5 Ways To Encourage Better Teamwork

With a strong and capable team, your business can achieve anything. But there’s more to building a good team than simply hiring the right expertise. If your team doesn’t gel well, you’ll soon find problems with delivery, quality, and motivation, which will have a serious impact on your business.

The good news is that it’s not too late to develop an effective team. Take a look at these five ways to encourage better teamwork to help transform your business and put it on the path to success.

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Consider the group dynamics

More and more businesses are hiring through group interviews to help establish a better team from the start. However, most established businesses don’t have that luxury.

When you bring in several individuals to a room, not everyone is going to gel well. There are different personalities and character traits that might not work well with others. But looking at the group dynamics of teams can help you to ensure that people are in the right roles and have the right responsibilities to form the basis of good work. There are different exercises to boost group dynamics for teams that will help deliver these improvements. Getting to know your team is important and can help you to provide direction going forward.

Set clear aims and objectives

Without objectives, your team can lack the focus they need to do their best work. Setting goals for your team will help give them a common goal to work towards, providing motivation and engagement that will help them stay on task. By setting out everyone’s roles in achieving these goals, you can provide greater clarity on individuals’ responsibilities and help everyone contribute to your company’s wider goals. Objectives can be quarterly, bi-annually, annually – whatever is the right fit for your business.

Make sure you also focus on personal goals and objectives to help individuals retain motivation and take ownership of their professional development.

Get them out of the office

Sometimes the best way to develop a great team is to take them out of the office. When people are outside of work, they tend to relax and get to know each other on a more personal level, which can help to build some strong working relationships. Not everyone has to be each other’s best friend, but feeling comfortable and happy around your work colleagues makes a big difference to your confidence at work.

Your team spends a lot of time together, so forging a social team culture could help them work better together. Start organizing social events, lunches, away days and other activities outside of the office that can help break down some of the formality and develop a strong team bond.

Reward

Rewarding your employees is more than just giving them incentives for doing good work. Teams like to feel valued and when their hard work is recognized, they’re motivated to continue to do great work. There are different ways to reward employees, but recognizing their contribution is one of the most important elements.

It’s easy for a business to focus on and react to what’s gone wrong, but by working out what’s gone right and acknowledging that, you’ll help create a more positive working culture that cares about achieving the company’s goals.

Communicate effectively

Communication is at the heart of developing an effective team. Making sure that knowledge is shared with everyone is important, and stops resentment from developing. It also helps teams to trust each other.

Regular meetings are important to help your team to share ideas, best practice as well as identify areas where help and support are needed. Many businesses are also focusing on developing open-plan working areas that help build collaborative and creative work environments.

You can also make the most of modern tools to help you improve your teamwork. Collaborative online tools can help teams update their progress easily, while also making it easier for employees across different locations to keep in touch. Many of these tools are free and can make a great fit for your business.

While having strong individuals will help your business to succeed, it’s not enough to have everyone work independently. Ensuring that your team works well together will make your employees more productive, as well as help foster a more creative and cohesive work culture. From team building to making your work-space more collaborative, focus on bringing your team together and start achieving your business’ goals.

How to Protect Your Small Business Online

So, your small business is up and running and you’re ready to build your customer base. The problem is, you’ve left your business vulnerable by not doing what’s needed to protect it online. Just as you would protect your personal data online, you must do the same for business. So, what do you need to do in order to protect your business?

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Social Media

As a business owner, it’s important to make sure your social media account is protected. Social media is one of the best ways to market a business to a specific target audience, but there are also precautions to take as well. For example, who gets to speak on behalf of the business? Adding admin to your site should be something that’s carefully considered. Anyone that does work for the business with admin privileges should sign an NDA agreement stating that every conversation that happens on social media should remain private. Setting out social media guidelines for employees will ensure your business stays safe.

Passwords

You don’t need to be a genius to know that setting passwords is a big part of internet security, with for personal or business reasons. What many businesses fail to do is change passwords periodically. The last thing you want is a past employee being able to gain access to business accounts five years after leaving the company. Make sure employees know not to write down passwords or use them outside of the office or on devices that aren’t meant for business use. Create passwords that aren’t easily recognizable by others, with capital letters, numbers and different characters.

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Cyber Security

What’s stopping a hacker from infiltrating your business? Often times, small businesses are a main target for hackers because they’re more likely to be vulnerable. Therefore, working with a company like Cybersecurity Solutions could be the best thing you ever do. Don’t be foolish enough to put your blood, sweat and tears into building a business and forget to protect everything you’ve built. Without those securities in place, a hacker could easily gain access to your business, customers data, bank account information and much more.

Educate Employees

The implications and consequences of losing client and customer data is becoming more than most businesses can handle. So, if you don’t want to end up in court because of a data breach, your employees need to know how to handle data properly. Up to 80% of data breaches are due to human error. That means employees need to be educated on regulatory requirements.

Use Common Sense

No, you shouldn’t open that strange document that’s sent from a person you don’t know. No, that Saudi prince isn’t going to give you $10,000 if you do him favour. Sometimes, protecting your business is just about using your common sense. If it looks a bit dodgy, the odds are that it is. It’s also important to let others know if you come across something that’s potentially viral.

There are so many elements to building a successful business and security is one of them.

Bring Your Own Device Policies: What Are They And Why Does Your Business Need One?

Bring your own device policies are becoming more common in so many businesses. Everybody has their own laptops, tablets, and phones that they can use to work on the go or use around the office alongside their work computers. A lot of businesses have concerns about bring your own device policies because they worry that people will just get distracted and spend all of their time scrolling through social media instead of working. There are also issue with security because if people are accessing company documents on a device that isn’t very secure, you risk data loss. However, as long as you have good rules in place about what people can use their own devices for and you make sure that they have the right security software installed, bring your own device policies can be incredibly beneficial. These are just some of the reasons that you should consider it in your own business.

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Ease Of Use

Everybody uses computers in their own way. On your home computer or tablet, you probably have it set up just how you like it. But on a work computer, you have to work with what you’re given. It’s not a huge issue but most employees find that it’s easier to use their own device with the settings as they like it, rather than using a company device that somebody else has set up. That means that people will be a bit more productive than they would if they were just using their work devices.

Remote Working

Remote working is one of the biggest benefits of bring your own device policies. In the past, people could only access work documents while they were in the office. But if you’re using good cloud computing services, people can access their work from anywhere as long as they’ve got an internet connection. That means people can easily catch up on work when they’re at home and collaborate with people that are out of the office. It’s also great if your staff need to go out of the office to meet clients because they can easily access any information that they might need during meetings.

Reduced Costs

You can’t get away from the fact that all of your employees need a range of devices to work on. The business world is becoming more fluid, people are increasingly working outside of the office and business hours extend outside of the traditional 9 to 5. If you have to cover the cost of computers for everybody as well as mobile devices, that’s going to cost you a lot of money. However, if people can just use their own phones for work, you’ll save a lot of money. This is particularly useful for smaller businesses that are trying to cut costs. The setup costs of an office can be very high and technology is a big part of that. But you don’t really need to buy any computers at all if you just let employees bring their own laptops in and provide them with all of the software that they need.

If you haven’t got a bring your own device policy in place already, you should definitely consider it because it is so beneficial to your business.   

Equipping Your Business on a Budget

Equipping a business with everything it needs can be a costly task. Make a mistake and buy the wrong product and the problem will just be compounded. It is important to save money wherever possible when buying equipment, not waste it on an incorrect purchase. You also need to understand the financing deals you can choose from, as some of them are very good while others will up the cost a great deal.

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Leasing And Renting

Before you sign any sort of rental or lease contract, you need to read the small print about the terms and conditions.

Usually, with a rental agreement, you never own equipment and you just pay the rent for as long as the agreement you have signed stipulates. It is worth shopping around with rentals, as often the dealers will have special offers if you choose to rent from them.

A lease is slightly different in that you pay the agreed amount for the term of the lease and then at the end of it, you can be given the option to purchase the equipment at a reduced price. However, the company leasing to you will also take it back and let you have the latest version with a new lease. You are basically paying for the equipment over the term of the lease, and when you come to renew, the value of the used product is knocked off the new lease.

Consider Used Equipment

Buying used equipment can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars, especially if you are after several pieces. Take a look at online auction sites or some of the best western auction houses, which specialize in industrial equipment to see if they have what you are after in one of their sales. Because they are used does not mean they have reached the end of their life and there is often bargains to be had if you look in the right places. Just consider when a company goes bankrupt, for example, a sale could include equipment from them that is no more than a few months old. Some of it could be perfect for your business and buying used is definitely worth considering.

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Look Out For Special Deals

Sign up for newsletters for anyone you might purchase equipment from. Often, these are the first place they will show any special offers they have, as they want to encourage customer loyalty. Keep your eyes open for sales and special discount codes as this can give you a significant saving towards the cost of new equipment.

Do Not Be Afraid To Walk Away

Never be afraid to walk away from a deal. You have to remember that the supplier wants your business, just as you need the sales from your customers. Sometimes, if they see that you are about to walk away from a deal they will make you a better offer just to get the sale. If they won’t, there are not many items you can only buy from one place and you should look elsewhere if a supplier will not give you the deal you are after.

Running a business successfully is all about making profits, and you do not want to give those profits away by overspending on new equipment.

7 Important SEO Tips for Entrepreneurs

The elements that pertain to a solid SEO strategy are not necessarily obvious or straightforward – but are not to o difficult and anyone can master them. It is necessary that every website owner be intentional about learning the different practices of a well-optimized website to come up with a SEO strategy that fits you and your site.

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Once you comprehend the basics of SEO, then you are at a better place to face your competitors and compete for the first page of Google, as well as the largest market share. Here are some of the most important SEO tips that you need to know:

Links – both inside and out to relevant content

In SEO, you cannot thrive alone. Linking out to other sites seems like the wrong thing to do – but works to your advantage in the long run. Once you have identified websites with relevant information to your post, add a link and it can give relevancy to your content. It shows you care to provide value to your visitors – which builds trust and confidence in your professionalism as a brand.

You will want to add links to internal articles on your sites that are connected. This will show users other relevant content. Look into adding a no-follow to that link out. It allows the user to get to more content – without jeopardizing your “Google Juice“.

Maximize your page speed

The internet has gained popularity because of its ability to bring people and content together around the world. Anything that slows down the pace of the internet is bad. People expect things in an instant, which is why your pages must appear to load fast.

If a page takes more than 3 seconds to load – its slow. If you want your audience to stick around – maximize your page speed. You can turn to browser caching, compressing media and file sizes, as well as getting rid of unnecessary ads, widgets, and sidebars. Since Google already announced page speed as an essential metric for ranking, the faster your pages are, the higher your position of Google’s search rankings.

Mobile is taking over the world

Whether or not you are new to the virtual world, you must have realized that mobile technology has gone viral, with the largest part of the internet population accessing the web through mobile devices.

Acknowledging mobile will help you understand your target audience. Optimize your website so it is mobile friendly. Images need to be sized for mobile too. Cut down or eliminate ads that take over the screen – this is bad.

Audit your Website

Many webmasters correctly handle site optimization but overlook auditing their sites. An SEO audit is the only way you can ascertain that the efforts you are putting on are paying off while checking for errors that may sabotage your expected success.

You also want to keenly follow up with your performance against other platforms and brands. A great way to get started is by using SEO Tracking software. The results will not be instant – this takes time.

Build a solid internal link structure

SEO is about getting the word out there that your brand exists and you have a lot of value to offer people. Internal linking entails adding links of your previous content on a current piece of work. It allows you to point your target audience and search engines towards more of the work you have created that is relevant to the current topic.

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It is a great way to get more of your web pages accessed by the visitors, as well as provide more information for search engines to crawl. Focus on the web pages that have received minimum traffic, as a way to get more views.
Write for your audience first, and search engines second
Once you get tangled on the processes of SEO, there is a temptation to go all out into pleasing search engines. Much as you may do right by search engines, if your audience is not happy, then you are losing instead of winning.

A great starting point is the keywords you choose. Do not be too hasty to select popular keywords because they are trending are ranking first for Google searches, but rather those that your target audience would be looking for in your industry. Prefer the use of long-tail keywords which will capture the intent of your target audience, instead of manipulating Google to rank you first. Remember, if your audience loves you, then Google will love you too.

Improve your user experience

Perfect user experience is one way to keep your audience happy, and coming back to your site. The facets of user experience are all those that make your website appealing, navigable, readable, among others. Your copy should be well-written, with a natural flow, as your images remain of high quality and relevant to the topic matter.

Ensure also that your page speed is maximum as earlier mentioned, your site is easily navigable, and any minor and major errors are sorted out. The most important thing is to ascertain that there are no 404-page errors and unnecessary redirects, which repel your visitors.

Overall, SEO is a process that calls for patience, professionalism, and consistency. With the few tips explained, you should develop a strong SEO strategy that will help you get started on your optimization needs.