Category Archives: Business

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.

10 Ways to save your sinking business

Businesses go through many phases over their lifespan. During certain seasons the sales can go through the roof and during other periods, the sales may dip. But what happens if your business is experiencing slow sales for a long period? When the customers aren’t flocking to your business in large numbers like they used to? Your business might be sinking rapidly and you need to find ways to save it.

Find out where the problem lies

Is it poor management? Failure to implement marketing strategies? Lack of experience? Or maybe you won’t take risks? When you find out the why your business is failing you’ll be able to find solutions to help revive it back to life. You can’t implement strategies effectively if you only cure the symptoms and not the real problem.

Figure ways you can save your company:

Rebrand

In order to save your business, you may need to rebrand your company. Rebranding is great when you want to grow your business and reach a new market. The market you may want to target could be based in a specific demographic, you could want to reach more woman or a younger audience. Rebranding involves more than just changing your company slogan and logo. It also involves changing the vision and mission of the company but when you do this you need to keep your target market in mind. Will your new brand appeal to them? Will the risk pay off? Make sure your brand distinguishes you and is in line with what your company stands for.

But before you rebrand your business, make sure you first find the root cause of the problem. There’s no point spending money changing your company’s branding strategies only to find that the reason your company is performing poorly is that you offer poor service. Make sure you find the real cause of the problem first.

When should you rebrand?

If the name of the company no longer serves its purpose then it may be time to change it to something else. Or maybe the name doesn’t fit with the market you are wanting to acquire.

If your brand doesn’t stand out

The marketplace is competitive and for a business to be sustainable, it needs to be the fittest in order to survive. And a key way to help it succeed is to set it apart from the competition. Consumers need to be able to differentiate your business from the rest of the businesses in the marketplace. You can take a gamble and rebrand your company. The more you stand out, the more you’ll be memorable to your target audience.

Ask customers

Your customers are the ones taking money from their pockets in order to make use of your service or buy your product, so it would make sense to ask them for feedback. Ask them to rate your service. The feedback could help you solve problems. Do your customers feel well connected to you? Does the advertising you use to appeal to them?

Offer what your customers need

Does the product solve the customer’s problems?  You may be providing a service which customers don’t want. If the product doesn’t appeal to your clients, go back to the drawing board and find something which will cater to their needs. Because if your customers aren’t satisfied, your business won’t survive. Align your marketing strategies and product model to suit the needs of your customers.

Outdated technology and skills

We live in a world of ever evolving technology and it may be your business is using outdated software or skills. When you’re falling behind in technology, you won’t be able to keep up with the competition. If your customers are using certain social media platforms to access the competition and you don’t use those platforms, you’re in trouble and you may lose out on a huge market. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest technology so you can keep up with your customers.

Check your finances

If money is the main reason your business isn’t doing well, you may want to look at your spending habits. You may need to cut down on unnecessary spending which could be costing your company each month. You may need to bring in outside help in order to help you figure how to solve your financial problems.

Merger

You can merge with another company. When you merge with another company you can lower costs through economies of scale and also have access to their customers. A merger will require financing and you can acquire funding through corporate finance.  

When your business is experiencing failure you need to go back to the drawing board for a fresh approach. Find the reason why your business by collecting data, asking customers and looking at your expenditure. Once you’ve found the root cause you’ll be able to find the best solution to help your business.

How to start a taxi business

It is safe to say that a job is quite the rare commodity these days. Interviews are in abundance, but appointments are few and far between.

Whether you’re just entering the job market fresh from school, or circling back from a previous employment, you need a reliable and steady income to sustain yourself. But if jobs are scarce and bills are stacking, what are you supposed to do? Here’s an idea – start your own taxi service. Who knows, your fleet might be the next piece of iconography synonymous with your area.

Starting any business can pose a few challenges, but the internet is your friend. You can learn almost anything with a quick visit to your favourite search engine. In the meantime, here are a few tips to start your own taxi business and avoid some of the most complained about pitfalls.

Who will be driving?

You need to decide whether you will be driving, or whether you’ll assign someone as a driver (either a business partner or employee). If you are the one responsible for driving, you have to make sure that you have a valid driving license and a ton of free time on your hands. The more you are available to transport people, the more income you’ll generate. If you choose to assign someone else to drive, you need to check their driving license. Make sure that it hasn’t expired and look for any conditional modifiers indicated (such as vehicle class, manual or automatic drive and the necessity of glasses). Whoever you choose needs to be clued up about their surroundings, or at least in possession of a GPS. Also consult the internet about third-party insurance, especially if you are providing the vehicle they will be driving. While you’re at it, read into the process of getting your business registered and licensed.

Choose your vehicle wisely

The vehicle is the most important element of your business, as it is the direct source of your income. The vehicle you choose need not be the latest and greatest in automotive design, but it does need to be presentable and in working condition. So, your uncle’s old pickup truck just short of being written-off probably isn’t your best option. Keep in mind that your passengers need to sit comfortably and try to make provision for multiple passengers per trip. In other words, the vehicle needs to have a back seat and doors for passengers to access it. An added bonus would be to find a vehicle with moderate to low fuel consumption. You wouldn’t want all of your revenue going towards that thirsty tank. Your vehicle will be an invaluable asset, so it’s important to do your research and make the best possible decision. Consult the internet to find opportunities for machinery asset finance and weigh up all your options.

How to be a good driver

Now that your business is registered, your driver has been chosen and your vehicle has been financed, it’s time to take people places. Here are a few tips on not sucking as a chauffeur.

Speeding

Try your utmost best to stick to the speed limit. The benefits of this are twofold – firstly, you will avoid unnecessary expenses in the form of fines and secondly, your passengers will sleep soundly knowing they didn’t narrowly evade the clutches of death. Even though your passengers might not always be the most patient, it is a fair assumption that they’d rather arrive late than not arrive at all.

Conversation

Although your job will mostly consist of customer service and human interaction, your job description is not ‘therapist’. Keep the conversation light and minimal. The only thing worse than a creepy silent driver is a blabbering one. You’ll be able to gauge the level of  conversation required from the passengers as they enter your vehicle. Be friendly and professional but whatever you do, don’t rant about your ex.

Music

We all know how awkward it is when you want to have a conversation with a friend or loved one but you feel like a stranger is listening to every word. Well, this is your life now – you’re the stranger. So to avoid those cringe-worthy moments, switch on the radio and ask your passengers if there’s a specific channel they would prefer. This will instantly make them feel more comfortable (especially if their favorite song comes on). However, take note of the fine line between background music and noise pollution.

Ambience

Last but not least, put some thought into the general feel inside your vehicle. Make sure to keep it clean (yes, bin the takeout boxes) and keep the unseemly smells at bay with an air freshener. Impression management is important for a new business and nothing ruins a first impression quite like a trashed car that smells like a dumpsite.

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.