Archive for 'business'

How to save time and boost efficiency

Many business owners are looking for ways to squeeze more into their cramped work schedules. But unfortunately, this may mean spending more time on unimportant tasks and not prioritising what really needs to get done.

Rather than multi-tasking or spending late nights in the office, consider implementing these tips to optimising your time and boosting your efficiency:

Delegate accordingly
Even if you think you delegate enough, it is worth reviewing what tasks you delegate and if there are any more tasks that could be done by someone else. Learning to say ‘no’ is also a useful tool in improving productivity. Instead, you may suggest the task for another staff member or manager who is better equipped to deal with the task at hand.

Incorporate downtime
Block off time in your day that won’t be interrupted to focus on relaxing activities such as reading, journaling, walking outside or even meditating. When you incorporate downtime into your daily routine it unleashes creativity, hence, improving your problem-solving skills and allowing for the creation of new ideas and so on.

Reduce time on meetings
Many meetings can be substituted for a simple email or phone call. When they must take place, be sure to create an agenda so they run on time and leave out information that can be sent in an email after the meeting.

Invest in technology
Instead of manually paying your bills, set up auto-payments to save time. Investing in cloud-based software is also useful in managing your expenses, payroll function, invoicing, accounting, time tracking and CRM. The benefits include less errors, more access to data at any-time and anywhere and a more integrated view on how your business is running.

Posted on 18 October '17 by , under business. No Comments.

Understanding your business to better serve your customers

Whether you have been running your business for over 20 years or just starting out, you cannot deny the importance of regularly reviewing your business’ performance.

Many business owners may put off reviews in fear of the actual results, but understanding why your business is performing the way it is is crucial for growth and development.

Consider these three crucial areas of your business when conducting a review:

Products and services
Think about the quality and delivery of your products and services. Do they solve a problem for your customer/client, fulfil a want or need, keep customers returning? Analysing trends in products and services will also help you to identify which products or services need to be altered or removed or if new ones are needed. Also, by regularly reviewing trends you may realise gaps in the market or opportunities you did not know existed.

Customer base
Do you have a steady flow of loyal customers or are you struggling to make sales? This is a big factor in whether or not you need to change your business model. Be sure to take into consideration external factors that may influence sales, i.e., poor consumer spending in your industry, changes in technology, etc. If the type of customers you are attracting is changing also be sure to adapt to these changes appropriately, i.e., different marketing campaigns, honing in on a niche, hiring new staff to keep up with demand and so on.

Develop good financial procedures, such as visiting an accountant to receive financial statements, i.e., profit and loss, cash-flow statement and balance sheet. Financial statements analyse how your business is performing financially for a set time period. They indicate the general financial health of your business and can help you to recognise areas that require action.

Posted on 13 October '17 by , under business. No Comments.

How to build a loyal tribe

Building a successful business is almost impossible without a group of motivated employees.

Here are three ways to keep your employees loyal to your business:

Hire right
Hiring someone who doesn’t share the same vision or values as your business is detrimental. You need to hire people that fit well into your business’ culture and are willing to work hard in their roles. If staff see the job as just a paycheck, they will be more inclined to look for a job elsewhere. In the job interview, it is important to ask candidates questions regarding their personality fit and career goals.

Increase skill set
Employees need growth and development to stay motivated. Providing regular training and opportunities for employees to advance are great ways of achieving this. There will always be room to progress, either by increasing skill sets or responsibilities or moving to a higher position.

Offer incentives or perks
Financial rewards, i.e., a bonus or a gift is a great way to show your appreciation for your staff’s efforts. Although, offering non-monetary perks can be just as motivating, such as providing flexibility to work from home, opportunities for staff to volunteer or a day off as a reward for a job well done on a successful project. It is often the non-financial rewards that can have the biggest impact on staff morale and job satisfaction.

Posted on 27 September '17 by , under business. No Comments.

Digital marketing flaws to avoid

One of the best ways to market your brand in today’s business climate is digitally. However, without understanding the online environment, you can lose business. Consider the following flaws to avoid:

Not setting goals
Failing to set goals can leave your marketing strategy without any real drive or direction. Setting goals are necessary, not only for appreciating the direction in which your marketing strategy is headed but also for understanding if you and your team are meeting the marketing goals that have been set out. Without clear goals in place, evaluating success in your marketing plan will be virtually impossible and it is difficult to allocate responsibility for how effective or ineffective the marketing strategy is.

Failing to review
Analysing how effective the marketing strategy is extremely important; without doing so, understanding what is working best to drive business becomes difficult. Reviewing analytics in particular for digital marketing is one of the most efficient ways to discover how strong the marketing strategy is. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram provide business pages with an analytics tool that gives valuable information about the content you are sharing. Google Analytics is another tool that can be used to analyse how many clicks and how web users are engaging with your website. There is a wide range of software that can be utilised to track how your digital marketing is faring, so do some research and choose the program that will best serve the needs of your business.

Focusing on quantity not quality
A big mistake many businesses make online in relation to marketing is posting too much content. While it is necessary to get your business seen and heard online, it is counterproductive and can be harmful to focus on posting often rather than posting great quality content. One of the quickest ways to lose followers and potential customers is to bombard them with your content, particularly if it is not of a high quality or giving them something they can’t find value in.

Not mobile-friendly
In 2016, internet usage on a mobile device was greater than internet usage on a desktop for the first time. This trend has continued to grow into 2017, indicating the importance of making your digital marketing strategy one that is mobile friendly. Statistics show that your digital marketing strategy is most likely to be viewed on a mobile phone and if they are not compatible you are losing potential business and in turn, losing profit.

Posted on 20 September '17 by , under business. No Comments.

Turning negative customer feedback around

In a perfect world, every customer your business works with will be pleased with how the transaction went and will want to return to you for future business.

In reality, this isn’t always the case. It is human nature that people make mistakes and there will always be circumstances outside of your control that can lead to a customer not feeling they received what they paid for. Consider the following tips for handling negative customer feedback.

Be responsive
When people feel they have received poor or inadequate service, they can be quick to complain, which they are entitled to do. One thing that can be extremely damaging and can make that person feel even more negatively towards your business is to ignore them. Being unresponsive can come across as arrogant, which can seriously tarnish the reputation of your business. Once a customer has complained, the best thing you can do is to work to rectify and resolve their issue. Doing nothing and failing to respond casts a negative light on the business, particularly with the nature of negative feedback being received on social media platforms where there is an audience.

Apologise and offer a solution
One of the worst actions you can take is to respond aggressively and to take no responsibility for the way in which you have made the customer feel. The best step you can take is to acknowledge they are unhappy with the service they received, apologise for this and assure them that you will contact them, through calling or emailing, or encourage them to come back into the business so that you can resolve the issue for them.

Implement changes
Once you have spoken to the customer who has had negative feedback and worked out how you can resolve the issue for them, it is important that you implement the appropriate changes to resolve it. Saying you are going to and then not doing anything will only make the issue bigger. One common way this occurs is when one employee says they will follow up and take the appropriate action to resolve the issue, but then the next day the issue still hasn’t been resolved, so when the client calls back, they deal with a different employee who has no knowledge of what needs to occur.

Learn from it
To prevent the same issue occurring again in the future, analysing how the negative feedback was dealt with and if it was dealt with efficiently. Evaluate what could be done better or what could be approved upon. Maybe you dealt with and resolved the issue in the end but the procedure in place for following up with and responding to negative feedback could be approved upon. Every negative aspect of business should be analysed and improved upon; that is how your business model will continue to develop and strengthen.

Posted on 14 September '17 by , under business. No Comments.

How to sharpen your focus for optimal performance

Focus requires control. Control of distractions, thoughts and, most importantly, your time.

Consider the following tips to improve your focus and concentration in your workday:

Tune out distractions
Identify your biggest distractions and plan to minimise or eliminate them while you are working on a task. This may include closing your emails, hiding your phone and putting it on silent or even telling your coworkers not to disturb you during certain times during the day unless it is urgent. If you work in a noisy environment, consider using noise-cancelling headphones and listening to relaxing music while you work away.

Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to the present moment. Practising mindfulness can help improve your focus as it makes the wandering mind focus on the now rather than past or future events. Mindfulness is shown to be a powerful tool in improving attention, cognition, emotions and behaviour – all elements required for greater focus and concentration.

Time yourself
Give tasks your undivided attention by setting a timer for each individual task. Aim to work on the task for the duration of the time interval with no distractions. The key is to minimise interruptions to your “flow” state of productivity. Working on one task at a time is ideal for optimal efficiency as multitasking can see you lose time and concentration as you switch back and forth between tasks.

Work with your natural energy levels
An easy way to sharpen your focus is to schedule tasks around your natural energy levels. If you find you are more alert in the morning then schedule tasks that require higher levels of attention or creativity. You may choose to spend the afternoon working on low-attention tasks when your energy levels are dampened. It is much easier to concentrate when your body is naturally feeling alert rather than having to rely on multiple coffees or sugary foods to see you through the day.

Structure your time effectively
Effective time management is critical if you’re looking to improve your focus. If you don’t prioritise your work day and set clear goals, it can be hard to stay on track. Keep a to-do list, highlight the most important tasks and be sure to schedule in breaks (and take them).

Posted on 30 August '17 by , under business. No Comments.

Leading change

All businesses, at one stage or another, will have to go through significant change. Change is necessary for growth but accepting the need for change can be difficult for some.

Change can arise in various ways, i.e., struggling to find quality employees, a demand to change direction, targeting a new target market and so on. Whether it is an internal or external force driving the change; it is important to lead change confidently.

Here are three ways to lead change with ease:

Articulate a clear vision
A strong strategic vision acts as a blueprint for leading change and can provide employees with more clarity about the positive impacts change will have for them and the overall business. A vision statement helps to align your team around the business’ goals and prompts them to work towards making the change happen. A clear vision also helps to overcome cultural resistance to change as employees can link the change to positive transformation.

Engage with staff
Staff will either accelerate or hinder the change process, so it is crucial to get them onboard and constantly keep them informed. Frequent communication is ideal during times of change. Set aside time for questions and have an open door policy for staff to ask questions. Make a plan, communicate it to staff and constantly check in to assess whether tactics are successful or require adjustment.

Celebrate wins
Wins are proof that change is generating results. Celebrating wins reinforces the notion that change is essential for business growth. Celebrating both small and large wins hones in on the collective contribution of the team’s efforts and motivates employees to work towards goals which will promote change throughout the business.

Posted on 23 August '17 by , under business. No Comments.

Aspects of your business where you should avoid taking short-cuts

When looking to establish or improve your business saving money is a smart strategy, but trying to cut certain corners can also be a downfall. There are certain areas you should invest in and perfect, those being:

An accountant
Hiring an accountant means one extra expense, which is why many business owners are tempted to go without. Investing the money now to ensure you are meeting compliance laws and are making the most practical decisions for your business, let an accountant do it. That way you can focus on your business goals and leave the financial aspect to a professional.

You will only survive for a short time if you do not have current and efficient technology. To stand out in a good way against your competitors, you will need a website that looks contemporary and on trend. To have the most productive workplace, you will need great technology; you will need fast wifi and the best tools to develop your product.

Businesses with a strong marketing strategy do well; better than those with no or a poor marketing strategy. A powerful marketing plan will be one that knows important factors that will allow your product or service to be successful, such as knowing your target audience, knowing your competition and what they are providing, etc.

Posted on 16 August '17 by , under business. No Comments.

How to drive word-of-mouth marketing

Recommendations from friends and family are more likely to attract new customers to your business than traditional advertising. However, word-of-mouth marketing is not something that can be generated; it has to occur organically.

Here are three ways to drive word-of-mouth marketing:

Exceed expectations
Give your customers something to talk about by going above and beyond what is required of you. For example, you might add in a small gift or give discounts or special deals when a customer shops with you a certain amount of times. Ensure your products and services are of the highest quality and are priced in accordance to what your customers are willing to pay. Delivering quality products and services is guaranteed to get people talking about your business.

Create the right environment
Enable customers to leave reviews and recommendations, both online and offline. Creating the right environment for customers helps to get the conversation started and encourages happy customers to spread the word and leave positive reviews.

Build a sense of community
Loyal customers are more likely to recommend you to their family and friends. Focusing on building a tight-knit community is important as it connects customers to your business and one another. Online communities can be fostered through your company’s Facebook page, for example, engaging customers by responding to and asking for feedback, sharing company events with followers or starting discussions. Offline, you may decide to host an event and invite loyal customers and allow them to bring a guest, etc.

Posted on 2 August '17 by , under business. No Comments.

Fair Work introduces new app

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a new app called “Record My Hours,” to help reduce the amount of disputes regarding underpayments between employees and employers.

The app assists employees in recording the hours they work and other information about their employment for circumstances where issues about their pay arises.

Employees can export the data via email and share it with their employer or the Fair Work Commission if they have a question about their entitlements.

“Record My Hours” enables the location services function on the user’s device to allow users to set their workplace location and automatically record when they commence and finish work, determined by their location.

The app also adds rosters to a calendar, allows the user to receive notifications about upcoming shifts, and take photos of information that belong to them, i.e. pay slips. It also has the ability to record information about piecework arrangements and backs up information collected to iCloud or Dropbox.

While most small business employers do the right thing, the app is designed to address underpayments of young and migrant workers and to act as a backup in the event of a discrepancy or dispute.

Posted on 12 April '17 by , under business. No Comments.