Prepare Your Business Better For All Outcomes

Being prepared for everything in business can mean the difference between success and failure. If you do not adequately set your business up ready for any outcome, then you will struggle when that outcome does eventually arise. And arise it shall, of course.

There are many things to consider when thinking about what you need to prepare for. And these factors stretch from how you look after your data, all the way to how you care for your employees. A happy office is a productive office, and a workplace that feels secure is one that will be open to trying new things.

Data Protection

Ensuring that you have the adequate measures in place to keep your company and client information secure is essential towards maintaining trust in both your employees and your investors and customers. Too often nowadays do we see reports of hackers obtaining critical information from supposed multinationals and putting people’s lives and money at risk.

Looking towards the future of disaster recovery then is imperative in taking measures to keep everything secure and not having to start from scratch should someone manage to break through encryption processes. Hacking has been a thing for years, but now we see more instances than ever. Do not let your company fall foul of these people.

Health and Safety

Health and safety in the workplace is something that brings eye rolls and groans to any team meeting. However, ensuring proper health and safety procedures means that you will not have to worry about any potential dangers or accidents that may occur during office hours.

Of course, accidents happen and so it is a challenge to make sure that everyone is okay all of the time. But that doesn’t mean you can scrimp on making your employees feel safe. If someone is injured at work, that is your responsibility, whether or not you were at fault. Save your company the hassle of potential lawsuits and do your absolute best to make sure everyone is safe and sound.

Employee Happiness

Keeping your employees happy and satisfied in their jobs can be difficult. Everyone starts out wanting to do their best for the company, however, after a while this drive can lead to a feeling of monotony.

Without feeling challenged, you run the risk of breeding a toxic culture in your office. Furthermore, you need to consider their mental well being which is never as evident as physical issues. Speak to others and let themselves be heard when discussing office improvements, and find ways in which you can make their office life a much more enjoyable experience, without having to bend to their every whim.

Failing to Prepare

Is preparing to fail. Yes, it’s a cliche that we all know and gets banded around as some sort of stock phrase, but it wouldn’t be a cliche without a ring of truth to it. Ensuring that you look at the bigger picture when wanting to grow your business and not merely focus on one or two areas for improvement will save you from the danger of stagnation.

Happy employees, healthy employees, and a robust security system are essential to keeping your business ready for any eventuality. Furthermore, building a culture of preparedness will run off on those around you and inspire them to innovate new ways of solving problems, whatever they may be.

Why Your Micromanaging Tendencies Are Slowly Destroying Your Business

Micromanagement is a word that often comes up when we talk about bad bosses. Of course, a little bit of micromanagement isn’t the end of the world and in some cases can help you keep your employees on track. However, if you let that power get to your head and you start to focus too much on their tasks and not your own, it’s going to slowly kill your business and, before you know it, you’ll end up without a business to run.

Micromanagement is one of the most common causes of a lack of ideas and creativity within the business. Image Source

What are the signs of micromanagement?

To being with, let’s take a look at some classic signs of micromanagement.

 

  • Micromanagers will always integrate themselves into other people’s projects. This usually means that a micromanaging boss cannot trust their employees with a task, even if it has nothing to do with the boss themselves. This is usually a sign that you have no faith in your employees and is a problem that will fester and create problems in the future.
  • Micromanagers discourage new ideas being formed due to their overbearing grip on their business. If you’ve ever worked in a company where the manager has a final say on everything then it’s another sign that they lack faith in their employees. If you want to show loyalty to your employees, you need to trust them to form new ideas instead of always following your orders.
  • Micromanagers will insert themselves into every process and create a bottlenecking effect. If you have to approve of every decision then it’s only going to slow down your business. Give your employees the power to make decisions that can affect the company and it will grow their long-term relationship with you and your business instead of constantly feeling caged.

 

You can probably already see a pattern here: micro-managers have a lack faith in their employees. In order to tackle this, we need to focus on what makes micromanagement happen in the first place and what you can do to overcome it as a habit.

Improving the relationship with your employees

As mentioned already, trust is a huge factor when it comes to micromanagement. In order to build more trust in your employees, you need to first identify why you don’t trust them.

 

  • Trust is a two-way street – If your employees have a lack of faith in you then it’s common for you to be distrusting of them too. During times like this, you need to focus on mending that trust by offering them reasons to be loyal to your business.
  • Promote a good balance between work and leisure – Don’t just talk about work all the time in the office. Give your employees time to enjoy themselves as well and don’t force them to work all the time in the office.
  • Recognize their efforts – Even if an employee doesn’t reach the expectations you set for a task, at least recognize their efforts and understand that they tried to help your business.

 

Breaking free from the shackles of micromanagement

Once you’ve established how you can rebuild your relationship with your customers, it’s time to actively break free from those micromanaging tendencies, and we’ve got some fantastic solutions to get you started

For starters, consider employee shift scheduling software if you find that you’re constantly unable to assign shifts correctly. If you ever mess something like this up, then it can severely harm the trust that your employees have in you and they might find you to be incompetent and not worth believing in. Not only does this help build trust, but it also means you personally don’t need to constantly assign shifts since a computer can do it for you.

Being more open to your employees is another great way to improve your relationships with them and get rid of micromanaging tendencies. If you’re transparent about changes to your projects or your workflow, then your employees can adapt to it (as long as those changes are for a good reason) and they’ll feel like they are a part of your business instead of being a disposable employee.

Some final words to keep in mind

As you can see, trust is a major factor when it comes to micromanaging tendencies and it’s important to focus on building a good working relationship with your employees. It will help you be more efficient, it will boost productivity and it will help you become a successful company.

Get In The Black: 5 Ways To Get A Business Out Of Debt

There are various reasons why businesses get into debt. Poor financial management is a biggie, though profits may not arrive as quickly as hoped, either. Many businesses are also founded on debt, with money borrowed to expand and grow. Whatever the reason, debt is a hole that a business manager needs to climb out of. Failure to do so may result in bankruptcy and the closure of the business, and in the majority of cases, that has to be the last resort.

Thankfully, there are solutions. Should you own a business, and debt is something you are all too aware of, the following are some of the ways you can raise money and keep your doors open for longer. If your business is currently in the black, it’s still worth taking note of the advice given.

Increase sales

We are talking about increasing online sales quickly, and getting the business out of a financial jam. A concerted effort needs to be made to improve sales, such as selling off excess stock at a discount price, offering promotions, and using affiliate marketing programs. With hard work and savvy business planning, it is possible to boost income and pay off those debts sooner than later.

Take out a short-term loan

Taking out another loan may not be an option a business manager is willing to take, especially if they are already struggling with debt. Still, if money is needed in a hurry, online companies such as OneMain Financial may be the answer. It may cover staff salaries and overhead costs, essential if there are absolutely no other sources of money coming in. A short-term loan is also better than taking out another long-term loan, avoiding binding contracts and high-interest rates.

Consolidate loans

You need to be careful with this option, as you need to make sure you are paying back less money each month than before. Some debt consolidation companies charge large fees, for example. Still, it is worth shopping around as this is a viable option for those making payments to several lenders a month. Whether a credit card or loan company is chosen, it is important to look for low-interest rates, thus consolidating any loans into one easier to pay monthly payment.

Cut business costs

Budgeting is essential for all businesses, and there may be areas where expenses can be cut down. While redundancy is the last thing any business owner (or staff member) wants, it may have to be a necessary evil if funds are dry. Of course, there are other ways to cut costs before this happens, whether that’s cutting down on inessential resources, or moving to another office building and paying less rent. Hiring the services of an accountant should also be considered, ensuring any financial decision is a wise one. Any money saved can then be used towards paying off the ongoing debts.

Sell business assets

In some cases, this is a last resort option. Many business assets, such as computer equipment or machinery, are essential for the day to day running of the business. Still, if anything isn’t being utilized on a regular basis, it may be worth selling them, thus making money to pay off any outstanding debts. The other option is a ‘leaseback agreement,’ where the business owner makes money by selling something, but then rents the item back. This way, the debt is covered with the sale of the asset, but productivity doesn’t have to be delayed for long if the asset can then be loaned back to the business.

Finally

Debt is hard to get rid of, but the steps above may offer a solution to the business manager. Of course, it’s important to make sure things don’t spiral out of control again, so diligent financial management and a concerted marketing push need to be the priority going forward.

Art of Social Media Marketing

Social media has a place for marketers to advertise about their company and draw in prospective customers. With people spending more time on these platforms, everything seems to align for companies to use social media marketing as an advertising platform.

An increase in opportunities creates an increase in competition. For a company to get noticed, it’s essential they have a well-defined strategy.

Selecting your Target Audience

Do not target the entire audience on the platform.  You need to define the audience.  Zone in on your well defined niche. Ideas for zooming in – region of the target audience, sex, age, geographic location and other interests are great places to start.

  • Which platform is your target audience is using?
    Your target audience would be having a major presence on only a few social media sites and as such there’s no benefit to you in going beyond those sites.
  • How many platforms can you manage?
    There might be 5-6 platforms where your audience is! But, can you be active on all those platforms too? This is the question you need to ask yourself before creating an account on a social media platform.
  • Is it possible for you to make the content for the platform you are choosing?
    Making content for a social media is not an easy task. Therefore, you must decide the platforms on which your company would be capable of making content, regularly.

Your Social Media Profile

For each social media platform you will need to accounts.

  • Make sure the account name is a good representation of your company – so your customers can find you.
  • Use high quality photos and visually similar on all profiles – this will show familiarity for your customers.
  • Complete all fields.  The more information you add – the easier it will be for customers to find you.

Post quality content

  • Images are good – add text to images to make them stand out.
  • Videos are awesome – people love video.  Its real and engaging.
  • Live videos are the best and given high priority by Facebook.
  • Stories are promoted by Instagram – so get to know how these work.

Advertising

Your social media marketing plan will need to include some advertising.

  • Set an appropriate budget.
  • Define your target audience.
  • Track your results by each of the above so you can see what works for you and your brand.

Import Notes

  • Always define time parameters for your ads.
  • Every platform has some different rules regarding ads.  Example: Facebook prefers images with 20% or less of text.
  • A/B testing is more important as the budget goes up.

Maintaining interaction with the user

Social media channels are popular and the reason why people spend so much time on them.  Social media is a two-way street – it’s important that you are active and respond to what people are engaging you with.  Thank positive comments and see if you can help people with negative reviews.  Handling social media is an art and it only comes with a lot of practice.

 

 

Author Bio:
Campbelljof is a Creative Head for Designhill, as well as a blogger and designer. He writes on topics concerning design, eCommerce, start-ups, digital marketing, and interactive content. His creative work has earned him several laurels over the years.

10 Simple Software Ideas That Made Their Creators Millionaires

Self-made millionaires ambitious, creative and outside the box thinkers. They have turned simple software ideas to develop and built an industry. Simple software ideas have made their creators millions include the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, AddressTwo, and more.

Building a million dollar business does not take great amounts of money.  Several started out in humble circumstances and turned their ideas into something of value to make our lives better.

Simple Software Ideas to Develop

AddressTwo

Nick Carter was hired to build a customer relationship management (CRM) for a client – this is how AddressTwo was born.

AddressTwo started in 2005. After using Act, Salesforce.com and Goldmine – Nick knew that a user friendly and simple CRM was needed. Nick’s program contained marketing via email platforms and showed marketers how to format usable lists of email addresses.

Nick Carter released his software as a beta in June 2008 and now it has over 5000 users. Nick is not a software engineer, he is a marketing professional. His users are marketing professionals who need good and easy ways to control contacts. Nick is now worth over $2 million from simple software ideas.

Asana

Asana is a productivity startup company co-founded by Dustin Moskovitz.  Dustin was a co-founder of Facebook. Moskovitz paid $9000 for asana.com in 2009.  It is helping people work tougher without all the meetings, emails and communications that overpower us all.

Asana’s takes parts and connects everyone working on a project with what’s going on.  Asana’s simple software ideas turned into a program that improves the productivity of individuals and groups to increase the output. Asana is trending at over $2 million and Dustin’s $9000 investment has worked out well.

WordPress

Matthew Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, is worth over $250 million. Matthew created one of the best web platforms on the web.

WordPress is an open source blogging platform based on PHP and MYSQL.  Using plug-ins, WordPress allows users and developers to extend web ability beyond normal features.

World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Berner- Lee wrote the first web client server in 1990 and URLs, HTTP and HTML were refined as computers improved in speed and availability.

Berners-Lee is the Director of the W3C that develops inter-operable technologies with specifications, guidelines, software, and tools.

“Weaving the Web” is a must read book written by Berner-Lee. It was written for software and hardware developers. With hard work and a simple software ideas to develop, the World Wide Web is now an essential part of every individual and business life.

Google

Sergy Brin and Larry Page are co-founders of Google. Google changed the way we found web pages.

As a research project at Stanford, Page and Brin created a search engine that showed results according to keywords and popularity. They felt the most popular search results would be the most useful. After raising money from family, friends and other investors.  Page and Brin began Google in 1998. It is now the worlds most popular search engine. “Google” is now a verb listed in Webster’s Dictionary.

PHP

Rasmus Lerdorf created PHP. PHP is an open source, service side scripting language  designed for Web development. PHP helps produce dynamic web pages.

Rasmus, born in 1968, created PHP or Personal Home Page (now Hypertext Preprocessor).  He created a set of CGI binaries, written in the C programming language. This language was developed as personal code to display Rasmus’ resume and record his web page traffic.

PHP is known as a general purpose scripting language that runs on a web server and is open source, which means PHP is free of charge.  The PHP Group provides the complete source code for users to customize for their own use.

Rasmus’ ideas that came from a simple need to keep his own personal pages and resume under control is now one of the most used features in computing, transferring pages, and reading HTML code.

Amazon

In 1994 Jeff Bezos saw the possibility of using Internet to sell books. Users were just beginning Internet usage for ecommcerce.  Taking electronic lists of goods from major companies, Bezos compiled lists in a central location, developed a search system, and Amazon was born.

Bezos quit his lucrative Wall Street job and moved to Seattle. Bezos is worth billions and Amazon is the most well known online company. Amazon and Jeff Bezos are involved in business models, e-commerce, affiliate marketing and just about every web-available purchase.

LivingSocial

Living Social began as “Buy a Friend a Drink” and is now an online-bargain site. Tim O’Shaughnessy and Eddie Frederick founded LivingSocial in 2008 and today they are worth over $45 million each.

LivingSocial is a daily coupon industry.  It teams up with restaurants, spas, gyms and educational sites to offer subscribers deep discounts on good and services. Coupons come as a daily email.

O’Shaughnessy originally worked for Revolution Health and developed apps for Facebook. Early success of these apps provided LivingSocial with a million in financing and the company began to shift directions. The premise of LivingSocial is to offer discounts and convert them into a full priced customer. Establishments that sign up with LivingSocial pay the company 30 percent of the fees they take in.

LivingSocial offers incentives for its 85 million users to advertise via word of mouth. Send your friends the link and if your referrals purchase off your link, your purchase is absolutely free.

Firefox

Blake Ross born in 1985 is best known for his work on the Mozilla web browser. Ross is currently worth $150 million and is currently the product manager at Facebook.  It is open source and  a popular browser.

Firefox uses the Gecko layout to render web pages. Firefox does adhere to all anticipated web standards. October of 2012 statistics reported that approximately 25% of the worldwide web uses Firebox. This makes it the second or third most widely used web browser. There are over 450 million users around the world and Firebox is very popular in Germany and Poland.

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg is a computer programmer and internet entrepreneur, his personal net work is about $9.4 billion and rising. Zuckerberg began writing software as a hobby in middle school.

As a student at Harvard (he never graduated) Zuckerberg wrote a social media application called Facesmash that gave students on the Harvard college campus social sites to vote on the attractiveness of other students. It was quickly shut down and Zuckerberg was disciplined.

Mark Zuckerberg now had the basis for Facebook. He wrote Facebook from his dormitory room.  It was named “Facebook” in honor of The Facebook – an address book used in Zuckerberg’s private school. With success at Harvard as a model, Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz took the platform to Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia and other ivy leagues colleges to tap into their social media networks.

Facebook originally only allowed college users is now an open information platform for users of every type and community.

If you can develop and be the sole investor in multi-functioning software platforms you will have the right to sell, distribute and produce your own proprietary software. Computer design and software expansion provides an open invitation for savvy software programmers and developers to become the next millionaires.