5 great benefits of a family run business

When setting up your own business, you can take heart that it could not only be operated with help from family members but even significantly outlast all of you. If the latter indeed happens, your company could continue with its founding ethos due to being run by your descendents or other family members. However, this only starts explaining the key appeal of starting and running a family business. Here are 5 other powerful reasons to keep your business firmly at your family’s fingertips.

Shared values

As nibusinessinfo.co.uk explains, “you and your family are likely to share the same ethos and beliefs on how things should be done”. This, in turn, can fuel your pride and sense of purpose as a businessperson. As further explained on BusinessZone: “When family members understand the history and the emotion of the company, customers can get a sense of this too.” The abundant time that family members spend together allows values to be spread thoroughly within the group.

Strong commitment

There are particular things that you are likely willing to do for your family but not necessarily other people – including, possibly, close friends. This attitude of “going the extra mile” for your family has clear advantages in a corporate setting. For instance, you could be up for working extra hours or, quite simply, exerting more effort in your drive to make the company successful. Furthermore, your family is especially likely to be accommodating should you request more flexible working hours.

Loyalty

As you start running your business, you should remember that some difficult times could occasionally arise. For those times, a determination to stick in there and weather the storm can obviously serve you well. Showing this kind of determination can come more naturally when you are working with your family, with which you can have strong personal ties.

Nonetheless, don’t allow your loyalty to your family to become so strong that you overlook suitable opportunities to outsource certain responsibilities. If, for instance, hard-to-reach parts of your business building need cleaning, you could turn to SAS Rope and Rail, an industrial abseiling specialist. They could complete the job for you in a way that is both safe and effective.

Long-term stability

Knowing that your business could keep passing through successive future generations encourages you to apply long-term thinking. This kind of thinking is essential for growing the company. However, watch out for, and do your best to prevent, an excessive rigidity that could prevent the firm reacting sufficiently speedily to a changing business environment.

Cost-cutting can be easier

When things get financially challenging, there could be a need for some sacrifices – and your family could be more willing to make them than other people to whom you are not related. Perhaps your brother might settle for a smaller wage packet than would be available elsewhere; alternatively, your son could be content to defer receiving their payout should a cash flow crisis hit. When recruiting only close family members, you might even be able to avoid employers’ liability insurance.

Keeping Your Business Legally Tight

Laws surrounding business are constantly evolving. Keeping on top of these changing legalities can keep you from accidentally breaking the law and allow you to use such laws to your advantage. Here are just a few ways that you keep your business legally tight.

Get contracts professionally written

It’s important that both staff and clients have some kind of contract to abide by. You can write this yourself, but it may pay to have a professional legal writer rustle one up for you. This will protect you against any possible lawsuits or exploitation that could occur. A legal advisor will be able to tell you what you need in your contracts in order to be fully protected.

Arrange a risk assessment

Health and safety can be a place where a lot of business owners fall short. Hiring a surveyor to carry out a risk assessment of your business could help notify you of any places where you may need to introduce new health and safety laws. This is recommended before you hire staff as this is where you may have to introduce the most of health and safety feature (a well sign-posted fire exit, a first aid kit, special equipment ect.). Lawsuits in this area are becoming more and more common – safeguard your business by not allowing any risks to go unprotected.

Hire a legal advisor

Every business owner can benefit from hiring specialist legal advice from a local solicitor. Such advisors can be useful when dealing with difficult staff or clients or making big business decisions such as renting your first office, taking on your first staff, franchising or selling your business. Legal advisors will be able to tell you the best routes to take to guard your business against lawsuits and criminal behaviour, as well as making the most of legal business limitations.

Get your books checked by an accountant

Having an accountant check your books and help you out with a tax return can be useful. Not only can they prevent you making any costly errors, they can also alert you of any expenses that you should deducting from your tax. Financial law can vary from trade to trade so ensure that you find an accountant or firm that has previously worked in your line of business. Chartered accountants can be useful for ensuring the most professional service as such accountants must pass special screening processes and be educated and trained to a specialist level.

Keep on top of business news

Because laws are always changing, it pays to keep on top of business news that could affect you so that you can adequately prepare for when major changes come in. Laws are coming in soon to enforce compulsory pension schemes and paid overtime. For some small businesses, failing to prepare financially for such changes could be serious. A legal advisor may be able to warn you ahead of such changes, but you can keep yourself up to date by reading business news columns and subscribing to business blogs.

The Big Questions About Big Data

To a business owner, the term “big data” can have a wide variety of definitions. It can represent massive amounts of unstructured information from a range of different sources, or just large volumes of consumer behaviour data. For some inexperienced entrepreneurs though, it’s one big question mark! In this post, we’ll be answering three of the most important questions small business owners may have about big data.

What Exactly is “Big Data”?

These days, information is moving through different platforms in a larger volume, velocity, and variety than ever before. All of this data falls under title of “big data”. To give you an idea of how “big” big data is, around ninety percent of all the data stored on modern computers was created since 2011. This all started when automated systems became involved, and began gathering countless amounts of data every day, from smartphones, machinery sensors, and every little click we make with our computers. Converting all this data into accessible and manageable reports has become a massive talking point in the global business arena in recent years, and given rise to service niches like SQL server business intelligence. These days, it’s almost a necessity for modern businesses to be making this process a priority.

How Do I Take Advantage of It?

 

photo credit: Max Pixel

There are a lot of different answers to this question, depending on the size of the business, its industry and major objectives. However, any company that’s trying to make the most of big data should ultimately be striving towards being constantly in the loop. If you’re able to draw information from data-logging sensors, you can distil that knowledge into prompt, smart decisions, and trigger the right actions at the right time. Gathering and cataloguing data used to be all about seeing what happened in the past. Now, it’s all about what’s happening in the here and now. Focusing your big data resources on this will allow you to fine-tune your marketing to the right audience, improve the standard of service you’re giving your customers, reduce operating costs and save a lot of time. It can take some doing to get big data to mesh with your existing business, but once you do, the possibilities really are endless.

Where Do I Get This Data?

First and foremost, you have to pin down the data you already have, and the data you’d like to have. This should cover all your spreadsheets and SaaS applications, along with sales receipts, partner information, and any other methods you have for gathering data. From there, you should connect sets together to form more timely and valuable insights. One of the best ways to do this is focussing on something specific you want to achieve, for example, improving the sales on Fridays. By having these kind of specific goals, you’ll be able to zoom in on the data sets you’ll need to gather. Once you’ve identified and gathered, let’s say, online sales and social media posts, you can automate these processes as much as possible, minimising your company’s reaction time.

 

What To Look For When Buying Machinery For Your Business

Whether you’re buying heavy machinery or computers or even portable machinery, you need to make sure that all the specs fit your business. Such equipment is often a huge expense. Knowing what to look for can save you time and hassle later down the line.

Convenience vs cost

The most important thing to weigh up when buying machinery is whether the convenience is worth the cost. Are you going to get the use out of it make the return? For many, pieces of machinery involved in mass production such as 3D printers and packing machines, the cost can often be worth the convenience. However, buying a floor scrubbing machine for cleaning a floor might not be worthwhile if you’re only going to use it once a year – hiring a machine in such cases may be easier. Similarly avoid high-end models of machines unless you’re going to make use of all the complexities they offer. Modern machinery can come with multiple settings and computer analytics features, which may only be worthwhile if you’re using multiple settings and need that extra precision.

Checking the condition

Second-hand machinery will often be much cheaper. But you should consider whether this age and condition will have ramifications later down the line. Repairs may need to be more regularly made and parts may be harder to find. Old computer-based machinery may be outdated. In all case, you should try and check the condition before buying. This may mean travelling to check out the machinery in person, but could worth it in the long run. Also, for heavy machinery, check that there are appropriate documents available such a safety manual and service history.

Equipping your premises

Your premises needs to be equipped for the machinery you’re buying. You may need to upgrade to a bigger space when buying heavy machinery, although some heavy machinery such as belt conveyors for handling materials can often be sculpted to fit your location. Check that the premises has appropriate electrical outlets and ventilation for the machinery that you’re using. If the building you’re using is old or on an upper level and you’re buying heavy machinery, get a surveyor to check that the structure can withstand the weight of the machinery that you’re buying.

For portable machinery, you may have to check that the vehicle you’re using can support such a weight.

User friendliness

Some machinery may have to be assembled on site. Many suppliers of such machinery can assemble it for you, although this may be an added cost. Portable machinery may need to be assembled and disassembled before and after transport, so check that this assembly and disassembly process doesn’t take too long or isn’t too complex.

Ask for demo when buying machinery so that you know how to operate it, including processes such as cleaning and maintenance. Remember that you will potentially have to train up staff to use this machinery, so you don’t want it to be too complex. Foreign computer-based machinery may have to be converted into another language. Also ensure you know all health and safety precautions so that can protect you and your staff from injury.

9 Ways to Make Your Business More Green

An environmentally conscious business in today’s world can be a huge competitive advantage in multiple ways. For this exact reason, you might of seen a big uptick in companies promoting themselves as green, environmentally friendly, or other similar terms indicating their care for the environment while conducting business.

Whether a company implements “green” aspects into their actual products, packaging, or even behind the scenes; they can realize the two main benefits: more influential marketing power and lower operating costs. The fact that going green can actually save a company money may come as a surprise, but we assure you that it is in fact beneficial in terms of PR and cost savings to go green.

How you ask?

Think about it. If you could invest in a system which would reduce costs by 50% and virtually pay itself back in 5 years but last much longer, would it be worth it? While yes, the investment may turn some company’s away from it, but for those companies that can see the future benefit they will gain from the investment are the ones who will most likely make the conversion to greener operations. So, enough of what going green can physically do for your business. Let’s get into the 9 ways you can actually go about making your business more “green.” From reducing energy, to reducing waste and using green materials, here they are:

  1. Going paperless isn’t just for banks. You might of gotten requests from your banks in the past few years asking you to switch to paperless (if not forcing you). In some cases, they even incentivized it! But, why can’t you take this environmentally and cost saving benefit and implement it into your business? Fun fact, you can. Requiring documents only to be printed when they need to be signed and mailed should be a new office rule. In fact, it’s totally possible to go 99% virtual when it comes to documents these days. All you need is an efficient file management system and you are good to go.
  1. Incentivize “green thinking.” It’s impossible for one single person to identify every area of a business and how to greenify it. Instead of trying to do it all yourself, incentivize your employees. Whenever they come up with a unique new idea for you to implement, incentivize them with something. Whether it be pizza, $20, or a nap. Don’t be boring and just let your employees be creative. They are your first line of defense and will surely make your green efforts that much stronger and efficient.
  1. Convert your lighting system to LED. Every single one of your commercial lights in your building, car lot, office space, hallways, and so on could benefit from converting to LED technology. It is by far the most efficient lighting technology around, and converting from other technologies to LED could reduce your light fixtures energy consumption anywhere from 30% all the way up to 75%.This sole reason is what is causing many facility managers and building owners to love the technology, and that’s not including the other benefits of LED.
  1. Implement green packaging and design. If you currently use old fashioned packaging techniques, you most likely use non-green packaging. In regards to how to actually go about this, talk to your manufacturer or packager as that is not within the scope of this post. But just remember this, it will be a huge marketing play which will allow you to put something like “green packaging” on your product.
  1. Install a programmable thermostat. Setting your heat and cooling system to turn off and on when needed can save a great amount of energy associated with your HVAC system. Additionally, setting your temperature to be at a steady and comfortable temperature will ensure you aren’t over (or under) heating / cooling your building. In turn, this will lead to more efficient work and output by your employees (another cost saving benefit).Additionally, make sure your system is well maintained. The filters should be changed often and regular maintenance will ensure it is running at optimal levels. Another thing you could do is invest in a new system which is up to date and specifically an efficient model.
  1. Get environmentally friendly company cars. If company cars is a part of your business, stop getting a gas guzzler. Instead, go for the most efficient models which give you the most mileage per gallon. Better yet, go for something which doesn’t use gasoline at all!

    Note: This is recommended only when you are in need of new company cars. It could get pricey and the ROI will be virtually zero if you replace completely fine cars with new ones for no other reason than to save gasoline.
  1. Solar panels. Solar panels for businesses are becoming more and more popular. Not only will it save your company in a lot of energy costs (if not get rid of them entirely), it will improve your public image of your facility. Like a lot of things on this list, it’s a win-win! Oh and if you produce extra energy, you will typically get paid for it by selling it to the electric company!
  1. Turn off computers entirely. Believe it or not, sleep mode doesn’t save any energy. Instead, you have to turn them off entirely for it to truly not suck up any energy. To go a step further, unplugging your system will 100% prevent any energy from flowing throughout your computers when not in use. So by making a new routine to turn off and unplug your computers at night, you will not only save energy but reduce wasted energy.
  1. Reduce, reuse, recycle! We’ve heard this statement before, and it certainly applies here. Sure, you might recycle but you may be unaware that no one else does. Why? Most likely because it’s not easy to do. Either your recycle bin isn’t near the trash, or your don’t have one. In either case, make sure you have a recycle bin next to every trash can. To go a step further, put a notice above the bins reminding everyone to recycle.

Conclusion

That about sums it up for our top 9 ways a business can go green. From converting your existing systems and fixtures to more efficient ones to optimizing your packaging to be made of more friendly materials; they all play a role in this process.

If you truly want to make a difference, both in your company’s images and cost saving actions; start implementing each of these things into your business. From there, you employees should help with the on-going process and overtime come up with more and more ideas. Eventually, you might even run entirely green!

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