Tag Archives: business

Your home (office) away from home

For most, their careers consist of getting up in the morning and going to work until the end of the day. At work, they interact with colleagues, use office supplies and equipment and stick to a strict work schedule. But for some, earning money doesn’t involve commuting to and from an office. Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur or sales representative, you’re likely to be based at home with sporadic visits to clients or partners.

This type of career comes with unique challenges. Your schedule, deadlines and interactions are all in your hands and it can be difficult to stay motivated throughout the day and week. Especially with all the temptations of leisure at home and plenty of time on your hands. If you’re one of these people and are wondering how to optimally conduct your business at home, you’re in luck. Here are some things to consider when working from home.

Your routine

At this point, you’ll know that a schedule is near impossible to maintain at home. Everything that makes your life enjoyable is under the same roof – food, television, sleep. It can be quite the task to work a set number of hours a day when you’re not surrounded by colleagues who all work those same hours.

In order to be your optimally productive self, you need to set up a routine that you can stick to. There’s no use telling yourself you’ll work from 8 to 5 when you’re not a morning person. Consider when you’re the most productive and adjust your work schedule accordingly. Just keep in mind that the people you’ll do business with will likely follow standard working hours. Keeping that in mind, working from 6pm to late won’t be the best option.

Once you have you scheduled worked out, stick to it by seeing it as your office hours. In other words, you have to get up and get ready at a certain time in order to get to work when you need to.

Your social life

In an office environment, you’ll have many interactions with colleagues around the coffee machine or over lunch. When you work from home, you won’t necessarily have these social breaks unless there are other people at home with you. This can damage your productivity as these social interactions provide you with time to clear your head and sometimes even the opportunity to discuss work-related ideas.

To avoid missing out on these necessary breaks, leave time in your schedule for breaks, social interactions and idea creation. Take some time every hour or two to make a cup of coffee and stretch your legs. This will get the blood flowing again and you’ll be ready for another productive session.

Avoid checking your phone constantly. Instead, leave time in your schedule to answer any personal texts or catch up with friends and family over the phone. Who knows? Gran might have a brilliant idea for you to explore. And lastly, head to your nearest coffee shop over lunch for a bite and a quick internet browse to see what’s going on in your field that day.

Your environment

Office spaces are designed to be conducive to work. Your house, on the other hand, might not be. It’s important to have a designated space for work where you can sit at a table and plug in your computer. Ideally, this space won’t be in your room.

In terms of the elements inside of the room, some planning can go a long way. Think about the kind of work you do. Are you constantly on the phone with clients? Make sure you have a phone nearby. Do you need to scan a lot of documents? Ensure that your scanner or printer is close enough that you can easily access it. Nothing ruins workflow quite like having to go find the equipment you need.

In order to make your workspace fully functional, you might need field-specific equipment. Whether you’re employed and working from home or running your own business, there will be equipment finance options for the apparatus you need.

Your sanity

Lastly, it’s crucial to look after your sanity. By implementing these guidelines, you should be able to strike a balance between home and work life. The most important thing to remember is that these things are separate. When you’ve reached your knockoff time, close up until tomorrow and get some rest. After all, you won’t be very productive if you burn out.

Remember why it is that you’re working. Keep the goal in mind and remind yourself of the rewards your hard work will earn. But also afford yourself the necessary time to rest and ready yourself for the next working day.

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.

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.