Why it’s important to upskill your employees

We live in a fast-paced world where a business shouldn’t stay stagnant but needs to constantly evolve and change with the times. And the employees in the company need to also grow. And the best way to develop your staff is by upskilling them.You might think you should use the money elsewhere but upskilling your employees has long-term benefits for your business.

Here are the benefits of upskilling your employees

Improves productivity

It’s important to upskill employees because it’ll help them be more productive at work. We live in an ever-changing world where employees need to stay on top of the latest trends. If you let your employees figure out new systems by themselves it could take them a long time to do so. But when you train them, you’ll benefit because they’ll be able to adapt and learn the new processes more quickly. A training course will help your employees be able to do their work more efficiently and effectively. The faster your employees work, the more they’ll save you money. For example, if you take them to seminars they could learn important skills such as report writing skills.

Promote current employees

Upskilling your employees gives you an opportunity to promote from within. For example, if you want to promote someone to a management position then you could send them on a project management course. Hiring from the outside can be stressful. The interviewing process can be time-consuming and require a lot of effort. You’ll need to sift through a bunch of CVs  and then you’ll have to interview each candidate to find the one perfect for the job. But when you upskill your own employees, you won’t spend a lot of energy trying to find the one who’ll meet the right criteria.

Less errors

Upskilling will not only help employees work quickly but it also has the added benefit of helping your employees reduce mistakes and errors at work. This will help your employees produce quality work.

Job satisfaction

Upskilling your employees will improve job satisfaction because your employees will feel like you’re investing in them and you have their best interest at heart. It’ll also make them feel like you see potential in them and you see their worth.

Satisfied customers

You’ll also have happy customers due to your employees being happy in the workplace. Your employees will be able to produce satisfactory work and go the extra mile to please your customers, and this will make your customers more satisfied.

Discover new passions

It could help the employee find something new they could be passionate about. For example, if they work in social media they could upskill by going to writing skills seminars and they may eventually be able to contribute to content. They might discover that they love writing and be able to contribute to content on a regular basis.

You won’t need to outsource

You won’t need to find external experts to do certain work for you. You could use your staff member to fill the gaps. For instance, your business may be growing and you may have a digital marketing company where you started out with only with a social media team but now clients want content as part of the package. You could either hire more people for your team or you could upskill your employees so they’re equipped with the skills and expertise to be able to write content.

Here are a few ways to upskill your team

Choose one person

Your business might be in a tight spot financially and you may not be able to send the whole team for a training course. You could pick one individual in the team to take down notes and then teach the rest of the team all the skills they learned.

One-on-one mentoring

You could get a person in the company who has more experience and expertise to help train a junior. They could assist by giving them critical advice, explaining different tasks and give feedback each week to help them improve.

Seminars and webinars

Your staff could attend different seminars which will equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge. They’ll learn new industry insights which will help them become better at what they do. Webinars are also perfect because employees won’t need to be physically present in the seminars, they just need an internet connection.

Employees need to be upskilled in order for your business to perform well and see high returns. When you equip your employees with better skill sets they’ll be able to handle different tasks at work and they’ll be more efficient while doing so. Your staff will also feel that they are valued and part of your team. And this will make them happier and could contribute positively to their overall performance.

 

The point of turnstiles

Gates have been an integral part of architecture for the longest time. From keeping out marauding forces to keeping in animals, they are invaluable. With the evolution of the gate, and the advancements in technology comes the turnstile. These metal barriers serve more purposes than standard gates, which is why they are incorporated into so many places.

While we may no longer have hordes of marauding factions literally banging down city gates (depending on your definition), in modern society there’s still a need to control the flow of people. And though this may sound somewhat Orwellian in nature, there’s nothing further from it.

As a company or venue, you may be thinking of incorporating turnstiles into the area in order to manage consumers and visitors. Below we discuss exactly what turnstiles are, as well as their uses.

What is a turnstile?

Simply put, turnstiles are metal barriers. And though some of them may look like gates, they have quite a few differences. You’ve probably used a turnstile at some point in your life, such as at your local shopping centre or when attending a concert.

The biggest differences between these and a standard gate are the turning mechanism. Part of a turnstile is able to move when force is applied, such as a person passing through it. They can then ‘lock’ in place after that person, or form a safety barrier if needed.

Turnstiles also come in a variety of designs, though when it comes to heights, most are either the full or half height of a person. The designs range from portable full-height contraptions to drop arm barriers and each has a specific purpose and implementation.

Safety and security

The safety of its patrons is a prime concern of any building owner or event organiser. Because of that, many venues incorporate turnstiles into their safety programs and facilities. These devices are able to limit the flow of foot traffic to one person at a time, and in single-file lines. This enables security to easily assess each person, or search/scan them if needed, as they enter the area.

If there is a security problem, the turnstiles can immediately be locked so that no one else can pass through the barrier. This is useful in a crisis, with some models able to fold away when a building needs to be quickly evacuated.

It’s not just venues and buildings that have turnstiles installed After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia was under pressure to collect fares for public transport, which was a daunting task. The country opted to install turnstiles inside of buses and trams, which help accommodate the collection of money and limit the number of passengers a public transport vehicle can handle.

Analytics and data collection

With the advent of modern technology, turnstiles are able to offer analytics for a range of establishments. By utilising a laser beam, these devices can count the number of people who pass through the turnstile. This offers business owners an idea of how many customers visit each day, how long it takes for them to leave, and which days or times are the most popular.

They are also able to lock after a certain number of people have entered the building and not allow any more. This is effective for venues that have fire safety restrictions, or an area that has a limited amount of space.

Saving company money

By using turnstiles, your company or event is able to save money. By installing those with a built-in card or ticket scanning device, they remove the need to hire additional security staff to monitor the event, company or concert.

The devices will also disallow anyone who doesn’t have a valid ticket or staff pass, adding to the security of the event.

Feature image from Prayitno via Flickr.

High tech security systems

Regardless of where you are in the world, crime is on the rise, or at least we’re more aware of it thanks to social media. Regardless, you’ll want to protect your home from intruders and sometimes that means standard burglar bars and a security gate just won’t cut it. In fact, it’s time to look at technology instead of good old iron to protect you and your family.

There are numerous ways that you can protect your home, from getting a family dog, to putting up barbed wire or glueing bits of broken glass on top of your wall. And as much as those can stop intruders, they’re also a deterrent. If someone does manage to get past your security perimeter, you’ll want clear footage of them so that a case can be opened with the police and the matter taken further.

Here are a few ways in which you can increase the security of your home with technology.

Motion detectors

One of the best way to know if anyone is on the property – especially at night when your family is asleep – is through the use of motion detectors. These can be installed pretty much anywhere in your home and can also be linked up to a security system to notify you of problems. Of course, they’re not completely fool proof and depending on how sensitive they are, can pick up the slightest movement, such as an animal.

Anyone with a security will already have some of these installed, though a few extra for your own monitoring purposes won’t hurt.

Motion detectors can be hooked up to lights that will switch on when the sensors detect movement. While it’s not a foolproof method, it does help to deter criminals.

Security cameras and recording

An easy way to make your security system high-tech is by installing security cameras. Many homes use cameras that are empty shells to deter intruders, but they worthless if they cannot actually capture footage.

Security cameras can be installed both inside and outside, and have the ability to be controlled or sit stationary over an area. And it’s best to purchase cameras that fit your budget and not the cheapest range that you can find. After all, the better the camera, the higher the video capture quality and the higher the chance you’ll be able to capture the intruders’ faces on camera.

Of course, you cannot just install a camera. Depending on the kind of setup you require, you may need a DVR – for recording, monitors, and a video wall controller for multiple camera feeds to multiple screens. This is in addition to having enough hard drives that you can capture several days worth of footage and redundancy in case something happens.

Mobile app for monitoring

You’ll want an easy way to tie the home security and sensors in an easy-to-use package. For this, you can invest in a mobile app and sufficient DVR system. With the advancement in technology and the evolution of cellular connections and bandwidth, you can control the entire house’s security system from your tablet or phone while away from home.

These apps, which you’ll need to put a bit of research into, will be able to give you real-time camera feeds as well as notifications. If someone has entered the property, the sensors will trip, and you can track their movements in real time.

Another benefit to a mobile app, and a bit of rigging to your system, is the ability to control lights when you’re away from home. The old trick when going on holiday is to leave some of the lights on when you’re not at home. While this may fool some into thinking someone is there, anyone staking out your home will wonder why the same lights are on in the same rooms each and every day. This can be solved by putting the lights on a timer, it will appear as if someone is switching the lights on and off each day. If you are away from home and someone is trying to break in, flick on a few lights through the app to make it appear as if someone is around.

These are just a few ways in which you can spruce up your home security with modern technology. There are, however, some additional options, such as having access cards to your front gate with a special key or an electrified fence that is on a timer.

Office PC software and what it does

Whether you’re a writer or an accountant, office computer software is a part of your daily life. You may be writing copy for a client or figuring out salaries for the next financial year. Either way, these nifty pieces of code are essential for the modern work environment. With so many different office applications in suits, what do they do and what do you need to use?

There are a few different developers of offices software, though the most common are Microsoft (MS) with their Office package, Apache’s OpenOffice (OO), and LibreOffice. All three of these are incredibly similar, but with a few differences here and there – apart from their overall aesthetics. Firstly, MS Office is a retail package and is sold to students, home users, and businesses and works on Mac and Windows, while OO is free and provided to anyone, and Libre is geared towards the Linux scene. They are able to read each other’s files, but due to programming differences, may not display them in exactly the same way.

When it comes down to it, you cannot go wrong with any of those packages. Here’s a simple breakdown of the necessary office software components and what they do.

The word processor

Most will know this as Microsoft Word. After all, the product is almost a signature of the office software industry. It is geared towards creating documents, such as letterheads, contracts, and novels. Its basic functionality allows the user to write anything they want and then format it in almost anyway they want to. This includes standard formatting, such as bolding or colour text, to inserting tables and images.

Most word processors have built-in spelling and grammar checkers for a variety of languages. They make creating content much easier as you’re able to spot and fix up any errors that may pop up. This is compounded by a built-in thesaurus and dictionary as well.

The spreadsheet program

Another piece of office software that’s a staple in almost every company, is the spreadsheet editor. This robust piece of kit may look intimidating at first, but after users have learned a few of it basic functions and equations – such as VLOOKUP and CONCATENATE – it’s a tool that becomes indispensable. It’s easy to create a budget for yourself, an overview of company assets, or a guest list for the office end of year function. In order to get the most out of the spreadsheet program, think about sending you staff on a training course.

Spreadsheet programs aren’t just used for mathematical equations, either. Users who put time and effort into learning the ins and out of it are able to create entire images out of red, blue, and green blocks, to entire video games. It’s not the average piece of office software and has a lot of untapped potential.

The presentation software

Easily the most joked about piece of software in any office suite. After all, what company or manager doesn’t like a slideshow filled with graphs and stock images. Out of the core office software product, the slideshow app is usually the easiest to use. They are created with drag-and-drop functionality in mind and users aren’t required to learn any formulas or special formatting techniques.

The mail program

And, finally, there’s the email program. Though LibreOffice and OO don’t have their own versions, MS includes Outlook, which is used in most office environments. Its built-in functionality allows for the utilisation of a robust phonebook for contacts, a built-in calendar for events, and even integration with select messaging programs.

These are just a few of the office applications, with more out there, such as a database program, advanced mathematics app, and even one for drawing.

Tips for the first time business owner

 

They say the richest place in the world is the graveyard; it’s filled with knowledge and wisdom which was never used. Most people have plenty of ideas but are afraid to follow their passions. They may desire to pursue an unconventional career or start their own business. But they’re afraid to take the risk and walk into the unknown. They may fear failure or change. If you’re one of the brave ones who are willing to take the risk and start your own business, then congratulations. Most dream about starting a company but never take the leap.

Here’s what you’ll need to know when you first start your business.

Find your passion

Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Many people want to start a business solely for the money. But money shouldn’t be the only basis of why you start your business, you should do it because you’re also passionate about it. You’ll eventually lose interest and you’ll be disappointed because money is usually the last thing to come. Choose something which lights a fire inside of you and which you would do even if you didn’t get paid for it. When you’re passionate about something, you’ll work on it even when you’re not supposed to.

Know your limits

Know your strengths and know your weaknesses. When you first start a business, you may want to be in control of every aspect of the company. Even so, there are skill sets which you could lack and you should, therefore, ask for help with. Someone else could provide your business with skills which could expand your business profits..

Be realistic

As an entrepreneur, don’t expect to live large in the first year. Be willing to make sacrifices. You may expect to see a fat bank balance and to drive a Lamborghini within the first year, but that kind of mentality will lead to disappointment and could land you in debt. The first few years are about establishing your company and building your brand and acquiring customers. Of course, every business owner wants to see profits quickly, but you need to set realistic goals.

Read

Read magazines, blogs, newspapers, and books. Read everything you can get your hands on and  don’t limit yourself. There’s no end to learning and the more you study, the more you’ll acquire wisdom. You’ll be able to apply this knowledge when making business decisions. You could also get inspiration while reading a blog or reading about how other business owners solved complex problems in their businesses. Be open and willing to learn and apply these ideas in your business.

Mentor

You should get a mentor someone who has walked the same route you’re walking. They’ll be able to motivate and push you along when you feel like you want to give up.  They’ve been through the highs and lows of building a business and will be able to give you solid advice. Make sure you actually listen and are open to what they have to say after all they have already walked along the same path. And having a mentor also means you’ll be able to bounce ideas of them.

Your mentor will also give you a new perspective and insight for how to face any challenges you might be facing in your business.

Lower costs

As a startup business, you could have a lot of business costs but with little income coming in. You could find ways to help you lower business expenditure, such as buying equipment and your business vehicles secondhand. Just make sure you use a car book value calculator when you buy your used car to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Rest

Make sure you get plenty of rest. As a business owner, you may be tempted to work until the late night hours and even during weekends. But in order to be productive while building your business, your mind needs to be sharp and you need to bring your A-game, which is why you should rest.

Risk taker

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and take risks. Some ideas lead to success while others fail, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Keep a journal where you jot down ideas even the ones you think are far off and crazy. For example, Richard Branson founder of the Virgin Group has been known to take risks and that has lead to the success of his company. Sometimes taking a risk pays off and will make your business stand out from the rest.

Starting a business requires wisdom, strength and courage. And if you give it all you got and you persevere your business could succeed. Be realistic about your goals, follow your passion and take the risks and you’ll go far.

 

 

How to turn your small business into a franchise

As a business owner, you might want to jump on the franchise bandwagon. You may be inspired by the likes of Sorbet and Debonairs who are homegrown businesses that have stood the test of time. You’re motivated, amped and ready to take the leap of faith into the unknown. But before you jump you should make sure you have all your ducks in a row and have the tools to make a success of your franchise.

Here’s what you need to know before you start your franchise.

Do the research

When you first started your business you had to do market research to find out if it would succeed or not. Just because your business was a hit in one area, doesn’t mean it’ll do well in other parts of the country. You need to assess the markets and see if there’s a demand for the franchise you want to establish. Before you start your franchise you can open two or three other businesses elsewhere to see if they do well or not. You also need to understand the franchise business model, so you can be able to implement it successfully.

X-factor

A recent study conducted by Research IQ for Franchise Association of South Africa revealed that franchises in South Africa contributed R302 billion toward the economy. This shows us that the franchised businesses in South Africa are doing remarkably well.  And the common factor most of the franchises have is they have an X-factor which separates them from the rest in the crowd.

What makes your business special? What do people remember most about your business? What makes it remarkable and different from others in the market? You need to ask yourself these questions in order to create a franchise. Your business needs to be one which stands out from the rest in order for it to be a successful franchise. Most generic businesses don’t make it  as franchises because their concept isn’t original.

Legal advice

You’ll need legal advice to protect your business and yourself. You’ll need to draft a franchise agreement contract and franchise disclosure documents. As well as employ a lawyer to overlook these documents for you. They must  also give you intellectual property advice and other critical advice on which to build your franchise.

Give them some leeway

You’ll need to establish rules and regulations which the franchisees will have to follow but you should also give them a bit of leeway to run the business. Your franchisees will have insight into the specific needs of certain markets and they can tailor your franchise to suit them. For example, KFC in South Africa saw a gap in the market for customers who wanted pap as part of their meals. And some meals in the KFC in Thailand are served with rice. What works for one market segment may not work for another. Demographics often influence the structure and success of a business. A successful business owner knows when to loosen the reigns for their franchisees.   

Hard work

Building a franchise is a hard work and takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Many people aren’t prepared for the hard work which goes into building a franchise. You’ll need to hire and train the right people, market the franchise, create paperwork and make sure you learn about the legal issues. Many business owners like the idea of having their businesses in other parts of the world but they don’t realise how many processes it takes to build a successful franchise.

Funding

You’ll need a lot of funding to establish your franchise and you may not have the capital to buy assets. There are asset finance companies in South Africa which can help you acquire assets through loans. Asset finance includes equipment leasing, hire purchases, finance leases, operating leases and asset refinance.

Be selective

When you choose a franchisee you should be extremely careful about who you pick to represent your brand. Make sure they’re aligned with your vision and goals and they’re willing to adhere to your rules. For example, if a customer sues one of your franchisees for negligence then your whole brand comes under fire. Screen your franchisees and interview them to make sure they’re the kind of people you would want to have running your franchise. They also need to have experience with management and know how to lead a team successfully. And you need to ask them if they are good with following rules, because a franchisee needs to have a personality type that can stick to your franchise formula.

You need to make sure you take the necessary steps to find out if it’ll be a success in other areas too and if the market is big enough. Be selective about the people you choose to buy the franchise, investigate the market to see if there’s a demand and protect yourself by getting legal advice.

 

 

8 Low-cost businesses for introverts

 

Some people are naturally outgoing and outspoken and others are more reserved and keep to themselves. If the latter group describes you then you’re probably an introvert. If you want to open a business but want to avoid escaping your social comfort zone, you’re in luck, because there are plenty of business opportunities which allow you the freedom to work at your own pace while in the comfort of your own home.  

Here are examples of business opportunities which are fit for an introvert.

Blogging

Blogging gives you the opportunity to work without ever leaving your house let alone your bed. Your can blog about anything, whether you’re passionate about travel, you want to share your latest fashion finds or want to share cooking ideas and recipes. You can be as creative as you want to be. You can share your expertise and turn your creativity into a career. Many businesses work with bloggers and use them as a marketing tool.  

Make sure you have a strategy set in place on how you plan to pull in your market. You need to also be able to stand out from the crowd, the market is saturated with bloggers and you need to make sure your blog separates you in order to get noticed by big businesses. You should also do a lot of networking to get your blog noticed, so be sure to go to blogging events and get your name out there. And you should also make sure your blog layout looks good. Image is everything and the layout of your blog should catch people’s eye.

Develop an app

These days there are no limits to the type of apps you can find. For example, you can get a white noise app where you have the sound of rain or a thunderstorm at your fingertips or if you enjoy listening to podcasts there’s an app called Pocket Casts where you can stream podcast anywhere. If you have the knowledge and expertise to create an app, then you could do so. And you could offer this app to different businesses.

Become a writer

If you have always wanted to write a book then there is no better time than now to do it. Whether you want to write fiction, non-fiction or a biography, you should start writing. Who knows, your book might just become the latest bestseller? And technology has made things easier for aspiring writers, nowadays you don’t even need an agent. You can make an ebook which cuts out the middleman. You can write your book on a Word document or PDF and turn your knowledge into an income. Just make sure what you write is of value to the reader so you’ll be able to make an income. You can take your own picture for the cover and then send the book. You can sell your ebook to Kindle, Lulu or Smashwords or self-publish on Amazon

Freelancing

If you don’t feel like writing a book but have great writing skills you could freelance for different companies. You could work anywhere in the world, even under a palm tree on the beach. Freelancing allows you to be flexible while working any time of the day and at your convenience, just as long as you meet all your deadlines. The types of topics you could discuss are endless. You could dabble in finance and discuss asset finance companies in South Africa or write about food.

Graphic designer

Another great way to make money while working from home is to become a graphic designer. You could create logos and illustrations for various publications such as newspapers, magazines, and other businesses which will require your service.

House sitting

Imagine staying at a glass house overlooking the beach, and getting paid for it. While this might not be your main job, you could get extra income by housesitting for people who need their house looked after while they travel. You won’t have too many social interactions, so this is a perfect job for an introvert seeking a second income

Massage therapist

If are fully trained as a massage therapist you can set up a massage parlour from your home and give clients messages while providing a quiet, tranquil environment where they can relax and forget about any stress.

Proofreader

If you have an eye for detail, are patient and you love reading, then proofreading could be your calling. Nobody is perfect and writers often need someone to make sure their work is perfect. You can offer this service to businesses and writers in need of proofreading and you can check out for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.  

Starting a business as an introvert will require you to get out of your comfort zone because you need to network, but you don’t need to be with large crowds all the time. You can look at some of these examples mentioned above and you could decide which business best suits you.

 

 

Full time vs Part time business

The saying goes “don’t quit your day job”. And you might feel conflicted about quitting completely to start building your empire or working on it part time. You could be buzzing with ideas for a new business venture but find that you’re too scared to take the leap. Don’t worry, many business owners were afraid to leave their day jobs and opted to hustle on the side instead. Business is all about taking risks but smart entrepreneurs know that calculated risk taking can deliver positive results.

Here are a few things to consider before starting your own business.

Test the waters

Starting a business part time will give you an opportunity to test out your idea before you make a full-time commitment. It’ll help you see if the market is responsive to the product or service you want to provide. If there’s a lukewarm response it’ll give you time to work on your product while still getting an income from your full-time job. You can explore better features to add to your product or change the packaging. And you can ask potential customers what improvements they would like to see you make to the product. You could also develop prototypes and perform surveys in order to find out the market’s reaction to your product. If you’re not fully confident about the market you’re vying for you might need to stay in your current job. By doing so you’re able to spend the time finding out if it’s worth the risk or not.

Provide security

They say the higher the risk you’re prepared to take the higher the return you’ll get. But if you’re a person who always has to weigh up their options before making a decision you may need to wait before you leave your full-time job. Quitting your day job will put you under financial pressure and this could lead to you experiencing terrible stress.

Side business

Your business might only cater to a small niche market and it might not make enough money to cover all your expenses. Many new businesses don’t earn enough profits to allow the owner to leave their full-time jobs. But the new part-time business could provide a nice side income.

Accumulate capital

If you quit your job you’ll be pressured to make profits quickly because you don’t have an income. Most startup businesses only see profits after six months sometimes it can take up to a year. Working full time will give you the opportunity to save up enough capital to keep your business going when profits are running low.

Time

How much time are you able to sacrifice? If your job isn’t demanding and you’re not working in a particularly fast paced environment then you can start your business part time. But if you have a busy schedule and you also want to work part time, it could be a recipe for disaster. You need to make sure you have enough time for both jobs. If you don’t you may end up neglecting your business and it might fail. If your venture needs your complete attention then you may need to quit your job and if you can’t afford that then you’ll need to put the project on hold. In order for many businesses to get off the ground faster, they require tons of sacrifice and the owner to be all in.

Sacrifice

Starting your business part time will be stressful because you won’t have time to spend with family. You’ll have to make a lot of sacrifices to get your business going while still working full time. Your family will have to be part of the decision-making process. Working long hours can be taxing psychologically and you need to make sure you’re prepared.

Conflict

If you’re starting a business on the side you need to ensure it doesn’t conflict with your current job. If you’re spending hours focusing on your startup then you could end up neglecting your current job. And this will land you in hot water with your boss.

Collaboration

You could find a business partner who might offer an investment as well assistance which will help you launch your startup. Having a partner means you can manage your time better and they will share the responsibility with you. Your business partner will also be able to contribute a new set of skills and the workload will be divided.

Failure

You may experience a lot of failures while building your business. But you shouldn’t give up, most successful businesses had to experience a lot of trial and error before they became successful and profitable.

Funding

Your startup business could require a lot of capital, which you might need to spend a lot of time raising. Consider leasing your business car, land and equipment. Leasing a cheaper alternative to paying everything cash.  

Starting a business part time can be physically exhausting and take up much of your time. If you’re willing to make sacrifices and work hard you will see your business do well. Just make sure you manage your time well and you collaborate with the right people who can help you.

 

 

7 steps to improving health and safety in the workplace

All businesses should have an occupational health and safety programme in place. This programme is a process for managing the prevention of work-related injuries in the workplace. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to your employees to ensure their health and safety in the workplace. And while you won’t be able to prevent their personal health issues, there are measures you can put in place to help reduce the occurrence of workplace-related injuries.

Every workplace should follow certain health and safety regulations. It’s widely accepted that a health and safety programme plays an instrumental role in reducing workplace accidents. As you face cutbacks in productivity and staff, you should try to do more with less and work to remain solvent. So having a sound, up-to-date health and safety programme in place becomes even more important.

Whether you need to put in place a health and safety programme or just want to update your current system to meet today’s needs, here are seven steps to improve health and safety in the workplace.

Come up with a plan to control workplace hazards

As the employer, you should make it a priority to identify danger in the workplace and take steps to cut or minimise them. It’s best to develop a safety plan. Tell your employees what you’ll do to ensure their safety and what you expect from them. It’s important that you have a first aid kit in your workplace. And make sure employees have access to it. Examples of possible hazards include a cleaner working with powerful chemically-laden  cleaning products, a mechanic operating big machinery or a warehouse manager stacking heavy boxes. It’s important to inform employees of the steps you’re taking to boost health and safety levels.

Inspect your workplace

You should check all the equipment and tools to ensure they’re well maintained and safe to use. Check storage areas and review safe work procedures. Make sure the boxes in the storage area are stacked in a safe manner. Your employees should be instructed how to lift heavy goods without injuring themselves. Workers should also know where the fire exit is and where they should gather if there’s a fire. You could call in a registered health and safety officer to help you with this. They’ll be better placed to identify any potential hazards or pitfalls in your workplace layout. You could do it yourself but you might miss a crucial element that could lead to one of your employees getting injured.

Look for ways to improve safety

Just as it’s desirable to find work methods to achieve faster results at less cost, you should look for ways to eliminate risk. It’s best to spend time with employees to brainstorm about their safety ideas. Ask for their concerns about safety in the workplace and act on their suggestions.

Train your employees

Proper training is important for all employees, especially if there’s a risk for potential injury associated with a job. You should provide written instructions and safe work procedures. That way employees can check for themselves if they’re unsure of a task or forgot part of their training. Supervise your employees to ensure they’re using their training to perform their job properly and safely. If you don’t provide the correct training for workers, you’re not only endangering the safety of your employees but you’ll be held liable for any incidents which could have serious consequences.

Make safety a key part of your business

Health and safety in the workplace shouldn’t be an afterthought. A commitment to health and safety makes good business sense because it’s one way to protect your greatest resource, your employees. If you want to secure the work premises, you could consider installing turnstiles. This way you’ll ensure no unwanted guests enter and that your employees are safe. Turnstar is one of the largest manufacturers of secure physical access control products. So be sure to check them out when considering installing turnstiles.

Keep records

It’s important that you keep records of all first aid treatment products, regular inspections, incident investigations and training activities. It can help you identify trends in unsafe conditions or work procedures at a later stage. You should keep hold of any records by making a note of the dates and the outcomes.

Have regular meetings on workplace safety

It’s always good to be over-prepared. You should have regular meetings about safety rules and talk about prevention to keep workplace safety top of mind. So when something happens, everyone knows what to do right away. If any concerns have been reported, you should decide how those issues will be addressed.

As an employer, start by taking these seven steps to help avoid workplace injuries and promote employee health.

11 ways to make your business stand out

 

X-factor is a programme on TV that scouts for people who have more than just their talent to offer, they have the “it factor”, something which makes them stand out from the rest. The contestants try to highlight their unique talents they feel will make them stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you want your business to succeed you should also navigate your business this way. Figure out what make you different and focus on that. You’ll attract more people to your business if people feel your business is unique, you offer outstanding service and give your customers the best value for their money. Here is how to make your business stand out.  

Customer service

You have to offer exceptional service in order to stand out as a business. Customers want evidence a business cares about their needs and will go the extra mile. What are you doing to show your customers you would go above and beyond for them? A key way to providing excellent service is to figure out what your customers need and want.

Be consistent

If you’re persistent in your business dealings, you’ll attract customers and be able to keep them in the long run. You need to make sure you’re consistent with the excellent service you provide because it’ll help build customer loyalty. Customers are more inclined to support a business which always delivers a great experience and they know they can trust.

Let them win

Remember that old saying about the customer always being right? Well, you should put it into practice. It’s better to be the bigger person in business, even if you know you’re right, it’s best to let the client win the argument.

Competitors

Many customers love to rant on social media about a company’s faults. Find out what potential customers are saying about your competitor’s products on social media. Your competitor’s negative reviews could help you provide a better product or service than them.

Where do your competitors fall short? What can you do to improve on their shortcomings? Give your customers something they can’t buy anywhere else. Is it possible to make your product more efficient or effective than the products in the marketplace? Or maybe your product could use better packaging. Brainstorm on ideas and think outside the box on creative ways you can provide a better product than your competitors.

Revamp your business

Your business shouldn’t be stuck in the middle ages, it has to evolve over time. Sometimes, the appearance of a company needs to be altered in order for it to gain new clients.

Lend a hand

You can collaborate with a worthy cause-related programme. People like to know they’re making a difference with people, animals or the environment. And they’ll likely support your business if they can see you’re offering a helping hand to others.

Build relationships

A business needs to find the missing pieces in order to complete its puzzle and stand out. Find people in the industry you can learn from or who can add value to your business.The best way to do this is through networking. It’s important to network in business because an encounter with a potential client could be a gateway to a business opportunity. Find opportunities to network at business functions, charities and over social media. For example, you could like a potential business associate’s page and leave comments. Reaching out to them could lead to a joint venture or a partnership. Networking is a key way to expanding your business.

Videos

Sharing videos is a powerful tool to market your business. A video going viral in a positive way could positively affect your sales and give your business the exposure it needs. As much as 50% of our brain is wired to remember visual content. If you tell a person a piece of information, the likelihood of them remembering it will be 10%. But if you add visual content to that information, it’ll be increased to 65%. If you share videos it’ll stimulate your customers and keep them interested.    

Respond quickly

How long does it take for your company to reply to a customer’s emails and calls? It’s important that companies try to respond to customer complaints or queries in a timely manner in order to provide customer satisfaction.

Listen

It’s also important to listen to a customer. They could make some valid points which could improve your business and help it stand out from the rest.

Back to school

There’s no end to books and what you can learn. You need to always stay on top of your game in order to stand out. You can enrol in a marketing or business training course to brush up on your skills because the business world is constantly evolving.

It’s important to stand out from the crowd, otherwise you’ll just blend in and become just another business in the marketplace. Standing out will make your clients remember you and could also build brand loyalty.