Category Archives: Business

Simple Ways to Reduce Your Overheads Now

It can be all too easy to just look at how much money you have coming in. But the higher your expenses are, the leaner your profit margin becomes.

Sometimes, improving the profitability of a business isn’t about making more money, it’s about spending less.

Outsourcing – There are many benefits to outsourcing, such as bringing in new perspectives and skills. But the biggest benefit is the potential money savings. Just make sure that you thoroughly understand the pros and cons of outsourcing, and make sure you partner with someone you can trust.

Remortgaging – Paying off a mortgage can be one of your biggest monthly expenses. Not satisfied that you got the best deal? Remortgages, also sometimes called second refinancing, is the process of paying off your current mortgage with the proceeds of a second one. It basically entails the transfer of a mortgage from one lender to another, so as to get a better interest rate or change the repayment amount.

Relocate – On the other hand, if you’re renting, then you might want to consider moving to a more affordable venue. However, you need to think about this carefully. If your business relies on its location, for instance a restaurant or a hair salon that relies on foot traffic, moving might not be the best idea. Even so, however, you can still try to renegotiate your monthly rent. In many cases, an owner would rather reduce rates than have a site sit empty for a year.

Go green – you’ll be amazed at how much a few green changes at work can save you in the long run. From reducing your paper usage, to decreasing your monthly utilities bill, there are many ways your business can benefit while you help the environment.

Buy second-hand If you need to buy equipment or furniture, go for the used option. You can buy items that are as good as new for a fraction of the cost.

Interns – There are always students and graduates who would be grateful for any help. Rather than hire more full-time staff, bring in one or two interns who will be happy for the opportunity. While interns typically aren’t paid a lot, do endeavour to make it worth their time by giving them practical work experience they can learn from, rather than just making coffee.

Your net profit is equal to how much money comes in, minus how much money goes out. As complicated and confusing as the market place can be at times, the success of your business essentially boils down to those two forces. The difference between the inflow and outflow of cash.


How Malls Manipulate

Malls really aren’t just four walls that are housing different shops. It is usually a massive area containing multiple shopping outlets and franchises. But, things aren’t that simple as malls require shoppers to purchase as much as possible in as short a space a time. How they manipulate shoppers is worth investigating, so that we can combat it in ourselves and perhaps use it in our businesses.


We tend to use our senses in a complicated way: for example, we don’t just decide we want food based on taste alone. Something can look appetising but taste awful and something can look awful but be delicious. Similarly, we associate positive sense engagement with whatever caused it and other things closely associate with it. This is why malls play positive music that makes us feel comfortable. This way, we associate nice music with nice things. Our rational faculties are lowered a bit, meaning we’re more likely to think something is a good deal when it’s actually normally-priced; we think that we need a product, when we really don’t, due it being so “nice”.


As signage manufacturers, in South Africa, New York, Hong Kong, will tell you, the most important element of signage is the property of being memorable and functional. Thus, signs that are big don’t necessarily mean they will be remembered: they will just be big. Smart designs and spacing in malls means we learnt to associate particular colours and fonts and smells with particular elements of the mall. Even the spacing of the mall means we keep travelling further to obtain a sign and direction: meaning we pass shops we other might not have in order to acquire a sense of direction of where we are. Thus, one clever way malls do this is to occasionally and unequally space out maps and directions, meaning you’re forced to wander, increasing your chance of buying.


You can put things in a better light, literally. Even making them shiny can, for example, slow people down which gives you more time to sell products and increases the chances of customers buying things from you store. People also believe shiny cars drive better, despite the fact that a clean car has little to do with a car’s interior – by definition.

Bigger numbers

If you put $200 next to $400, the former looks better. Indeed, if you priced a tie for $200 by itself, it might look crazy. But put it next to a $400 tie and suddenly it looks amazing and obvious as a purchase. This is known as anchoring, where we pin a specific measurement against a figure provided: in this case it would be in the high triple digits. This is a smart way to get people to pay unnecessary amounts where they otherwise would not have.

All of these are methods malls use that we should watch out for but also utilise in our own attempts to sell and get more customers for our businesses.

Etiquette for International Business People

In our globalised world, we often find ourselves needing to do business with people who live on the other side of the world. However, every culture has their own way of doing things. What’s acceptable in your home country might be offensive elsewhere. And a simple misunderstanding can damage a perfectly fine business relationship.

Here are some basic guidelines on social interaction in a multi-national business context.

Cultural awareness

There’s no universal set of business etiquette rules that can be applied around the world. Every nation will have its own set of rules and standard practices, so it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the particular culture of the people you’ll be doing business with.

Make the effort to find out what’s going on in their home. That way, you won’t appear ignorant and insensitive. For instance, if you understand the concept of “face” in many Asian cultures, you will know the implications it has for business conduct. Never “lose face” in front of contacts if you want to be respected, and avoid causing your Asian contacts to “lose face”.

Take cues

When doing business in another country, take your cue from your overseas colleagues. This is especially true for where to draw the line with personal space. In some cultures, men might be very unreserved in their affection with one another, so it would be normal to greet business associates with a hug. However, in that same culture it might be highly improper for a male associate to greet a female contact in the same way.

If you’re not sure how to act, hang back, observe your environment closely, and check what the locals do.

Time zones and language barriers

Aside from the cultural differences you’ll encounter, there are the more obvious differences of language and time. It’s important that where you can, you make allowances for these differences. Want to send a brochure or report to colleagues in China? Remember that not everyone speak English, so provide a Mandarin translation. Need to make a phone call to Hong Kong? Check the local time first.

Be tolerant

There’s always going to be something that will seem like a strange way to go about conducting business to you. For instance, Germans are well-known for their punctuality. But in many African and South American countries, on the other hand, scheduled appointments are often treated like a general guideline rather than an absolute rule.

In occasions like this it is vitally important that you be patient and adaptable. Be tolerant and non-judgemental towards everything that is new and different.


Reasons to use a conference hotel for your next conference

Planning a conference can put an event planner under a lot of stress. If the conference is hosted by a company the conference will be a reflection of the company as well as yourself.  While it is a mammoth task, there is a way to get the most of the conference planned by simply making use of a conference hotel.

Accommodation for traveling delegates

Finding accommodation for international delegates or staff attending from far away can be a nightmare. Using a conference hotel will make sure that you have all out of town attendees in one area. This will also ensure that you don’t get many separate bills to consolidate at the end of the conference. Delegates will also be close to the conference venue at all times.

Most conference hotels are willing to offer a discounted rate based on the amount of people expected to attend. Often you will be required to book a floor of rooms, but be warned: this means that even if delegates cancel and the room is empty, you will still get billed for all rooms booked.

Less traveling for delegates

Using a conference hotel will cause you to avoid a situation where the only accommodation available is far away from the conference venue.  If the delegates make use of the conference hotel’s accommodation, this will lead to less traveling to and from the conference venue.

Having delegates book into the hotel will also cause you to spend less on traveling expenses. Companies spend a lot of money on hiring cars and shuttle services to bus attendees back and forth.

Full Catering

As the event planner you may find that one of the items most attendees complain about is the food.  Making sure that delegates are well fed throughout the conference can be a tough and expensive exercise.

You have to be prepared for people from all different walks of life attending the conference. This means that some of the delegates will have strict dietary requirements based on religious or personal beliefs. You also have to consider people with food allergies.

Many caterers have a set menu and serve their food in buffet style. Because of this many caterers may not be able to cater for someone who follows a vegan or kosher diet. What’s more is that some catering companies may charge you extra if they have to prepare additional meals for people who have dietary requirements or food allergies.

Most conference hotels have world class kitchens and serve world class food. They are also more prepared to host people from all over the world. Some of these hotels host big events such as oil conferences and receive guests from Saudi Arabia and other eastern countries. It is of the utmost importance to make sure that their strict halaal dietary requirements are catered for by the hotel.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style as a Manager

Definitions abound for what exactly a leader is. Thing is, there are many different kinds of leaders. A leader doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is loud and authoritative, or someone who can spontaneously come up with passionate motivational speeches.

And while some people are natural born leaders, this doesn’t mean that not everyone can step into a position of leadership. So if you have your eye on a managerial role, but worry that you won’t be a good leader, don’t worry. You just need to find a style of leadership that suits you. Here are some common leadership styles -. Which ones suit your personality?

The charismatic leader – Some people lead through sheer force of their magnetic personalities. By simply being themselves, people are naturally drawn to them and want to follow them. Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King – these are some of the most famous examples of charismatic leaders.

A holistic leader – You realise that an employee is a person with many different aspects. You don’t just push to make your team perform, but take an interest in their lives in general. You don’t just want a productive workplace, but a healthy environment where people can really flourish. People look up to you and respect you for this. And at the end of the day, this approach gets results because you bring out the best in people.

A leader who leads by example – You aren’t the type of person who says “Do what I say, not what I do”. You lead by inspiring people by your own conduct. You understand that leadership isn’t an end in itself, but a means to encourage and motivate people to commit their energies, skills and talents to be the most they can be.

The democratic leader – People appreciate your leadership style because you don’t act like it’s not all about your vision. You give everyone the chance to participate and be heard. Even the quiet ones in the corner, because you realise that everyone has value. You create a positive office culture and build a team around you that can work well together.

The take-charge leader – If you’re this kind of leader, you’ve just always been the type of person who in any situation can stand up and take responsibility. You don’t run away when the pressure gets too much; you can make difficult decisions, and you have the initiative to get things done.

The introverted leader – You know that the best leader isn’t necessarily the loudest person in the room, so you don’t fight to be heard. You sit back and let everyone have their say, because you know the importance of listening to others and thinking before speaking. Once all the commotion has died down and everyone has given their two cents, you say what you have to say. And it’s thoughtful, valuable and to the point. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how introverts make great leaders, so you’re in good company.

Being a manager doesn’t automatically make you a leader. Think back to all the managers you’ve worked with. Do you think they were all leaders as well as managers? Probably not. If you want to be a good manager though, it’s important that you learn how to lead. Business management training will certainly help. But remember that it’s also about accepting the type of leadership style that suits you best, without trying to be something you’re not.