4 things to consider before starting an IT business

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Did you perhaps complete an IT or computer related qualification? Well, why not start your own IT firm? Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to get started. There is a lot of uncertainty and risk that comes along with starting your own business. If you ask any successful IT professional how they find it to work for themselves, they’re likely to tell you that the satisfaction of working for yourself can make it worthwhile.

Finding and starting your own company is all about motivation. Every successful business owner has a story about how and why they started their company. That story usually includes the tribulations, milestones, pitfalls and successes they faced along the way. Although every company has a different story, the businesses that reach success tend to have taken similar pivotal steps. So, when looking to start your business, those are the kinds of companies you should approach for advice.

As an IT consultant, you should provide expert advice in a wide range of fields. Your services might also be needed to counsel a startup computer company or simply provide technical support to your clients. Like any other business, starting your own IT firm can be overwhelming. So, here are a few things you need to consider before being your own boss.

What can you offer?

Before creating your business cards, you need to think about the services you’ll offer prospective clients. Don’t think you need to be an expert in all things IT to start your business. The good thing about this industry is that you can learn as time goes on. In fact, the more work you do or practice you get, the more successful you could be. There are likely to be other IT consultants in your area. So, check what they’re offering their clients and do something they don’t offer. You should basically find a niche you do better than others and focus on that expertise. Perhaps there was a section in your information technology course you were good at, so why not specialise in that? Specialising in this kind of industry is where the money is at.

Before getting too hung up on the money, think again. Ask yourself whether you’re in it for the money or the love of the work. If you’re starting this business for the money, well, you won’t get very far. Most businesses are succeeding because they are doing it for the love of the work. So, take a look at the things you excel in and offer that to prospective clients.

Create your business plan

Unfortunately, no business will succeed without a detailed business plan. Before you think too far ahead about how you’ll be as an entrepreneur and how you’ll make money, you should put together a business plan. Be clear with the services your IT company will offer. Also, state how you plan to find new clients and what you’ll charge for your services. Just make sure you don’t undersell yourself. Many consultants make the mistake of setting their prices too low. Remember that your business has to make a profit. You’ll also have fees that you’ll have to cover, such as rent, equipment maintenance and employment taxes. If you’re not sure how to create a detailed business plan, approach other successful businesses. There are also many online tools you can use.

Prepare yourself for long hours

You’ll be working for yourself now. So, that means you aren’t likely to work office hours only. You might have to work overtime. Are you willing to put in the extra hours? Many IT professionals who’ve made the switch from employee to self-employed did it in stages. Some people usually stay at their full-time job while getting their business off the ground. And starting your own business might not happen within a few days, it might take months or even years. So, before going the entrepreneurial route, ask yourself whether you’re willing and able to log some long hours. You should spend way more than 40 hours per week running your business. You’ll soon realise starting your own firm isn’t a regular job. And yes, it offers increased flexibility but also more responsibility.

Think about the nitty-gritty details

When you’ve mapped out what you’ll be offering and written your business plan, it’s time to think about the day-to-day logistics of running your IT business. Do you have office space or will you work from home? It’s important to make sure you have all the necessary equipment. You should know what you need and that you have those items included in your budget. You should be able to multitask. You maybe won’t have any employees yet, so you should be able to do a little bit of everything. Think about all these things and create a to-do or check list. That way you’ll have everything organised.

There are a lot more steps and things you should do in order to run a successful IT business. Take these four tips into consideration as they’ll give you a solid base to start working for yourself.

Do you have what it takes to succeed in sales?

 

To be or not to be that is the question. You may be considering a career in sales but you’re not sure if you’re the right fit. Your hesitation could come from all the negative stories you’ve heard about the profession. And now you’re just not sure you’ll make the cut. You should do an introspection and ask yourself if you have what it takes. Are you fanatical about making a sale? Do you not take no for an answer? Do you have an outgoing personality? If you answered yes to these questions then sales could be for you.

Here are a few things you should know before pursuing a sales career path

Pressure

There are people who thrive under pressure while some just crumble under it. When you’re a salesperson you’ll deal with intense pressure because you’ll have to meet daily targets and deadlines. In order to perform well you need to know how to manage stress.

Communication skills

A good salesperson needs to have good communication skills. They need to master the art of conversation. For instance, you shouldn’t dominate a conversation, you should give room for the other person to have their say.

These are the 4 barriers to effective communication:

Using technical language – if you use acronyms and technical jargon which is only relevant to your profession then your customers might not understand you. You should be clear and concise when you make your sales pitch.

Lack of concern – if you show a lack of empathy towards the customer you won’t persuade them to purchase what you’re selling.

Judging the other person – a major block to communication is criticising or belittling another person. If you want to influence your customers and grow sales, then you should avoid judging them when you’re talking to them.

Lack of attention – You need to make the customer the centre of your universe. And the best way to do that is to pay attention to what the customer is saying and listen to them.

Great Listener

A salesperson needs to have good listening skills. You need to give your undivided attention to your client. Scrolling through your phone or interrupting a customer while they’re talking isn’t likely to score you brownie points. Focus on what they’re trying to convey in order to cater to their needs. If you don’t listen to the customer then you’re not likely to win them over and understand what they want.

Outgoing personality

Extroverted personalities are often talkative and thrive in social settings and make amazing salespeople. A salesperson has to be a people’s person and be able to form relationships quickly.

Be positive

Personality sells. People are attracted to warm, positive people. A salesperson should be energetic and have a radiant personality. The friendlier you are the more people will be drawn to you and be able to open up.

Confidence in your product

If you want to have the customer eating out the palm of your hands, you need to be confident about the item you’re selling. You need to believe in the product and its value in order to successfully persuade your customers. And if you’re not confident, you’ll instil doubt in the mind of the customer you’re trying to persuade.

Willingness to improve

You should be willing to improve on your craft. No matter how good a person is at something, there’s always room for improvement. And a good salesperson knows that. You could buy books, read articles and attend seminars. Acquiring more knowledge will help enhance your skills. The more you learn about sales, the more you’ll be able to influence others.

Persistence

A great salesperson knows that even when the going gets tough, they shouldn’t give up. They know they should persevere even when faced with challenges and obstacles. You need to be able to bounce back even though you had bleak sales in the previous month. When you’re a salesperson you’ll deal with ups and downs and you need to know how to keep yourself motivated through those times.

Achievement orientated

A salesperson needs to be fixated on reaching their goals each day. Always keep your eye on the prize and be achievement orientated. Your aim should be doing better than your previous records and others in the team.

Whether you’re studying a marketing course or just want to pursue a career in sales, you need to determine if you’re the right fit. Otherwise you’ll be frustrated and lack motivation. As a salesperson you’ll need to be confident, persistent and have a strong desire to win.  

 

The importance of employee safety

All businesses should have a safety programme in place. After all, your employees are your most valuable asset. This programme should be a strategy that you follow to prevent any work-related injuries. As the owner or manager, it’ll be your responsibility to ensure your employees are safe in the workplace.

If a serious workplace injury happens, it can change the lives of others forever. So it’s important to prevent it at all cost. If you have a health and safety programme in place, it’ll play a big role in reducing workplace accidents. Some companies have on-the-job safety training included in their company policies. While other businesses have a person or a group of workers designated as the safety team of the company. It doesn’t matter what procedures your company follows, as long as you have a safety policy in place.

Here are a few reasons why safety is important in the workplace.

Reducing injuries

Implementing a health and safety programme is the best way to reduce the compensation costs of your workers. This is for both direct and indirect costs. Indirect will usually be the cost of hiring, retraining, overtime and the loss of productivity while direct will be things like insurance premiums. So, it’s important to make workplace safety a top priority.

An injury on the job will cost the company in lost work hours that could possibly lead to litigation. You’re also likely to lose productivity when coworkers have to stop to deal with the injury. Even if you send the injured employee home or to a hospital, coworkers may be distracted. They might end up taking time off from work in the aftermath of the incident. It’s clear that even a single injury can have a debilitating affect on your business.

Create loyal workers

If your employees see that there’s a safety programme in place, they’ll immediately feel safe. And when you have safe workers you have loyal and faithful employees. Absenteeism amongst employees can be a major obstacle for many businesses. But if you create a healthy and safe work environment, you’ll likely reduce those issues.

It’s recommended to put health and safety in your budget. That way you can make safety improvements when necessary and even make safety part of your operational plan. You’ll soon notice that you create a feeling of trust. If you want to win employees over even more, involve them in health and safety decisions. This can be done through reporting, committees, workshops or meetings. You’ll show that their opinion matters and will add value to the final decision. It’ll also mean you care about their well-being.

Safety improves quality

Businesses that put employee safety first usually turn out to produce high-quality work. Their employees feel safe and thus give their best performance. And a safe workplace tends to be a more efficient one. So you might want to consider installing turnstiles at your entrance, to ensure extra employee safety. When workers work in a clean, well-organised environment, they’re able to reduce distractions and focus on the job at hand. And thus produce quality work. Health and safety in the workplace is more than legislation. It’s about creating a productive, well-organised and inspiring workplace everyone would like to be part of.

So, what should you do?

Promote teamwork

You might be the manager or person in control of the company but you won’t be able to implement a health and safety programme on your own. You’ll need the help of your coworkers and work together as a team. Ask your employees whether they would like to be a part of it and make it a team effort. You’ll also need to get health and safety coordination going with other businesses. These will be companies which you come in contact with, such as your clients and suppliers. It’s important to build commitment to safety throughout your staff.

Implement the programme immediately

Taking action on health and safety right away can make a big contribution to the success of your business. It won’t only help with workplace accidents but also reduce accident losses and improve your profit and loss statement. You shouldn’t think that accidents won’t happen to you. The last thing you want is for things to go wrong and then run for a quick fix. You’ll then have to do that every time a workplace accident occurs. Instead, why not build a health and safety programme from the start? Don’t delay this as the safety of your employees always comes first.

As an employer, start by taking these five steps to help avoid workplace injuries and promote employee health.

7 Problems you’ll face as a new entrepreneur

In soccer, the coach will plan ahead on how they’ll tackle the season. They’ll find the best team players, build a strategy and analyse their opponents. And you’ll need to apply the same strategies for your business. Just like soccer, you’ll need hard work, the capacity to tackle your problems head on and the ability score points. And as a business owner, you need to be prepared for any eventualities which may come your way.

 

Here are a few challenges you’ll face as an entrepreneur.

 

To leave or not to leave

The saying goes: don’t quit your day job. but a business requires your full-time commitment. You may be a full-time employee and have a part-time business. It may be that you’re scared to take the risk and jump in with both feet. Or maybe you just want to test out the market first. Unfortunately, most businesses require a great deal of time, energy and resources in order for them to take off.

 

If you’re working on the business part time you’ll have less time to fully market it and implement strategies which will keep it afloat. If you’re not prepared to leave your job, then you’ll need to have the self-discipline and time management skills to be able to balance both.

 

Make sacrifices

A new business demands the time and energy of the owner. You’ll have to sacrifice a lot of personal time in order to build a successful business. You might need to work on the weekend and cut back on sleep so your business can grow.

 

Pick the right business

If your business doesn’t meet customer needs, then it is fruitless. You need to build a business which will help customers. You can’t choose to build a business based solely on your passions. Your business should improve people’s lives and they should be interested in it. You need to do thorough market research in order to find out if your product or service offered has a market demand and if it will be sustainable in the long run. If you build a business which has no market, you’ll ultimately lose money and run the risk of going into debt.

 

Financing a business can be hard. And you may have to borrow money in order to establish your business. For example, You could be a farmer who needs agricultural finance to lease land, buy crops or cover the whole agricultural chain. You can raise funds, or get loans or investors who will help finance your business.

 

Great employees build a business

The other challenge of building your business is picking the right team. You’ll need to sift through CVs and interview potential candidates to help establish your business. The task may seem tedious and time-consuming. But it’s an important step for building a thriving company. The people you select for your business could make or break it.

 

Lonely on top

As the CEO of your business, you’ll have to live and breathe your company because a lot is at stake. Your employees clock off at a certain time but a CEO’s mind is still running long after the clock strikes 5pm. You’re either thinking of new marketing strategies or worried about up-and-coming competitors. And others may not fully understand the pressure and burden which lies on your shoulders. Not only are you responsible for building a thriving company, but you need to keep both your clients and employees happy.

 

Don’t give up

You’ll get discouraged and tired at some point. When you establish a business, you’ll go through a roller coaster of emotions. One month the sales may be up and business will be booming and the next your sales could be down. And you need to be motivated and keep going when the going gets tough. Unfortunately, business profits are always up and down and you need to able to push through the hard times. Otherwise, you may find yourself giving up too quickly.

 

Lack of marketing strategies

Another challenge an entrepreneur can face is the inability to market the business. If you don’t know how to get the word out about your business, it is bound to fail. People need to know about your business and what it is in order for it to succeed. A business needs to have a marketing plan which will target key customers and help keep the brand visible.

 

Starting a business from scratch isn’t easy. And, as a business owner, you’ll face many challenges, such as uncertainty, finding the best employees and searching for ways to finance your business.

Requirements needed to be a good security guard

 

Security guards play an important role in keeping a place secure. They help protect schools, banks, building complexes and businesses. And in order to do a proficient job, they need to be equipped with the best training and equipment.

Here are a few basic requirements a security guard should have.

Health

A security guard needs to be fit. They need to exercise regularly and be in a healthy weight range. If they find themselves huffing and puffing after a short run, they won’t perform optimally. They need to be in the best physical shape.

A keen eye for detail

They need to have an eye for detail and be able to notice anything missing or that shouldn’t be at a certain place. By doing so, they could be able to detect if anyone is stealing from the company. They also need to carry a pen and notepad with them in order to jot down any strange activity which they may encounter.

Reports

They need to have a good memory because they’ll need to remember details about incidents which have occurred during their shift and be able to report them in detail. The better the memory the security guard has, the easier their job will be. They’ll also need to remember names, and people’s faces.

Checking and monitoring

A security guard needs to make sure all the rules are obeyed. For example, visitors coming into the building could enter a mantrap where they’ll be scanned for weapons. If the visitors fail the scan, they won’t be allowed to pass through the facility. And the guards need to take the necessary measures to control the situation.  

Good eyesight

A security guard needs to have a 20/20 vision. They should have excellent long distance vision and be able to see well at night. They are the eyes and ears of the building and they need to take note of any incidents they witness.

These are the essential equipment a security guard needs:

Boots

Security guards spend a large portion of their time on their feet. They may have to patrol and survey a place. So, they need to have comfortable boots which they can wear for long periods of time. Rubber sole boots are usually better than leather sole boots as they are more comfortable and offer better support. The boots they wear will have an impact on how sore their feet are at the end of the day and it could also affect their back. They should also be durable and high quality so they can last for a long time. If they’re low quality, they’ll have to be replaced more frequently.

Baton

A security guard will also need a baton to protect themselves and the people around them. The presence of a baton is also likely to deter any perpetrators who want to cause trouble.  

Flashlight

Every security guard needs a flashlight to assist them. They will need to be able to see at night, especially in the areas which have poor lighting. A flashlight can also be used as a weapon to protect themselves if they don’t have a baton around. The security guard should be trained on how to use the flashlight as a weapon before they use it.

Duty belt

Carrying items in your hands while running after a perpetrator is unrealistic. Which is why security guards should have a duty belt. A duty belt will help them carry keys, flashlights and gloves. The duty belt is a necessity for the security guard because it makes things easier and they’ll have everything they need at their disposal.

Gloves

Security guards should be equipped with gloves. They should have latex gloves and heavy duty gloves. An emergency might arise where they may need to perform first aid. The security guard will need to have latex gloves at his disposal in order to help out. The security guard will also spend time patrolling the place at night, in harsh winter temperatures and they’ll need heavy duty gloves to protect them from the cold.

Pepper spray

Most security guards don’t carry guns around and when a perpetrator approaches them they need to be ready with something which will deter them. Pepper spray is a good tool to use on anyone who attacks them. Pepper spray is an excellent self-defence tool because although it temporarily blinds the perpetrator, it does not cause permanent damage like a gun would. Pepper spray could help the security guard in a life and death situation.

In order for a security guard to do their work as efficiently as possible, they need to be highly trained, be fit and healthy and have the right equipment.