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Strategies to put an end to negative office gossip

Negative gossip in the office is something that is harmful both to your business and to the employees. Whether it encourages individuals to seek work in a less toxic environment, slows down productivity, creates friction between team members or morphs into a legal problem with accusations of bullying and harassment, it is something that managers should put a stop to as soon as possible.

Walk the walk
If you are a manager, employees look to your actions as what expectations of behaviour are in the workplace. If a manager is ever seen engaging in the behaviour, they prohibit this acts to encourage negative gossip as it is seen as acceptable.

Hold a team meeting
If there are issues throughout the team, it should be addressed as a staff issue. A meeting will allow members of staff to voice problems and come up with collaborative solutions to solve them.

Meet with the perpetrators
Having a one-on-one confidential discussion may solve the problem if bad behaviour is being exhibited by individual members of staff. If you assist the person in understanding the damage their actions cause and the potential consequences for their job, this puts the person on the path for creating new helpful habits in their interactions within the workplace.

Posted on 24 September '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Strong leaders ask for help

There is no weakness in a leader who asks for help. Maintaining success in your small business requires you to seek advice from your employees on a range of matters.

However, it is important to ask for help in the right way, so your team does not lose confidence in your leadership ability. You need to communicate that you are asking for input or advice rather than help because you are floundering.

Consider these ways when asking for advice from an employee:

Ask a ‘specific’ question
Avoid asking a vague question and get specific. What exactly do you need from this employee? If you are vague, it will communicate to your staff you are unsure of what you want. When you are specific, they can complete the task quickly and conveys that you are seeking their professional advice, rather than a helping hand.

Offer something in return
When you need help, it might be better to turn it into a negotiation. They advise on a matter, and you do the same in return.

Check you need help
Ensure you have tried to complete the task before asking for help. Asking for help straight away may risk others perceiving you as less competent or even lazy if they point out a simple or obvious way to solve the issue.

Posted on 6 September '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Consider business structure

Creating a new business is an exciting time for any first-time entrepreneur, but it also comes with making big decisions – one of these will be when you must choose which structure your business will take.

Whether you are looking to form say a company or a partnership, it is important to know that there are varying legal and financial requirements that surround each one. Ask yourself which structure will best help your business to grow and flourish?

For instance, many small businesses are set up as a sole trader. A sole trader is one individual who owns the business.

However, choosing the business structure, you will use will predominantly depend on your situation and the structure that best suits your needs and that of your business.

Always look at what is involved with starting up, operating and closing a structure before making your final decision. You can also choose to change your business structure throughout the life of your business.

If you are unsure which structure will best suit your business, it may be helpful to seek professional advice.

Posted on 29 August '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Inclusivity in the workplace

Creating a workplace environment that fosters inclusivity and belonging for all is important for the longevity of your business.

When people feel safe and a sense of community, they are bound to feel happier and thus enjoy being connected to your business. There a number of ways to create this for your workplace:

Appropriate training and orientation
Employees, contractors and customers need to understand from their first encounter with your business that is a safe and inclusive environment. This means appropriate training and orientation must be given to instil specific values. It is much easier to employ individuals who agree with and respect inclusive workplaces than to try and change the workplace ethos later down the track.

Team building
Team building is a great tool for breaking down barriers between employees. It allows individuals to bond and connect outside of the everyday work environment. There is a large array of activities that constitute as team building. For example:
– Staff retreats
– Icebreaker games
– Office luncheons
– Create office sport tournament
– Open workplaces
– Group work and problem-solving tasks

Business ethos and values
Creating a workplace with an inclusive vibe is not just about introducing a bunch of team building activities and expecting everyone to feel valued; it has to be embedded in your brand. This means that as the boss, it needs to start with you. You can’t expect your employees to thrive if they don’t feel that their leaders value them.

Posted on 21 August '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Blunders to avoid when naming your business

The name you choose to give your small business is an important, yet challenging decision. These few words must represent the branding image you wish to present to the public and in particular, your target market.

To help you make the best decision, here are four things to avoid when choosing your business’ name:

1. A long name
Always pick a name that is short and simple. Preferably something that rolls right off the tongue. A long and confusing name that is hard to pronounce will also be one that is difficult for customers to remember.

2. A ‘plain Jane’ name
While it is essential to pick a name that is easy to say, it is wise not choose a name so general that it will not convey any of the branding personality of your business.

3. Choosing a name too similar to your competitors
It will ensure you do not stand out from the crowd and is likely to confuse your customers.

4. Does not speak to your story
Find a name that speaks to your business’ origin story. In this way, you will create the brand in the name.

Posted on 7 August '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Launching a business: mistakes to avoid

Launching a new business for the first time is an exciting phase for every entrepreneur. However, it is important to increase your chances for success by being aware of and avoiding common mistakes that can occur when beginning a business.

Take a look at these five common errors.

Being unprepared
Starting a business is incredibly challenging, and will take a lot of hard work, time and effort. You must mentally and physically prepare yourself and develop a realistic self-care plan to avoid burning out halfway through.

Bypassing market research
You may think you have a great idea, but to ensure it will translate to a profitable business always involves market research.

Sticking with a lousy business idea
Research tells you it is likely to be a flop, but you refuse to let your business idea go.

Refusing to delegate
Trying to do everything yourself is both impossible and inefficient. It also leads to a toxic workplace. To foster a healthy and productive work environment, you must trust your team, and work together to move the business forward.

Running out of capital
Nothing sinks a business quite so quick as running out of money. It is important to plan and budget in the beginning for the amount of capital you will require to keep your business afloat.

Posted on 7 August '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Cash-only business? Consider making the switch

The Tax Office has released further findings that reveal cash-only businesses could be missing out on a significant chunk of revenue simply by not offering customers the option of electronic payment.

An ‘inconvenience’ was the most popular word consumers surveyed in the study used to describe when a business does not provide the option to pay via card.

Cash-only may also be having a direct effect on the business’s reputation. The results determined that Australian customers are twice as likely to perceive ‘cash-only’ as negative rather than positive – with many respondents questioning whether the business is honest and paying less tax (regardless of whether this may be fact or fiction).

While change may be difficult, cash-only businesses might like to consider the benefits that exist with no longer operating in cash. For instance, electronic tap-and-go payments take less time and cost around 9 cents less than payments made in cash.

By providing electronic payment only, a business can find it easier to keep more accurate record-keeping as well as help them to meet their tax and super obligations.

Posted on 3 August '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Engaging in effective negotiation

The key to success is remembering that everything is negotiable, and that to get a deal you must ask for one. Many people stop right there because negotiating makes them uncomfortable. They view the process as a contest of wills in which power determines outcome, each party seeks to best the other, and the little guy doesn’t stand a chance.

That kind of positional bargaining may produce some short-term results, but it is a distasteful, win-lose process that can leave both sides exhausted, resentful and dissatisfied with the outcome.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Effective, principled negotiation will efficiently produce an agreement that meets the needs of both sides while improving or at least maintaining personal relationships. In negotiation the key is to focus on these three areas:

People
Separate the people from the issues to avoid personalising them. Make sure each party understands the others perception of what is involved. Identify the underlying emotions on both sides and acknowledge them. Listen actively and speak to be understood, not to argue a position. Don’t debate – cooperate.

Interests
Focus on interests instead of positions. Behind each position lie compatible interests as well as conflicting ones. To identify the interests, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Why would they take such a position? Does any aspect of your proposal conflict with those interests?

Options
Work with the other party to generate a variety of options. Separate the brainstorming from the decision-making process. Look for areas of agreement by identifying shared interests. Look for ways to dovetail differing interests by exploring options that are of low cost to you and high benefit to the other party and vice versa.

Posted on 27 July '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Growing your small business

Has your small business hit a slump lately? It may be time to develop a growth-focused strategy that can take your business to the next level.

Consider these ideas when designing your plan of attack.

Re-evaluate your small business
It is important to find out what exactly is hindering your business – get to the heart of the problem. Do you need to tweak your customer service and sales approach? Improve product development? Or even reduce your expenditure? Talk to your employees and examine how your business is running as a whole to find that certain something which is lacking.

Tailor your solution
Once you can identify the issue at hand, your next step will be to develop an effective solution. For instance, you may need to provide your staff with more customer service training as a way to maintain loyal customers and increase your sales. Before implementing these changes though, you must make sure this strategy will work towards growing your business.

Track your changes
Now you have located the source of the problem and implemented specific actions to create a change, but it is not over yet. It is essential to track and measure these changes to be sure they are having a real effect on promoting growth in your business. Otherwise, how will you know if the new strategy has worked?

Posted on 19 July '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Rebranding: A guide for your small business

Rebranding your small business can be a tricky matter. When done well, it has the potential to help your business stand out from the competition bubble and even expand your target market.

On the other hand, a failed rebrand can damage the reputation of your business, or even risk losing loyal customers who dislike your new look. Which is why rebranding is a move that should never be taken lightly and must always be strategically planned.

Consider these ideas before embarking on your rebranding journey.

Understand your strategy
Rebranding is a serious investment which will require both your time and money. Therefore, a rebrand must always be necessary to either solving the problem at hand or growing your business. If it isn’t – then it may be helpful to consider easier and less costly actions, you can take. You must have legitimate customer-focused strategies behind why this move is required. Otherwise, rebranding will likely harm your business more than help it.

Holistic approach
Merely tweaking the name and logo of your business and hoping for the best will not cut it. Taking a holistic marketing approach will allow you to focus on the development, design and implementation of the rebranding strategy through your business as a whole. To improve the identity of your business, you must look at how this one change will affect your overall business. Reviewing every aspect that will be affected will also help you assess whether the results will be worth the effort and cost involved.

Evolve with your target market
For a small business to remain successful on a long-term basis, it must remain relevant to its target market. A rebranding will largely depend upon the target market your business is pursuing – in particular, adapting to their ever-evolving wants and needs concerning the product or service you have on offer.

Hire an expert
Knowing where to start when rebranding your business can be a challenge, especially if you are planning a complete image overhaul. That is when hiring an expert to draw up a detailed plan for an innovative new look for your business can come in handy. Using their unbiased opinion can be invaluable in forming a rebranding strategy when your business may be too close to your existing brand to remain objective.

Posted on 13 July '18 by , under business. No Comments.