Business

Are You Doing Enough To Look After Your Team?

As an employer, you owe your team more than just pay in return for their services. As well as benefits and provisions, you have a responsibility for their well-being. Quite a few employers don’t take that responsibility perhaps as serious as they should. Yet those that do reap the rewards. Those rewards include a workplace that has fewer incidents interrupting the workflow and a more engaged, happier, and healthier workforce. If you’re wondering how you could do more to look after your staff, then keep reading.

Shutdown conflict early

Unfortunately, one of the greatest sources of stress and a negative atmosphere in the workplace comes down to how individuals treat one another. This includes you. If your business is prone to seeing fights, side-taking, and even rumours circulating, you’re dealing with a hostile work environment. In that environment, people feel much less invested in the success of the team and their own work. It can also lead to severe emotional trauma if it goes on at an extended rate. You should take a proactive approach to sorting conflict. First, make sure you have a no-tolerance policy on any kind of bullying and harassment. When conflicts start, talk individually to begin with, then as a group identifying the source of strife. Team building exercises are a good way to lessen the risk of conflicts when not directly dealing with one. When team members see one another as human beings, it makes them a lot less likely to start trouble with them. Naturally, sometimes you just have to be able to identify a toxic influence on the workplace. While you should do work to help them address their problems and behaviour, don’t feel like you have to keep them around if they fail to reach your standards.

Make sure people don’t have too much on their plate

Another common source of stress is down to the work itself. Particularly, you need to keep an eye on just how much work is being assigned to the individual. If someone believes they have more than they can handle, it’s as likely they will try to cope even if they know they can’t. Look at processes and see whether they can be outsourced or given to someone else, or if you have the tools and software to make those processes easier and less time consuming. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the amount of overtime your team is doing as well. While it might be a good way for them to make some extra money and for you to get extra work done, impacting their work-life balance too often will cause them problems down the line.

Don’t make every task do or die

There’s also a real issue of prioritising in a lot of workplaces. If you stress the importance of every task you delegate, it’s going to make it a lot harder for people to figure out which to tackle first. Not only does this make them feel like they’re dealing with too much, but it also confuses communication and makes them a lot less productive and efficient. You also need to take more serious what exactly you’re asking them to do. Employees might succumb to employer pressure on things like attending social events or donating to charity. Make sure you’re not inadvertently abusing more authority than you have a right to. It’s alright to incentivise, but not to pressure.

Operate an open door policy

The truth is that a lot of the problems above can be handled a lot better if people are simply willing to talk about it. But in most workplaces, there is an invisible barrier between the employer and the rest of the team. If you haven’t noticed it yet, that might be because you have taken the first step to break it down. The onus of opening the lines of communication is always on the employer. Don’t just make it clear that you’re willing to talk. Take a moment in team meetings to address common problems. From burnout and overwhelming demands to stress and mental health. Broach the topic broadly, inviting anyone to talk more in depth with you if those factors are impacting their satisfaction at work.

Lend a hand in a pinch

Sometimes, it’s simply too late to identify and deal with a problem before it becomes a major crisis for the employee and the business alike. If you’ve been unable to identify a problem, it might grow the point that it becomes a full-blown crisis. Medical costs, work stress, and familial issues can all drastically impact an employer’s ability to give their job the focus and attention it deserves. Rather than letting them struggle to deal with it themselves, an employee should be able to lend a hand. By implementing benefits like critical incident stress management services, you can use the advisors and counsellors as your disposal to deal with these crises in the timeliest fashion possible. Otherwise, many of your employees might find the stresses of life making them entirely unfit to continue working, which benefits neither them nor you.

Show your care in the environment

Naturally, there’s a link between the physical and the mental that goes a long way in making sure that people are fit to work. There might be some aspects of the physical working conditions that seem negligible to you, but do harm over the long term that can contribute to the dangers of stress. For instance, repetitive strain injury caused by poor posture and little activity. Or the impact of how too much contact with a computer screen with little lighting and not only cause headaches and eyestrain but lead to a lack of sleep. Make sure you’re doing what you can to create a healthier working environment for your staff.

You want to do everything you can to make sure that employees are healthy, comfortable, and engaged at the workplace. To that end, you need to establish the right culture. It’s one of open communication, problem-solving, and paying attention to the risks. Do that and your business will immediately see the benefits.

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Business

Is Your Product “Good Enough”?

The term “good enough” comes from the world of software design. It’s the idea that most products will do what the customer wants them to do, even if they don’t have all the features the software developer would like.

Although the term has been around for a long time, the notion has been gaining traction in recent years. Technology, especially software, has developed dramatically, and this means that there are now a lot more features that most software developer companies can pack into their products. Although these opportunities are exciting, many people in business, as well as customers themselves, are now concluding that many software packages are over-engineered and it’s causing developers to rethink their approach.

This notion that products could be “over-engineered2goes against most developer’s intuition. They have been trained from a very early age to strive for perfection: but striving for perfection can just be another way of delaying and procrastinating, and not actually getting anything done.

As a result, more and more businesses are jumping on the “good enough” bandwagon. They’re ditching features left, right and center, and looking for ways to deliver products that customers will love, even if they don’t have world-beating functionality.

Google is perhaps the best example of a company that has mastered this particular art. Every month, it introduces new services and products. Often these products remain in beta for years as they are slowly developed over time. Google Maps, for instance, began as a very basic map service. In fact, compared to Apple’s offering, what Google offered was laughably simple. The first versions weren’t even integrated with GPS. But as the number of users grew, Google added more features and detail. It then integrated the app with satellite navigation and allowed businesses to connect with their customers through it. Over time, what was once “good enough” became a market leader, precisely because it identified a niche early on.

Google made use of tools for test management, making incremental improvements to its software over an extended period of time. Sometimes that software failed, (like Google Reader), but often it was highly successful, going on to be the go-to platform for customers and businesses.

Google’s strategy all along was to create minimum viable products – as they are known in the industry. It made products that offered the bare minimum to keep customers happy and did it very well. Once the products were used and tested, it then added new functions, at each stage offering customers more usability. Google Mail went from a very simple, if intuitive, email service to the best in the world, thanks to the numerous additions, including things like AI sorting of emails into primary, social, promotion and spam.

Google also placed a lot of emphasis on consumer feedback. What they they thought about their own products internally wasn’t important. Instead, they went out into the community and asked customers about the features that they would like to see. Customers soon responded, and Google implemented the ones that were the most urgent.

The bottom line for entrepreneurs is to understand that even the largest companies have tradeoffs during their stages of development. Google’s products have always been a work in progress, and so should yours.

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Business

5 Golden Rules For Taking Payments Online

If you are selling anything – products or services – online, you are more than likely aware of how challenging it can be. There are hundreds and thousands of different services to choose from before you even get started – and plenty of pitfalls on the way that can stop you in your tracks.

However, the good news is that as long as you follow the basic rules of selling online, there is no reason why you can’t be a successful online business. Here are those five golden rules – let’s take a closer look.

Security first

Always think about safety when you are selling anything on the web. Not only will it help you avoid attack from hackers, but online consumers will trust your website. The chances are that the vast majority of customers will have no idea who you are – and without great security in place, they will prefer to buy from another source. You put a lot of work into attracting customers to your website – don’t blow it by failing to invest in security for payments.

Multiple choice

Consumers all have their preferred method of making payments. So, it makes sense for online retailers to offer as many solutions as possible. You will, of course, already have the necessary credit and debit card payment options. But also think about PayPal and adding Amex to your offer. Even things like Bitcoin payments are becoming more popular. If you study your target demographic, you should find some interesting options – it is vital that you give your customers that all-important choice.

Avoid signups

Getting sign ups should be a priority for your online venture, as it’s an excellent way to market directly to your customers. However, the payment stage is not the right time to do this. For the average customer, all they want to do is pay for the product, and get back to their day. Securing that sale has to take priority over everything else. So, consider other tactics for building your email list and ensure you get those sales.

Use the right merchant account

There are many merchant providers, and each of them has their pros and cons. But – needless to say – all of them cost money. It is worth spending a lot of time researching with a calculator to ensure you are getting the best deal for your business. Even a slightly higher percentage point on each transaction can have a massive impact on your annual profits, so think carefully before making your choice. Bear in mind that you will need to shop around even more if you run a business in a ‘risky’ industry. High risk credit card processing tends to cost more than standard retail merchant accounts, so, again, scour around for the best deal.

Be clear and concise

Finally, whatever you sell online, make sure your customers can buy it easily. Everything – from browsing products to the ordering process – should be smooth, easy, and obvious. Make sure there are clear calls to action in place, telling your customers what they need to do next. You should see your sales start to increase almost immediately.

Any more tips to add? Let us know about them in the comments section below!

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Business

Is It Possible To Double Your Cashflow In A Month? You Bet It Is!

When you first start out in business, you soon learn about the importance of cash flow. While you may have thought, in your naivety, before you started your business that what mattered in business was profit, you soon discovered that this wasn’t always the case. Sure, you might have been in the black for the year as a whole. But there were times during that first year when you dipped precariously close to the red and ran out of cash. As a result, you risked not being able to pay your suppliers, your colleagues and even yourself.

Cash flow, therefore, became your new focus. It was the thing that you realized that you had to focus on if you were going to avoid another disaster. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to improve the rate at which money flows into your business. Let’s take a look.

Reduce Your “Days Sales Outstanding”

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Days sales outstanding” or DSO is a technical piece of jargon used all the time in the business world. It’s just shorthand for the amount of time you’re waiting for your customers to pay you. For many small businesses, DSO is large, meaning that at points during the month, they start running out of cash.

Small businesses often feel intimidated by their larger clients and are sometimes hesitant to demand payment quickly. But when a service has been delivered as specified, it’s time for the client to pay up. Take a look at your current payment arrangements with your customers. How long do they have to pay right now? If you currently offer a three-week window for payment to be made, try reducing this to two weeks for all new clients. Even if customers don’t stick to the two-week payment schedule, cutting down the window often still means that businesses get paid faster.

Make Immediate Payment Possible

When clients don’t pay on time, it’s not because they’re trying to torture you or that they don’t have any money. It’s usually because they are lazy and can’t be bothered to go through the hassle of setting up a payment. After all, it takes a long time. This is why it’s so important for small businesses to make use of merchant services. Merchant services allow them to accept credit card payments in person, online or through their digital invoices. Some companies, like Wave Accounting, have found that including an immediate payment option speeds up client payments by an average of three days.

Do A Credit Check

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Occasionally you’ll get a client who doesn’t want to pay up front in cash. Instead, they want to pay you in a series of installments. When a client asks to do this, it’s a good idea to have a credit check done on them by a third party credit check agency. You want to find out whether the client actually has the means to pay you, in the long run; otherwise, you risk not getting paid for the services rendered. When payments are late, or not paid at all, your cash flow will suffer.

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Business

Online Resources You Should Use For Business Advice And Inspiration

Many people have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Buy the world of business can be tough, and you’ll need to do a lot of work before you even think of starting a business. You can’t just rush into it. You’ll need to educate yourself all about business and make sure you know what you’re doing.

A lot of business knowledge comes from running one yourself. But you can still learn a lot before you make your way into the world of business. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to learn thanks to the help of online resources. You can gain all kinds of knowledge and set yourself up for success before you execute your business plan. Here are some of the resources entrepreneurs should be using.

Blogs

The first place to look is business-related blogs. There are a wealth of these all over the internet, and you can learn a lot from them. Blogs are often written by experienced business people with plenty of expertise in the field.

Blogs can help you before you even start your business. For instance, you can read articles on how to write a business plan or how to raise funding for your company. As you continue through your business venture, you can keep using blogs to learn about other aspects. You can get advice on things like marketing, financial management, and hiring.

No matter what kind of expertise you’re looking for, a simple Google search can help you find a useful blog. Read up on plenty of these as they can often help you with tips and guides for your business.

eBooks

Short blog articles are fantastic for learning the basics of business. But eBooks can give you much more in-depth knowledge into different areas. Much like blogs, you can find eBooks for any business question or concern you may have.

Look into the best free eBooks for business. Many of these can help you develop your startup and become a successful business leader. A lot of entrepreneurs also advocate self-help eBooks. They can help you develop the right attitude for creating a successful business venture.

Of course, many of these are also available in regular book form. It’s worth checking out the business section of your local library. But eBooks are beneficial in the sense that you can read them from anywhere, and many are free. You might want to check out a few on your smartphone in your spare time.

Seminars

Experienced entrepreneurs often give talks which can help aspiring entrepreneurs. These often come in the form of public seminars which are open to the public. Check out universities and colleges in your area to see if any talks on business are being held.

You can also turn to the web for these. For instance, you can find recordings of seminars given at conferences and events on YouTube. Alternatively, you could check out TED Talks. They provide recordings of all their talks for free on their website. You can find many business-related talks from experienced entrepreneurs. There are also plenty which can help you with self-motivation.

Interviews

Want to know how to run a successful business? Get inspiration from those with experience! You can use the internet to find interviews with many successful people. You can pick up some wisdom and learn more about how they made it in their field.

There are websites full of business interviews. You could also look around on YouTube for interviews with entrepreneurs. It can help to list names of many successful people in your desired business field. Search for interviews with them on Google and YouTube, and you might be able to get an insight into how they worked their way towards success.

Podcasts

When it comes to audio, podcasts are the best resource to use. Podcasting has become a huge trend, and there are interesting ones available for all fields- including business. These are often hosted by professionals who can give valuable insight into different business topics. Podcasts also feature guests, which are often brought on for extended interviews.

Look into some of the best podcasts for business-savvy listeners and start listening. You can download podcasts or stream them directly. The majority of podcasts are free, making them an excellent source of business information.

The length of podcasts can make them hard to listen to all the way through. But they make for great listening while you’re exercising or commuting. Check out episodes from various podcasts and start soaking up a wealth of valuable entrepreneurial tips.

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Business

 Essential Tips to Successfully Brand Your Blog

If you already have a blog, or perhaps are just in the planning stages of launching your own site, you might be wondering what it is that sets those amazingly popular blogs apart from the others out there, which seem to go largely unnoticed.

While there isn’t one surefire answer that’s going to guarantee your blog is a huge hit, there is something that’s important, and that’s branding. If you find yourself pondering one of the elements that all great blogs seem to have in common, it’s probably that they have a distinct brand and that’s what the entire site concept is built around.

When you brand your blog, it’s going to not only help you be more appealing to readers, but it can also help you when you’re at a loss regarding content creation.

So how do you get started or make the necessary changes to an existing blog to give it a strong identity and sense of branding?

Look Inward First

For your blog to truly be branded and have an identity of its own, it’s best for it to be based on a concept or topic you have experience in or feel passionate about. Once you have that, you can then start building your blog and looking for ways to monetize it. For example, if you’re passionate about travel, try to build the brand of your blog around that, and if you have particular travel interests, such as traveling on a budget or traveling with young children, even better. As well as being interested in the topic, it can be advantageous to have some experience in it, otherwise finding the inspiration you need to write day in and day out is going to be difficult.

Be Thoughtful When Choosing a Domain Name

If you feel extremely enthusiastic about starting your blog, and you’re ready to dive in head first, you may not give your actual domain name the time and consideration it deserves, but that can be a mistake. The domain you go with is one of the primary components of your overall brand. In his guide to how to start your own blog, guru Neil Patel says the name you go with doesn’t have to describe what you’re blogging about, as long as it’s suggestive of what you’re covering. You want the domain name to be simple, appealing and easy to remember if at all possible

Include a Tagline

A tagline is a must-have if you want your blog to have a strong, definitive personality. Think about your keywords as well as the general focus when you’re creating a tagline, and if you can, infuse some elements of your personality or some humor into it. It’ll give your readers something to remember you by, even when they’re bombarded with so many other blogs.

As a final tip, be consistent with your overall design. Try to keep a sleek color palette and choose a theme that you feel will work for a long time to come. Eventually, your theme, layout, and design can become synonymous with the brand of your blog, which is important as you work to cultivate a loyal following.

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Business

6 Ways High Street Shops Can Influence Your Website Design

Working on a new website for your business? If so, there is a lot of inspiration you can take from physical retail outlets and high street stores. There are plenty of similarities between a successful store and a profitable website. We’re going to go through some of the most important factors with you today.

They look clean, tidy and welcoming

When you walk into a successful and popular high street store, they look clean and tidy. There is no clutter anywhere, and they have a clear definition of sections and product areas. You have to treat your website the same, to make it easy for your customers to focus in on the information they need. Avoid busy and cluttered design that makes it hard for people to see what you do straight away. You only have a few seconds to make an impression – it’s vital that you make them count.

It’s easy to find things

It’s simple to find what you’re looking for in a high street store. Signage will point you to the right department, and it’s clear to everyone where they need to go. Make sure the same can be said about your online presence with clear and obvious navigation. Signpost anything that your customers might want to see. Consider everything from your best selling products to your different services and departments.

It’s up to date

When you walk into an offline shop, you will notice if things look dated or aren’t being looked after properly. It’s the same principle for an online store or ecommerce site. You should look to refresh your site with the help of a Website Design Company every so often. If it looks just like it did 3-4 years ago, it’s unlikely to fit with current trends.

It’s helpful

In a physical store, you have lots of employees to help give your customers vital information and a lot of help about products and services. You don’t have that online, of course. But, you do have lots of tools to help, such as blogs, product descriptions, and FAQ pages. Make sure you give your customers everything they need in the form of helpful blog posts and preempt all their questions.

It’s in a good location

The location is critical to the success of any retail outlet. The closer a shop is to the high street, the more footfall it will see from passing trade. You have to take this concept to your online store, too – through using SEO. SEO can get you that high street location, and pull in visitors who are looking for the products you sell.

It’s easy to pay

Finally, successful stores understand that they have to make it easy for their customers to pay and leave. Of course, there will be times when the queues go crazy – especially over the Christmas period. But, good stores offer a variety of payment options these days. The will all have the sales desk, of course, but some may have handheld terminals to use on the shop floor. There are self-pay terminals, too, of course. Think about this when you design your site and give people several ways to pay for your products. Don’t just take cards, but also think about using PayPal or similar services.

Image Credit: Matthew Dixon

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Business

Manufacturing Technology and Its Latest Trends

The world of manufacturing is endowed with innovative and advanced technology that results in the formation of latest trends to affect the industry in a positive way. Here are top 5 trends of manufacturing industry discussed; each of these trends will help the industry to grow and offer better services to customers worldwide.

The top 5 trends in manufacturing industry

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) SYSTEMS

The main task of ERP system is to find the solutions of number of challenges of the manufacturers and to provide them with priceless profits, to lessen costs, managing growth, processing the streamline and at the same time gaining reasonable advantages. This kind of software participates in different fields of business, such as production, accounting, finance, materials, and so on. This is so as to make all the business functions rely on a single store.

To boost your manufacturing business, you can find the latest cloud erp software from Australian providers. With the advanced systems of ERP there come greater facilities which allow the manufacturing businesses to pay more attention on various modes of manufacturing. And this will make them more competitive in the market keeping the cost in check.

Manufacturing Technology and Its Latest Trends

CLOUD COMPUTING

Cloud computing, also known as the cloud, is one of the latest and the hottest technological topics in the entire world. Sometimes, it is also known as “on-demand computing”. This system uses internet and is used basically to store records and documents. It includes emailing, sharing photos on a marketable service, such as, Google, to present the complete computing structure of a global level from secluded data centres. It also enables to manage a company’s operations and accounting.

The Cloud is mainly valuable to the small and medium industries as it is providing access at a rational price. If used the right provider of Cloud, a company can reach to great heights. The Cloud technology is famous for allowing super-fast and stress-free communication all over the world and thus permitting the supply chain in working together more effortlessly.

M2M COMMUNICATION

M2M communication or Communication between machines is having a great influence on aftermarket services and on practices of manufacturing. This technology is basically used to forecast maintenance problems before they occur. It is an important feature for remote controlling, controlling traffic, managing warehouse, etc.

Some of its key mechanisms include RFID, sensors, autonomic computing software, etc., in helping a networked device to read the data and take decisions accordingly. The most famous M2M communication is Telemetry which has been in use since the first part of the last century for transmitting operational data.

3-D PRINTING

3-D printing is also famous in the name of addictive manufacturing. Basically, 3-D printing helps the manufacturers in doing their custom work and helps them to keep the waste in control. It is more flexible and more proficient.

There was once a time when 3D printing was used to generate 3d puzzles and was used minimally in manufacturing process. However, with time, this technology is fast evolving. It is estimated that in 2016, the usage of 3D printing will focus more on the customer-driven designs and creation of individual products. This will lead on to a change where customers will view the custom products differently.

ROBOTS

In 2015, automation was the hot topic, and this year too, it is in the list. With time it is just getting more and more popularity. The system of advanced robotics have become more refined and urbane, thus, allowing the manufacturers to create such robots which can perform any task, any. With time, this system of robotics is becoming more manageable and user friendly. Along with that, collaborative robots are also paving their way in working side-by-side with the human employees.

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Business

Tips for Planning a Semi-Formal Business Party

Planning a business party is never easy. There are many things to consider, and arrange the party in a way that pleases everyone. Party planners must learn to think outside the box when it comes to business related occasions. Here are some tips to help you plan a great party for work:

Check Out Many Venues

Do not choose a venue simply because it’s close to the office, or because many other companies have also used the same place. Do your research, and choose the venue that’s best for your company’s needs. Also, think carefully about hosting the party at your own office. If your office is limited for space, or if you have hundreds of people attending, then it’s best to book a venue elsewhere. Make sure this venue is convenient to commute to, and also easy to find on Google Maps.

Hire Experts

If you have a very large party to plan, perhaps it’s best to call in the experts located in the area. For example, if you are planning to host your business party in Canberra, call people from an event management Canberra company, not one located in Sydney. The local agents will be the ones best versed in the reputable venues, catering services, and similar providers in the area. In case your company doesn’t want to completely outsource the party planning, you can hire one or two professionals and absorb them into your team.

Send Invitations in Advance

Do not wait until the last minute to send invitations. This isn’t a birthday party. Remember that the people attending will be colleagues and important business partners from other companies. They are very likely to have busy schedules, so your invitations will have to be sent at least a month in advance. Afterwards, you will also need to send a reminder closer to the date. Leave out plenty of time for guests to cancel without throwing your whole party into disarray.

Maintain a Touch of Formality

Sure, it’s a party, but it’s not one where the partygoers can necessarily get drunk and start acting silly. There will be small-time workers mingling with big-time players in your industry. So, you will need to blast dance music for the little people, and also order canapés for big shots. You will have to balance the theme of your party between formal and informal in a way that no one is left out or offended.

Hire a Caterer You Know

No party is a good party without delicious food. You will have to dedicate a considerable portion of your budget to the catering. It will have to alternate between cheap indulgences like Buffalo wings to expensive choices. Make sure to offer vegetarian, sugar-free, and gluten-free options for guests with special dietary needs. When hiring a caterer, first sample some of their work and ask around about the caterer. All the dishes that will be served at the party should be sampled in advance. It’s better to hire a caterer that you know, rather than one you just found.

Live Music

Rather than blasting music off a stereo system, try to book a live musical act for your event. Your guests will be much more pleased. You might be able to find an indie band even if your budget is limited.

Most importantly, be cool regarding the party. Be respectful of everyone’s needs and try to allow all to have a great time.

 

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Business

How To Deal With Common Business Growth Problems

As a small startup company with a – hopefully – big future, you are most likely chomping at the bit. You understand you will be starting small, but are anxious that you grow as quick as possible. But, there’s a problem. In fact, there are several issues that you will face.

In this guide, we’re going to go through some of those challenges one by one. They are typical issues that all small businesses will go through when they attempt to get bigger. And, by understanding them in advance, you will be better equipped to deal with them.

Let’s get the ball rolling straight away with something you might not have thought about: your family.

Family

Business growth requires a lot of dedication and determination. And, if you intend to put your heart and soul into it, there might be problems for your family. Is it going to be OK that you aren’t ever at home? Does your partner understand, and are you prepared to miss big events in your children’s lives? You might have a lovely work/life balance right now, but what happens when you are working 12-14 hours every day, six days a week? It’s going to be tough – so think long and hard about what you will put your loved ones through.

Scalability

Growth is going to put a lot of pressure on you and your business. And, unless you have the capability to scale up, it’s going to put you in a demanding position. There’s a delicate balance to strike. For example, you might have a huge glut of orders to fulfill, which encourages you to hire more full-time employees. But what if those orders don’t continue? You’re going to be out of pocket with too many people on your books. Your systems are also going to face a bigger workload. Will they be able to handle it? Let’s say you are running your own server for your online business. If you aren’t ready for the new online visitors to arrive on your site, it’s going to cause all manner of problems. So, check that you have the capability to deal with growth in a flexible way. That goes for your staffing levels, IT systems, and your method of production.

Think Like a Customer

Customer service

You might be well known in your industry for having fantastic customer service. People like coming to your shop or business because of the personal touch that you give them. The trouble is, as soon as you grow to a certain size, it’s going to cause a lot of issues with this personal service. You’ll need to focus on training a lot more staff, and the more people you have, the more issues can arise. Older customers may not like the ‘new you’ – and could go elsewhere. Change is inevitable in all business, of course. But, managing your client’s expectations is something you should be on top of from the outset.

Margins

It can be easy to deal with cash flow when you are a smaller company. You know where you are at any time of the month, and you can make accurate estimations for the future. It’s possible to cover up a shortfall one month because you don’t have to spend a great deal. But, when you grow, those margins will change, and things will get a little spicier. Because you are producing a lot more, it’s going to cost you a lot more. And, if you have a bad month, it’s going to wallop you if you haven’t planned well in advance. This problem is especially pertinent when you are in the early stages of growth. You have to invest to produce, which is going to take your expenses to uncomfortable levels. And, if you don’t make it back in sales, it’s going to cause severe financial strain.

Employee Training

Employees

There is a lot more to think about when you are a bigger company hiring employees. There needs to be a robust framework in place, for a start. There will be issues with all kinds of things, from sickness policies to bereavement leave. There’s also the strain on your staff that growth will cause. As a rule, people can be afraid of change, and they will have a lot of concerns. Will they be overlooked for promotion by someone new? Will there still be a place for them in your long-term plans? Do they have the skills to deal with their new tasks? And, will they get paid if things go awry? It won’t take long for people to start applying for new jobs if they begin to have serious worries. It’s essential that you can keep an eye on your best talent, and make sure they feel as secure as possible.

You

It’s not just your employees you have to look out for when undergoing growth: you. Can you say that you have the leadership skills to take your business forward? You need to be confident in yourself, of course, but that’s not enough. Especially if you are using an investment to fund that growth. Anyone that puts money into your company is going to want it back – it’s only natural. You can expect rigorous checks on your capabilities, and you may only get the money if you agree to hand over some responsibility. Will you be able to deal with someone coming in and telling you what to do? It’s something you need to consider beforehand – it might even put you off the whole idea altogether!

The big picture

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when you are undergoing a period of growth. And, with all that on your mind, it can be tough to take a step back and see the bigger picture. When you are in a startup, it’s only natural that you get stuck into almost everything. But, as you get bigger, it’s important that you can lead, rather than stay in the trenches. If you don’t, you will simply be too busy to notice when big things start to go wrong.

OK, so that’s all for now. Let us know your thoughts – have we missed anything you would like to add?

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