You should throw a stellar quarterly staff party

work (2)Every company needs to pay dues to its staff. After all, the success of a business lies in the productivity, determination and loyalty of its staff.

And most business owners know that when the company performs, it’s the staff that must be rewarded in order to keep the successes coming thick and fast.

Now there are many massive corporates who have great reward systems for their star employees. Those who really perform can expect big bonuses, expensive vacations, gift vouchers and so on. These are the incentives created which motivate the staff to continue performing. Similarly, big companies often offer remunerative packages that include benefits which are unheard of elsewhere or in smaller companies.

For instance, a large corporation might offer fully paid for comprehensive medical cover for the staff members and their family. Or they might have a creche and gym situated in their offices to assist their employees. Some might even include healthy lunches served every day and regular visits from a nutritionist and dietician. By including these types of benefits into the package offered to potential employees, these companies are able to attract and retain highly talented individuals and they never struggle to find people.

But your regular, “normal” sized companies can’t always afford to offer these types of benefits. Even those with access to corporate finance, corporate loans and major credit cards. However, every business needs to offer its employees something special without landing in a deluge of debt. Some kind of spoil or break. Something that keeps them motivated and always trying to do better and achieve more. And even for the smallest of companies, making sure that some time and effort is put into a quarterly function can be enough to keep the staff motivated and excited.

So, big or small, make sure you have something lined up for the end of each quarter

But providing your staff with drinks at the office or the local pub simply won’t cut it. It is better to be creative and best to keep it a big surprise. Everyone enjoys the anticipation of a surprise treat, and your staff members are likely to respond positively with lots of excitement when they know they can expect something.

There are themes aplenty

Of course, you can align these staff parties with calendar events. The likes of St Patrick’s Day, Halloween or Easter are easy to use as themes for your staff party. But if you’re stuck for an idea, then simply Google “fun and festive days on the calendar” and you’ll be served up fun ideas like Popcorn Day (19 January), Awkward Moment’s Day (18 March) or even Take Your Dog to Work Day (23 June). With enough creativity and enthusiasm, you can use these suggestions and turn your function into something quite unique and fun.

Learn how to read the room

Creating a stellar quarterly function that gets everyone excited means that you have to pick venues, themes and activities that everyone will enjoy. But this can feel like an impossible task. Time must be spent accounting for the different departments and what the personality types are in those specific areas of the business. So when you decide on something you need to make sure all the different personalities can be accommodated. For instance, you can’t take the whole company river rafting if you are uncertain that the whole company will want to partake in such an activity. But you can take the whole company to the dam for a camping experience that includes river rafting. If your company is small enough, it might be an idea to have a couple of meetings about a variety of ideas and read the response. Alternatively, if the company is rather big, send out an email presenting the different options and ask them to vote for what they’d like to do. Keep the theme a secret until it’s time to send out the invites.

 

Make it inclusive

 

Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s always an inclusive experience. Even if you decide to do something “regular”. For instance, if you go out for drinks, dinner and dancing, then just as you would ensure that everyone’s dietary requirements are catered for, make sure that those who don’t drink can enjoy non-alcoholic bubbles. And those who don’t dance can head to a cigar bar or lounge area to relax. If you have an employee who is disabled, then you cannot insist the company goes line dancing. But you could take everyone for a picnic and those active people could try out the ziplining or rock climbing.
Sometimes the most ingenious ideas are the simplest. Consider taking your staff to a Rugby match (but in the bleachers and not in a box so that they feel the “gees”), then out for beers and a real pub dinner afterwards. And, of course, have a shuttle get them all home safely. Or head out to the likes of the Arabella Sheraton where the ladies can all enjoy a treatment at the spa and the guys enjoy some competitive golfing. Everyone can meet up for lunch after.

What every security should know

Some security guards work in high-risk environments,, and they need to be always prepared and alert. Security companies need to make sure that they have fully trained and equipped their security guards with the best resources, in order for them to be at their best. Security guards need to be provided with tools that will equip them with the ability to perform efficiently and effectively. They also need to make sure that they empower themselves so that they can be able to perform the best they can at work.

What they are allowed to do

A security is prohibited by law to arrest anyone. But they are allowed to make citizen’s arrest. They are allowed to ensure that if any person has broken the law, they keep the person guilty under supervision until the police officers arrive. They have to have concrete evidence that the person did commit the act before they can restrain them.

Equipment

Some security are given permission to use guns, but only in emergency situations, such as premeditated murder.

Security guards also usually carry batons and pepper spray, and flashlights in order to perform their duties.

Roles of security officers

Security officers are meant to investigate and patrol an area, checking for signs of misdemeanour or anyone breaking the law.

They are meant to make sure they take note of anyone entering or leaving a premises. They are supposed to be the eyes and ears of a building. They need to make sure that nothing out of the ordinary occurs. Security guards need to be vigilant at all times. If any strange sounds occurs a security guard should be on high alert. They need to be trained to pay attention to particular sounds. They also need to have good eyesight. Particularly during the night shift when criminals are most active.

Security guards need to ensure that everyone coming in and out of the vicinity can clearly see them. Criminals are not likely to commit an act of crime if a security is nearby. Usually, criminals are just opportunists and if they see that there is no guard they will take their chances. Security guards must be visible.

Banks  and critical research labs are just few of the places that have man traps. And a security guard usually has to monitor who enters and exits.

Security guard need to be good communicators. They are at the front line of a company. They are the first form of contact that clients will communicate with. Therefore they need to be able to engage with people entering the company, and the staff that work at the vicinity. They need to be friendly and approachable.

If an emergency occurs and the security can’t handle it himself, he must call the police immediately.

Security needs to be able to think on the spot if any incident occurs. Therefore they need to be critical thinkers, and be able to think fast. They need to be rational thinkers. They must make sound judgements at all times, because a person’s life could be on the line.

The security guard should equip himself with knowledge on how to deal with certain situations he may come across. He should get the help of an already experienced security guard, who could give him pointers on what to do in certain situations.

Security guards need to ensure that they are physically fit. They must eat nutritious food and exercise regularly. They must make sure that they are in tip top shape because they may find themselves in a position where they have to defend themselves. If they are unfit they may not be able to do their work to the best of their capacity. They may also have to break up fights or chase after criminals their body needs to be in the best shape in order to keep with them

A security guard might find himself put in a place of danger. They need to know how to defend themselves and others nearby. They need to partake in self-defence classes. Security guards have little access to weapons and the defence courses could come in handy when their lives are in danger.

A security guard needs to study thoroughly the policies and procedures of the company that he works for.

The security needs to ensure that he is always in protective gear so that when a situation arises and he needs to chase after an intruder he is prepared. He needs to be comfortable in his clothes and the boots that he is wearing. The boots need to help them adapt in any hard environment that they might find themselves in. Because they are also walking and standing throughout the day happy with their gear.

In order for security guards to provide their optimum performance, they need to have the characteristics that will enable them to work in a high-risk space. It is not only their lives that are stake the people around them.

 

5 clever ways to update your office security

When it comes to keeping your business safe, there’s more to being secure than simply bolting the front door shut when you leave for the day. The threats to your company’s security are multifaceted. Despite all the technology at our disposal, there’s still the physical threat of burglars jamming a crowbar into your business’ window frame to plunder the valuables inside.

And, in this technology-driven environment, there’s the additional risk of cyber criminals hell-bent on hacking your company’s most sensitive information to steal your most valuable identities. In everyday life, security is one thing you have to pay close attention to.  Pay equal attention to personal security as well as the security of office property.

Offices can contain a wide range of valuable items – from computers to legal documents and cash. Many businesses are at risk from employee theft, criminal break-ins and intellectual property theft. As a business owner or professional office manager, what can you do to make sure your office workplace is as secure as it can be?

Here are a few clever ways how you can update your office security.

Employee identity badges

As a business owner, you have to enforce ID and badge requirements. These two items are effective when it comes to controlling access points. It’s best that employees in large companies wear identification cards or badges. This tells other employees that each person is supposed to be there. ID badges maintain professionalism and allow for better security. It sometimes may be tempting to let higher management get into the building without their badge, resist the temptation to do so since it undermines the integrity of the programme in place. If you want to keep your business safe and secure, then you should follow the badge and ID system. Make sure to have the full name and a picture of the employee on the badge.

Invest in an alarm system

Any business can be a target for the theft of stock and trade secrets, not to mention vandalism. For that reason alone, an alarm system should be a priority. The only way to avoid this risk and secure your business is to use a verified monitoring system. This is to ensure when an actual break-in is taking place an alarm is sent to the integrated monitoring system, which then immediately contacts the police.

Install CCTV

Although CCTV images are more often associated with solving crimes rather than preventing them, they remain a significant deterrent. Installing security cameras at your business will help discourage the unscrupulous from setting foot on your property. Those that ignore the cameras are likely to become unwitting reality TV stars thanks to CCTV. If the worst does happen and your premises is broken into, this will help identify the prowlers. CCTV, however, should only be seen as one aspect of the overall security system for your premises; thieves can always cover their faces or keep out of camera shot. It’s important to know exactly where to place the cameras and check that lighting is sufficient. There are video wall controllers available from Oculus that you can install that will help with security checks. Check out how it works and invest in one.

Get the right security company

There are many security companies to choose from, therefore it’s important to use careful consideration when selecting a security provider. By choosing the right security firm you can be certain that your employees and property are secured. It can also help your business in the case of litigation. Contracting the wrong security company without putting in time to check references and perform background checks can have a negative impact on your business. So how do you avoid this mistake? Start by hiring the right security company. Check for references from other users who make use of the same security personnel. Ask how their experiences have been with their security provider

Use effective lighting

With burglaries usually taking place at night, security lighting on the outside of your premises can be an effective deterrent. It’s likely to make burglars feel observed, and therefore vulnerable. It also allows occupants to see anyone who is approaching the building and the spotlights flood high-risk areas.

Considering the complexity of cyber crime, it’s crucial to update the security at your office. But it’s also worthwhile to keep on top of the latest threats to your business and your employees, lest you end up paying the price that comes with a lack of preparedness. As organisations change and grow, so should their security as well. Businesses that don’t prioritise their security are making a big mistake that will cost them a lot of money.  

The advantages of leasing or equipment and land

A business makes decisions daily that will impact the financial course of the company. Whether you’re considering leasing or buying the equipment or land for your business, you need to consider these options in order to make the best decision:

Benefits of leasing:

  • Some office equipment needs to be updated after a certain period. For example, computers, cellphones and machinery. Leasing would be beneficial and crucial in such cases, because when the products become outdated they can be easily replaced.
  • The landlord is usually responsible for the maintenance of land. This means that the cost it will take to keep the land maintained will be eliminated. The business will not have to be concerned about expenses such as cleaning windows, repairing the roof and mowing the lawn.
  • Certain equipment requires an immediate down payment in order to purchase it. The company may need the equipment immediately and may not have the down payment readily available. In this case a lease could be the solution to this problem, as leasing rarely requires a down payment. This is the most cost-effective option if the company is on a tight budget and needs cash flow.
  • Most vehicle leases can reach up to four years. During those four years the vehicle will usually be covered by a warranty so if the vehicle endures a breakdown it will be covered. The vehicle will also have a service plan. If the vehicle is in need of servicing and certain parts need to be replaced, such as oil filters, air filters, brake fluid and spark plugs, it will be taken care of. Therefore the business owner can focus on other aspects of the business instead of worrying about the expenditure of the maintenance of the vehicle. Leasing a car for business is helpful in such cases.
  • When the business is in its early stages or you have a bad credit score, you may not qualify for a mortgage loan. Leasing land may be the option to opt for.
  • The monthly payments that an individual pays will be substantially lower for car leases than when you purchase a vehicle. The business benefits from leasing because it does not pay for the vehicle as a whole, it pays for the depreciation.
  • The business may have a specific place they envisioned for their business. If the business has not found a place that meets specific requirements, then leasing land may be the best preference.

If you are a small business you may face tough competition from larger companies who have the latest innovations. It is best to lease equipment to keep up with the latest trends if the business is small with a low budget.

Benefits of buying:

  • If your business employs drivers to drive the vehicles. It may be more feasible to buy the vehicle instead of leasing it. The owner will not have direct control of the vehicles and how they will be maneuvered on the road. It is therefore advisable to rather purchase the vehicle.
  • A business should rather purchase land if it will appreciate over time. It makes good financial sense to purchase the property because if you decide to sell the land in future the business may stand to gain a good investment.
  • The amount of kilometres that will be driven each year should be taken into account when deciding to lease or purchase vehicles. Lease contracts will usually state the amount of kilometres that can be driven for a specific payment. If more kilometres are driven then the company will have to pay more than they originally planned on. Purchasing the vehicle would make more financial sense because there is no limit to the amount of kilometres that can be driven by a company-owned vehicle.
  • If the business plans on renovating a place or adding on to the building they want, the best option would be to purchase the land. Leasing the land will limit the alterations that can be made to a building.
  • Another benefit of purchasing land or equipment is that you will have full ownership. This is extremely beneficial if the asset you have bought is not likely to become obsolete in the short term.
  • The longer the business is expected to be around for, the more financial sense it makes to purchase the equipment. If the equipment will be used extensively over long periods, then the company will benefit from owning the equipment.

A business will endure ups and downs over the course of its life. In certain circumstances it will make financial sense to lease equipment such as in the case of technology where it could become obsolete. The aim is for the business to make decisions that will be most cost effective in order to improve its cash flow.

Businesses that benefit from the mining sector

The mining industry is a very expensive and dangerous sector that needs to be provided with equipment and services. Mining companies have deadlines they need to meet in order to finish projects on time. They rely on outside forces to provide them with the tools to finish their day-to-day activities. Indirect Businesses profit substantially from providing services and products to businesses in the mining industry.

Here are a few ways to make money indirectly in the Industry.

Mining equipment finance

There are some businesses in the mining Industry that cannot afford to buy mining equipment. To own a business in the mining industry there needs to be a big budget that will cover the high cost of machinery. The company may be in its early development stages and cannot afford to make such an expensive purchase. Another reason is that the business may be experiencing cash-flow problems and may not be able to come up with large amounts of cash to purchase equipment. Leasing out equipment is a good idea. The monthly payments to lease equipment will be significantly lower and this will allow the business to budget more effectively.

Protective equipment suppliers

Workers in the mining industry are surrounded by danger and they need gear that will protect them from any injury. The workers in the mining industry need to be provided with adequate clothes, boots and protective gear. The gear should be highly visible as it’s dark underground. The fabrics should also contain padding, and be water resistant. There are other items that business could sell for example earplugs, boots and helmets.

Blogging and online magazines

There are many people who are curious and are interested in the mining industry. They could need information on how to run their businesses in the mining Industry. The magazine and blog could provide inside information on how the global mining industry works. Tips could be provided on the best way businesses can navigate themselves in the mining industry.

Chemical suppliers

The mining industry needs high performance chemicals in order to achieve their tasks. The businesses need different chemicals during various stages of the process. Chemicals can include diluents during the extraction process and depressants during the flotation process and others.

Safety services

There are services that a business could provide to help the mining businesses with tools to safeguard against any chemical releases and fires. The mining Industry is surrounded by a lot of risk and the workers need protection from any imminent danger. The services could include detection of any problem areas that are at risk for explosions.

Machinery

Businesses that sell machinery in the industry are vital. There is a variety of machinery needed in the mining industry, for example, bulldozers, drills, huge trucks and rock bolting machines, just to name a few.

Logistics

Companies are needed to transport goods. After the minerals have been excavated they need to be processed. Transportation will be needed to move the goods around the site. Therefore there is a need for businesses that will provide that transportation to the industry.

Power supply

Mining businesses need to save on energy and may need to be provided with tools that save them on costs. Mining businesses need generators and solar energy. Businesses are needed that can provide them with these goods in order to provide the most efficient and effective services while cutting down on costs.

Risk assessment services

There are companies that provide assessment services that will gradually help businesses and equip them with information to move forward with the their tasks. There are several risks that could take place during the mining process, such as, landslides, oil spills and other catastrophes that could be detrimental to the environment. Risk assessment services can be beneficial in that they determine the risks associated with cost, performance and the safety of the project and the environment.

Data mining

Data mining companies help the mining industry by aiding companies with information they will need to run their business. Businesses need to be aware of the internal and external factors that affect their business. Internal factors include positioning, staff skills and price. External factors include competition and customers.

Heavy equipment repair

Businesses can be established that provide the mining sector with repair services. They help with rebuilding and reconstructing broken equipment that is used during mining. They can repair and provide maintenance services. The business can provide on-site and off-site services. The maintenance and servicing of machinery in the mining industry is vital. The machinery and equipment needs to be in top condition in order to provide the best production and service for the mine workers.

There are many businesses that are successful in the mining Industry. They provide services that bring a solution to the people that need it.

Human resources for a small business

Small business owners have a lot on their plate. They face a variety of challenges on the daily which require their absolute attention. In and amongst the daily grind tasks is the hiring and firing of staff and in between that they have to ensure their team of employees is happy all the time.

 

Creating a solid company culture and ensuring your staff members are happy and satisfied is not an easy task. What’s more, it doesn’t always mean supplying them with great coffee and drinks on a Friday. It often means you need to have some secure processes in place, you need to create a space in which they feel they are heard and you must comply with what the law says they need. Your employees need to feel secure and safe in their positions. If they don’t, there is no amount of great coffee or drinks after work that will make them feel happy.

 

It’s not just for those in the big leagues

 

Small businesses employing people are not in any way exempt from Human Resource requirements and compliance. But this is simply another part of making sure the office environment and the staff remain content. Setting up your human resource programs though, that’s a whole new ballgame for your average small business owner. But understanding the ins and outs of the human resource process is not easy for the layman. Knowing about business, knowing how to start one and having holistic knowledge of human resources are completely different things entirely.

 

From the minute they arrive they are your human resource concern

 

From the minute your new employee steps into the building on their first day, there are human resource laws and policies governing their presence there. As a business owner and boss you need to have your human resource processes and documentation in order. In fact for each hire you make you need an employee file that is split in two. One part of it is a personnel file and the other is a confidential file. The personnel file will house the likes of your new employee’s Curriculum Vitae (CV), their job application form or cover letter, payslips, reviews and any disciplinary action. The confidential file will house their medical records, leave applications and reference checks.

 

You must create an employee guide that clearly indicates exactly what your business’s policies and procedures are. This should also indicate the company culture including dress code and outlining any company activities that occur regularly. Include guidelines on things like sick leave, applying for annual leave, maternity or paternity leave and so on. In this way the employees won’t feel lost as to what to do should they require assistance outside of their job description.

 

Having proper human resources in place positions your company as a good choice

 

A company that offers their staff a secure human resource process and procedure offers their staff security. In today’s economy where jobs are scarce and money is tight, finding a company that has a transparent approach to their hiring process and offers their employees a set of clear standards and parameters is rare. If you want your business to be one where people are desperately wanting to work then you should consider employing a robust human resource process.

 

Where to begin

 

As a small business owner, setting up your human resource department might sound like something outside of your skillset. What’s more, you don’t want to end up in a trial and error situation where you’re constantly trying to get it right. And outsourcing your human resources to a consultant can cost you a fortune, a fortune you cannot afford considering you’re still a small business or a startup. The better idea is to educate yourself before you enter the hiring process. There are an abundance of human resources and legal courses that you can sign up for. If you choose a reputable institution to study at, you will find the courses are quick and easy enough with a bunch of resources you can turn to if you get stuck. Taking a course that unpacks the laws around human resources you will find setting up your department far easier.

 

People are your company’s biggest asset. You have to be ready to take care of your employees in the correct manner and in a way that makes them want to continue their career in your company. After all, a small business will only grow substantially if you have a high-performing team.

Searching for a mining job? This is what you should know

Despite a slowdown in some sectors of the mining industry, there are still plenty of high paid jobs on offer. You don’t necessarily have to be an engineer to work in the mining industry, there are opportunities for tradesmen such as electricians, mechanics, miners, machine operators, boilermakers and the list goes on.

If you want to pursue a career in mining, you can never go wrong by choosing subjects like math, science and technology as majors. The mining industry is an exciting career to follow. If you’re a person who loves a challenge then mining is for you. It also takes creativity, perseverance and hard work if you want to succeed in this industry.

Mining is a diverse career and wherever your interest lie, there’s probably a place for you. This is one of the jobs that is always in demand. Mining is also one of the highest paying jobs. Bear in mind that mining jobs aren’t just found anywhere but in the mining areas of specific countries only. So it might cost you to move if there’s no mining taking place in your region.

Are you searching for a mining job? Well, here are five things you need to know about how the industry works first.

Jobs are found in the mining area of the country

As mentioned earlier, you’ll only find mining jobs in specific areas of the country, depending on where mining takes place. If you’re looking for a mining job you might have to move closer to work. If you can’t move closer due to personal reasons, then you might want to opt for something else. Also be sure you’re prepared to adapt to the new environment. Should you be working underground, your work conditions may include heat, noise and darkness. You also have to be prepared to go on the site. With the location and possibility to move in mind, make sure you’re ready for all of this.

They work according to shifts

People in the mining industry are always working. They work shifts according to a schedule set up by management. You need to be prepared to work night shifts as well. You might be required to do a 12-hour shift. There are mines requiring some of its miners to stay in the mining camp for a few months before going home. You should also be in good health and have a lot of stamina to keep you throughout shifts. Also, drink plenty of water because it’s hard to function when you’re dehydrated.

Most jobs require you to be qualified

When it comes to mining, learning on the job might be something of the past. These days you need to be qualified in order to get a decent job in the mining industry. As technology progresses, management requires job seekers to have a certain set of skills and they should be computer literate. As a result, most mining companies will hire graduates who obtained a mining qualification. For example, they should be able to know and understand what mining equipment finance is or how to finance the mining or construction equipment. Many institutions offering a mining qualification are usually located near a mine, giving students the opportunity to explore and spend some time on the site. You might also get the chance to have professional training.

It’s not only for men

We live in the 21st century and the days where specific jobs were only for men are gone. Mining is a historically male-dominated industry but things have changed. Today more women are encouraged to pursue a career in mining. Mine manager Wilhemina Manaso says: “Mining is an industry that has always been male-dominated, regardless of geographical location. There have been positive steps which have helped to integrate women into the industry, but females continue to be under-represented and mining is still largely a man’s domain.”

The industry can be dangerous

Many people are aware that the mining profession can become dangerous. Any accidents from cave-ins, floods or gas explosions may occur when you’re in the mine. Make sure you know how to react to all of these accidents and are still willing or prepared to work in the industry. Many health risks may also affect you if you’re not prepared. It’s important to remember that miners face constant exposure to roof falls, moving machinery, fires, etc. There are different types of mines, however, many of the dangers remain the same across multiple environments.

Working in the mining industry is quite a challenging choice and requires stamina to be successful. As a recent graduate, completing the right trade or professional qualification is critical. Set your mind on a type of mining you would like to do and look for a job in that specific field. Once you’re in it, you’ll love it.

 

Giving your office an upgrade

It’s the start of a new year, the perfect time to give your office a new look. Do you work in an office that desperately needs an injection of vibrancy and colour? Making your office look attractive and appealing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. All you want is for employees to come to work in an inviting and engaging environment. Giving your offices an upgrade will make your employees happy and more productive.

Staying motivated and keeping productivity high aren’t always easy, especially if you’re sitting at a desk with an old computer and no one to talk to. You’ll often find that people who are unmotivated and always tired don’t have things set up around their office that allow them to stay focused. If that’s what’s happening in your office, then it’s time to bring about some change.

Try to create a more modern office space that’ll make employees excited to be there. Gone are the days when you used a silver key to open the main entrance. No more small offices inside one big space. Everyone’s sitting together in groups these days. Note that technology plays a big role in a modern office. It’s time to adapt and think of changing your office to a more updated style.

Here are a few things that you can do to give your office an upgrade.

Bring light into the office

Natural light in an office is the way to go. If you have the available funds to install more windows or a sliding door in your office, go for it. Employees that are exposed to light tend to be more productive. If natural light isn’t an option, then you should opt for bright lighting. Try to change the light bulbs of your office as often as possible. Brighter lighting can make a room look more cheerful and spacious.

Update security

If your business has a problem with security, you need to check this out. As mentioned earlier, people aren’t making use of the old silver key to access office buildings anymore. Technology has progressed in such a way that people now make use of tags and cards to enter their offices. Check out how turnstiles work and perhaps you can install this instead of a normal timber door with a silver key. This will cost you some money but it’s a good investment to make for your company. That way you can secure your office premises from any crime.

Create storage space

If you want to go for the more modern look and feel, then you need to declutter all unnecessary things. It doesn’t look great when you see an employee’s books and notes from last year’s presentation lying on their desks. Create storage space by adding two or three drawers to their desks. A modern office is all about space. Creating storage space will make your office look neat and professional.

Give it some colour

Going for one colour can work but it’s not always fun. You can paint the office walls white, have white desks and chairs and even have white computers. How boring is that? Be creative and add a pop of colour to your walls or desks. Try to create a statement wall that’ll catch people’s attention at the entrance of your office. Also, a plant or two and even potted plants on desks won’t do any harm. Choose a specific wall to display all your company’s photos or certificates. That’ll make the office look more homely and comfortable.

Update computers

Not giving your computers an update won’t literally blow them up but one day they’ll just become obsolete. The older hardware gets, the more likely a failure and loss of productivity will occur. Check with your IT specialist whether or not it’s the right time to upgrade your computers. The software can maybe be updated on an annual basis, while the computer itself can last you for about five or more years.  However, if you still have the old big computers, then you know it’s time for an upgrade. In today’s life, those computers aren’t being used anymore. Also, if you’re working in the digital industry you need to have the new ones as they’re faster and more effective.

Many people spend most of their time at the office. It’s almost like their second home. For a space that you confine yourself to for most of the time, it’s important to make it as practical and comfortable as possible. In order to do your best and make a success of what you’re doing, you need a workplace that’s tidy, up to date and has a professional atmosphere. It all comes down to motivation, so make sure to upgrade your office in a way that’ll keep you happy and motivated.

 

Best security strategies to protect your family and business

Security has been a concern since people had things they wanted to protect. Businesses in particular have had to consider what they want to keep safe. Before, businesses had to prioritise their equipment and books – these days, with everything becoming digital, priorities have had to change, too. After all, thieves are no longer of the mask and break-in variety. Today, we have to be more aware than ever of cyber security dangers. 2016 saw incredible examples of what happens when you don’t take security seriously. Let’s examine what we can do to help mitigate any threats to our business.

Creating a password

The most important realisation that many had during 2016 was realising that no part of being online indicates absolute safety. Even passwords on emails only stops hackers for a short while. It’s imperative that starting from the ground up, people take the idea of how to approach passwords as seriously as anything else. How then do we pick a password?

As PC Advisor notes:

Avoid using the following passwords, which a surprising number of people use: password, QWERTY, 123456, 00000 and Letmein. Also, don’t use information that can be guessed with minimal effort. For example, Fred Bloggs would be advised against opting for a username of “Fred” with “Bloggs” as his password. Similarly, avoid the name of your spouse, children or pets, birthdays and any other details that can be discovered from social networking sites and elsewhere. Some experts even suggest that passwords shouldn’t include any words of the English language or place names. Instead, they recommend that passwords include upper and lower case letters, numbers, punctuation and least least six or eight characters in total – the longer the better.

It’s also advisable for businesses to get their employees to change passwords regularly. We can implement this by preventing staff from logging in after, say, two weeks if they’ve been using the same password. There are various systems that allow for this. We must speak to IT department to find and implement such policies. In this way, we mitigate unwanted people gaining access and can have a proper understanding of who is going where.

Accessibility

Another important and related aspect is knowing who is allowed to go where. That means in business only allowing certain people access to specific files or folders. It also means possibly restricting them from, say, the server room. Passwords are not advisable since this just means they can be stored and therefore stolen by anyone. If possible opt for unique cards that let’s people access specific rooms. Data is essential and increasingly the most valuable aspects of a business. Monitoring can also be helpful here. This can mean installing cameras, working with a video wall controller system and so on.

In this way, we can properly manage what is happening on our business site and who is going where. It can reduce instances of insider malpractice, since people will know they are being monitored. Considering how much danger staff themselves pose to businesses, this can be an essential tool.

The problem with ransomware

One of the most pernicious forms of invasion is ransomware. This is software that is installed on computers without our consent, restricting access to important documents, folders and so on – until the user has met the hacker’s demands. This terrifying scenario was reality in 2016 in America, as CRN pointed out:

Several high-profile ransomware attacks, most notably an attack on a California hospital in February that left it unable to care for its patients. Also, there was an attack on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) network that forced the agency to allow passengers to travel for free. In the first quarter alone, there was $209 million paid to ransomware attackers, according to FBI data, putting the full year 2016 on pace for $1 billion in known ransomware payments.

No one is immune

Major corporations, like Yahoo and Sony, all found themselves the targets of hacking. Millions paid the price – in terms of figures and in terms of ordinary users. This means regardless of size, a business is always in danger. Indeed, small businesses believing themselves immune because they have nothing hackers want are prime targets for this reason – hackers know that if we don’t take our security seriously, we’re easier marks. We can’t allow that to happen. The point isn’t that Sony was target; it’s that, if Sony, as big and powerful as it is, can be brought down by hackers, we have a lot of work to do ourselves.

Picture credit: Blue Coat Photos / Flickr 

Starting your own 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 is something 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.