any cheaper. This means that a huge portion of the businesses around the web are ran from people’s homes. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some tips which will give you a head start when it comes to being successful when you’ve started a true home business.

Separating Work & Personal Settings

The time you spend at work should always be distinct from the time you have at home. Even when you are a business owner, it’s crucial that you be available whenever you can be, but this doesn’t mean that you have to be surrounded by work all the time. If you have enough space on your property, quality steel garages can make great warehouses, offices, and workshop, giving you an easy way to add an workspace to your home which won’t intrude on your personal life. A lot of people neglect this, but will find that they are able to get more done when they don’t feel like they are being controlled by their work.

Keeping To A Schedule

It’s easy to leave all of your work to the last minute when you’re working from home. Without a commute to make, you won’t feel as though you have to be finished by a certain time, as there will be no journey to make to get back home. While this can work out, it often makes life a lot more stressful, with thoughts of the work you have left to do playing on your mind until you get it all done. To help you to keep to your schedule, it will be worth applying a strict routine to your life. It will be hard for a couple of weeks, but you will soon build good habits which will keep you finishing your work before you do things which you enjoy.

Staying Away From Distractions

Finally, as the last area to think about, home life can be full of distractions. Whether you have kids, pets, or simply have too many things to do at home, it can be a challenge to keep yourself focused on the work at hand. One of the biggest parts of this will be noise, as this is one of the only senses which can be triggered by something outside your workspace. Playing music can help with this, especially if you can find something which helps you to focus and keeps you feeling energised. Not a lot of people consider the distractions which could be hampering their work while they are home.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time which goes into your home business. A lot of people struggle with this sort of work, finding it hard to know whether or not they can succeed when they have so much to do.

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Get The Basics Right, And Your Small Business Could Flourish

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It’s essential to consider just how small businesses have the odds against them. Just under 80% of businesses crafted in the US stop trading after two years alone. This can be to a range of issues, not all of them due to failure and incompetence, but it’s likely not something you hope to replicate when registering yourself into this new life. A business is something you hope to be successful, and sometimes opening one comes at a great personal risk financially and emotionally. However, just as if you would build a wall, you do not build the entire thing in a day. Instead you focus on laying each individual brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. Then, over time, you will have a wall, more sturdy for the effort.

Working hard is important to do, but working smart and with priority is essential to do. This means focusing on the small matters that serve as the fundamental important considerations of your firm. In other words, get the basics right, and your small business could flourish.

But what are those fundamentals? Consider:

Your Website

Your website is the main hub of branding for your entire business. It will be the place new customers can learn about your company in-depth, see your whole product line or subscription service offering, as well as manage their customer accounts. A faulty website heralds a faulty firm, and in 2018 is probably one of the fastest methods of dissuading a customer from doing business with your brand. Your business is essential to foster and get right, and we all know that. But more than functionality, your business requires solid form.

Through the use of a professional web design company, you can develop more appropriate solutions to apply your message online. You can deliver the content you hope to in the package that attracts the larger audience. Then, cross-linking your website to your social media pages and attached product flyers can benefit your firm to no end.

Your Vision

It’s important to have a vision for your firm. This should be a large ambition, but also something you could realistically achieve. Do you wish for 20% of the market share in the next five years? This could be possible in niche industries. Do you hope to make ethical trading one of your largest platforms, or potentially save customers money from other, less reliable and clean product launches? Do you hope to be the strongest innovator in your field? Without a vision, orienting yourself and your business in the right direction is sure to be difficult. After all, if your boots aren’t too big for you now, how can you ever hope to fill them in time?

Your Branding

Branding is important. It should be cohesive, catchy, and may sense for your industry. For example, the branding a law firm uses would be wildly different to how a fancy dress brand might market itself. Consider how appropriate your branding is through the use of graphic design, fonts, marketing campaigns, and even how your press releases are worded. Branding is the important vehicle for your presentation, so be sure to pay it the due diligence it deserves.

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From Petty To Regretty: Dealing With Customer Complaints

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It’s easy to deal with customers when you first start your business. Of course, you will probably be nervous, as you may not have done this sort of work before, but you will also get to rest assured that no one has any complaints. Instead, they will simply want to know about your products. As time goes on, though, this can change, with it being impossible to guarantee that everyone will have a good experience when they opt to use you. To help you to avoid the fallout which can come from this, this post will be exploring some of the issues which you need to avoid when you’re dealing with customers.

Indulging Arguments

When people expect to get something from you which they don’t get, it can be very frustrating for them. Misunderstandings can easily arise, giving way to people feeling like they’ve been short changed. In this scenario, people will want to argue as much as possible, and this is usually thrown at the business. Indulging people in this is a very big mistake, often giving them a lot more to shout about, and making your company look unprofessional. To ensure that your employees follow the right process with this, it’s important to ensure that they all know how to talk with customers, simply letting rudeness and contention slip by.

Refusing Support

Once someone has bought something from you, it’s easy to feel as though the transaction is completely finished, and you don’t have to worry anymore. In reality, though, even if the law doesn’t dictate it, it’s very important to make sure that you always look after your customers going into the future. For example, if someone has a product which breaks, but they’re rude to you about it, you should still give them the help they need. If you fail to do this, word will quickly spread that you don’t care about your customers. This is a very bad reputation to build when you’re first starting out.

Breaking The Rules

Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about what might happen if you actually break the law in this process. When you refuse to take a return during the required return period, for example, customers will have good reason to take action against you. You’d need a business lawyer to help you with this, often costing far more than simply giving the customer what they want. Of course, this can get more serious if you’re not careful, making it worth talking to a professional when you are unsure of what needs to be done to protect your company.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of customer complaints. A lot of people struggle with this sort of work, finding it hard to know what they need to do when someone comes at them with a problem. In most cases, it’s best to simply give people what they want, as long as it isn’t unreasonable.

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When It Comes To Small Business, Don’t Build Your House On Sand!

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We all know the parable of the two builders. Most of us are taught it at a very young age, even if we’re not taught its biblical roots in Matthew 7:24. The wise builder built his house upon the rock and it was able to stand firm and endure the wrath of the elements. The foolish builder built his house upon the sand and it was subsequently pancaked by the approaching storm. It’s a decent lehrstucke for just about anyone whether religious or secular but it’s particularly pertinent for those starting their own  business.

In the digital era, there are more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses and take their talents to the free market. But in their zeal get trading they can neglect the fundamentals of preparation, inevitably to the detriment of their young enterprise. If there’s something we can all take from St. Matthew’s parable it’s that…

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

No matter what the nature of your startup or where your skills may lie, there’s no such thing as too much preparation. Indeed, the better prepared you are, the more you can demonstrate that you’ve looked at your business from every angle and the more you can demonstrate a quantifiable demand for the products and services you offer and a gap in the market into which you can easily slot, the easier it will be for you to secure funding.

Know your market

Market research will be invaluable in helping you to determine not only the viability of your business but how you can subtly tweak your business plan to stay up to date and relevant in the face of a changing industry. Too many entrepreneurs treat market research as a one and done, but it must be woven into the fabric of your ongoing business plan and inform every strategic move you make.

You are not alone

Managing your own business involves spinning a lot of very disparate plates. Entrepreneurship is a multifaceted discipline. Some elements you’ll be familiar with and some will take you right out of your comfort zone. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are tools and support out there to help you to learn and grow as you take your business to new heights.

From help with ecommerce solutions to support with digital marketing and conversion rate optimisation there’s a plethora of support out there to aid you on your journey. Sure, it may represent an overhead cost that needs to be managed, but overheads can often reap dividends. Speaking of which…

Plan your cash flow

Cash flow is vitally important to any business. It’s what ensures vendors and employees get paid on time, what prevents your cash from being tied up in inventory that never sells and facilitates the smooth running of your business. Before you start chasing funding, chase down vendors and shopfitters. Get quotes so that you can accurately gauge your startup costs and your ongoing running costs including startup loan repayments. It’s the surest way to demonstrate to lenders and investors that you will be able to maintain a healthy cash flow.

Walk the line

Finally, all successful businesses must walk a fine line. The line between investing sufficiently in their business to facilitate growth while keeping overheads manageable and cutting down on unnecessary expenses. When you can walk this line, you’ll know that your house is built on a foundation of solid rock!

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Time Management Tips That All Entrepreneurs Need

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If you’re running a business, but have the feeling that you just never have enough time in the day to get everything done even though you’re constantly working, then you could be lacking in time management skills, and the good news about that is, although it’s not something that comes natural to many people, it is most definitely something that can be learned.

In this post, we’re going to share some useful time management tips for you that you can start implementing into your business right away to manage your time better and actually work smarter, not harder.

Time Blocking

Time blocking is a game-changer for most business owners and entrepreneurs and you’ll find that your time and tasks become much more focused as a result of implementing this technique. Basically how it works is by creating yourself a calendar, either digital or physical and then listing out the tasks you have for that day, week, month, etc. Then once you have those in place, you decide how much time you need to complete each one, and at what time in the day you’ll want to complete them. For example, if you’re someone who’s more creative early in the morning, then you may want to block that time out for focusing on writing or any other creative work you need to do.

Task Batching

Task batching is something that works really well when used in conjunction with time blocking, and basically how this works is by looking again at your tasks and then putting all similar ones together. For example, do you have to do a lot of sales calls for your business to enroll new clients? If so, then setting aside a certain day or two days of the week, or even a certain time of the day to focus only on doing these calls will help you stay organised and focused.

Set A Timer

With so much distraction, such as social media, phone notifications, etc, sometimes it can be really hard to just focus on the task at hand and getting it done. Often a task that only takes twenty minutes can sometimes end up taking all day because you keep getting distracted and going back and forth with it. A great way to beat this is by using a timer. A famous method for this is known as The Pomodoro Technique, which is basically where you set a timer for 20 minutes of focused work, then take a break for 5 minutes, do. another 20 minutes, and then take a longer break of 10 minutes. Honestly you’ll be surprised, just as so many others are by how much you can get done in 20 minutes.

Outsource

As much as you love your business, you simply can’t be amazing at every part of it, so identifying those tasks you’re not particularly great at, but that need done is always something you should be doing if you want your business to grow properly. Whether it’s looking into different virtual answering services or hiring an accountant, outsourcing is something you really need to be doing for better time management.

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Making The Most of Exhibitions

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Business owners tend to invest a huge amount of money to attend trade shows, yet with such heavy competition it can be hard to attract, engage and close customers to make the sales you might be hoping for.

As with most things in business, and particularly in marketing, it often comes down to return on investment and unfortunately with the high price of attending a trade show there is a lot of pressure to get an amble return.

Some business owners have the understandable yet somewhat displaced view that as a result of attending a trade show they will naturally have stream of engaged prospects wanting to do business with them.

The truth is that a trade show is akin to a retail shop on a busy high street – in that, there is a lot of footfall, but there’s also a lot of competition and all sorts of distractions vying for the audience’s attention.

Given the amount of investment required, it’s imperative you take the time to plan an effective marketing strategy for the event so that you are able to squeeze the most from the exhibition in terms of profitability.

The thing to remember is that just because you have a pitch, does not mean that people will be drawn to you – in fact, you’ll have likely seen a few stands at exhibitions where people are sat deflated, having had no interest in their stand.

In this article, we’re going to look at a number of ways to help you be more effective at trade shows in order to attract, engage and convert visitors into customers.

1. ATTRACT

The first thing you need to do is to attract people to your stand, this is where visual displays and promotions come into place.  Having something to giveaway to prospects is useful in terms of attracting their interest, as almost everyone likes the idea of coming away from trade shows with something free – particularly if it’s valuable.  

In a similar way, a lot of people offer incentives such as a free prize draw if you leave your business card with them.  The key point, is that unless you attract people to your stand, you’re not going to be in the position to engage with them and convert their interest to a sale.  Therefore, the “attract” stage is one of the most important.

That said, it’s not just about having a beautiful stand, as one of the most effective ways of attracting attention is to speak on stage at the event and give a presentation about a problem your target audience faces that you can solve.  This way, you are positioning yourself as an expert within your category and people will be drawn to your stand, afterwards, as a result – because they will want to get more advice on a problem they face.

The thing to understand is that everyone is looking for advice, about something, and people love “free advice”, therefore, hooking them in on stage – then leaving some unanswered questions that you encourage them to ask you in person, after the talk, is the most effective strategy to attracting people to visit your stand.

If you are doing such a talk the best advice is to make sure the content is 90% value-added (i.e. it provides real value to the audience in terms of talking about their needs, problems and what they can do to solve them – rather than how you can specifically help them).  

You want to keep the promotion aspect to around 10%, as this isn’t your opportunity to pitch and sell, it’s your opportunity to attract and engage – to position yourself as an authority on the subject area you are speaking about and is not a sales presentation all about how great your company is.  

In truth, nobody really cares about your company or product, they only care about finding a solution to their problem – and that’s where your content comes in.

By providing an in-depth and insightful talk you are positioning yourself as an expert in your category, meaning people will be naturally drawn toward you, and seek you out – rather than having to fight for their attention with a fancy stand.  

In contrast, if you stand on stage promoting your product most people will close off and you won’t attract the attention you seek… after all, not many people enjoy sitting through a sales presentation, at the best of times, and in a tradeshow where there are so many other things to do – don’t be surprised if people get up and leave, if you are sales focused, rather than value focused.

2. ENGAGE

The second step is to engage.  We’ve covered the speaking aspect, which can be a very engaging way to attract attention but at the fundamental core of engaging people is providing value.  For instance, this could be through offering information within a keynote presentation, or a free sample, prize draw, or even a free massage at your stand.

Indeed, one of the best strategies when selling beauty products, for instance, is to offer a free hand massage or facial using the products in question – this way you are creating a sense of reciprocation, in that when you give something away for free most people feel the emotional need to give something back (even if this is their attention).

The best way to engage is to provide something of value, rather than a sales pitch; most people will respond much better to this, as they can engage in content, but most people aren’t willing or able to engage with something that’s purely promotional… therefore, whether you’re giving advice in person or offering something for them to take away, such as USB, make sure the content is focused 90% on creating value with only 10% about your business.

3. CONVERT

The final step of convert comes down to your ability to turn prospects into customers, yet at a trade show, the majority of people focus too much on selling – and less attention is given to actually engaging and adding value to your audience.  When you engage your audience the process of converting them to buy becomes much more effortless and can be a simple question, rather than a heavy handed sales patter.

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How To Turn Around A Failing Project – Before It’s Too Late

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Good project management is a skill to learn.

Many roles out there involve a certain degree of project management, and dealing with external factors to bring something in on time and budget is a skill that many of us will need to learn throughout our working lives. But what do you do when a project veers dramatically off track?

Sometimes, it doesn’t take long before things start to spiral downhill, and you may be left wondering how on earth you’ve gone from initial start up to complete confusion so quickly.

Experienced project managers will have gained the skill of being able to spot the early warning signs that things are beginning to slide, but if you haven’t had as much exposure to it, it’s possible for things to go a little too far before you realise.

But don’t panic, let stress take over and start typing up your resignation letter just yet – you can still turn things around and pull that project back on track. Here’s how..

Recognise The Warning Signs

If you’re steering a project, you need to be constantly vigilant for potential issues, because the real trick is to spot them before they escalate. Use the start of each day to review the project status and fix in your mind what milestones are coming up next. Signs that things are about to grind to a halt can include communication breaking down, minor deadlines being missed or consistently pushed back or a lack of buy-in from all parties involved.

Increase Engagement Levels

Keeping your stakeholders engaged and updated is your primary responsibility, as their interest and confidence that the project will be delivered is crucial. Turn things around by reaching out to increase that engagement and don’t be afraid to throw some direct questions out there to cut to the chase of the matter. Be tuned in to potential sources of conflict from the off, and plan out some potential fixes to have at your fingertips if these arguments occur.

Work With Trusted Suppliers

Often, we are under pressure to get the lowest quote and go with that one, but this is a false economy that careful project managers should avoid. The track record of delivery and the quality of the work are just as, if not more, important. You may find suppliers who will underquote to get the work, and then find reasons to inflate costs after they have secured the job. If you don’t already have a trusted relationship, make sure that you do careful research at the tendering stage.

Whether it’s hiring cranes from www.freogroup.com.au/ or buying in IT software, get in contact with previous clients first to check out how their experience of dealing with that supplier was and whether they would work with them again. Contracts should be written with delivery clauses in them where appropriate to ensure that suppliers have an incentive to keep on track, and agree the parameters of regular communication with then in advance, whether it’s fortnightly attendance at meetings or a phone call once a day if need be.

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All Competent Leaders Share These Virtues

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Leaders often aren’t born, they’re made. It does take time to craft yourself into one. You might not do it purposefully. You might not have even planned to become a leader in a chosen field. But thankfully, becoming one is possible if you’re willing to keep in mind a set of principles that can help you overcome challenges, and make the most of that in front of you. While not all of us can be leaders, many people can become a leader if they believe themselves capable of learning, being humbled, and trying time and time again.

Leadership is not a comfortable, easy position, but unfortunately many people treat it like that. In the military, an officer will need to lead from the front, to take the full responsibility for the failings in his team, and share the victories amongst them. Leadership is often a fairly thankless and tiring task, but succeeding, helping the journey to  become more tolerable for everyone involved, and generally working in the best manner possible can help the life of a leader shine, and for results to come through hard and fast.

For any developing leaders, or anyone who considers this role a potential part of their future career or personal project planning might want to consider the marks and virtues of a great leader, so they can work by this inspiration alone:

Inspiration

Leaders aren’t saints. They often don’t have a divine light within them, blossoming the best ideas and the best visions and the best designs to move forward. They don’t know everything. They also don’t retain insane levels of motivation from day to day. They are people like you and me. However, leaders make inspiration a very real part of their daily habits. They might not sit down and think ‘this is a time for me to be inspired, as I have planned in my schedule.’ Instead it’s in the choices they make, the content they absorb, the people they surround themselves with and the long-term plans they have for their life.

Inspiration comes from success, but it can also come from failure, and the good leader knows that. This is important to remember, because in the early days, they can be sure that failure will come with much more rapidly than success every will. Thankfully, doing this is more than possible, but it just takes time to steward. Reading books, studying the paths of people they admire, and generally trying to emulate the best person they can be helps.

There are also two words that can strike inspiration in the hearts of any fantastic leader. They are ‘why not?’ Asking yourself this can be a real boon when faced with challenge. When considering if you can overcome a hurdle, thinking ‘why not?’ puts you in the mindset of ‘well, what if I actually did it? Would it be worth the heavy effort?’ This opens a door of possibility in the mind of the person asking it. A famous quote reads ‘whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re usually right.’ This means that inspiration is an attitude, and a daily driver more than one momentous event. If you haven’t found it in your life yet, keep looking. It only takes a single drop of inspiration to slowly open the floodgates and allow all action to be filled with positive intention, no matter how hard you have to work.

Knowledge

Leaders aren’t above those they lead. They are right there with them. For that reason, they for sure better be head and shoulders above them in terms of competence. Giving orders isn’t enough. A leader needs to be focused, know the context behind every action, and continually seek to refine their knowledge. It might be that they spend one day learning about something highly specific, such as how Sydney LEC variable speed drivers might optimize the use of their supply line conveyor belts, preventing a manufacturing issue from occuring in the future, and knowing how to implement that with haste. Next, it might be reading a new book containing the new clinical research on the psychology of team motivation and how to get the most from the people under you.

Personal knowledge and reflecting can come into play heavily also. It seems we’ve all worked for a manager at some point who thought they could do no wrong. Managers can sometimes forget to learn that they are human too, and that they are sometimes in the wrong. If you find yourself able to reflect on your actions and try to see them in the most objective light, you have made knowledge your friend, and you will continually seek to develop in the best sense. Employees thrive under a leader able to do this.

Perseverance

A leader figures out very quickly that despite their best effort, their best work ethic, applying everything they know and being patient with the results can sometimes STILL culminate in a negative consequence. Sometimes, nothing works no matter how great the leader. This is where perseverance comes in, the last virtue of the great leader. History has no small pool of examples of leaders who’ve managed to overcome the odds by dealing with crippling defeat with patience, determinism and a willingness to keep themselves focused.

Of course, while this might seem like some quite extreme battle-like motivating talk, something you’d say to a general before heading into war, it’s no less true when dealing with the difficulties of a business facing debts, or when trying to resolve a bad business deal. It’s no less true when the sports team you manage is struggling to score any points. The real leader can weather these difficult periods and act as the emotional rock for their team. From there, the chances of resolving matters and coming out the victor is increased, as no one wins if giving up.

With these simple tips, and the willingness to ensure you take care of yourself as well as try your best, you’re sure to become a leader worth admiring.

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11 Tools That Will Make Your Small Business Run Smoothly

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When it comes to the success of your small business, planning, being organised and having simple repeatable systems and processes in place will make your life so much easier.

Not only will systems save you a lot of time, but will save you money because you’ll be able to be more focused on actually doing the work your business is built for instead of running around like a headless chicken trying to take care of everything manually.

Below we’ve listed our favourite 11 tools that will make your business run smoothly – although this may seem like a lot of tools, your business won’t need all of them, and once you’ve spent a little time setting them up, they’ll help your business run behind the scenes.

Internal messaging tool:

Ensuring good communication is something that’s vital for the success of your small business, whether this is with your clients, suppliers, or your own team. Having a way to keep everyone on the same page is really important.

Although email is still used for many areas of business and certainly isn’t going anywhere, when it comes to communicating back and forth with team members and clients, then it can get quite chaotic and time consuming if you’re using email as the way of keeping everyone updated on things.

Nowadays, more and more business owners are opting instead for internal messaging tools and apps.

Project management tool:

How you run and manage your projects will really depend on your own preferences. Some people prefer the traditional pen and paper approach, whilst others wouldn’t dream of using anything other than a digital calendar.

With this, there’s simply no right or wrong way to do things, it’s just a matter of what you find easiest to manage.

There are truly no shortage of project management and tools on the market to choose from, so having a look around and even testing out a few to find the right fit for you will give you an idea of what features you find useful.

Project management tools are great to have because they help you get a clear overview of what projects you’re currently working on, who’s assigned what tasks, and what the current status is. It keeps you organised and in the loop at all times, so nothing will be overlooked and there’s no need to chase up via email for status updates.

Accounting tool:

As a business owner, you need to be staying on top of your accounts – and the sooner you get into this habit, the better.

Whether you have an accountant at the moment or aren’t quite ready to outsource this area of your business yet doesn’t really matter, but having an accounting tool to help you get a clear picture of what’s happening will ensure you’re prepared and not hit with any unexpected tax bills or scrambling looking for receipts that you’ve scribbled down on pieces of paper.

Accounting tools are very popular with small businesses because they’re typically very low cost and allow you to keep everything in one place and will even automate things like invoices and calculate your taxes for you, so when it comes time to submit your tax return all you have to do is either send your invoices off to your accountant, let them have access to your accounting tool, or do your submission yourself – all the information will be there right in front of you, so nothing will be overlooked.

CRM tool:

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and is crucial in the smooth running of any small business. These tools help you stay up to date with where exactly your customers are in their journey of working with you.

Many have features such as automatic emails that are triggered after a customer takes a specific action, such as going from a lead to a paying customer, or when they purchase another product from you.

Even if you don’t use this for sales, it’s just a good way of tracking who your customers are and what their activity is with your company.

Social media automation tool:

Whilst social media is pretty much a must for any business these days, it’s something that has to be approached very carefully and strategically. If you don’t have tools in place to help you manage your social media, you can often find yourself spending hours per day posting content and engaging with your audience whilst seeing very little financial ROI.

Being able to automate your social media means that you’re still able to create the same levels of engagement with your audience, but that you don’t need to physically be present and posting every 10 minutes to do it.

The best way to use social media from an automation perspective is to batch-create your content for a certain amount of time. This can be weekly or monthly depending on your preference, and then upload your posts to go out at certain days and times over that period.

Simply allow yourself or your social media team a certain amount of time per day to go in and manually reply to comments and engage with your audience. This is a far more effective and efficient use of your time when it comes to social media.

Email marketing tool:

Any small business with an online presence should have some kind of email marketing tool to use. Firstly because it’s against the law to email people who haven’t specifically given you permission to email them, so you need an email marketing tool that allows people to give you this consent.

Secondly, if you want to sell products and services or even just keep your customers and potential customers in the loop about what’s going on with your business, then manually emailing them through a normal service like Gmail or Hotmail simply isn’t sustainable, and will also get you flagged for spam and potentially blacklisted.

Customer support tool:

Happy customers are at the very foundation of your business, so ensuring that you have a way to deal with any issues that arise – or even before they arise will really go a long way in setting you apart from other businesses in your industry.

How you choose to implement and manage your customer support is up to you, but many tools now offer email support, and even live chat or Messenger chat as a way to let customers get in touch with you at all stages of their buying journey.

Appointment scheduling tool:

Gone are the days of missed appointments or hours of back and forth emails when trying to arrange a time for a meeting, interview or general appointment.

Appointment scheduling tools are a huge time-saver and give you complete control over your time.

You simply choose the times you’re available for appointments, link the tool to your calendar so that when someone wishes to book an appointment with you, they simply choose the time that works for them and this is automatically booked in your calendar.

The great thing about some scheduling tools is that you can still use a business card for in-person meetings in conjunction with your scheduling tool simply by scanning a code on your card, so you don’t have to worry about handing over a business card that later gets forgotten about among a sea of many.

Go here for info on the different ways you can use business and plastic cards creatively to get the attention of potential customers.

Meeting tool:

Thanks to the internet and improvements in technology, online meeting tools are more popular than ever. Having a meeting tool allows your business to have more reach because now you can meet with someone over your phone or computer and see each other face to face without ever leaving your house or office.

Not only does this give you more opportunities to grow, but means that you’re not out any extra expenses on traveling to meet with potential customers.

Content collation tool:

If your business relies heavily on online marketing strategies, such as blogging and social media, then as much as you want to create your own unique content, it’s also good practice to share other people’s valuable content with your audience. Using tools for collating content, even if it’s just for your own research and inspiration is recommended because you’ll want to keep it organised in one place for when you need it.

Most tools like this are cloud based, which is good because then you’re not using up space on your computer.

Payment tool:

If you’re not getting paid, then you don’t have a business. Having tools in place to help you get paid is not only a good idea when ensuring that you’re actually getting paid without any issues, but they’re a great time-saver because you can set up things like subscription payments and generate invoices to go out on a recurring basis and generate reminder emails when a client hasn’t paid when they’re supposed to.

Hopefully this list will help you identify which tools you could be using within your business to ensure it runs more smoothly.

Posted in Business & Finance, PR & Marketing, Small Business3 Comments

Starting Out in Business

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If you’re just starting out in business, one of the most important things you will need to manage are your limited financial resources.  This can be particularly challenging if you’re used to working for a company with a large budget that feels impersonal, whereas, when starting your own business with a much smaller business every dollar you spend feels much more pertinent and one step closer to ending up a precarious cash flow position.

In that vein, we’re going to take a look at some of the best strategies to save money in the early days whilst still optimising productivity.  After all, spending money of itself isn’t a “bad thing”. For instance, it’s better to spend money on social media marketing companies that know what they are doing rather than wasting money on doing social media campaigns yourself that are ill informed and end up not producing any results.

Therefore, it’s not about spending less and doing everything yourself – it’s about optimising the results from the money you do spend.

1.  START OFF WORKING FROM HOME

So many people when starting a business feel the need to go out and get an office, yet, this is a huge expense that often isn’t necessary – when you could just work from home, at your kitchen table or create a home office.  Alternatively, if you feel you “need” to be in an office space in order to focus, you could try hot desking and making using of flexible work spaces.

2.  DON’T HIRE STAFF (JUST YET)

Staff are helpful, and building a team to help you achieve your business objectives can be a very good strategy once things start taking off, as you can’t do everything by yourself – but hiring staff in the very early days is a recipe for disaster.  You’ll likely find yourself overstretched and given that staff tend to require somewhere to be housed, it means you now have two huige fixed costs of salaries and space.

In the early days you need to be as agile as possible, so hold off hiring staff, for a little while.

3.  DO IT YOURSELF

There are certain things within your business that might feel good to outsource, for instance, web design, and of course, going with a specialist web design company makes sense if you have the budget, yet there are plenty of ways you can do it yourself, in the early days in order to get started.

There are many things you can do yourself, from cleaning to basic accountancy and marketing campaigns – okay, you might not be the best at doing these tasks, but in the early days entrepreneur’s are required to wear many hats, out of financial necessity.

4. FOCUS ON VALUE CREATION

The one thing you must focus on is your ability to generate value to your customer; it can feel nice to get pretty business cards, a brand new suit, and a nice car to impress potential customers with… but none of this is necessary, the one thing that is necessary, is creating phenomenal value for your customer.  Focus on that, and the rest will follow.

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Hurdles to Overcome During Your First Year of Entrepreneurship

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Starting up your business was one of the biggest challenges you have ever faced, but you wouldn’t change it for the world. You realise that your first year of entrepreneurship is going to be filled with ups and downs that you need to overcome. There will be many stumbling blocks to face when launching a business for the first time, so it is your job to be fully prepared from the very beginning. The following pointers might be able to equip you to face any problem that comes your way during your first year of running your own business. Make the decisions that are right for your unique company and you will always come out on top.

Productivity

You might have those days where you feel like you’re not getting as much done as you’d like to. Your systems are slow and you aren’t getting the most out of your working day. You might need to look into cloud solutions at www.totalcalibration.com.au. These systems will automatically make your business more productive, so that you can earn more money as a business owner. As soon as you have streamlined your day to day strategies you will be able to start making more plans for the future.

person using laptop computerFinances

The first year of entrepreneurship is the hardest in terms of your finances. You won’t have a stable income and you won’t be able to predict how much your profits are going to be in the initial stages. The best thing to do at this point is to make very sensible decisions as you don’t want to be put out by any silly mistakes. You probably spent a lot of money to set up your business initially, so now is the time to start making that money back instead of eating into your savings. Think through every decision you make you will always have a healthy amount of money in the business account.

Advertising

You won’t find the most effective advertising strategy right off the bat; it takes time to discover the best options for your business. You can’t create carbon copies of advertisements from any other company as their target market might be completely different to yours. All you need to do is try and test a handful of different strategies and see what works out best. You might find that the majority of your clients are highly active on social media, so a type of pay per click advert will be most effective for you. It takes about six months to a year to really refine your marketing strategy so don’t be disheartened if you don’t hit the jackpot right away.

 Competition

Staying one step ahead of your competitors will always be a huge challenge in your first year of business. You just need to get a good grasp on what your customers are looking for. Once you have figured out what they want you will always be ready to provide it for them.

You will have your first year of entrepreneurship mastered if you can stick to your plans and be prepared to make sensible decisions.

Posted in Business & Finance, Small Business2 Comments

Sustainability Is Good For Business 2: The Suppliers

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If you’ve read the recent post “sustainability is good for business,” you’ll know that going green is helpful. By replacing outdated items and increasing awareness of your eco-friendly drive, it’s possible to boost sales by 20%. As well as that, the brand will receive a hit too as word spreads that you’re a friend of the planet.

One thing which isn’t as simple to deal with is the suppliers. How they operate is their business and not yours, yet they might impact sales. If anybody finds out they’re a partner, the whole company will get a lot of negative press.

Here’s how to make sure everybody is on the same page.

Pick The Right Products

It’s not impossible to do business with a supplier that isn’t green while helping Mother Nature at the same time. Although it sounds like a conflict of interests, a firm might provide a single product or service which is perfect for the brand. Take electric forklifts as examples. Most heavy machinery uses petrol or diesel, which is bad for the environment, yet the electronic kind is carbon-free. In this case, a forklift hire company is a great way to green your business. Choose the products carefully and tailor them to your needs.

Go Local

There is no point in hiring or buying eco products online if they are going to be shipped from another country. The delivery process alone will negate the fact that the items are good for the planet, and you’ll be back to square one. Usually, the best option is to opt for a local business which is in the nearby community. Even if what they provide isn’t as advanced technologically, their location means it cuts down on harmful emissions. Ditch the internet and start searching closer to home for great results.

Ask About Their Commitments

Again, businesses which don’t seem environmentally-friendly might try and make up for it another way. You’ll find that lots of companies attempt to help by offering a service which has the environment in mind. For example, they’ll take back the packaging and recycle it so that there is less plastic in the world. It’s their way of maintaining equilibrium. Never be afraid to ask what they do and how they do it as the answers might be surprising. Check for logos and symbols on the website if you don’t have the time to call or send an email.

Double Check Their History

Businesses are happy to do their bit, yet some things are unforgivable. No one is going to class BP or any oil business as a friend of the planet after all of the spills they’ve caused. As a result, you can’t do business with them and say you take sustainability seriously. These ties need cutting, which is where the research comes into play. Type the company name into Google and see what comes up. Do the same on social media. If there is a backlash, it might be best to avoid a partnership altogether.

Sustainability is about looking beneath the hood for the underlying problems.

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