Why You Just Can’t Attract The Right People To Your Startup

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. An important part of any business/organization is attracting the personnel you need to for it to achieve its mission. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Why You Just Can’t Attract The Right People To Your Startup.

* * * 

The early days in most startups are a lot of fun. You’re usually among a team of people you respect and admire and with whom you get on well. There’s a degree of necessity in this: you need to get on so that you can pay back angel investors and venture capitalists.

But over time, startups need to take on more people, whether it’s to develop new products or support the work of the core employees. And here’s where the problems can start. New people joining an organization can often cause conflict and chaos. New arrivals may leave after several weeks if they’re not happy with the conditions. And you, as the founder, are left with the headache of trying to find somebody else to fill the role: something that’s often expensive to do.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might not be able to find the right people for your business, and how you can fix it.

PxHere

You Have A Poor Brand Or Reputation

Today’s labor market is entirely different from the labor market of the 1970s and 1980s, yet many businesses still operate as if nothing has changed. For starters, there’s far less unemployment than there was in the era of unionization and coal mining. There are many jobs, and workers have a lot of choices. Low unemployment means that workers can demand higher wages and find better jobs more easily than ever before. They don’t just have to stick with the same employer, decade after decade.

Secondly, talented people know that they’re capable. They know that they can show their CV to another firm and get a job with them quickly. Companies are crying out for people with the skills necessary to drive their businesses forward: there’s a chronic shortage right now.
Startups, therefore, need to be savvy. They can’t just rely on the fact that they provide jobs to attract people to work with them. There’s far too much choice available to people these days, especially at the high end of the market. People who are in-demand can pretty much choose who they work for and when.

Startups, therefore, need to think about how they appear as both a customer and an employer brand. Google, for instance, is one of the most attractive companies to work for in the world because of the well-known job perks the company offers to staff. Incredible office spaces, health cover, exciting days out, time each week to pursue side projects: you name it, the company does it.

Lower down the skill ladder are other companies like Zavvi, which offer excellent pay and conditions for warehouse workers, in stark contrast to some other online retailers.
Successful startups are those who can market their desirability as an employer. It’s not just about great pay: it’s also about what it’s actually like to work at your organization. Most workers would be willing to sacrifice a lower paycheck for a great relationship with their manager, for instance.

Building an employer brand isn’t as difficult as you might think. If you’re a new company, try becoming a member of the employer review site Glassdoor. Glassdoor allows employees to post reviews about their experience of working with you. Their reviews often reveal a lot about the company culture, how they can expect to be treated, and whether their peers would recommend working with you.

You Don’t Do The Basics Right

It’s no secret that startups can be chaotic. When Elon Musk and Peter Thiel were working on Paypal, it wasn’t unusual for them to put in 90-hour weeks. But just because running a startup is difficult, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get the basics right. Just as you would judge an applicant on any spelling or grammar mistakes they made on their CV; high-quality people will do the same for you.

Make sure that you do the following:

● Check your website for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Pay particular attention to the candidate-facing parts of your site. If you’re not a native speaker, find an internal colleague or external professional to proofread your content for you.
Make sure your emails are well-written. Good email writing is a hallmark of a professional company and a signal to high-quality people that you are an excellent employer. Yes, it might seem trivial, but people who don’t know you or your startup usually have very little to go on, and so any obvious and silly grammatical errors may count against you. Make sure that your HR staff knows the difference between “your” and “you’re” – a particularly common mistake.

Your Recruitment Process Does Not Respect Applicants

Some companies are still stuck in the past, believing that there are thousands of people lining up to take a job with them, no matter how rude or obnoxious they are. Firms will host application days where candidates attend mass meetings together only to be berated and ridiculed by company bosses.

Startups should avoid this kind of thing altogether and instead focus on investigating each promising individual based on their merits. They should also be respectful of candidates’ time. That means reducing the length of the application process and ensuring adequate notice of any interview days or on-the-job assessments.

You’re Not Using The Right Recruiters

Inexperienced startups can fall into the trap of thinking that all recruiters are the same. But labour hire is a multifaceted process that involves creating the right linkages to relevant people and knowing where to look. Too many startups focus on building links with a single recruiter, without really thinking about whether that recruiter specializes in the right areas.

Using the wrong recruiters can result in all kinds of headaches for startups. The first issue is the fees, which can be quite substantial. But the main problem is not getting the people you need with experience to drive growth in those critical early months and years. It’s people who drive growth, and so when it doesn’t materialize, it can have a severe impact on your overall business.

You’re Focusing Too Narrowly

Pixabay

Many inexperienced entrepreneurs believe that they must get the people with the exact qualifications and experience that they need, and with a personality that fits their company. If not, they should just keep on looking. But it turns out that this might not be the best strategy.

Elon Musk has repeatedly said in interviews that he wishes that he hadn’t paid so much attention to candidate’s CVs in the early days. He would often find that somebody would have the technical skills on paper, but that they just wouldn’t be very good at their job or fit in with the people around them. Over the years, he found himself regularly surprised by people who weren’t particularly good on paper, but ended up doing exceptionally well once employed in his companies.

Companies, especially startups, shouldn’t expect people to come to them fully-fledged. Instead, they should view candidates as a work-in-progress: something that requires further development as time goes on. Smart entrepreneurs choose people they believe have the potential to develop into the leaders of the future rather than just people with the right skills on paper.

Your Job Advertising Is Boring

If you’re trying to attract exciting, talented people to your organization, you need to give them a reason to read your job ad. Just stating the salary and listing bullet points of the responsibilities of the role is hardly inspiring stuff.

There are all sorts of ways that you could add a bit of “oomph” to your advert:

● Give them a flavor of your company culture. People want to work in exciting, stimulating environments where people are friendly and engaging. If this describes your startup, say so in your job ad, and make it clear that you want people with a similar approach to work as you.
Talk about purpose. Talented people are rarely satisfied with going to work to get a paycheck. They want real meaning in their lives. If your startup is trying to do something that will make the world a better place, then talk about this in your ad. Make it clear that the candidate who gets the job will have meaning and purpose in their role.
Use exciting, personable language. Finally, it’s worth thinking about how you present the job. Many startups believe that they have to be as dry as possible to come across as professional, but doing so is unlikely to attract the most interesting people. It’s much better to use exciting language and to really tell a story about what the job entails. Draw them in – don’t push them out.

You Haven’t Described The Role

Newbie entrepreneurs sometimes struggle to accurately define roles in their businesses, just because their needs change all the time. A startup that needs a software programmer may not know exactly what kind of programmer they need, or what additional responsibilities they may have.

Unclear job ads can lead to employing unsuitable people who leave after a couple of weeks when they realize that they cannot do the work. Be precise about what you need in your advertisements, or consult with external recruiting professionals if you’re not sure.

The Future of Fuel

One of the major focuses of my blog is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). An area that has long been of great interest globally is energy. Fossil Fuels have been the chief energy source for our planet’s ‘First World’ countries, but with increasing world populations there is concern that we will exhaust our natural global supplies. What are our options going forward? The following contributed post is entitled; The Future of Fuel.

* * *

Image Credit: Unsplash

Whether you believe in climate change or you are one of the <1% of people who remains unconvinced, what is clear is that our fossils are running out. With the USA now considering expanding the search for oil to the Arctic, it is obvious that at some point we are going to stop finding reserves that have taken millions of years to appear.

If science fiction is to be trusted, we need to find alternative energy solutions if we want to continue to develop incredible technologies.

Clean energy sources such as wind turbines, solar panels and other methods are all idea for producing electricity. The downside of this is that for technologies not connected to the grid, large batteries will be required to store the energy while disconnected. This means that all types of transport will have to balance being weighed down with the distance they are able to cover.

Why is Clean Energy for Travel So Important?

At the moment, the aviation industry contributes around 2.5% of carbon emissions each year and this is set to rise to around 22% by 2050. This is an enormous problem because while global demands for fast air travel increase, the threat to the environment is significantly raised.

A similar problem is presented in ocean travel. Ships crossing the seas take passengers and goods around the world but every trip introduces pollutants to the water. While you might be able to use oil water separators to limit pollution the amount of oil that escapes, the fact is that the risk of any oil spillage is still very much present.

Even short car journeys are ever more problematic as the air quality of large cities deteriorates as more and more people choose to drive themselves rather than take a bus or train. There have already been rapid advances in electric car technology but much more research is required if we are to achieve the infrastructure necessary for a full transition.

What Are Our Options?

More investment into methods to create clean electricity is already underway, especially in China where a capacity of around 130 GW has already been installed, knocking their already ambitious targets out of the water. This is great news as it means that greener technologies such as electric cars, buses and trains are much more likely to succeed.

But what about air travel?

Well, the research may be in its infancy but there are some promising results coming from experiments into what is being termed ‘ionic wind technology’. With this theory, it could be possible to launch and fly planes long distances in a carbon neutral way and, crucially, with no moving parts. Rather than a combustion engine, the plane uses long thin stems of wire to pass an electric current. This current ionizes atmospheric nitrogen which, when it collides with “normal” neutral air generates thrust.

We may be not be looking at warp drives or ion drives just yet but with the ideas that are floating around at the moment, Science Fiction may not be so unbelievable after all.

Johnson C. Smith University opens its new center for multidisciplinary STEM education and research revisited

I originally published this piece on October 23, 2015 – a shorter version on the Examiner and then this extended version on Dr. Matthew Lynch’s Edvocate. My alma mater Johnson C. Smith University had recently opened its new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) center at Homecoming 2015. It was a very impressive facility compared to those that were available to me and my classmates when I was a student there from 1995-99.

* * *

“The collaboration was strong between the administration, the faculty, and the students to make sure that we had a building that not just reflected the heritage and history of the past, but also what the future would be for this great University,” said Harvey Gantt, one of many speakers on hand for the opening of Johnson C. Smith University’s (JCSU) new Science Center. “Dr. Carter actually had a lot to do with choosing the design approach,” Mr. Gantt continued. “We gave him several alternatives, and when we showed him a rendering of this elevation of the building, in less than 10 seconds, he said, ‘That’s what I want on this campus!’”

On Friday, Oct. 23, JCSU opened its new Science Center with a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony as a part of its 2015 Homecoming festivities. The ceremony took place on the walkways between the University’s new structure and its older Rufus Perry Science Hall. The ceremony consisted of:

• A welcome by Monroe Miller (Chairman of the JCSU Board of Trustees);
• An invocation by current student Sydney Henry (Class of 2017, Biology and Chemistry);
• Remarks by: Steve Keckeis (Vice President of Messer Construction), Malcolm Davis and Harvey Gantt (Principal and Principal Emeritus of Bergman Associates), student Jennifer-Lynn Phipps (Class of 2016, Computer Science Information Systems), and Charlie Lucas (Board Member of The Duke Endowment) and finally;
• Closing Remarks by Dr. Ronald L. Carter (President of JCSU).

“The time has now come to cut the ribbon to a new world experience. I can just hear the voices of the freedman who put the bricks in place by night over at Biddle Hall. As they look over here, I can hear them saying this day, ‘Well done! Well done! Well done! Our future holds high,” said Dr. Carter during his closing remarks prior to chanting three times, “J-C!,” to which the audience replied, “S-U!,” the signature call and response of the University’s students and alumni.

While the new Science Center will now be the hub on campus for all scientific coursework and research, the older Perry Science Hall will now be the home for the new Metropolitan College, JCSU’s new department for educating non-traditional students. Some features of the new Science Center include:

• 10 fully equipped labs for Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses and research;
• Four Centers for new science and technology curricula including: the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainability, the Center for Bioinformatics/Biotechnology, the Center for Medical Informatics, and the Center for Analytical Research and;
• Seven classrooms of various sizes and setups which stay true to JCSU’s commitment to small class sizes and individualized faculty attention.

“This building has been a vision for almost five years. Magdy Attia, Perrin Foster, Monroe Miller, Tom Baldwin and I would sit and dream about it. We knew that it had to be somewhere here on this part of the campus. That vision just had a momentum and Magdy would sentence it in very eloquent ways such that donors started paying attention and saying, ‘This can be done,’” Dr. Carter said afterwards during the open house. Throughout the ceremony, he and the other speakers emotionally paid homage to Dr. Magdy Attia who recently passed away. Dr. Attia, once a Computer Science faculty member and then an Administrator, was a key figure in the conception of the new Science Center.

“Opportunity awaits those who want to work,” said Jennifer-Lynn Phipps in closing to the audience at the ceremony. Ms. Phipps will graduate in 2016, and then work for John-Deere as an Information Technology Integrator. “Remember Smithites we are not only here to smash the mold, but we’re also here to develop ourselves and change the world!”

One of the more intriguing aspects of the new Science Center is the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainability. The Center is focusing its work on: Wind, Solar and Bio-fuels, and Food Security, specifically helping lower income communities have better access to quality food. Dr. Philip Otienoburu is in large part the University’s expert in Environmental Science issues, a distinction once held by the late Dr. Joseph Fail, Jr.

“It’s all about energy sustainability. We’re looking at future generations and how the environment is going to be protected from the different things that we do to it,” said Dr. Philip Otienoburu. “Long-term sustainability involves not only environmental issues but also social and economic issues as well. How are people going to build resilient communities as the climate changes for instance? How are people going to feed themselves? As you will see a lot of our programs here involve, ‘Food Security.’ This is why we have the Aquaponics and Community garden which is a partnership between JCSU and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Aquaponics is a polyculture system of agriculture where you grow crops and cultivate fish in one closed loop. The waste produced by the fish, which is for the most part Ammonia, is used to fertilize the crops,” said Dr. Phillip Otienoburu discussing a component of the University’s Energy

Sustainability research work. “In Aquaponics, you use bacteria to make the biological conversions to convert Ammonia into Nitrites, and then the Nitrites into Nitrates which the plants need to grow. We’ve been doing this for about three years now during which we have expanded into Haiti, where we were looking to help communities that were devastated by the earthquake in 2010.”

“The science education here at JCSU has become much more technologically advanced since the late 1990s. As you can see in this building the instruments have become much smaller and in some ways more affordable and we’re able to generate more data. That said, it still involves engaging nature, collecting data and constructing good experiments,” said veteran Chemistry Professor, Dr. Timothy Champion.

“While we still have quite a few students coming in wanting to do Pre-Med, some do change their minds and think about getting Ph.D.s once they have a chance engage the science and do some research,” Dr. Champion continued. “At least in the Biology and Chemistry side though, we also need to prepare some of them for the job market. We can’t fall into the trap of trying to produce copies of ourselves – that is more Ph.D.s. If a student doesn’t go to a Graduate or Professional school there are still jobs out there, so a lot of what you’re here seeing is our wanting to build more sellable skills for the students that they can immediately apply to the job market.”

* * *

As you can see below, I wrote a story about how I earned my STEM degree which focused on my graduate studies at the University of Michigan, post JCSU. I’m currently working on a piece revisiting what I learned at JCSU as it was a also a valuable part of my journey. There were numerous learning points there scientifically.

If you’re a JCSU alumnus and have a background in one of the STEMs, I’m starting a Facebook group called “JCSU Alumni STEM”. I envision it as an ecosystem where we as alumni can give back to JCSU’s current students through: answering any questions, helping them find jobs, and also simply serving as a science forum for the Golden Bull community. If you have something to offer, please join when the group opens up.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. If you enjoyed this one, you might also enjoy:

The story of how I earned my STEM degree as a minority
A look at STEM: What are the Basic Sciences and Basic Research?
The transferrable skills from a doctoral degree in the basic sciences
• A look at STEM: What is Regulatory Science?
• A look at STEM: What is Inhalation Toxicology?
• A look at STEM: What is Toxicology?
• A look at STEM: What is Pharmacology?

If you’ve found value here and think it will benefit others, please share it and/or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right-hand column in this post and throughout the site, or add the link to my RSS feed to your feedreader. Lastly, follow me on the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page, on Twitter at @BWArePowerful, and on Instagram at @anwaryusef76. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

Is Property The Right Investment For You?

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Real Estate is one of the most powerful forms of investment which many people have become wealth from. On that same vein, it isn’t an investment class for everyone. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Is Property The Right Investment For You?

* * *

Property is one of the most popular forms of investment for a reason. It’s consistently shown itself to be one of the most effective investments out there and, if handled correctly, can be a source of some serious revenue. The problem is that this makes a lot of prospective investors assume that make a profit from property is easy. That they will be able to sit back and watch the money roll in from a succession of reliable tenants without having to lift a finger. Now, this would be very nice, but sadly it’s just not the way things work in the real world. Instead, investing in property is an extremely complex endeavour that requires you to commit a great deal of both time and money. Here are three things that any anyone considering investing in property should be thinking about.

What type of property?

Image Source

This should be your first question. Before you figure out how much you want to be earning from your properties, you have to figure out what sort of properties you want to invest in, in the first place. There are, of course, plenty of options out there but what you choose will depend on your needs and desires as a landlord. If you’re looking for a high tenancy turnover at highly competitive rates, then consider purchasing student property. Students are an extremely reliable source of tenancy, but they rarely last more than a year or two in the same place. If you want something more reliable, a long-term tenancy with a family or older person might be more suitable. Of course, you should also look at commercial properties. These types of properties can involve more work and investment but can generate some pretty significant returns. Fortunately, there are plenty of places online where you can learn more about the various property options available to you. Just make sure that you do as much research as possible.

Will you need help?

Did you read the last paragraph and start to feel a little overwhelmed as you realized the number of options available to you? Well don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. Just about every property owner requires help in certain areas. It’s a great idea to find a lawyer who can help you better understand the various options that are out there as well as the kinds of complex problems that you might find yourself coming up against. Not every property owner is an expert in legal terms and revenue codes, so there’s nothing wrong with needing some assistance.

How much work are you willing to put in?

Image Source

This is one of those questions that even seasoned investors can sometimes forget. When deciding on a property, you need to ask yourself, “how much work am I able to put into this place?” Depending on the type of property you invest in, you could either be able to let it take care of itself, or find yourself making frequent visits and shelling out a fair amount of money on repairs and maintenance. Always weigh up your initial investment with how much you’ll be spending down the line. If you’re less inclined to make endless repairs on a property then perhaps you should consider making a larger initial investment. If you don’t have the capital to put down, then understand that you might be paying that extra money over the long term in maintenance on the property. The truth is that if you start looking at property investment as some kind of “get rich quick” scheme then you’re almost certainly going to end up either disappointed or in some serious financial difficulty. Being able to successfully invest in anything is a lot of hard work and there are few things more difficult than being able to get a profit out of your properties if you’re not willing to work for it.

What are the risks?

Property is historically one of the more secure investments that you can make. Unlike things like stocks and bonds, the rise and fall of property prices tend to be pretty gradual which means that you’re not necessarily as likely to get hit with a sudden drop in the value of your investment. However, that being said, that doesn’t mean that there are no risks inherent to property investment. The truth is that all investments, no matter how secure they might seem, are going to involve at least some degree of risk. You just have to decide if this is something that’s worth it for you at all. The most important thing that you can do is to keep a close eye on the movements of your investments and understand what the best way to deal with any risks or fluctuations that might come up is. Sure, this is can be complicated and difficult to do but if you’re not prepared to put in the work required to get the most out of your investments, then it might not be the right decisions for you in the first place.

Of course, it’s important to remember that property isn’t the only investment option out there. Whatever you choose to do with your money, it’s important that you choose the right investment options for you. After all, everything from how much capital you actually have to invest in the first place to what kind of time frame you want to be looking at in terms of your investment to how much profit you’re looking to make are going to have a huge impact on the choices that you make when deciding where to put your money. As with just about everything, the key is to make sure that you’re putting as much effort into researching your options as you possibly can. If you’re not keeping a close eye on the kinds of options open to you then you could well end up missing out on something incredibly lucrative or missing a detail that lets you know that you’re about to make a pretty serious mistake.

Don’t Let Your Business Fall At The First Hurdle

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Many people say they want to start businesses but they’re unclear on what actually goes into starting one. What some important considerations for starting a business? The following contributed post is entitled; Don’t Let Your Business Fall At The First Hurdle.

* * *

Image Source

It’s easy to see why starting a business can be so tempting. Getting to do business your way. Being in charge of your own decisions. Providing the market with a fresh, new service or product it sorely needs. It’s exciting and has the potential to grow into something great. But when you’re starting your own business you can’t afford to do things by halves. You need to make sure to do your research to ensure that you’re running your business as well as possible. The trouble is, there are so many different elements that go into creating and running a business that it’s easy to miss some important ones. Here are some aspects of running a business you might not be aware of, but will definitely want to keep in mind.

How will you pay yourself?

It seems obvious right? Of course, you need to be able to pay yourself! That makes it all the more ridiculous just how many people forget to think about this when setting up a business. The passion of starting something close to your heart can be overwhelming. Not to mention the focus on turning a profit can leave things like personal payment in the shadows. The last thing you want is to realize you’ve been budgeting for everything except actually being able to eat, sleep and stay warm. You might want to plow all your profits straight back into the business. But shaving enough off the top to provide yourself with a wage is more important than that extra profit. If you’re not able to run the business at all, it will work out worse for everyone in the long-term.

Who are your customers?

Again, this might seem obvious. But too many businesses go forward with only a vague idea of who their target customer really is. Make sure that you’re thinking beyond just age and gender. Create a clear and detailed profile of your customers. That way you can focus your energy on providing them with the best product, service or user experience possible. Focusing in this way will end up being far more useful and productive than trying to please everyone.

The physical realities of your business

You might think that businesses can exist entirely online these days. However, the truth is that there’s still plenty of brick and mortar elements that you need to remember. From things like whether or not you’ve got enough space for your employees to smart parking systems, you can afford to ignore the physical side of your business. There are some things that are just as important no matter what year it is.

The truth is that there are so many different things that go into creating a successful business that it can often be pretty overwhelming. The truth is that the only way that you’re going to be able to keep on top of it all is to make sure that you’re planning things out as carefully as you possibly can. Without a clear business plan, you’re just going to end up falling at the first hurdle.

Are Thieves Stealing Your Business Dreams?

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. If you’re opening a ‘bricks and mortar’ store, an important consideration is theft which can significantly cut into your bottom line if it goes unchecked. Security is thus a key consideration. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Are Thieves Stealing Your Business Dream?

*  * *

If there’s one bain in retail, it’s theft. This could unravel your company finances if you aren’t careful, as you’re finding out the hard way. Ever since opening your store, you’ve seen a real drop in profits due to customer theft. And, you don’t have a clue what to do about it.

It’s a worrying situation, and one many business owners face. You’ve worked hard to build this thing up, and people are taking it without paying a penny. It’s a crushing experience, but, it’s important to remember that you aren’t at the mercy of thieves. It’s well within your power to address this problem. All you need to do is consider the following reasons you haven’t managed to do so until now.

You don’t have a visible security presence

Image Source

If you don’t have a visible security presence, is it any wonder theft is rife? It would be a mistake to think that the odd security camera is going to stop you feeling the sting of crimes like these. Like anyone, thieves know their trade. They know that no one will be watching those cameras if there’s no security guard on your door. You need to show them that you have a security presence they don’t want to mess with. That means employing a physical security guard. Bear in mind that you want someone who knows their stuff for keeping your store safe. Your best bet would be to work in conjunction with a company like Ops Security Group who have gained recognition from the security guard company award in the past. That way, you know your security will be in good hands from now on. Then all you need to do is station them by your store entrance and watch your theft losses come crashing down.

Your products are easy to pocket

It’s also worth thinking about your products. Large items like televisions are pretty hard to get away with. While theft does still happen, it’s a less frequent occurrence. If particular products are stolen often, ask yourself whether they’re too easy to pocket. If a thief sees a small unsecured item, they’re going to grab it. To make sure that doesn’t happen, it’s worth placing your smallest items in security boxes. That’ll make a massive difference to theft on the whole.

Your store has too many blind spots

Thieves love nothing more than blind spots. These make for prime pickings, and you can bet theft will increase if you have too many of them. A blind spot is an area where thieves know you can’t see them. This is most commonly on the ends of aisles, but corners cause issues here, too. If you think this is where you fall, it’s time to open your eyes. Going for an open-plan layout in your store may well be best. Do away with aisles, and display products on tables instead. Failing that, make sure that you cover areas like these with security cameras which are plain for everyone to see.


The Hottest Business Trends For Entrepreneurs To Jump On Right Now

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs should always have their eyes on what’s going on to potentially take advantage of the next great opportunities. The following contributed post is entitled, The Hottest Business Trends For Entrepreneurs To Jump On Right Now.

* * *

Image Link

The difference between a good entrepreneur and an excellent one is that the latter will concern themselves with adapting to current trends. You should always be looking out for potential business ideas that can take off shortly, catapulting you towards profits.

On that note, I’ve been doing some research and come up with three of the hottest business trends to jump on right now. These are some of the best business ideas you could hope to start, and they’re only going to get more popular!

Bespoke Software Development

Starting things off on a rather technology-focused foot, the last year has seen an increased demand in bespoke software development for businesses. We’re in a digital world, and companies are no longer looking to use packaged software, opting for a customized design instead. It puts them in a position of power as they have a unique piece of software that’s made for them, and can help make their company more productive. So, this is definitely a trend to look into! Start your own software development company today, and you can start creating bespoke software for different businesses. There’s loads of money in this sector, and the demand is higher than ever!

Eco-Friendly Gardening

As far as small businesses go, gardening has always been a sector that reaps plenty of profits. People need gardening services to help maintain their backyard, and there’s been a rise in eco-friendly methods as of late. It’s a booming world, and one you can quickly jump on board with. There are loads of different ideas out there, such as using mulch delivery to provide a more environmentally friendly solution to a weed problem. Or, even something as simple as setting up a garden cleaning business where you trim trees and bushes, but then recycle all the waste, so it’s used again. This is a big trend as everyone worries about climate change, so it makes sense to jump on it right now.

Influencer Marketing

It’s no secret that online influencers are quickly becoming a business’s best friend. Companies are starting to piggyback on the social presence of influencers to help market and advertise their products/services. Log into Instagram right now, and you’ll probably see a handful of people trying to market something as part of a brand deal or sponsorship they have. It’s proven to be very effective, but where does this fit in with the idea of business trends? Well, seeing as more and more companies are looking for influencers, this means they need a way of finding the right people for the job. As such, an influencer marketing agency is the perfect business idea. You work as the middle-man between influencers and businesses, matching the ideal partners with one another. Influencers get paid, businesses get targeted marketing, and you get a load of cash for your part in the deal.

Fancy your chances at starting a new business? Then think about any of these three ideas as they’re very hot right now! Bespoke software development is becoming more and more central in the business world, eco-friendly gardening is slowly being seen as essential, and influencer marketing is a massive industry.

You’re Not Selling Your Business Enough

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. The most important aspect of any business is its sales. Directly related to that is your business’s marketing. The following contributed post is thus entitled; You’re Not Selling Your Business Enough.

* * *

The most important thing that you could possibly do with your business, is sell it right. There are so many people out there who are just focused on one goal, and that one goal is usually based around getting as many sales as possible. Which we probably think you think this article was going to be about. If you’re not selling your business enough, we must be on about selling products, right? Wrong, selling yourself is all about getting your business image across. Because despite what you might think, a lot of customer appeal comes from the brand itself, rather than the products being sold. For example, think about the brands Nike vs Reebok. No, we’re not saying the Reebok isn’t a good brand, because it really is. But when you think about the two your mind is going to instantly look to Nike because it’s the bigger and better brand, not necessarily the better product! So, before we ramble on in this section too much, we want to show you how you can sell your business as a whole a bit more, so that you can focus on making money, rather than selling products!

Image Source

Who Knows About You?

Or should we say, who would you like to know about you? When thinking about who you might want to know about you, your options could either be general, or you might need to be specific. For example, if you were to be selling beauty products, there’s no reason why a car manufacturer would be interested in you. You have a certain target audience to meet, and you need to know everything about them if you want to succeed as a small business, and even progress into a much bigger one. To know your audience, you’re going to have to know their likes and dislikes, and what can put you above everyone else. Market research should achieve some of this for you, but you can also look at buying trends on the internet. Then, you need to think about how people are going to find out about you. As a small company your resources might be limited, meaning you can’t run as many effective marketing campaigns as you would if you had a bit more of a bigger business, with bigger finances. But there are some techniques that are going to work better for you than others, one of those being digital signage. You have to think that everything nowadays is digital, so using digital signage rather than paper leaflets or menus is going to attract a lot more attention. You could display offers or information that could draw new customers in. You can find more about digital signage here! Another techniques that we definitely recommend using is content marketing. It’s a way of getting your name out there through online content such as blogs or vlogs. It will usually be the case that a blog post which doesn’t directly link to the client is produced, and then a link to the client is slipped in discretely.

Have You Attended Trade Events?

If you haven’t attended trade events, then you won’t even realise the potential that they could hold for your business. If ever there were a place to sell your business, it would be here! It’s face to face interaction with the people who are going to possibly change your business. Say if you were a marketing company at an event, and there were big companies walking around trying to find their next marketing campaign to partner with. If you were to sell yourself so much so that you gained a contract with a big company, it could totally change the future of your business! There will no doubt be plenty of trade events in your local area as well, or you might find that you have to travel a little bit. If you do have to travel, you could even have the potential of meeting customers you might not have if you stayed in your local area. You can either attend these events as a customer, and walk around to see all of the stools yourself who might be your competitors. This will give you access to information in depth about how their company works, so you might be able to get some great tips from them! Or, you could pay to have your own stand where you’re able to sell your business directly to the people who matter. It’s a great atmosphere, there’s usually so much to learn, and there’s such a potential to earn as well!

Image Source

What’s Your Business Focus?

You should never lose sight of your focus. You always need to make sure that you’re concentrating on the things that are going to push your business forward the most. If you have no forward thinking plan, you have nothing to guide your business. You might not be able to move forward quicker, and you might lose sight of what you originally started your business for. So think about your focus at the minute. Are you focused more on customers, sales, product design… what is it that is driving your business at the minute? If you don’t say everything, then you’re not doing it right. At some points yes, you will have to focus on certain areas more than you would others, but for the most part you should have a clear idea in your head of all of the areas of your business. As a whole, you should be focusing on growth, and how you can always be one step ahead of the other companies around you!

How Do You Design Your Products Or Services?

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling services or products, there’s a few general things that you should be thinking about when designing a new part of them. With services, you should always be thinking about what the customer might be missing in their lives at the minute. So, if you’re selling marketing services, you need to think about what tactics the customers you’re trying to reach haven’t used before, and how your company can provide them. The more services you’re able to provide that are relevant to your line of work, the more money you’re going to be able to earn. You also need to make sure they’re streamlined to provide the fastest services. There are so many companies out there who’s processes for their services are just so long. There’s so many steps to the process, and it can just be so annoying to keep following. Keeping it short and sweet is definitely what you need to keep in mind when you think about your services.

If we’re talking about your products, your design work always needs to be creative. You can’t be the sheep when it comes to design, you have to make yours look better and be better in every way. The best way that you can actually do this is to get product design specialists on the scene. They would be able to tell you what makes a good product, what your design idea might be lacking at the minute, and how you can just make it better overall!

What’s Your Customer Service Like?

We hope that it would be amazing, but that’s not always the case as you might know from personal experience. Sometimes you just get super bad customer service, usually in fast food restaurants or shopping malls. All you can do is walk away and think, ‘damn, that was terrible’. And that thought can stay with you a couple of days, and you’ll definitely be put off returning to that store. Are we right? We thought so! So, now think about how you might be able to change your customer service so that it’s perfect. You can learn from your own personal experiences, and you can also learn from online courses that will show you exactly what is needed when interacting with customers to get the best result possible. You should always be looking for the sale, but you also need to make sure that you’re focused on keeping your customers happy. A top tip from us would be that customers love a bargain, so make sure you’re always offering discounts at the til where you possibly can. If you know you’re getting bad reviews with your customer service, then you definitely have something to be worried about. A bad opinion can go along way, especially to customers who haven’t heard of you before. All they will need to see is a dodgy review or two, and they’ll be searching for your competitors instead. Deal with any customer complaints as quickly as possible, and always make sure that you’re focused on making your customers happy on a day to day basis.

So, do you think you have been given a few good ways that you can sell your business a little bit better, or even more than you have been doing. When you have so many people around you competing for the same customers you are, it’s so important that you’re focused on making your business known!

Business Burnout: What Is It and How Can We Avoid It?

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Running a business, especially if it’s one you started personally, and it can exact a heavy toll. This toll can eventually lead to burnout. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Business Burnout: What Is It and How Can We Avoid It?

* * *


(image)

Are you suffering from business burnout?

Chances are, you may be, or you may be on the road to this very serious problem.

If…

– you no longer have a passion for what you are doing
– you feel stressed at the thought of going into work each day
– you have lost your creative edge with your projects
– you are getting snappy and irritated with yourself, your staff, and your customers

Then you may have business burnout. Or, as we said, you may be on the way to suffering from the problem.

We can get business burnout by…

– not getting enough rest each day
– working longer than we should be on a regular basis
– not dealing with the stresses that our business can cause us
– being hard on ourselves and our perceived failings

When you have business burnout, you are going to suffer. Your physical and mental health will take a knock, as you may have to deal with feelings of anxiety, depression, and exhaustion. And your business will suffer too, as your productivity will be low, the morale of your coworkers will take a hit because of your example, and you will struggle to keep things fresh within your business.

So, what can be done about it?

Well, if you are struggling to work because your mind and body are battling against you, then it may be time to take a rest. Outsource essential parts of your business to firms such as this web design agency or delegate more to your employees, and take a break. You need it – your health depends on it, as does your business.

However, if you haven’t hit business burnout yet, there are ways to avoid becoming the victim of the problem.

Consider the following.

(image)

1. Organize your day

How is your work-life balance? Are you taking enough breaks? Are you getting home at a reasonable hour? Organize your day, so you are able to take time to rest. Focus on your productivity, so you are able to go home without taking work with you. Cut out anything that might distract you from getting your work done on time. And create a schedule that allows you to do your job efficiently, with enough room for getting some headspace when you need it.

2. Delegate more

We have already suggested you should delegate more, especially when there are people within your team capable of taking on board some of your tasks. And as we also suggested, you might also outsource some of your work to other firms, especially those tasks that eat up your time, or that you are ill-equipped to deal with effectively. By handing over your workload, you are freeing up your time to focus on those tasks that are more prevalent to you, as well as giving you a clearer headspace to organize your day. Many hands make light work, so they say. Many hands will also lighten the burdens that may be overwhelming you.

3. Find your stressors

We all get stressed, but if you have any stressors that weigh on your mind more than most, you need to deal with them. Work out what they are, consider strategies to help you cope with the stress, and where possible, take steps to eliminate these stressors from your life. The sooner you can do this, the better!

4. Learn the art of saying no

The more you take on, the more overworked you will be, and the greater the chance of you suffering from burnout. Therefore, say “no.” If you are unable to take on another project, turn it down, as you may only hurt your business by handing in something with poor quality if you are already overworked. If you are asked to attend a meeting, be that at your place of work or elsewhere, consider why you should. If there is no need for you to attend, then don’t. And if you are tempted to stay late after work to complete something that lies unfinished, tell yourself “no.” You have a life outside of work, and you need to live it before you overwork yourself and feel the physical and mental consequences later.

5. Take time off occasionally

At the start of each quarter, book time off. It doesn’t matter whether you have a staycation or go for a vacation further afield, you still need to have that ‘me time.’ And when you are off work, leave any evidence of your business in your office. You need a clear break where you aren’t forced to think about your business, as you won’t get a proper rest otherwise.

So, how are you today? Feeling good? Or are you feeling tired and low, and in need of a rest? Whatever the case, consider what we have said today. Burnout is an issue for many business owners, but by taking care of yourself and your business needs, you don’t let it have to become an issue for you.

Take care, and thanks for reading!

The 4 Rules Of Business Data

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. Most businesses today manage enormous amounts of data and this comes with numerous considerations as it must be handled both efficiently and safely. The following contributed discusses four rules for this and is entitled, The 4 Rules Of Business Data.

* * *

Businesses work with data every day. Whether they collect, analyze, transfer or interpret, enterprises rely on data at every single step of their processes. With million sensitive pieces of information being stored and used as part of business activities, no company can afford to fail behind data management standards. Indeed, with the acquisition of confidential and sensitive data comes the responsibility of using these judiciously and safely.
Companies have a digital liability to honor for their employees and clients by following an explicit data management strategy. Admittedly, while every company is free to design their policy, you can find an overarching guideline to help you navigate through the troubled waters of data management. Typically, businesses are expected to respect four data rules:

Cloud computing offers excellent data accessibility

Make them compliant
Since May 2018 and the launch of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU, the words data compliance have been on every mouth. In reality, data compliance refers to the need for a company to comply with the legal requirements in force regarding their data processes. For citizens from the EU zone, GDPR is the main data compliance body. However, you’ll find that your business needs to obey a variety of legal requirements depending on the kind of data you use. Medical data, for instance, respond to the HIPAA compliance – which you can ensure using the managed compliance services from NAHS for example. Schools and other education institutions need to comply with a different set of requirements. Banks also rely on specific data compliance bodies. In other words, your data need to be processed accordingly to the specifications in your sector.

Protect them from accidental loss and damage
Your data are precious. Losing them doesn’t only affect your day-to-day activities, but it also damages your credibility. Consequently, companies need to protect themselves from data disasters as best as they can. Every business need to deploy an effective and secure backup solution to recover everything that is vital to your business survival. Keeping a copy – physically or digitally, or even both – is primordial.

Data backup

Make them safely accessible to your team
Data management requires sharing, collaborating and research within the data collection. While holding physical data backups can be helpful in the case of loss or damage, it’s a waste of time when it comes to encouraging your teams to work together. Making your data accessible through a secure digital interface, such as cloud computing, employees with the ability to access the information they need in a click. However, the key focus about cloud solution is their security; your data should be only accessible to your coworkers.

Ensure they are correct at all times
Last; but not least, most confidential people data are deemed to evolve through time. People, indeed, can change their address, name, specific data preferences, and so on. As part of the GDPR regulations, users are allowed to request access to their information, for correction or removal purposes. Similarly, you need to maintain your customer data accurate even outside of the GDPR zone, which implies providing customers with the opportunity to correct the information.

Every business that works with data needs to follow the 4 rules of data management: Compliance, protection, accessibility, and correctness. Failure to respect these rules can lead to a loss in reputation, revenues, and competitiveness.