Should you really be an entrepreneur

Many people jump on the entrepreneurship bandwagon because they think they’ll be instant millionaires and get cushy working hours. But if you become an entrepreneur for the wrong reasons, you’re bound to fail. Starting your own business is hard work and requires guts and making sacrifices. If you’re not willing to understand the markets, have the courage to execute ideas and take risks, you could lose a lot of money as well as your business.

Here are a few ways to help you decide if entrepreneurship is for you.

Talk is cheap

Actions speak louder than words. If you’re a person who’s always focused on “someday” and can’t take initiative, entrepreneurship might not be for you. Entrepreneurs are go-getters who are always doing. They are determined to see their dreams come true.

When the going gets tough

Muhammed Ali, the champion boxer, was quoted as saying, “I hated every minute of training, but I said don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” And that’s how entrepreneurs should approach every difficulty they come across. If you quit easily, then you’ll fail as an entrepreneur. Because in business it’s not a matter of if the obstacles will come but when they come. Will you be able to take the heat?

Fearless

Starting a business requires a person who can take initiative and is courageous. You’re going to face a lot of situations which require you to take a leap of faith. And if you’re not brave enough, you’ll miss out on many business opportunities.

Overnight success

Many people think they’ll start raking in the millions in the first year. But the climb to success isn’t easy and will require a lot of work. As an entrepreneur, you may not see the fruits of your labour until a later stage. Entrepreneurs have to know, in order to get a breakthrough in their business, they need to be persistent and motivated.

Lonely at the top

When you’re the CEO of a business, you’re the one in charge You’re the one who has the final say and the one who is the most invested in your business. So you may find it lonely because no one in the company truly understands the pressures you face. There are few people to share in your failures and to motivate you to get up when you’re down. Being your own boss and working for someone else is very different, as an entrepreneur your business is constantly on your mind.

Focus

You might think your idea is unique, mind-blowing and everyone will be queueing to get their hands on it. But not everyone will buy into it. However, you shouldn’t let this deter you. Colonel Sanders who started Kentucky Fried Chicken was rejected 1009 times before he found someone who believed in his recipe.  In the beginning, some people may not be on board to help you fulfill your vision. And that’s why you should be determined and focused.

Preparation

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. You have to be ready at all times and have your ducks in a row, otherwise, you could lose out on great business deals. If you aren’t prepared to spend hours studying your industry and looking for other ways to serve your customers, then being an entrepreneur might not be for you.

Capital

Whether you need funds to finance your mining equipment or invest in new property for your business, you need to find clever ways to raise money. You might have to get a business partner or explore crowd-funding. Whatever route you choose to take, it’ll take a lot of hustling to get your capital. And the question is: are you up for it?

Time

Many people have a preconception that they’ll spend their days clocking off at noon to play golf because they have flexible working hours. But the truth is, being an entrepreneur means you’ll have to work harder than anyone in your office. In fact, you’ll find yourself wearing many hats in order to keep your business thriving. You’ll have to eat and sleep your business and often spend the weekend catching up on work. You may also have to sacrifice time with your friends and family during the initial stages of building your empire.

Listen

If you can’t listen to what others have to say, your business could fail. As a business owner, you’ll come across many unsatisfied customers. And if you want your business to prosper, you’ll have to listen to what they have to say in order to satisfy their needs successfully.

Being an entrepreneur is about more than becoming your own “boss”, it’s about loving what you do and providing a product or service which will benefit your customers.

 

All the bits and pieces need for your small business CCTV setup

security guardYour business may be one of the most precious things to you. It’s taken you years to build up, employ staff, and have a constant positive turnover. If you haven’t already, it’s time to think about security for your company in order to protect it.

There a range of security methods to protect your company, from steel gates to anti-virus software. Every bit helps. Two of the most prevalent instances of business theft is that of break-ins or even staff pinching company property. It’s difficult to keep an eye on every aspect of your company 24 hours a day, but with a video security system, you can.

It’s about time you look at installing a CCTV system for your business and the surrounding building. While the initial cost may seem a little steep (depending on the kind of setup you go for), it’s important to make sure every nook and cranny is covered. Here are all the bits and pieces you will need for a CCTV setup.

Storage and recording

At the heart of any video security system is the digital video recorder (DVR). All of your cameras will be connected to this box and it houses all of the footage they record as well. Buying a decent DVR will be in your best interest. And be sure you have VuWall Video Wall Controllers so you can always see your imagery.

When choosing a DVR system, make sure to purchase one that supports external viewing via an internet connection, picture-in-picture view, and digital zoom for inspecting footage. These features are essential for your setup.

If your business is broken into or an employee is stealing from the supply closet, you will be able to keep and view records of everything that has gone on.

Hard drives

There’s a chance the DVR unit will come with a hard drive pre-installed, but these can be lower grade than what you’ll need. On average, DVRs record and store footage around the clock and thus need hard drives that are able to take the constant punishment. Standard hard drives aren’t created for lengthy usage periods, which is why companies like Western Digital created the Purple series of drives.

It will be best to speak to the company selling the DVR unit about which hard drives you’ll require. If your CCTV system is on a timer, you can get away with lower-grade drives, but remember that you can never have enough storage.

You aren’t limited to Western Digital and can inspect Seagate as well, though the former is often recommended by security specialists.

Wired and wireless cameras

You will need to decide if your security setup will benefit from wired or wireless cameras. Both solutions have their own pros and cons, which will need to be considered carefully.

Wired cameras are generally plug-and-play, which requires minimal overall setup. They also offer higher quality when recording footage. The downside is the need to wire them to different spots over the areas you want to cover. You may even need to hire a specialist in order to place and wire them.

Wireless cameras are a more convenient and elegant solution. They can be placed anywhere, as long as they’re within WiFi signal and a power outlet. The downside to wireless cameras is the degrade in recording quality the further away from the network connection they are.

Outdoor cameras

Typically, your CCTV setup will be spread across both indoor and outdoor locations. Though indoor cameras are protected from the elements, those outside won’t be. Cameras placed outdoors need to be weather resistant in order to endure the rain and high humidity. There’s no point in placing an indoor-specific camera outside if it’s going to stop functioning in winter.

Remote sensors

Depending on your company’s security needs, you may not need to have a system that records all of the time. You should take a look at CCTV cameras with motion sensors. These will only record footage if they detect movement, which will limit the amount of footage that needs to be recorded and sifted through if something goes wrong.

How to be an effective communicator

 

Communication is an important skill to learn, whether you’re in public relations or finance. It’s vital to know how to get your point across without upsetting or offending someone else in the process. Being an effective communicator will take you far in life. You’ll need it to ace that interview and land your dream job or influence your employees.

Here are key ways to improve your communication skills in the workplace.

Listening skills

Lisa Kirk, an American actress, was quoted as saying, “A gossip is one who talks to you about others, a bore is one who talks to you about himself, and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.” Listening is crucial to communication in the workplace. No one likes to speak to someone who dominates a conversation and thinks their opinions are the only ones that count. We’ve all had experiences with one-uppers, the people who always try to top your story. If your dog can do ten tricks, theirs can do 20. Listen to what others have to say and you’ll likely be able to see things from their perspective.The easiest way to be a great conversationalist is to enhance your listening skills and give your colleague your undivided attention.

Listening is a skill needed, whether you’re starting out as an intern or you’re the CEO of a major corporation.

Constructive criticism

Nobody likes to be criticised, but if it’s constructive it can help you. Criticism can go a long way into making you more productive, enhancing your skills and building your character. Be open to what others have to say and you’ll advance in the workplace. It’s important that when you make mistakes, you learn from them.

Presentation skills

At some point in time, we’ll all have to give a speech in public. It could be at a wedding or at work. And it’s a skill we should try to enhance. Some people are compelling speakers and others need tools to help them become better. Practice makes perfect. When you have to do a presentation at work, make sure you practice your speech in front of others at home first. If you fill your whole speech with um’s and ah’s and you fumble through your notes, it’ll come across as if you’re unprepared and lack confidence. And you may just find yourself wishing the ground would open up and swallow you because your presentation isn’t going as planned.

Respect

You may get into a disagreement with a colleague at some point but, even if you feel the other person is wrong, it’s important to remain respectful to create harmony in the workspace. For example, if you’re a leader and you’re rude and disrespectful to your employees, you’re not likely to influence or motivate them. Yelling and screaming at your employees will only humiliate them and make them less productive. Make sure that your tone is calm and you never raise your voice.

Remove distractions

When someone is talking to you, don’t fiddle with your phone or look around the room. The person you’re talking to could interpret your behaviour as rude. Your body language communicates a lot and may be sending a message you don’t want to convey. For example, if you talk with your head down or cross your arm or legs, you may be sending a message that you don’t want to be there.

Open mindedness

In order to be a great communicator, you have to be open to what others have to say. If you’re not open to listening to what the other person has to say, it defeats the point of the whole conversation.

Appreciation

As a leader of a group, you need to show gratitude to your employees. Showing your appreciation to your employees will motivate them to work harder and give you their absolute best.

Wording

When sending out an email at work, be careful of how you construct it. Use exclamation marks only when necessary and be careful with humour because it can easily get lost in translation. Always respond to emails in a timely manner.

Different styles

We are all unique and that’s why you should learn different styles of communication to cater for everyone’s needs, especially if you’re a leader. There are visual communicators, auditory communicators, kinesthetic communicators and auditory digital communicators. A good leader has to know how to communicate to each person in order to be an effective communicator.

Communication can be tricky because we all come from diverse backgrounds and there can easily be breakdowns in communication. It’s important to develop communication skills as they help build a successful company. Excellent communication skills will help you whether you studied a sales and marketing course or want to make a speech at your sister’s wedding.

 

Ways to provide security for your business

 

There are many obstacles your business could be facing, such as unsatisfied customers, changing markets and trends, and uncertainty about the future. And unfortunately, crime also remains a major concern for many businesses. Nowadays technology has made it easier for cybercriminals to hack into business accounts and steal from them. Businesses need to take precaution and find techniques that’ll protect them. Here are some ideas on how to protect your business.   

Security cameras

You need to have surveillance cameras with night vision set in place outside and inside your business. If your business has a security camera, it’ll deter any perpetrators. Criminals hate having an audience and they usually scout an area first before they break in. If they see a camera, they’re more likely to be deterred.

Some criminals don’t realise there are cameras and every act is captured. This footage is crucial because it serves as evidence in court.  When businesses have surveillance cameras installed in their buildings, it can help police solve the case. The police are able to identify the perpetrator by watching the videos. And they can extract other crucial evidence, such as the vehicle they were using, and the case can be solved quickly.

Security guard

Having a security guard on your premises is important because they’re the eyes and ears of the company. Security guards know the ins and outs of a building and they’ll be able to provide proper security. You just need to make sure you screen them before you allow them to guard your business.

You need to make sure they have no criminal record and are actually fit and healthy for the job. For example, if they have poor eyesight, it could be a hindrance because they’ll need to be able to see far at night. They also need to be fit as they may find themselves climbing over walls and bushes to catch the criminals. They’ll also be standing for long periods of time and need to walk around to survey the place. If they’re unfit, they may get tired quickly.

Even if you have man traps and cameras securing your business, security guards still play a vital role in protecting your business.

Alarm systems

A key way to protect your business is by installing an alarm system that’ll catch criminals off guard. It’s helpful because, even if there’s no one in your building, it’ll still be protected.

If you have signage outside warning criminals that there’s an alarm system, they could be deterred because they may feel it’s time-consuming to deactivate the system.

Let there be light

Criminals love a secluded, dark area and that’s why adequate lighting is essential to deter any criminals. You should install motion-activated flood lights which will be able to detect a human body passing by and then the detector will sound the alarm.   

Adequate lighting will also help your security guard be able to see any suspicious activity clearly.

Screen your employees

It’s not enough to just interview your employees, it’s important that you screen them as well. You need to make sure they have no criminal record.

If they do have a criminal background, they may steal from you because they’ll have inside information into how your business is run.

Shred your documents

Identity theft is a huge problem for businesses and customers. That’s why you have to shred documents because they may carry important information that criminals are seeking. If the documents have confidential information, such as identity numbers, bank account details, credit card information, addresses and phone numbers, they should be shredded.  

If you feel that it’ll be time-consuming, there are professional businesses that shred documents.

Safe

If you can’t shred some of your documents, then you should purchase a safe so you can store them for future use.

Protect your business from shoplifting

Shoplifting could cause your business to operate at a loss. Door scanners, cameras and security guards can protect your business from shoplifters. You can also minimise theft by keeping expensive items locked away in cabinets and check customer bags when they leave the store.

Another way to deter criminals is to place anti-theft signs around your shop, where they’ll be clearly visible to perpetrators. They could let the criminal know that if they’re caught, they’ll be persecuted. Research shows that if the signage has eyes in the design, it’ll dissuade the criminal.

 

Offer your employees the best benefits

crowd-1699137_960_720As a business owner, your company is top of your priority list. And you do everything you can to make sure it’s always being nurtured for growth. Most business owners find themselves faced with the daunting task of having to employ staff to keep their entity expanding. The move from being an entrepreneur operating as a one-man-show to being a business owner with employees is inevitable, albeit one of the biggest steps any entrepreneur can take.

 

The hiring process is fraught with anxiety. Finding someone or a couple of people who will be as interested and passionate about your business as yourself, seems unbelievable. But if you choose carefully and take your time with the process then you are likely to land yourself a group of employees who will help your business grow. However, it’s not as easy as simply interviewing potential employees and hoping they’ll tell you what you want to hear. You might very well find people with the right credentials that you’re after but have you got the right offer on the table?

 

The interview process is a two-way affair. Your interviewees will bring their A-game and be prepared to wow you with their credentials but they will need you to do the same. In today’s job market, while jobs are scarce and jobseekers are urgently looking to secure a position, potential employees are looking for more than just a paycheque. Business owners need to put together a package that is attractive, that offers their staff a little more than money in the bank at the end of the month.

 

Have you considered the type of benefits you can offer your staff? There are a variety of benefits that potential employees will find attractive. They are looking for a company where they can grow their career, where they are offered security and which will look good on their CV should they decide to move on. If you, as a business owner, want employees who will remain loyal to you for many years to come, you need to make it worth their while.

 

No matter that your company is still small, if you model your offer on what the bigger companies are giving their employees you’ll have a fighting chance at attracting the type of staff you want. Remuneration that includes a salary as well as benefits is often advertised as a cost-to-company (CTC) package.

 

Here are three benefits in a CTC package that prospective employees will find attractive.

 

Medical cover

 

Medical cover in any form is helpful. The average person, regardless of their wealth, finds medical cover extremely expensive. But the public healthcare system in South Africa is simply not up to scratch and relying on public healthcare can be risky. Therefore, almost every South African needs to have medical cover and finding an employer who will cover this type of insurance is first prize. As a business owner, you don’t need to choose a fully comprehensive medical aid scheme for your employees. You can choose a hospital plan or medical insurance as an option. No matter the package, if you’re covering this expense or even a portion of it for your staff, they’ll find immense value in this benefit.

 

Education

 

Most working adults are aware of the fact they should upskill themselves whenever possible. But many can’t afford to take on part-time courses. By offering education to your employees, you’re helping them with their careers holistically. It’s best to offer courses and additional education that will assist them within their position in your company. This way your investment in their upskilling will give you great returns. But allowing them to complete studies such as marketing courses or business administration courses, they can use this education throughout their careers whether they remain working for your company or not.

 

Flexible hours

 

Most homes today are made up of working parents. There are also many single parents out there who certainly cannot stay home and take care of their kids. Most people simply have to work. But working hours don’t allow for much freedom to do anything else. Many parents find they either miss out on school activities or even family holidays because their work takes precedence. By offering your staff members flexible working hours, they can manage their time in such a way that they have more freedom to enjoy family activities than if they’re restricted by specific office hours. This is one way of showing your staff you understand the importance of rest and family time.