Sometimes, it’s best to fire clients

That’s right. Sometimes, not all business is good business. There will be moments while running your business when you’ll need to lose a client or two. The truth is that more work doesn’t always mean more profit. And your business could be far better off by freeing up resources.

 

So, when are the moments when you know that it’s time for a client to pack their metaphorical bags?

 

The times when your infrastructure can’t handle the work

 

As far as business problems go, this is possibly one of the best you can have. It’s far better for you to have too much work than too little. But you could be negatively impacting your business if you take on more work than your current infrastructure allows for. Yes, it’s positive that you might want to expand and there is the demand to allow that. But you need to ensure you make the necessary changes. After all, you may have enough work coming in right now to allow for more equipment and staff members.  You need to be sure that you have sufficient equipment, stock, employees and skills for the task. But what happens when that project ends? You may just have hired staff members who you can’t afford to keep around. And you may have applied for machinery asset finance to pay for new equipment, only to find you no longer need it.

 

The times when you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing

 

Sometimes, it can be a good thing to take on a new and unfamiliar challenge. This can expand your skills and increase the services you offer. However, you need to be cautious about taking on too much. You need to be sure that you’re able to provide the services that your clients are calling for. It might very well be true that you’d waste too many resources by taking on work your team doesn’t quite know how to do. It really doesn’t make business sense to over-exert yourself in areas which you aren’t familiar with and aren’t able to do profitably.

 

But if doing this work can bring about meaningful change and investment to your business over the long-term, it might be a good idea to take it on. Sometimes, it’s just a case of investing in some new equipment or staff. You could even consider renting equipment for the short term or using a contractor to complete a task.

 

The times when all your resources are busy with small tasks and clients

 

This is especially true for small businesses. Eager to work on all paying jobs, businesses can sometimes take on too much work at a lower cost than they should have. You might need the work at the time but when this continues for months or even years, this could really negatively impact your business. Sometimes it’s important that you hold out for better-paying clients.

 

The times when you really do need to fire that client

 

It might seem impossible to think about letting go of a paying client. But sometimes they are really just not worth the trouble. You only have so many resources in terms of time, staff and equipment and you need to make sure they’re optimally used. The more efficiently you use those resources, the better and the bigger your profit margins. If a client isn’t willing to pay what you’re worth, or gives too many hassles and causes too many problems, it might be time to let them go. In life, we often move away from relationships which are more trouble than they’re worth. Clients are no different.

 

Finally, be discerning about the type of work you take on. You really don’t need to accept all business and every client that comes your way. Sometimes it isn’t a good fit and that’s okay.

 

 

 

Financing your startup like a pro

 

Anyone who has ever ventured into the world of startups knows that financing can be one of the biggest hurdles. Whether your plan is to bootstrap, finance yourself or take out a loan, it’s certain that you will risk major money problems if the business does not perform as expected.

 

It’s expected that all business ventures will carry some risk. But there are many ways to mitigate this risk by limiting taking on massive debt. It’s important that you carry out extensive market research, for example, to ensure you identify possible setbacks. It’s also possible to limit your expenses in the early years by renting equipment rather than buying until your business is stable. And this is when you can apply for plant and machinery finance. At some point, whether it’s sooner or later, you will have to go out on a limb.

 

Where to begin

 

At the beginning stages of launching your startup, it’s important that you have a clear-cut business plan. This should provide you with all of the insight you need to estimate how much capital you’ll need. It might be better to overestimate how much you’ll need. This’ll allow you to have enough cash on hand to cover all unexpected expenses and maintain a positive cash flow. This is especially important in the early months and can help you really get your business started on a solid footing.

 

Once you have estimated and calculated that initial figure, your options will soon become more clear. Do you think it’s possible to attract some investors by networking and attending conferences in your field? Are you comfortable reporting to them about growth and profits every month, quarter and year? Investors will be entitled to have a say in the business of your business. Sometimes, this is when clashes occur.

 

If this sounds like something you’re uncomfortable with, more traditional forms of financing might be your best option. The good news is that, as long you have good credit and your business plan is sound, a bank or registered credit provider will be able to offer financial assistance. Securing finance in this way means you’ll have more freedom when making decisions. On the other hand, you’ll have full responsibility for your debts and ensuring they’re paid back.

 

The basics of starting a business using loans

 

It’s important when thinking about your business financing to ensure all debts are incurred in the name of your business. It may be tempting to use your personal credit card every once in awhile, but it’s essential that you don’t stray down this dangerous road.

Even so, using any form of credit card, whether it’s yours or the business’s, means the lines are blurred between the money you actually have available for your use. You might not think it’s important to differentiate but your credit card limit may be more than the amount of money you need. And this means it could be very easy to abandon your carefully-planned budget and business plan. To ensure you stick to your plan, it’s important that you stick to only spending your initial capital and wait until you begin to turn a profit before spending on extras.

 

It might happen that your initial capital in insufficient

 

The first step is to cut down on your expenses. That means no more client lunches or staff drinks. Once you’ve cut down on your spending, you might find it’s time to speak to your bank.

 

Once you’re back on track, it might very well be time to purchase that equipment you’ve been renting. Whatever form of financing you’ve opted for to start your business, your success will be largely determined by your ability to plan, adapt to obstacles and remain on track during challenging times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.