These days, it’s even easier than ever for anyone to be able to launch their own business. With the internet boom, a business can be set up in no time at all. So, it’s safe to say that it’s a smart time for people to launch their own company. However, if you want it to really work out and become something, there are things that you’re going to want to put in place, particularly within the first year. Some of these things are skills, and some of them are a different measure that will help you to run a business. Either way, it’s handy to know beforehand what it takes, so you have the best chance at success.
To start with, you’re going to find that the best thing you can do within your first year is to develop grit. You’re going to go through ups and downs, and you have to persevere even when you feel like giving up. Grit can really help you to succeed.
They can seem really boring when you’re hoping that the secret to success is sexy and fun, but systems really do help you to stay on track. When you have systems for all of the little things you need to get done, it’s easier to keep everything organized. Working with a fleet management company, managing your staff, and even keeping track of sales can be hard to do. But when you bring in the right systems and software or even outsource, it can be so much easier for you.
From here, one of the things that you’re really going to find can help you, is for you to be as authentic as possible. It’s easy to think that you need to do what big businesses do or whatever is trendy, but the thing that will help you to stand out and find success is sticking to what’s right for you. That way, you will find your tribe and be able to build a community around your company.
The next thing that will really help you within your first year of business is to have really cool and smart marketing ideas. As a new business, you want to stand out and be noticed. But that’s not always easy. You have to really try to cut through the noise. However, when you start to play around with your marketing, you should find that it’s much easier for you to get in front of your audience and really wow them.
But then also, one of the most important things you can do within your first year of business is to stay patient. You might find that you want to give up when you face adversity, but you have to be patient. Because things will happen for you when you keep going. If you’re not consistent, it will take longer. But putting the work in can really allow you to get results, but it takes time. So, the more patient you are, the better.
Creating a healthy workplace environment is essential for ensuring your employees are happy, and productivity levels stay high. The most common thing that motivates and influencers your employees is their happiness so, providing a clean, positive working environment ensures that you’re helping them to be as productive and efficient as they can be. It can be surprising how much a workplace environment can affect your businesses overall performance, so it’s key to make sure this is one of your priorities. It not only helps with sales and employees motivation it can also help you to reduce costs and staff turnover.
What Exactly Is A Healthy Workplace Environment?
When thinking about health, most people’s thoughts will focus on the medical side however you should also be looking at the overall workplace and even the surroundings. There are three key areas to focus on when creating a healthy environment for your employees these include:
- Workplace culture- Every company is going to have a different workplace culture that will determine it’s valued and it creates an overall standard that its employees follow. When you successfully create a positive, healthy and happy work environment that is being practised by your employees and yourself you will find that the workplace you’re providing is naturally healthier and flows well. This is because it is little for people to get upset or unhappy about. Having a great company culture can help to keep productivity up and help to retain the best, happy workers as happy employees tend to more loyal and stay with you for the long haul.
- The Environment And Health And Safety- To be able to provide a healthy work environment, which means you need to think about the physical environment that you’re providing. Whether it’s the workshop, factory floor, storage area, office or home office set up, it’s important to consider the environment you’re providing and the health and safety involved. Safe and valued employees are happier and healthier. Simply providing the security of areas such as basic health and safety training, internet security and risk assessments can help to make your employees feel valued and cared for. At the end of the day, nobody wants to work in an unsafe environment that they are worried about on a daily basis.
- Health And Lifestyle- If you look after your employees they will look after you. It has been proven that employees who feel like they’re looked after are more loyal and focused in their workplace. Your employees are your best asset, so this means you should be looking after them as a priority. Putting the effort into your employee’s wellbeing can help to encourage increased productivity, increased employee retention, reduced sick leave, reduced workplace accidents and promote better teamwork and who wouldn’t want that? You can help your employees to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle and to reduce any unhealthy and/or life-threatening habits that they may have. Try offering a reduced gym package or promote activities that encourage a healthy lifestyle. A healthy employee is a happy employee.
Easy Ways You Can Create A Great Workplace Environment
It’s no secret that a healthy, happy and well looked after employee is a productive employee so you should make sure you focus on achieving this whenever possible. It’s been proved that people who enjoy their jobs, find their workplace to be pleasant and the work to be engaging is more loyal, productive and healthy. It’s in the best interests of your business to make sure you are providing a great workplace environment otherwise it could start to affect the quality of work produced, you could lose qualified staff, and you could create a negative atmosphere that demotivates your staff. Some of the ways that you can create a positive work environment include:
- Appeal To All Personalities– It’s important to try and engage with each different personality within your office. Every business will have a combination of characters, and what works to motivate each employee is going to be different, not all employees respond to the same and may not necessarily find certain approaches helpful. You should make the effort to get to know your employees and find out what approach is best for them. Not only will you get a better response from them you will find that they’re left feeling more valued and appreciate your efforts.
- Be Positive About Wellness- As a business owner it’s in your interests to think about and care about the wellness of your employees, This means that it is also important to promote it and be positive about it. You can encourage the health and wellness of your employees by providing incentives such as reduced rates for the gym, holding an exercise class once a week and allowing them time to attend or getting involved in government schemes such as cycling to work. This not only encourages a healthy lifestyle for your team but also allows them the opportunity to get to know their workmates and build good team foundations.
- Healthy Eating- Encouraging healthy eating doesn’t mean that you’re asking your team to lose weight, promoting strict diets or restricting their options when it comes to food. It’s all about promoting a healthy lifestyle and providing the educational facts behind the benefits of doing so. Healthy eating is known to increase productivity, energy levels, lift moods and improve your health, so it’s definitely an area you should be concerned about as a business owner. It’s important to make sure you’re allowing enough time for your employees to have a proper break and sourced food that’s going to fuel them for the days work. Make sure you are providing an area that is clean and well equipped with essentials items such as cutlery, a microwave and a kettle. You could also think about providing a healthy lunch once a week or introduce fruit bowls for the teams.
- Clean And Comfortable Office– It goes without saying that working in a clean and comfortable office is going to be better for your employees than working somewhere that is messy, cluttered and not looked after. The state of an office can have a huge effect on the mood and productivity of your employees. Even if your office does not get sunlight, isn’t the newest building or the largest you should try to make an effort to provide a relaxing atmosphere including comfy furniture, correct working equipment and think about things such as plants and natural lighting.
- Offer Incentives- Part of creating a healthy workplace means keeping your employees happy, a great way to do this is to offer incentives. Whether it’s discounts on products, a great pension scheme or the opportunity to build up more holidays offering something in reward for hard work pays off. Have a look here for 25 Employee Incentive Programs That Actually Work.
- Treat Everyone As Equals- Regardless of an employees position within a company they should all be dealt with in the same way. If a supervisor is constantly late or is missing deadlines then it should be taken just as seriously as it would be if you were dealing with an apprentice or new starter. If any policies change every employee should be told about it and has the right to treat the same.
Creating a healthy work environment doesn’t have to be hard work or time-consuming. A healthy work environment not only improves productivity but reduces costs related to employee turnover.
Do you have any tips or advice that you can share about creating a healthy workplace for your employees? Please share them on Twitter @Parentsinbiz
If you find that you are a detail-oriented person, then you can often apply yourself to many excellent efforts in life. However, perhaps the most promising use of this state of mind is when running your own business. There are many reasons as to why this is. To start with, it’s important to note that any small business is commonly surrounded by competition on all sides, meaning that applying your best talent is essential for even getting your foot in the door.
Additionally, consumers are becoming more and more demanding than ever, meaning that it’s not enough to simply be good enough, you have to be great. Not only can your natural ability become a worthwhile assistant when running said operation, but considering how you may have been treated or serviced by small businesses in the past can also go a little way in helping you develop as a business operation. With that in mind, it’s essential to know how to carry on in the best context imaginable.
With this in mind, let us offer the following advice:
Consistency Is King
The thing to remember about details is that often, it’s the smaller considerations that can be the most variable. For example, if you’re not careful when considering your polystyrene packaging, you may not have the most cohesive and custom options for the products you hope to house within it. Paying attention to specific dimensions, working with excellent suppliers, and ensuring that you are careful to make those results as repeatable as possible can help your firm seem more dependable, and that’s because you will be acting in this light.
The Customer Experience
The customer experience matters. For example, differences in how the regular product they order is received is an important point to consider, because the ebbs and flow of customer life dictate the necessary need for a reliable result. In other words, if you are not the person to exercise attention to detail, your customers will be, and they will report on this in a public setting. To some extent, this can be useful for you to make yourself aware of issues, but additionally, it can look bad in regards to your product offering. Ensure that the quality assurance you are able to keep the best results as regular as can be.
Adhering To Your Vision
Businesses often lose their charm and ability when they find that they veer from their stated business positions and especially the vision they adhere to in their marketing campaigns. Adhering to that vision means continually fact-checking your previous claims, being referential to your business narrative and making decisions that line up with this or considering how you might subvert that for a better result. However, it’s true that with the best creative vision and attention to detail, you can keep these disparate elements under careful control.
With this advice, you’re certain to use your natural ability to view details in more beneficial ways than one.
Productivity, like efficiency, is one of the most important words in your vocabulary as an entrepreneur. If you want to make sure that you use your time wisely, you have to have the systems in place to do it. And that means that your office has to be designed in a way that benefits your style of working.
Office design is about 3 things: function, style and organisation. It’s only when you balance these things that you create the perfect workspace.
But what does that look like for you?
A Clearly Defined Workspace
One of the most important things you need when you work from home is a clearly defined workspace. But this is also the same in a corporate space. Though you might only have room for a desk and chair at home, in a corporate office, there is often room to create different zones for different styles of working.
Zoning is a good way to change your perspective and encourage you to work in a particular way. For example, a wide space filled with squashy beanbags, a load of games and art materials would be much more likely to trigger a creative process than an empty boardroom. Creating a space for each type of work you do is a good way to put on the different ‘working hats’ you have and change your methods accordingly. In other words, spaces influence your behaviour.
Furniture that Helps You Work Well
Everyone likes to work in a different way. For some, sitting at a desk is preferable but for others, chilling out on a sofa with a laptop is more productive. Understanding that most people actually like to have a choice is a good way to start choosing the right furniture.
Every office should have a space for more relaxed work and meetings as well as spaces for people to work individually and together. Some of the coolest offices in the world have found all kinds of ways to create defined spaces or zones. Some use quirky furniture like picnic tables and swing chairs to create more fun, creative spaces. Others use smaller pods to introduce private and quiet spaces to work. But the thing that links them all together is that each space is carefully designed for a particular purpose and the furniture guides that purpose.
Organisation Techniques for a Tidy Space
If you want to be productive, you need to be able to access your work easily and reduce the number of distractions around you. That’s why the organisation is so crucial in offices. If your desk is piled up with stuff, you’re going to spend far more time looking for the relevant things than you need. And, you’ll probably have a cleanliness issue to deal with sooner or later too.
While work zones will really help your organisation overall, you should also purge the office of things that are no longer needed on a regular basis. You should also encourage everyone in the office to spend 5-10 minutes on a Friday clearing their desk and getting ready for the following week.
Once you start finding ways to improve your productivity, it’s just a case of refining your ideas and making the most of your time.
Many parents who begin businesses do so because they want to take charge of their time. They want to know that they can take time out for the kids when they need and that they’re able to guarantee free evenings. The trouble is that it doesn’t always work out.
Far from leaving you free to enjoy evenings with the kids, the chances are that you struggle to even make one free night a week. Instead, you find that there’s always something to do. Worse, it won’t get done if you don’t do it.
This can be frustrating, and it could even lead to disruption and resentment at home. No one likes to sit at the table with someone who spends the whole time on their phone, after all! The good news is that those early dreams of free evenings aren’t as outlandish as they seem right now. All you need to do is put the following plans in place to ensure you can enjoy that time with your kids without distraction.
#1 – Automate where you can
Given that your business rests solely on your shoulders, the chances are that you can’t resist but check-up even when you’re out with the family. Sadly, as soon as you check-in, you find a whole load of stuff that needs doing. From admin to processing online orders, a ‘quick check’ could turn into a whole night of work. Luckily, automation could save you from ever needing to check again.
Something like the web applications offered by software development agency Xibis can automate virtually any business requirements so that you can rest easy your online processes run like clockwork without you. Automating out of office email replies could also save you worrying about admin during your evenings. Instead, you’ll be able to enjoy family time at last.
#2 – Separate the business from the personal
If you use the same phone number for business and personal, there’s a high chance you’ll answer business calls out of hours. Equally, using a personal email for business purposes means emails will come straight to your private phone no matter the time of day. By keeping a divide here, you can make sure you’re able to switch off when you leave the office once and for all.
#3 – Get strict about business hours
It also pays to be strict about business hours both with yourself and your customers. No one expects the owner of a small business to work 24/7. As such, simply being clear about operating hours ensures that you won’t lose custom by not replying during your evenings. Again, sending automated out of office emails is a fantastic option here. Even just adding a note on your website of when you’re back in the office can let you off without losing your custom.
Each of these simple steps can smooth the divide between your working and personal life. And that, in turn, can lead you to work-free evenings for whole family enjoyment at long last.
Whether you’re heavily invested in the political storm, the UK is currently experiencing, or you’re staying well away from the debates that continue to dominate the news agenda, the concept of a Brexit Britain can be a tough landscape to navigate.
We recently undertook some research looking at the businesses who have launched and thrived since the Brexit referendum vote and discovered which entrepreneurs had made the most of the unstable environment to create, grow and succeed in their new business venture. This included Mush, and Koru Kids, two businesses which have grown out of the business determination of two parents.
The following are some of the reasons why starting a business now as a parentpreneur may not necessarily be a bad thing.
People may be less inclined to launch a business venture when the state of the country’s economy is in flux. Those with this mindset are also less likely to succeed. Utilising all of the information available to you, such as audience growth, potential market share, current product or service demand, or any other industry insights, can mean that perhaps you are capitalising on this opportunity to start and grow a business.
There are exceptions to this of course. If your business would be directly and negatively impacted by Brexit it may not be the best idea. For example, if your business relies on EU imports, your business model may be affected in the short term as the country continues to understand its position with the EU. However, most people – including Government – know so little about the consequences of these negotiations, therefore taking a risk now could put you months ahead of your competitors and help to establish your name much earlier on.
When the threat of a political crisis looms, businesses are keen to review their partnerships, scrutinise their supply chain, and open up new relationships. Now could be the ideal time to leverage your status as a parent and business-minded person to forge new business partnerships or lines of supply. Networking can be as simple as reaching out on LinkedIn, attending local business meetups, or even discussing ways your businesses can grow together. There are even specific business associations for parents, such as Mums in Business. People may, however, be more thorough in their checks of new business partners than they used to be.
More stringent checks
With economic instability, comes more stringent checks and deeper analysis of a businesses’ background. This can come in the form of credit checks or even personal background research. Either way, we exist in a time where people are far more careful about who they work with.
Now, whilst people want to forge new business relationships, they also want to invest in the correct ones: it should only be viewed as a negative if you are a business owner undertaking poor financial practices or making poor investment choices.
An increased focus on the research of partners and businesses means that entrepreneurs work with those who are legitimate and share the same growth goals. It’s a positive for economic growth as it creates an environment of trust, ripe for mutual expansion.
British buying power
If the Brexit process has achieved anything, it’s shown the love the public has for buying British and putting money back into the economy. As a fresh British business, you can capitalise on this through your marketing efforts. When designing your website, social media activity or offline promotional materials, highlight ‘Made in Britain’ or ‘Established in UK’ where applicable. This can be a strong unique selling point and in an era where consumers want to champion British business, it could become the reason you are chosen over a competitor.
Parentrepreneurs are now in a unique position where the economic uncertainty that Brexit presents creates an environment ripe for disruption. Parents should not feel discouraged from starting or growing their business in this landscape. We would advise all business owners to focus on developing relationships that will prove productive for both parties. Now is the time to succeed when others are slowing down and getting complacent. Just remember, if you are taking risks, ensure they are calculated.
Carys Hughes is Chief Financial Officer at Creditsafe
Hurricanes, Tornado, Floods, and wildfires are some of the natural disasters that can cause a business loss of up to $ 150 billion. Notice is usually given before there appearances, can your business survive the natural disaster? A good entrepreneur is one who knows how to endure such a crush before they lose everything. That is why with the tips provided below, you can prepare your small business for the next tragedy before it’s too late.
Create a response plan
Surviving a disaster needs preparation, a loser will act after the tragedy has destroyed everything including people’s life. Have a written plan that entails all the actions that the company will take in case of a natural disaster. Ensure all your employees are aware of the idea, and for your tactics to work out, you have to ensure there are several meetings for the same if something new comes to your attention. More so, your employees have to be aware of the escape route plans, the usage of the firefighting tools and so on. You can establish a remote system and appoint some employees will work from home if there is a shutdown.
You have to review regularly your the insurance coverage of your business to be sure of enough coverage. Investing in insurance coverage is the best weapon during a natural disaster. That is why you must have an insurance cover that caters for extended coverage, property loss, business destructions, and business closure. It should cover for all natural disaster in case one of it happens.
Create a good communication plan
Since your property is covered and can be recovered after a breakdown, losing your customers will be a loss, that is why you have to have a communication plan. Employees are part of your business, so they should be aware of your communication plan so that after a temporary shutdown, you will be able to win back your customers and clients. The method is efficient if you manage all communications but have some people leading the clients’ contacts, customers contact, and even the insurance company contact.
Storage of company’s data
Back up plan is an essential plan for your business. Retrieving customers contact lists and data after a shutdown is easy if stored in the cloud or other database systems. You should have a reliable hard drive, and a copy of it stored in another office at a safer place. Moreover, with the company’s data in the cloud, employees can still access information on important documents, and ongoing projects, thus, they continue working remotely.
Build strong relationships with the employees
Employees are your family and relatives when it comes to business. A good relationship eases the recovery process procedure after a loss. You should also ensure clear communication to your vendors and clients after the disaster so that they also be aware. Your small business can face lots of challenges after a disaster like incapabilities of making a delivery. But keeping your clients updated will save you the loss.
Not everybody can prevent the next natural disaster, but with the above plan, it might save you more than you could have lost. The above method can help your business to be back on its feet earlier than you expected, only if you implement it.
Leona Harrison from Specialty Fuel Services
It may seem intimidating to start a business with plenty of risks to make the decision a difficult one. Yet, starting a business from home can remove some of the risks, and there are ways you can increase your odds of success. There are many benefits to being your own boss and in control of your schedule, if you prepare and plan well.
What Do You Want?
Wanting to start a business is one thing, but what does that entail? How will you balance home life with a home-based business? Is there a particular niche that you wish to pursue? Consulting offers you choices. You may find that your chosen field offers additional options, so consider how nuanced or broad you want your business to be. Think, as well, about your skill sets, how you want to harness the experience and knowledge that you have accumulated over the years. How might you apply them to a consulting business? Knowing what you want is beneficial, as it may give you solid foundations. After all, a crucial part of consulting is presentation, how best you can lay out proposals to prospective clients. This may be central to how confident you are in communicating core talking points, both about what you can deliver and understanding a client’s needs.
You may be undecided about how you want to harness your existing knowledge. In the meantime, you can still earn money while exploring what form you want your main home business to take. Freelancing gives you various options from writing to photography. Pet sitting, for instance, offers a lot of flexibility. There are plenty of websites catering for freelance pet sitters, allowing you to find clients at your discretion. You can set a schedule that suits other commitments, while you can also determine how much you charge clients. Being a pet sitter is all about choice. For instance, if you are most comfortable with smaller dogs or feel that your patience would allow senior canines to thrive in your presence, you can set your own preferences.
You know what you want to do, but turning that into a viable business requires some planning. You don’t have to create an elaborate scheme, however. At the very least, research what is legally required of you. What licenses are required? Are there zoning obligations? Then ask yourself what pricing structure you will be looking at. Do you want to set yourself a certain income threshold? As well, think about you will grow your business over time. Factor in how you will market yourself, both analogue and digitally. Social media may prove essential to securing clients, all the more so as you will be home-based. Branding, too, will be important, as knowing what identity and image you want your company to have can give your business a confident start.
Create a Work Environment
Productivity is key to growing any successful venture. Working from home sounds great until you find yourself contending with a myriad of distractions. You need to be able to disengage from anything that could disrupt your schedule. If you live with others, remind them that you are not available during work hours. Of course, there may still be distractions, so consider setting up an office to demarcate work and home life. This is a good way to replicate a professional working environment, allowing you to maximize your time and not lose any impetus. It also can let you switch “work mode” on and off, helping you stave off any burnout caused by being constantly on demand. Your efforts can be supplemented with business tools. They may help you organize your schedule, store your work, and even manage your social media. Whatever it is that you need, you are likely to find a tool for it and help your business in the long-term.
By creating a positive, focused work environment, preparing your goals and thinking outside of the norm, you may be well on your way to a successful home-based business. Don’t discount things like pet sitting, as they can be an excellent way to earn an income on your own terms. Know what you want and go get it today.
Amy Collett is the creator of Bizwell.org, a website that helps professionals and entrepreneurs build and strengthen their personal brand. When she isn’t helping clients boost their careers or businesses, she enjoys coaching her daughter’s soccer team and training to become a yoga instructor.
She is the author of the upcoming book, You, Exemplified: The Role of Personal Branding in Your Professional Life.
As designers, web developers, thinkers, and marketers we make choices based on the understanding of our target customers. Starting up a web design project is one of the hardest parts as it is to pile up the ideas that are swimming in the head and then give it a final look. Many parts are going on such as there are clients with high expectations to get the project done in the best way. A web design project is not a simple design that can be designed in few stages rather it is a complex process and involves multiple stages. The initial phase of a website design is to identify a goal, scope, wireframe, UI design and web content that further leads to testing to make sure if all the parts are in line and functioning well.
Design with a Visual Hierarchy in Mind:
With multiple screens such as desktops, computer screens, and smartphone and evolving technology, a professional website designer’s job is to make the design look the same and well on all screen sizes. You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and tell them what your site is about and if your website does not have a clear and listed hierarchy of your information, then the user will eventually switch off from your site. Creating a clear hierarchy of information with adequate colors, content and page layout, you gain your user’s attention, and the website becomes a clear and a neat digestible piece of content.
Create Unique And Easy Web Content:
Readability measures how easy it is for people to recognize words, sentences, and phrases. The web content is supposed to be readable and informative, so the readers can grasp the required information they need.
Tips to Improve Readability
- Don’t let your reader struggle with reading your content. The best rule of thumb is to keep the body text 16pt to make it readable.
- Feel free to play with colors and add contrast to the page to make the content readable.
- Try using not more than two fonts in the content. Even if you are using too many fonts in the content, make sure to have a harmonious effect and not a cluttered one.
Keep Easy Navigation:
Your website supposedly is not a treasure hunt where your visitors will wander. A website with good navigation helps the search engine to index your site and makes it readable for the users and thus improves the user experience.
Tips for Better Navigation:
- Add the link to your homepage on your logo design for user’s convenience.
- Work on your footer and add all important links there.
Role of Analytics:
The best way to check if the website is doing its job or not is to monitor its functioning. The final design should include functionality to gauge key indicators such as traffic, goals, and conversions. Your analytics will tell you how visitors are navigating your site and you can also track your performance goals, conversions, and other similar metrics.
SEO Savvy & Security:
When designing a website, do not ignore the power of optimising your site for search engines along with humans. Create fresh and unique content, add all important SEO tags and prepare your site for search engines. When you are putting in efforts of creating an SEO and mobile optimised website, then do not compromise on security. Get SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) as it creates an encrypted path for the user’s information and protects user data.
In a nutshell,
Never stop looking for inspiration, always looks up for ideas to improve your website’s efficiency. Remember that users are looking for the least resistant way to accomplish their task, so, simply don’t make them think. Bring in all your creativity when it comes to visual design. You may use colors that reflect your brand and blend it with different font combinations and make sure to check the functionality of your website along with the creative visual design.
Loius Martin is a Digital Marketing Manager at Invictus Studio. He has been transforming businesses into brands by connecting all the dots of branding. With a passion for writing, he has covered major areas of marketing and design.