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It’s time to upgrade your office space

Office spaces can make or break a company’s reputation. For many clients or customers, it serves as their first impression of the product or service offered. If not their first, it certainly contributes to the general impression of the brand. In today’s visual society, it’s no longer enough for your office to be practical and professional. It needs to say something about what you do and how you do it.

So, if your office space is still stuck in the functional stage, it might be time for some upgrades. Making minor changes will go a long way in representing your brand positively and increasing its appeal to your target market. Think of times you were in office spaces and how the appearance influenced your perception of the company. Whether it was good or bad, it definitely said something about what you were paying for.

Your look

The first and most obvious place to begin your upgrade is your office interior. But it’s not as easy as, out with the old and boring and in with the modern and stylish. Your office interior should match your company brand. This means that your office should reflect not only your products or services, but the personalities of the people who work there too. If you have a young and dynamic staff, it makes no sense to decorate your offices like a traditional study. The same goes for the inverse.

Start by giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. This is an opportunity to bring some colour into the space if that fits the feel of your business. Otherwise, simply applying a fresh coat of the existing colour will also freshen up the space. Next, try to change up the lighting in the building. Something as simple as opting for bulbs with warmer lighting can drastically change the feel of your office. You could also include some coloured lights in the reception area to add some vibrance. If there are sofas or other forms of seating in the space, add some decorative pillows for an extra pop of colour and detail. You can then easily change the office style every so often by just replacing the scatter cushions.

Your tech

With your stylish new office space, your old technology will seem out of place. It’s time to consider upgrading or replacing some of your machinery assets. Look into getting computers that will best suit the needs of the company staff and optimise their performance. There are machinery asset finance options for technology, which are available so you don’t have to use up all your capital in one go.

Next, it’s time to update how your information and data is shared in the office. Switching over to digital data transferring platforms such as Google Drive will not only streamline your office’s workflow but will also save paper and add to your green status. All your data will be in a secure and easily accessible location, and your staff will no longer have to lug around binder after binder of printouts.

Your staff

The final and strangely least likely place to implement change is with your employees. A common thought process is that a happy employee is a hard working one, but few business owners actually take this to heart. By implementing a few feel-good initiatives, your company morale will improve and production will soar.

Treat your employees to some new office chairs. Not only will this improve the general appearance of the office but with the added comfort, your employees will happily produce better work. Get a coffee machine for the kitchen. Your staff will be more productive if they can take quick coffee breaks inside the office. And the smell of coffee will add to that great new vibe you have in the building. Try out some bonding activities where employees can mingle and have fun inside the office. Start a lunch party so employees are encouraged to share meals and stories. This can be done in the normal lunch hour (so no loss in actual work hours) and within a budget. Simply providing beverages or snacks should suffice if everyone still supplies their own lunch.

You can also play around with other ideas like Friday games nights where employees stay after work and take part in card tournaments, for instance. Make it commonplace that weekly winners are rewarded with vouchers for time off. Interactive events like these can result in employees looking forward to coming to work.

Ultimately, you can optimise the effect of your brand on consumers by ensuring that your office space feels inviting. Your systems will function efficiently and your staff will feel comfortable and satisfied. Welcome to your new business.

Tips on starting a small business

Starting your own business can be exciting. You have a lot of ideas and plans to make a success of whatever it is you want to do. And you like the fact that you don’t need to work for someone else anymore. You’re your own boss who is leading a team and making your own decisions. Finally, you can make your dream a reality. If you have an idea, the mindset and drive, and a well-detailed business plan, then take it away.

However, with all this enthusiasm, starting your own business can be quite stressful as well. There’ll be a lot of demands that are going to need your attention. You have to work extremely hard if you want to be successful. A dedicated and committed entrepreneur is what your business needs. Bear in mind that not everything will be perfect and you’ll make a few mistakes along the way. You have to go through that in order to learn.

Many start-ups don’t make it beyond their first two or three years because of inadequate planning, knowledge and lack of resources. Make sure your business doesn’t fall into this trap. Having perseverance in order to succeed is a must. Ask for help if needed, whether it’s for network or finance. You sometimes have to approach your acquaintances if you want to keep your business alive.

Here are a few things to take into account when starting your own business.

Register your company

As an owner of a business, every rand you spend must provide a return on your investment. One of those expenses has to be the registration of your company. It may seem like an unnecessary money waster but, unfortunately, this issomething you have to do. You can’t run a business without it being registered. Also, if you want to take out a loan for your company you need proof stating that your business is registered. Registering your business is an investment made in your company.

Identify your market

At some stage in the preparation of your business plan, you need to conduct research on your target market. You need to know how big your potential market is before starting your business. Research whether or not there’s a need for the product or service you’re offering. Do consumers really want it? Also, check out your competitors and what exactly they’re offering. How many other companies are offering the same thing as your business? Are their products or services more affordable? If you’re not sure about that, then your business won’t succeed. You need customers to buy what you’re offering in order to make money. So be sure to check that out if you don’t want your business to fail.

Organise suppliers and equipment

What is a business without its necessary equipment? It’s important to understand your objectives and what you want to achieve. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment in order to offer or produce your product. You have a small business, so look out for suppliers that offer affordable but good deals. Make sure your suppliers are legitimate. You don’t want to find out that you bought stolen equipment. As a business, you’re also a customer. So make sure to shop around for great deals and don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Company premises

Deciding on your business premises is just as important as the registration of your business. This is something that needs to be included in the planning process. Consider all the available options for the premises. Check for the cost of the buildings, where it’s located and the safety of it. On that note, it’s also recommended to install a video wall controller to ensure that your premises are secure and being watched on CCTV at all times. As a startup and small business, you might be able to share your business space with another company.

Start an online platform

We’re in the 21st century and everything these days takes place on the internet. One of the first things you can do is create a website for your business and social media profiles. Many customers love to connect with companies online as it’s easier and saves time. If customers visit your website and social media pages they’ll be aware of what you’re offering and it’ll make the selling process easier. There you can also share the background of the company. It’ll simply improve your company’s image and target a global market. Having your business online means you can basically work and market your company from anywhere in the world.

Be patient and remember that success won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take some time before you make a profit. Don’t give up and work hard to make a success of your business.

Dynamics of a family business

Not many of us can imagine working with our family and then going home with them as well. The dynamics of a family business isn’t for all but it can also be special and successful if done right. Family businesses are great examples of the passing of knowledge down through generations and are generally unique in their business offerings and have an authenticity that corporate businesses and franchises simply can’t replicate.

Multi-generational

With the technology and health advancements of today, family businesses aren’t being passed on as much as they are being expanded. Family businesses, these days, are multi-generational and it’s both a great and challenging thing.

Having the older generation still working and being an active part of the family business is a symbol of consistent business values and a following of an original and life-time client base having every reason to stay invested and supportive of this business. It proves a problem, however, when younger generations come in and expect to be handed the keys and take over with new business advancement ideas that Grandpa Joe doesn’t like or understand.

But, having the “original” owners (or those closest to the original start-up business) makes it easy to stay true to the history of the business and see that the original visions and principles are carried through. After all, the history is part of what makes family businesses different.

Outside insight

A good investment for family businesses is to bring in outside insight to objectively monitor and be honestly critical about the operations of the business. It’s already extremely difficult to not have bias against your own business but even more so as a family business owner. Even though nothing should be taken personally (it’s just business, after all), you don’t want to be the creator of tension in the workplace that will just be transferred to your personal and home life.

The dynamics of a family business is to “keep it in the family” but don’t be blind to failures and find someone who can provide constructive criticism and bring the business back to reality when family politics go a little too far.

Boundaries

There must be a fine line between bringing home with you to work and taking work back home with you at the end of the day in a family business. From the word go, boundaries need to be set on what is acceptable in the workplace and what is inappropriate “work talk” for home.

In the family business, it’s necessary to understand your role and to treat your employment as you would in any other business. Finding a balance is difficult but not impossible.  

Experience required

Just like the success of any business relies on the ability of their workforce, so too does a family-run business. Hiring on experience, qualification and capability won’t compromise the business structure or success. If family members joining the business all need to complete a performance managing skills course from Kwelanga Training – then everyone must complete it. No exceptions.

When you start compromising for your family employees just because of bloodline and feelings of family obligation, you can expect business to start suffering. Let the younger generation go out and find work experience outside of the family business. This will ready them for the position that awaits them or will help them figure out if getting into the family business is something they actually want to do or not. Forcing family into the business does not set up a generation of successors or success.

Family fun

Families mean love and support and bringing those concepts into the family business allows for new memories and fun times together. The business itself may not be unique to the market but the family dynamic, which is unique to each family, is something special. Stay authentic in who you are as a family and translate that into your work life. This doesn’t mean shouting across the room as you would across the house, but keeping it comfortable and playful like it would be at home.

Customers are looking for a distinctive consumer experience and walking into a family owned and run store, where generations of traditions are alive, makes them feel at home and part of the family. How’s that for a distinctive experience?

Tips on revamping your office

It’s the start of a new year, the perfect time to give your office a new look. Do you work in an office that desperately needs an injection of vibrancy and colour? Making your office look attractive and appealing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. All you want is for employees to come to work in an inviting and engaging environment. Giving your offices an upgrade will make your employees happy and more productive.

Staying motivated and keeping productivity high aren’t always easy, especially if you’re sitting at a desk with an old computer and no one to talk to. You’ll often find that people who are unmotivated and always tired don’t have things set up around their office that allow them to stay focused. If that’s what’s happening in your office, then it’s time to bring about some change.

Try to create a more modern office space that’ll make employees excited to be there. Gone are the days when you used a silver key to open the main entrance. No more small offices inside one big space. Everyone’s sitting together in groups these days. Note that technology plays a big role in a modern office. It’s time to adapt and think of changing your office to a more updated style.

Here are a few things that you can do to give your office an upgrade.

Bring light into the office

Natural light in an office is the way to go. If you have the available funds to install more windows or a sliding door in your office, go for it. Employees that are exposed to light tend to be more productive. If natural light isn’t an option, then you should opt for bright lighting. Try to change the light bulbs of your office as often as possible. Brighter lighting can make a room look more cheerful and spacious.

Update security

If your business has a problem with security, you need to check this out. As mentioned earlier, people aren’t making use of the old silver key to access office buildings anymore. Technology has progressed in such a way that people now make use of tags and cards to enter their offices. Check out how turnstiles work and perhaps you can install this instead of a normal timber door with a silver key. This will cost you some money but it’s a good investment to make for your company. That way you can secure your office premises from any crime.

Create storage space

If you want to go for the more modern look and feel, then you need to declutter all unnecessary things. It doesn’t look great when you see an employee’s books and notes from last year’s presentation lying on their desks. Create storage space by adding two or three drawers to their desks. A modern office is all about space. Creating storage space will make your office look neat and professional.

Give it some colour

Going for one colour can work but it’s not always fun. You can paint the office walls white, have white desks and chairs and even have white computers. How boring is that? Be creative and add a pop of colour to your walls or desks. Try to create a statement wall that’ll catch people’s attention at the entrance of your office. Also, a plant or two and even potted plants on desks won’t do any harm. Choose a specific wall to display all your company’s photos or certificates. That’ll make the office look more homely and comfortable.

Update computers

Not giving your computers an update won’t literally blow them up but one day they’ll just become obsolete. The older hardware gets, the more likely a failure and loss of productivity will occur. Check with your IT specialist whether or not it’s the right time to upgrade your computers. The software can maybe be updated on an annual basis, while the computer itself can last you for about five or more years.  However, if you still have the old big computers, then you know it’s time for an upgrade. In today’s life, those computers aren’t being used anymore. Also, if you’re working in the digital industry you need to have the new ones as they’re faster and more effective.

Many people spend most of their time at the office. It’s almost like their second home. For a space that you confine yourself to for most of the time, it’s important to make it as practical and comfortable as possible. In order to do your best and make a success of what you’re doing, you need a workplace that’s tidy, up to date and has a professional atmosphere. It all comes down to motivation, so make sure to upgrade your office in a way that’ll keep you happy and motivated.

Importance of security when selling high-value items

importance-of-security-when-selling-high-value-items

Have you ever opened up your company in the morning only to find shattered glass and a broken down door? This is proceeded by finding that most of your inventory has been stolen. If not, there’s a chance it will still happen to you. Crime is a very real factor for everyone living in South Africa, and when it comes to your company, you need to make sure everything is safe and secure.

Having your inventory stolen doesn’t just mean you need to deal with the police force and insurance companies. In extreme cases, the loss may be too much for you business to bear and could lead to it closing down. It doesn’t matter where your business is located – from a high-rise office complex to a shopping mall – any place can be broken into and robbed. If you haven’t thought about security for your company, now is the time.

Here are a few reasons why security is important and how you can protect your business.

Camera surveillance

One of the best ways to make sure your company is safe is by installing cameras all over the office or store. While some places use dummy cameras – those that don’t work and are empty shells – this isn’t recommended at all. A working camera system allows you to record everything that is happening. And if your place of business is broken into, you’ll have video footage of the perpetrators, what they stole, and how they got in.

Setting up a camera surveillance system requires a few different pieces. You’ll need the cameras, a DVR system to record and store all of the footage, and a screen to display all of the footage. If you’re always recording, you won’t need to hire a security guard, but they are recommended for stores with high foot traffic. Be sure to also invest in decent cameras that can give you crisp, clear images. For the best results, speak to a security firm, who will be able to advise you on hardware and where cameras should be placed for optimum levels of surveillance.

Implement a turnstile or man trap

These devices aren’t just for stadiums, train stations, or to annoy customers in shopping centres. They serve a very real purpose: to control the amount of traffic in and out of a location. Certain models will only allow people with access cards into a building. Turnstiles and mantraps are a great way to automate how people enter and exit your place of business.

When selling high-value items, such as jewellery, the need to control access to your store becomes a necessity. One way to ensure this is to implement a man-trap. They are devices that have access control doors and allow you to ‘trap’ someone inside that may look to rob your store. These individuals will then be caught and need to wait for the police to arrive. Man traps and turnstiles can be bought from a variety of security companies, such as turnstar.co.za.

Metal detectors

Most retail stores and businesses will find this unnecessary, but those with high-value items should think about implementing metal detectors. These devices are able to detect metal objects that a visitor is trying to smuggle into the business, such as a firearm. If something is detected, the device will sound an alarm that will alert you and your security.

Security personnel

While security guards may not seem as fancy or high-tech as a man trap or metal detectors, they do serve a valuable purpose. Security guards are not only available immediately if there is a crisis, but are also deterrents for those wanting to rob your business.

You don’t have to employ and train security guards yourself. Instead, look at hiring a security company, which handles all of the personnel selection, training, and routine implementation themselves. The guards will also be able to handle and facilitate all of your other security measures, which means you can concentrate on running your company without any hassles.