Tag Archives: business

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.

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.