How to be the best team leader

Many people dream of managing a team of people one day. And there’ll come a day when you don’t just look after yourself every day. You’ll be hiring a team of people and you’ll have to look after them and keep them happy.

Managing a team of people is one of the most difficult parts of owning your own business. All of those personalities and individual needs can be extremely difficult to manage. Here are some tips on how you can become a better team leader.

Take some time off

As the manager of a team of people, it’s important that you take some time off to keep yourself feeling refreshed and interested in your work. And it’s as important that you encourage your team members to do the same. Because, let’s face it, you team members don’t need to be behind their desks all day, every day. Could you offer flextime? Remember, you’re hiring a team of adults, not children and they can be responsible for managing their own time. If one person is unhappy with their conditions, they’ll start chatting to their colleagues and soon that unhappiness will spread. Says motivational author and blogger Beth Ramsey: “A bad attitude from a chronic complaining employee is like a cancer; it will only spread and infect others. This can take your business down in a nanosecond. You must cut out the cancer and invite them to seek employment elsewhere. Quickly.”

Pay your team members a fair wage

Confucius famously said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That’s might have been fine for Confucius but your team members have bills to pay. Make sure they’re paid what they deserve and when you’ve promised to pay them.

Treat them like adults

Remember that your team members are not there just to do exactly what you ask of them. They’re not robots. They have friends and family they need to spend time with. They have homes which need maintenance, groceries which need to be bought, doctor’s appointments which need to be kept and errands which need to be completed. Give them time to complete their tasks and they won’t spend their days at their desks, worried about ticking these items off their to-do-lists. Former Xerox chief executive Anne M. Mulcahy says: “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” And if your team members tell you they want to go on staff training courses, believe them. Trust that they need and want the training and that it’ll be a good opportunity for them.

Know when to lead and when to step aside

The strongest leaders know they need to give their team members the opportunity to take the lead in their work. This allows them to really learn and push themselves. A good leader will know when it’s time to give their team members space and when to step in and assist. Nelson Mandela, former South African President, said: “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

Finance goals for your business

writingWe’re a couple months into the new year. And, so, you’re probably assessing your personal goals and whether you’re sticking to them.

Just like you’re concerned with your own goals, you should think seriously about setting similar goals for your business. And the goals you set for yourself tend to work just as well for business.

In an article about the importance of creating goals for your business and a business plan, Inc says: “Business owners should not fear setting goals or projections because there is absolutely no downside to doing so. Also, it is important to remember that goal setting doesn’t have to be only about revenue. It could relate to innovation, employee retention, service offerings, or anything that is important to enhancing your business.”

Goals have one resolution – the financial success of your business. And of course you want that. Think about these personal goals and how they can be adapted for your business.

Create a budget

This is the first step in finance, both for yourself and for your business. Without it, you won’t know what’s coming in and what’s going out. It’s important as it can help you set goals and plan your future. After all, if you don’t know what’s coming in, you can’t plan for what’s going to happen. Be sure to set up a monthly check-in with your budget to ensure your spending is in line with your income.

Spend less than you make

The backbone of good personal finance goals: don’t borrow money, especially not to pay your bills. When you do this, you’ll always be behind on your bills and you’ll end up paying a massive amount of interest. Your business should only borrow money for the most important expenses, a bond to keep a roof over your head or a loan with the goal of moving your business forward. A loan should not be used to pay salaries or to provide training to staff. They don’t need to attend report writing courses that badly. That can wait for your business finances to be out of the red.

Keep your costs low

In personal finance, this often speaks to the goal of living in the most affordable home and driving the cheapest possible car. In business, this can apply in many different ways. There’s no need to have offices in the most expensive part of town. There’s no need to have a workspace so large that every staff member has their own personal office. Simplifying these facets of usual office life can result in a major impact on your balance sheet with almost no adverse effects on you or your staff.

Steer clear from unnecessary expenses

There are ways every person and business can avoid extra expenses. One example of this is when paying staff members. There’s no need to pay exorbitant bank fees. Rather than spending time and money every month when paying staff, set up automatic payments. In that way, you’ll be saving time and money. Your staff will always be paid on time, so they’ll be happy. And, depending on the bank your use, you could even earn money on your regular expenses by taking advantage of reward programmes. You have a lot on your mind as a business owner, the admin of paying staff members shouldn’t be one of those things.

Make the most of what you have

For personal finance, this means you’ll need to increase your net worth. It’s fairly simple but the process is hard. You’ll need to pay off all your debts and save consistently until you have enough money to never work again. Unless you want to, of course. Business expenses work in pretty much the same way. Pay off all debts and loans. Do whatever you can until you turn a profit every month so you never worry about covering your expenses. Earn enough money so you can cover your expenses, pay yourself a salary and, eventually, reinvest into your business.

Keep an eye on your bank statements

Without this step, you may miss something important. A missed payment, a double debit. These could all mean big problems for the smooth running of your business down the line. The only way you’ll know something like this has happened is by spotting it yourself.

Ways to manage your debt after a business disaster

South Africa is in the middle of an uncertain financial climate. Amidst political scandals, market downgrades, and the rand weakening more than it recovers, it’s not uncommon for businesses to close down and the owners to be left with a mountain of debt.

Whether your business partner disappears with all of the money in your account, or customers stop seeing a need for your product, you will have to face the reality of closing down shop. There’s no use in hiding under a rock and pretending that everything will be better if you ignore it.

The best way out of a personal financial crisis is to keep a level head and make sure you follow through on tying up every loose end. There are a few key steps to sorting out your finances.

Work out a budget

The first step is to sit down, take a deep breath, and open up an excel spreadsheet in order to list your finances. This should include all personal and business expenses, as well as any money you have in savings or set aside for a rainy day. There are going to be a lot of numbers and a lot of negatives, but try not to panic.

Read more: 5 important things I learned from closing down my business

Take your time and label everything accurately, using conditional formatting and other spreadsheet features in order to make sure everything is easy to read.

After all of the numbers are listed and sorted into their relevant groups, it’s time to figure out what you can cut back on in order to save money. Not everyone needs a premium TV subscription service or pet groomers. There are, however, a few things you can be lax with, such as takeaways every now and then in order to destress yourself. Going full blown cold turkey on every expense may just lead to more stress in your life.

Speak directly to the bank

You’re going to own the bank a lot of money and you’re going to have to pay it back. No one is going to wipe away any debt if you disappear, especially not a bank.

Book an appointment with your business account manager in order to speak to them face to face. Don’t try to sort everything out over email or by phone as this often leads to mixed lines.

Be honest about what went wrong with the business and take all of your financials with as well. This will give the manager a clear overview of exactly what is going on.

Read more: The failed startup: a narrow-minded view [opinion]

More often than not the bank will try to help you in whatever way they can. Business managers are often trained to help with companies closing down and you won’t be the only client going through money troubles. It is also in the bank’s interest to work with you and figure out a realistic payment plan instead of taking you to court, which is time-consuming and a waste of money for everyone involved. Though, this may happen if you completely ignore the bank and don’t speak to them.

Speak to your suppliers

Much like the bank, arrange face to face meetings with all of the companies you owe money to, such as couriers or even just the stationery store. Approach them with a workable payment plan in order to settle your accounts.

You probably won’t be able to trade with those companies again in the future, but most will understand your circumstances and the market and also work with you to pay back the money. Companies appreciate honesty, though there is a change some of them will demand everything up front.

Consolidate your finances

In case of suppliers or the bank wanting money up front, you may have to look at consolidating all of your debt into a single monthly payment. There are plenty of places that will pay off everything for you, but you’ll have to pay them back, and with interest.

It may be feasible to look at a personal loan that’s separate from your business accounts. Before agreeing to any and all terms, take a look at a personal loans calculator to work out what you’ll be paying back, the interest, and loan period.

Both of these methods aren’t ideal, but they are at least feasible.

It is not the financial end for you

Plenty of companies close on a daily basis and it’s nothing to feel ashamed about, even though SA may not be built for business failure. It is entirely possible to continue living a normal life and even recover financially after your business, something you’ve worked at for years, comes to an end. It takes determination, admitting defeat, and putting a plan into action in order to make sure your debt is sorted and cleared.

Your business may need asset finance solutions

Starting a company is one of the most difficult things anyone can do in life. Sure, you may have an idea for the next Facebook or a retail chain to take on Pick n Pay or Checkers, but there’s more to business than just an idea. Apart from hiring staff and creating a solid business model, businesses need assets as well, which means you’re going to require the services of asset finance solutions.

Just take a look at a box. Any box will do, even one that contained the latest purchase from your favourite online store. You may think it’s just a box, but there’s actually quite a lot that goes into developing that cardboard housing. Whoever supplied the box to the online store had to have it designed, ordered in the materials, have it cut to size, having logos printed on the board, and then cut into the correct shape.

Three of these steps require incredibly expensive hardware, an industrial-sized guillotine and a die cutter, which would have cost the company a pretty penny. Not to mention that while it’s possible to pick them up in SA, most of the time machinery needs to be imported from overseas.

There are movable and fixed assets

Before you start thinking about how you’re going to pay for the assets, you’ll need to decide on exactly what is needed for the business to operate. When it comes to asset finance, there are primarily two types of assets and they’re easy to tell apart.

Firstly, there are fixed assets, which as the name implies, cannot be moved at all. This consists of immovable objects, like buildings or land. If you’re starting up an internet-based business or a general office, then you’re not going to need these as you’ll more than likely just rent any office space that is required. Although, a manufacturing or assembly plant may be a different case.

Then there are moveable assets, which are items that can be picked up and transported. These assets consist of most things that a company needs, such as trucks, tractors, or office equipment. Even a room full of PCs counts as moveable assets.

Not all assets are physical

Using Microsoft Excel or Google Docs may seem like a good idea to track your finances at first, but those programs will only take your company so far. Ideally, every company needs to have an accounting software package in order to keep track of expenses, invoices, and staff salaries. Depending on how big the company is, you may also need numerous licences for the software, which have to be renewed yearly.

All of these costs add up and, like the example of machinery, you’re going to need to put up a lot of cash in order to purchase the required software.

The two main types of asset finance

One way around having to pay for all of your expensive equipment requirements up front is to use asset finance management solutions. These options allow the company to use the asset while paying off the bank. Think of these as loans, or purchasing something on the budget part of your credit card.

Like assets, there are two main types of asset finance: instalment sale and lease agreement. Some lenders may offer alternatives or different solutions, but they mostly boil down to these two.

The instalment sale acts as though you’re taking out a loan from the bank, and you still get to use the asset in the process. As soon as the last instalment amount has been paid, the asset is yours to own. This option is best suited towards assets that don’t depreciate or degrade over time.

Then there’s the lease agreement asset finance type. This is useful for businesses that need to have assets replaced when they become redundant on a regular basis, like computers. The business is able to lease these items from the finance lender and have the choice to lease or buy the assets once the finance term is up.

There’s a finance solution that suits you

Regardless if you need a room full of PCs for a render farm or tractors for a wheat farm, it’s possible to obtain financing for your needs. Besides having a solid business plan and financials in place, it’s best to decide on what kind of financing you’ll need for your business and its assets.

4 things you should know about office relocation

If you’re not able to get the best for your business’ bottom-line in your current location, why stay in the same place and let it hold you back? This is the perfect opportunity to plan for an office relocation. Moving offices is an exciting, progressive time. This isn’t something you do on a whim and it shouldn’t be considered lightly. But if done correctly you could reap many benefits for your business.

As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to improve results, strengthen your company and put it on track for sustained success and growth. And while there are several strategies and tactics to support these objectives, one of the most effective ways is moving to a different office.

Office relocations happen for many reasons, from company expansion to lease expiration notices. And whatever the reason, it’s often cause for celebration. From changing your office’s interior design to implementing innovative ways of working, office relocations can be the start of new things.

Here are a few reasons why office relocation is a smart choice to make.

Planning for a move

If you’ve decided relocating is the solution, then you should start with the planning right away. The earlier you can start, the better. If you give yourself enough time to either arrange the move yourself or oversee an external company doing so, you won’t feel rushed into making decisions or acting hurriedly. If you decide to conduct the move yourself, make sure you know what you’re looking for, the budget you’re working with and the timeframes you need to stick within.

It’s usually easier to opt for external help but only do so if you have the budget for it. There are companies specialising in office relocation, so they’ll know how to go about finding your next property or dealing with the office interior design. Using an external company ensures that you’re taken care of from start to finish.

Increase your brand awareness

You can tell a lot about a company by looking at its offices. You can see whether they’re young or more traditional. A lot can be learned about your brand from your offices. And moving gives you the chance to update your look along with your brand. Once you move offices, you’ll have the ability to update your aesthetics in line with the message you want to portray about your company. Also, the style, tone and purpose of company branding often change as a company develops. The building, location, interior design and style you choose are factors to consider to create your brand’s tone and portraying the right message.

Cutting down on cost

Your current office location could be costing you more than it should in terms of bills and other expenses. One of the best parts of office relocation is the ability to check your financial outgoings. Look at all the expenses that can be cut to assist with saving money.  You should go through all your suppliers and discover where you could save money. Check your current suppliers and ask for quotes from alternative companies. Look at the office equipment and see what you can keep and what you need to replace. An example where you can save cost is to install an industrial sliding door in your office rather than a glass door. It’s usually cheaper to install and will save you money in the long run. One simple review could result in large yearly savings.

You should also take a look at the technology you’re using. Moving offices is a great excuse for moving to the most efficient and effective systems. It’ll save you and your team time and money. It’s much easier to make these changes when you move.

Grow your company

Once you have more space and a nicer office in a better location, you can improve your workforce. You may have enough space to take on extra staff members. Office relocation opens new doors to improving your workforce. Your company is also likely to look more impressive in the eyes of prospective employees and clients alike. It’s a signal of success and determination.

Moving offices can be hard work to organise and the change can be a big disruption for a business. But alongside that, it’s not a bad choice to make. Helping with the planning and moving is the easiest way to avoid the stresses and strains of relocating, leaving you to enjoy and reap the benefits at the end.

A new office means a new start. Office relocations are never easy but it can be done. And it shouldn’t be viewed as a negative time-consuming task. This is the chance to give your business a revamp, motivate your staff and to review the core values at the heart of your company.

8 Challenges faced by entrepreneurs

You could have a billion rand idea and think the road to getting a fat bank balance will be easy. Well, you could be in for a shock because being a CEO is not child’s play. It means working more than eight hours a day, fighting many battles and making a lot of sacrifices.

Here a eight challenges that you may come across as an entrepreneur.

Hard decisions

It could be difficult to leave your current job and be an entrepreneur if you already have a set income every month to cover expenses. You could find the transition hard. Starting your own business and leaving the safety net of a stable salary is a risk. That’s why you must do extensive research on the business you want to start before you take the leap. Life is a gamble and the higher the risk, the higher the reward.

Homework

Another challenge that entrepreneurs face is they don’t do enough homework on the business they want to embark on and the business ends up becoming a huge failure. An entrepreneur needs to do research beforehand to find out if their business will profit. They should find out if there’s a demand for their product, analyse their competitors and find out where to locate it. Research is critical as it could make or break your business. For example, if you open a restaurant in a place that’s hidden and with no parking space you’re not likely to get customers.  

Time-management

You could think since you’re your own boss, you’ll have free time to play golf and show up at your office at noon. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As an entrepreneur you’ll find yourself wearing many hats and working long hours to get your business off the ground.

As a boss, your schedule will be more hectic than the people who work for you. You’ll be the first in and the last one out the office. The misconception is that entrepreneurs have a lot of leisure time. But entrepreneurs work hard.

Hiring the right people

When you’re starting out your own business you have to find the best people that’ll build your business. The people you hire will have a direct impact on how successful your business becomes. Do a thorough background check on them to make sure they’re people you’d want as part of your team. And make sure to ask critical questions tailored to the position in the interview to see if they’ll be the right fit for your company.

Getting rich fast

When you first started daydreaming about your business empire you probably envisioned customers queuing up to get your product and adding more than six zeros in your bank account in the first month. But the reality is the road to success is often fraught with problems and pitfalls.

Many entrepreneurs get into the business thinking they’ll get rich quickly because they’ve heard of overnight successes but that’s a myth. It takes years for some entrepreneurs to see the fruits of their labour. If you’re willing to put in blood, sweat and tears you’ll reap the rewards. Entrepreneurs have to be realistic and know what they’re getting themselves into. They must also be aware that each financial period is different to the next; there’ll be a lot of ups and downs.

Quitting

You’ll think about quitting more than you think you will. There’ll be tough times ahead and the stress could be hard to handle. That’s why an entrepreneur needs to be prepared for the challenges that could come her way. They must be persistent and know the road ahead won’t be easy. For example, if you have a coffee shop, the espresso machine might break and one of your employees might quit on the same day. It could feel like you’re moving backwards but you have to have a tough skin in order to make it.

Capital

You could have an incredible idea but you don’t have the financing to make it come alive. Lack of funding can be a real challenge to aspiring entrepreneurs. They could look at borrowing from family or getting a bank loan to start their company.

You’re the boss

Yes, you’re the CEO of your company and this might sound very exciting because there’s no one to tell you what to do. But to whom much is given, much is required. You could be responsible for dozens of people’s salaries and ensuring business expenses are paid. A lot lies on an entrepreneur’s shoulders and it can be overwhelming.

Learn more

An entrepreneur needs to be at the top of their game and ahead of all their competitors. There are always new trends and concepts that an entrepreneur should be knowledgeable about. They can take a business training course that could help them gain a better understanding of how to run a business successfully.

As an entrepreneur, you should know getting to the top will be a marathon and not a sprint. If you do your research on your idea and put in the hours, your business could become the successful empire you imagined it to be.

3 top things you need for your new business

startup-2188679_960_720Starting a new business takes patience. In order to get things up and running on time, you need to start early. You are bound to spend most of your time waiting on suppliers and service providers to deliver on what you need. You’ve likely spent ample time trying to find the right office space and sorting out your paperwork to ensure your business is legit, so your tolerance levels might be at an all time low. But you can mitigate your annoyance by making contact with those who can give you what you need, right from the start.

 

You need to make lists. This will help you tick off what you’ve sorted out, remind you to follow up with the service providers you’ve chosen and follow up on orders placed for the things you need. This is an admin-heavy period of time in any new business owner’s life but it’s oh-so necessary. The last thing you want or need is to open your doors for business and find yourself disappointing new customers because you aren’t armed with what you need. Starting your business by under delivering to clients is less than ideal and incredibly frustrating.

 

Your checklist is bound to be extensive. You’re likely to sit night after night adding and removing things, but it’s a worthwhile activity. You’re going to feel a lot more organised and you may even feel a sense of accomplishment as you tick the boxes. This is the beginning of a much needed papertrail that’ll stand you in good stead should you end up in unpleasant arguments with suppliers and the like.

 

Here are some of the top three things to add to the checklist and get cracking on acquiring, early in the game.

 

Website and hosting

 

Honestly, nowadays if you don’t have a company website and you’re not online with your business, you’re going nowhere slowly. The world has gone digital. Smartphones and connectivity are high on the priority list of everyone no matter their social standing or economic circumstance. Therefore, no matter who your target market is, you’ll find them easier and quicker online. What’s more, the average consumer expects you to have an online presence. They won’t trust you if they can’t find you on the internet.

 

So you need a website and in order to have a website, you need a proper hosting service provider. You want to look at the likes of HOSTAFRICA which is a premium provider of web hosting. South African hosting services abound online but as a new business owner who needs to get the most bang for your buck, you need to look at a company who can offer you an all-inclusive package. The bouquet of services from Host Africa is well suited to a new business as they will manage your setup and maintain the website at a nominal monthly fee. This is ideal as you can ask them what you need and then sit back and watch them deliver.

 

Build a database

 

Because you have a digital presence, your business needs to operate with a keen understanding of data and how it can help to forge a successful enterprise. Tracking your data and using it to make informed decisions is crucial to your success. This means you need to invest in software and tools that will assist you with pulling reports on how your data is performing. Understanding its behaviour will give you insight into your consumer’s needs and draw a comparison with your competitors. You can educate yourself on the usage of Google Analytics which won’t cost you money but will cost you time or, of course, you can always employ the services of a data analyst or SEO specialist to assist you.

 

Recruitment

 

You will need staff. Whether it’s someone to answer the phone or a bookkeeper or a sales person. You are not going to be able to operate like a one-man show for very long and so a recruitment strategy is key. If you need highly skilled, technical people, it’d be a wise decision to contact a recruitment agency who specialises in placing the types of candidates you need. But this will cost you and this will take some time. You need to set this up as soon as you know who you need and what skill set you’re looking for. It’s best to start up a relationship with your chosen recruitment agency quickly so you can begin looking at CVs while you have the time. Once the business is in full swing, recruitment can prove a difficult task to find time for.

 

Of course, there are many other things that must also be prioritised. But having a strategy for these three in particular, makes for lighter work when you’re about to launch.

 

What to do if your business is failing

failure-215563_960_720Running your own business is not easy. In fact, it can be rather challenging, especially when you’re in the beginning stages. But the challenges can continue for a number of years before you’re truly comfortable. And at any given time you can fail. No matter how well you think you’re doing, no matter how wide and deep your profit pool runs, a bad decision or taking too big a risk can knock you. Sometimes that knock can be difficult to recover from and fixing what’s broken can take time, energy and a ton of money.

 

A failing business is not simply one that no longer operates smoothly or is no longer making sufficient profits. The problems don’t stop there. But rather, the real issues arise when you (as the business owner) realise that you’re not able to pay your suppliers, vendors, rent and so on. When you can’t pay out the money you owe, you’re in deep waters. It’s time to make a real commitment to fixing what’s broken or at the very least, making good on your debts and contracts. This can be difficult. For instance, you cannot under deliver to the clients who’ve paid for your services upfront because your business is sinking. If you do, you could find yourself facing some serious accusations and possible legal action if you don’t return their monies to them. You could be liable for penalties depending on your contract or retainer stipulations or even the Service Level Agreement. Of course, all of these factors differ depending on your company policy and what you’ve promised.

 

Unpacking the reasons for, and ways in which a business is likely to fail is something you should consider doing right at the start of your new venture. However, there are general mistakes that young business owners and entrepreneurs make often without realising they’re placing their company in jeopardy.

 

Here’s what might have happened if you find yourself trying to save a sinking ship.

 

Your marketing strategy is wrong or non-existent

 

Not everyone knows how to put together an excellent marketing strategy. After all, that’s why there are people out there who have studied marketing and who earn pretty good money putting together strategies for companies. But this is not something that business owners simply know. In fact, most business owners go so far as traditional advertising but by not embracing strong marketing techniques, they’re missing out on targeting the right audience at the right time with the right product. The marketplace (in all different sectors) is a fiercely competitive playground. If you don’t have a strong marketing strategy you will inevitably fail, maybe not right away but soon. To prevent this from happening, you as the business owner or entrepreneur should invest in gaining some practical knowledge by signing up for marketing courses. And the emphasis is on the plural here because you need to consider the various avenues that marketing activities travel. A basic marketing course will develop your understanding of segmenting target markets and performing a competitor analysis. Whereas a digital marketing course will offer you key insights into the digital realms of remarketing and paid media campaigns. And then of course, there’s social media marketing which honestly is one of the most powerful ways to make sure your company is known by the masses.

 

You can’t handle the growth you’re trying to attain

 

You want it all and you want it now. But do you have the correct measures in place to actually manage this type of growth and success? You see, when your business suddenly scales and you have a lot of customers demanding your products and services, you have to be ready to deliver. Having the ability to deliver on your customers’ expectations is crucial to your business remaining a success. Many companies fall apart when their marketing efforts pay off. So you have to have a backup plan. If you are asking the masses to sit up and pay attention to your online sale then best you upgrade your servers, hire some call centre people and have enough space in which to house them. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up missing the boat and under delivering entirely. This means that all your marketing that’s finally put the spotlight on you is about to show you up as a dismal failure rather than an incredible success.  

 

Your pricing structure is out of whack

 

Realistically, if you are running a business that is high functioning and you’re delivering to your clients’ expectations but each month you continue to run at a loss, there are two things to consider. Firstly, you are going to run out of funds to cover you and you’ll end up being unable to afford your overheads. Secondly, something is wrong with your pricing. You need to reassess your pricing structure. The best way to ascertain how to manipulate your prices is to consider what your direct competition is charging, and also the stalwarts in your game (although they’re likely to be expensive based on their reputation of quality), and then look at where you sit. You can begin raising your prices on certain services and products and, if possible, with only a few new clients. By observing their reaction to the pricing structure you’ll be able to tell if you can push up prices even more or whether you’ve gone too far already. Don’t introduce an entirely new pricing structure overnight, you want to handle this carefully but you must handle it.

 

Don’t beat yourself up about landing in hot water with your new business. To be honest, it happens to the best of us. But you do need to have some plans and skills in place to fix it if and when necessary. Don’t worry about trying to save a sinking ship, rather use the working parts to put together something even better and make sure you have the knowledge to do so.

 

7 Tips for starting your own business

If you have an idea that you can’t stop thinking about and can feel it in your bones that it’ll be a success.Then it may be time to leave the fear behind and take the plunge. Of course, the road ahead won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it.

Starting a business can be scary but exciting at the same time. It won’t be easy and it’ll take a lot of sacrifices. There are key ingredients that you’ll need to build a thriving business.

Passion and determination are what will drive you as an entrepreneur. And willpower will be your secret weapon in the months when you feel like giving up.

The success will be worth all the hard work and sleepless nights. Here are seven tips for starting your own business.

Write a business plan

You need to write out a business plan. That’ll highlight your vision, mission and the values of your business. It can also entail a SWOT analysis where you highlight your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that your business might face.

Personality

In order to start your own business, you have to ensure that you have the right characteristics to start one. Are you disciplined? Are you a leader? Do you give up easily? Starting a business is not child’s play. It requires hard work and for you to have a thick skin. You’ll face obstacles that make you want to give up on your goals. You’ll also suffer a lot of rejections from people who don’t believe in your business idea. If you’re a persistent and determined person then your business will succeed.

 Idea

You have to do market research on the product or service you want to offer. You’ll have to do primary and secondary research.

Primary research involves studying customers directly, by giving them samples or asking your potential customers to fill out questionnaires. The questions should be directly related to your product, to find out if there is a need for your service in the market. And to find out what your potential customers struggle with, will give you an indication about how you can improve on your product. The feedback you get shouldn’t be taken lightly because the customers will be buying your product. And their needs should be taken into account. Other people should be passionate about your product too. If no one is enthusiastic about your product it may be a good idea to think of something else.

Secondary research involves getting information that’s already been researched for you about your product. You could get it from the internet, articles, trade associations and government agencies.

Researching your product idea and potential customers is vital. There’s no point investing in a product that won’t sell. You’ll waste your time, money and energy.

Location

Where you choose to establish your business is very important. The location you choose could make or break you. You have to make sure that the place you choose is highly visible for your customers to see.

The location must be accessible for your customers. There is no point in placing your business in an isolated place that your customers can’t reach. And you need to ensure that there’s enough parking around for your customers. Make sure that there isn’t a lot of competition in the area you choose. If you locate your coffee shop in an upscale neighbourhood that already has seven other coffee shops, you might lose out on customers.

Name

The name of your company should be catchy and memorable. The name you choose must be unique and must stand out from the rest. It should not blend in or be too hard to pronounce.

Hire the right people

Who you hire can build or tear down your company. Find people that’ll add value you to your business. If the people you hire have a bad attitude or are lazy they can be a liability to your company. Invest in people that’ll help build your business and will contribute their talents and skills. Find employees that’ll fit into the company culture.

Educate yourself

You can never have too much knowledge and you need to constantly empower yourself. The world is changing at light speed and you need to make sure that you stay on top of trends. A key way to do this is by making sure that you take a business course that’ll help you run your company.

And if your idea will make life easier for people, then you may be onto something. If your idea separates you from the rest and you know people will love it then it might be a good idea to take the leap of faith.

 

Key ways to run your business

Running a business can be stressful. But if you do it right, you’ll be rewarded with success. It’s important to pay special attention to the customer and to know what they want. Remember that old adage, about the customer always being right? Well it should be applied in every business that wants to be successful. Providing excellent service will keep your customer coming back for more.

And it’s also essential to take care of your employees. The happier they are the more productive your office will be. There are many tools that could be used to make your business thrive.

Knowing your product

When you have a business you need to make sure that your team has an understanding of how your product works. A customer might not be interested in a product at first but the more you sell the product to them the more they may be persuaded. If you promote features of the product that a customer may be interested in, you can end up persuading them to buy it. In order to achieve this, you need to know the ins and outs of your product. You need to have a lot of knowledge about how your product works and its benefits.

For example, if you have a tech company and your team doesn’t know how to use the very technology they are trying to convince the consumer to buy. It might lead to a loss of a sale. To improve on their knowledge, you can create tests that’ll assess their knowledge of the product. You can also help them take courses and make them go to trade conventions where they can learn more about the product.

Take care of your employees

Make sure that the people who work for you are looked after and in turn they’ll look after the company for you.They’ll be the ones dealing with customers and helping bring in business. The more satisfied your employees are, the more productive they’ll be. If an employee feels validated by their manager they’ll be more diligent. And they’ll also probably be more loyal to the company as a whole. Offer incentives and rewards that’ll acknowledge your employee’s hard work. The more they feel appreciated and that their work is recognised, the more they’ll give back to the company. Happy employees build a happy company.

Feedback

Pay attention to customer feedback, this could give you a clear indication of how you should steer as a business. Feedback can give insight into customers’ needs and what they fully require in a product. A business can lose a loyal customer over one flaw. It’s important to retain customer loyalty in your business, so it’s vital to ensure you take their feedback seriously.

Speaking of feedback, you need to also embrace staff feedback. Especially if they have direct contact with customers.

You need to train your staff on how to deal with clients. And that includes everyone from the security guard who lets people into building to management. Everyone working in the company needs to be trained on how to engage with consumers.

 

You can lose a valuable customer because of an employee’s bad attitude. The employees need to make sure that the customers feel that they are validated and listened to.

If your employees chat amongst themselves or pay attention to their cell phone the entire time that they’re supposed to be attending a client, the customer could end his loyalty to your business. Customers need to be feel validated and as if their needs are met. Satisfied customers will boost your sales.

Find a way to lower your costs

There are many ways to cut down on business costs. And you should try assess your business to find ways that you can minimise some expenditures in your business.

Instead of buying a car you can lease it. There are many advantages to leasing the business car. If you lease your car, it’s cheaper because the monthly payments are lower. And you get to drive a better model for a cheaper price. The maintenance of the car will also be taken care of by your dealerships so you don’t have to worry about service.

You can cut down on marketing costs. Technology has made life so much easier for businesses. A business can just use social media and blogging to advertise instead of traditional marketing. And in this way the budget for marketing is cut down.

You can also co-share your office space with another company and this’ll reduce your overhead costs.

A business is filled with daily challenges. It’s fairly normal for a business to experience ups and downs. But many pitfalls can be avoided by applying basic business principles to your business.