Category Archives: Business

Have Your Considered Hiring a Lawyer for Your Business?

In the flurry of establishing a brand-new business, one aspect gets left behind quite frequently. That is acquiring the services of a corporate lawyer. Viewed as just another expense to add to the books, it’s easy to understand why that happens.

The truth is that a lawyer can save money for a business in the long run, especially in cases where the company is being sued by a client. It is important to point this out, because at the time when a law suit is filed, it is almost too late to appoint a lawyer.

On the other hand, law suits could be avoided altogether with a lawyer on board. Should a lawsuit happen, however, the company with a lawyer is in a much better position to come out the other side triumphantly than the company without a lawyer.

It is evident that a business lawyer can do more good than harm. Should there still be some reservations based purely on the assumption that enlisting the services of a business lawyer is costly, consider the following: an assumption is just that; something that is accepted as true, without proof. Shop around and negotiate terms and a business lawyer that does not upset the business’s budget is sure to be found.

Keep in mind that only a qualified lawyer can provide expert knowledge on legal matters – it can’t be gained elsewhere. Thus, if money is still an issue, only consult with a lawyer at first, then contract them when there is an exact understanding of the services needed.

The areas in which a business lawyer can assist a business owner which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Business transactions
  • Business processes
  • Contracts
  • Litigation
  • Real estate matters
  • Taxes and licences
  • Intellectual property issues

A quick note here is that is advisable to appoint a lawyer that has knowledge and experience specific to corporate matters. Much like a heart surgeon will be consulted with regards to a heart transplant, as opposed to a general practitioner, the lawyer that has specialised in corporate law would serve a company best. Only such a lawyer would be able to explain the intricacies of zoning compliance, trademark and copyright laws, costs law and other issues that a company is likely to deal with.

How to choose the best lawyer for the business

The lawyer chosen will become an extended part of the business and someone that is dealt with on a regular basis, be it via email, phone or face-to-face. Above all other factors, it is thus important for the business and the lawyer to get along. There doesn’t need to be agreement on all matters, business related or otherwise, but there should be some shared values, beliefs and interests.

Secondly, it is preferable for the lawyer to be in the same city or town as the business. This facilitates regular meets more easily, which are definitely required on a regular basis. Being able to meet up becomes even more important in the event of a law suit being filed.

Further to these key considerations, the suitability of a lawyer can be determined by asking a handful of pertinent questions. The answers will help decide whether the lawyer has the skills, communication style and approach to their work that suits the business. As mentioned before, one can definitely shop around for a lawyer. Remember that this person has an important job – protecting your business, so it is imperative to appoint the right person.

Getting a Business off the Ground on a Shoestring Budget

During the start-up phase, it’s vital for a business owner to keep a close eye on the books. Running into financial trouble can crash a business long before it’s taken off. To help keep your business out of the red, keep these tips in mind:

Work from home or a shared office space

The benefit of working from home is obvious – you don’t have to rent a premises and pay the overheads that come with it in addition to your home. It’s not everyone that can work from home though, so those who want to avoid distractions at home or who prefer to have people around, can look into shared office spaces. These business hubs are popping up everywhere and provide, at the very least, a desk and chair to rent. You’ll share the space with other entrepreneurs or freelancers, which will also give you the opportunity to network.

Barter with other businesses

Business owners are often told to negotiate discounts, but bartering works just as well, if not better. During a barter you’ll offer your service in exchange for someone else’s service or product. Say, for instance, you’re a web developer who would like signage done on your car. You can then approach a signage company and offer to develop their website in exchange for a vehicle wrap. It’s a deal both businesses will benefit from.

Employ with care

Only employ people once it’s really necessary and when you can afford it. You’ll most likely find that you’ll be able to take care of admin and other menial tasks yourself in the first few months. Assess the business’s needs after four to six months to see whether an employee is needed to fill a gap. Thereafter, take it month by month, but never employ more people than is necessary.

Be a budget-conscious marketer

There are many ways to create awareness of your business without spending half of the monthly budget. You can use networking as an advertising tool and have business cards on you at all times. Invest in email marketing, run a competition or start a referral program with existing customers. Even if you have only one customer, that one customer can lead to one more.

Pay and get paid quickly

Cash flow is what keeps a business afloat, so take care of yours. Part of it is paying creditors on time, so that interest is not accrued on outstanding debts. The other part is getting paid, which is often a headache. Help debtors pay on time by issuing invoices quickly or by setting up electronic payments for them. Don’t try and sell this to them by telling why it’s good for your business – do it by telling them how it will benefit their business.

These cover all the business basics, but should make a huge difference to the bank balance at the end of the month. Continue doing business frugally until you’re out of the woods, but keep the lessons you learn as reminders for times when the cash is not flowing as freely as it should.

This advice was brought to you by Digicash in the interest of the financial health of your business.

Should I Translate my Business’s Website?

The question posed in the headline is one that should be considered carefully. The answer is not a simple yes or no, as there are many factors that should be taken into account.

Presumably, you’re asking yourself the question because you are expanding your business into foreign markets. This means, first and foremost, you have to carefully examine the online habits of your future target market. If you are looking to tap into the European market, a 2011 Eurobarometer report done by the European Commission might provide some initial insight.

Responses from European citizens to the questions put forward by the European Commission showed that 9 in 10 internet users in the EU always visited a website in their own language, provided they had a choice of languages. A slim majority of respondents (53%) would accept using an English version of a website if it was not available in their own language. More than 4 in 10 (44%) respondents agreed that they missed interesting information because websites were not available in a language they understood.

These finding were reported in the fourth section of the report, titled “Opinions about the availability of websites in several languages”, and is a clear indication of the fact European internet users, at least, would prefer to use a website in their own language.

Should you decide, following this and your own investigations, that you do in fact want to translate your website, you’d next want to consider whether it is financially feasible. Translating an entire website could be costly, and there is a chance that your business cannot afford it right now.

Don’t even consider doing the translation yourself or by using an online translation tool. That is unless you have an exceptional knowledge of the language you intend to use. Online translation tools are incredibly dangerous, because these tools have not been equipped with grammar rules, exceptions to those rules, nuances or accepted slang terms. It is highly likely that you will get an unintelligible mess back when you type a sentence into an online translation tool.

The best choice for your business and its reputation would be to use a professional translation agency. This type of agency would hand your website over to someone with expert knowledge of the language you want to translate your website to. This person will be aware of any vocabulary updates, slang or idioms, so the text you’ve used will contain its original meaning. The other advantage to this is that the text on your website would be in a language that’s up-to-date and readers will thus be able to relate to it. Use outdated forms of speech and people will be able to recognise that you are not familiar with them in an instant. This will tarnish your reputation.

Of course South Africa presents its own unique situation, because of our 11 official languages. So perhaps you don’t want to expand internationally, but do you want to target a wider audience base within the borders of the country. For instance, you could do a Sotho translation if you want to target the Free State, or a Zulu translation to take advantage of the KwaZulu-Natal market. The process would stay the same – familiarise yourself with how these target audiences browse the web and then look at whether you can afford to translate your entire website.

Whether the issue of expansion relates to international or local markets, it could be worth your while to investigate only translating parts of your online marketing strategy to start off with. Perhaps you can begin with your PPC ads or a monthly newsletter. It’s better to have something than nothing available in someone’s mother tongue if your research shows that is the language they prefer to be addressed in.

Seven Tips for Growing a Successful Business

To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible in your planning and organisational skills. The majority of people think that as soon as they open their doors to the public, they will start making a profit, only to find that making money is not easy. In order to avoid this in your business venture, you need to take your time planning out the necessary steps you need to achieve success. Here is how:

Get organised: The very first thing you need to do is get organised. Being organised will help you complete tasks and allow you to stay on top of things. A good way to do this is by creating a daily to-do list. This will ensure that you never forget a task, no matter how small and meaningless it might seem.

Keep detailed reports: All successful businesses keep a record of everything. By keeping all your records, you will be able to know exactly how much money you have received through sales and what your expenses (debit orders, start-up costs and fixed and variable costs) are. By being aware of your financial constraints, you will be prepared for any hiccups or hurdles that might occur down the line.

Analyse your competition: You need to understand your competition. What services do they offer, how do they sell their products and what advantage do they hold over you, etc.? Understanding your competition allows you to implement your own business strategies to improve your competitive edge and grow your business.

Be creative: You need to always be on the lookout for unique ways to improve your business and stand out from your competition. Once you recognise that you do not know everything about the industry or the sales approach, you are able to open up to new approaches in your business processes.

Prepare to make sacrifices: The lead-up to starting a business is hard work, but after opening your doors, the true work has just begun. You will need to put in more time than you would if you were working for someone else. In turn, you will need to make sacrifices, such as spending less time with your family and friends in order to be successful.

Understand the risks and rewards: The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help grow your business. A good question to ask in every situation is “What is the downside?” If you are able to answer that question, then you know the worst-case scenario is. This type of knowledge will allow you to make calculated risks that can generate incredible rewards for your business.

Be consistent: Consistency is one of the key components to making money in business. You have to be consistent in your daily services and work practices. This will create long-term positive habits that will help you build relationships and make money in the long run.

A successful business is built on consistency, creativity and continuity. Ensure that you follow these steps to help you grow your business.

Should I Translate my Business’s Website?

The question posed in the headline is one that should be considered carefully. The answer is not a simple yes or no, as there are many factors that should be taken into account.

Presumably, you’re asking yourself the question because you are expanding your business into foreign markets. This means, first and foremost, you have to carefully examine the online habits of your future target market. If you are looking to tap into the European market, a 2011 Eurobarometer report done by the European Commission might provide some initial insight.

Responses from European citizens to the questions put forward by the European Commission showed that 9 in 10 internet users in the EU always visited a website in their own language, provided they had a choice of languages. A slim majority of respondents (53%) would accept using an English version of a website if it was not available in their own language. More than 4 in 10 (44%) respondents agreed that they missed interesting information because websites were not available in a language they understood.

These finding were reported in the fourth section of the report, titled “Opinions about the availability of websites in several languages”, and is a clear indication of the fact European internet users, at least, would prefer to use a website in their own language.

Should you decide, following this and your own investigations, that you do in fact want to translate your website, you’d next want to consider whether it is financially feasible. Translating an entire website could be costly, and there is a chance that your business cannot afford it right now.

Don’t even consider doing the translation yourself or by using an online translation tool. That is unless you have an exceptional knowledge of the language you intend to use. Online translation tools are incredibly dangerous, because these tools have not been equipped with grammar rules, exceptions to those rules, nuances or accepted slang terms. It is highly likely that you will get an unintelligible mess back when you type a sentence into an online translation tool.

The best choice for your business and its reputation would be to use a professional translation agency. This type of agency would hand your website over to someone with expert knowledge of the language you want to translate your website to. This person will be aware of any vocabulary updates, slang or idioms, so the text you’ve used will contain its original meaning. The other advantage to this is that the text on your website would be in a language that’s up-to-date and readers will thus be able to relate to it. Use outdated forms of speech and people will be able to recognise that you are not familiar with them in an instant. This will tarnish your reputation.

Of course South Africa presents its own unique situation, because of our 11 official languages. So perhaps you don’t want to expand internationally, but do you want to target a wider audience base within the borders of the country. For instance, you could do a Sotho translation if you want to target the Free State, or a Zulu translation to take advantage of the KwaZulu-Natal market. The process would stay the same – familiarise yourself with how these target audiences browse the web and then look at whether you can afford to translate your entire website.

Whether the issue of expansion relates to international or local markets, it could be worth your while to investigate only translating parts of your online marketing strategy to start off with. Perhaps you can begin with your PPC ads or a monthly newsletter. It’s better to have something than nothing available in someone’s mother tongue if your research shows that is the language they prefer to be addressed in.