Away days for small groups

Away days are a great way to reward your staff for all their hard work, and encourage them to continue working hard. But with so many options to choose from, it might feel a little difficult deciding on the right events to provide. To help you make the decision, CR Events have put together this guide on providing a corporate away day for small groups.

Try something different

With small groups, you might be able to organise more smaller scale and unique events that might be unsuitable for a much larger group. When putting together a corporate away day for small groups, it may mean that the budget for what you want to do is a little more forgiving, allowing you a lot more choice and freedom with what you want to do.

For example, you could take 5-6 staff members to a local escape room for a cerebral challenge that’ll serve as a brilliant team building exercise. With fewer people, it’ll really encourage the idea of effective team working and collaboration to come to a solution.

Keeping active

Instead of just a staff away day, you could make the event a lot more inclusive by inviting some of your staff’s family members to an away day. Whether you only have two or three staff members, meaning there will only be a handful more people coming, or you offer an away day as a reward to one particular staff member and their family as a reward for exceptional customer service or exceeding sales targets, bringing family along can help reassure staff that you care about them, meaning they want to continue succeeding.

You could take the staff and family members to a local outdoor adventure park, where they’ll be able to climb around treetop assault courses, ensuring they have a great time as a family while being surrounding by the beauty of nature, and feeling supremely valued as an employee throughout.

Paintballing could be an interestingly hectic option for small groups or families. Bring out the competitive sides of everyone by pitting two teams against each other, with a prize for the victors. The messy, fast-paced nature of paintballing will help provide a little catharsis to the whole event for staff, while tiring out any little ones involved.

Targeted events

For a more educational twist on an away day for a small group, you could break up a larger workforce into individual teams, and offer a conference tailored to their professional development.

For example, your sales team head to a hotel for a fancy dinner with some champagne, before taking part in a conference led by a keynote speaker who is a thought leader in the industry if the event attracts a lot of attendees, then it’ll also serve as a brilliant networking event too, helping to attract people towards your business. The next week, you can offer a similar event to your marketing team, and so on.

The benefits of providing a smaller event such as this are that it will be much more targeted towards the skills, knowledge, and best practises within your industry for that specific group of staff, meaning it’s directly beneficial to everyone in attendance, and it can also help foster more internal discussion on how your staff can work better and more effectively within your business, or perhaps even unearth some ways to improve business processes.

By the end of the event, it’s a surety that your staff will feel more engaged with their work, and be extremely pleased at the effort that the business has gone to to reward them for doing so well, meaning they’ll want to continue performing well for you.

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How long does it take to sell a house?

When it comes to selling a house, most homeowners are aware that the process is not necessarily a fast one and can cause a significant amount of stress, despite the best of intentions to stay calm during the ‘moving’ period.
In fact, the average length of time it takes for a homeowner to move to a new house, after putting their property on the market, is 5-6 months.

Of course, even if you’re simply moving to a new house to upsize, downsize or have a slight change in location, the process of moving house can be a time of unrest and uneasiness. What’s more, if there are additional reasons to your moving, such as getting a divorce or relocating for a career, you may feel additional pressure during the stages of moving house.

So, what should you expect from moving, and how long does it really take to sell a house? Are there certain ways you can make the moving house period less pressured on yourself for a smoother transition into your new home?

Ultimately, the average time that a property is on the market for is 90 days, however, it is necessary to allow for a further 2-3 months from the point of having your offer accepted. This allows for conveyancing, property checks, the drawing up and exchanges of contracts, any mortgage agreements to be finalised and any other complications associated with the sale.

What can slow down the sale of a house?

There are several factors that can cause the sale of a house to slow down or even come to a complete halt. In fact, 31% of house sales fall through before completion which shows how changeable and fluid the property market can be, many people can be devastated at the loss of their dream home and, unfortunately, a significant amount of cash during the moving process.

One reason for a house sale to slow down is when you are selling and are part of a property chain. Being part of a chain means if one element of somebody’s move is slowed down, perhaps there are further enquiries needed into the state or value of the property, the process is slowed down for the whole of the property chain. Likewise, if one homeowner pulls out of the property chain, the process can be disrupted for everybody involved.

Furthermore, if you are selling around the Christmas period and don’t manage to get your completion date before your conveyancers or solicitors are off work for their festive break, a further two weeks would be added to your move. You may want to consider putting your house on the market much earlier in the year, perhaps February or March, to make the effort to avoid the process of moving over the Christmas period. That said, since there are some properties that take much longer than 5-6 months to complete, putting your house on the market earlier will not 100% guarantee you have moved before Christmas.

Are there any ways of speeding up the process of moving house?

Although as a general rule moving house is a lengthy process, there are a few ways you can speed up the process of selling your house and moving to a new home:

1. Have your mortgage already in place: Make sure you have your mortgage lender ready to lend before putting an offer on your new home. You should aim to have a Mortgage in Principle when you make your offer on a property.

2. Choose a reputable estate agent from the word go: A good (and not necessarily pushy!) estate agent can help you have a smoother house moving process. Before actually putting your property on the market, have your home valued by a few estate agents and choose the one that you feel most confident in. Remember: The estate agent that values your property most highly is not always the best one to go for.

3. Use a Cash Home Buyer. A Cash Home Buyer can provide you with an immediate cash offer on your home which can significantly decrease the length of time it takes to sell your home.

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Keep Your Business Agile – or Watch It Collapse

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We all want to improve our companies, right? Well, how many of us are focused on both improving and protecting our companies? Probably not as many as there should be.

One of the best ways to do both is to improve the market agility of your business. If your business isn’t agile enough, then you could find yourself running into a lot of trouble down the line. As in much of life, keeping yourself flexible could really pay off in the long run.

Wait. What the heck is market agility?

Market agility refers to a company’s ability to change with the times. Remaining agile in the world of business is extremely important. Perhaps the best way to highlight to you the importance of market agility is to take a look at some companies that didn’t do it very well. A famous example is that of Blockbuster. They are, perhaps, the best example, here. Simply put, their lack of agility made it difficult for them to face the competition of Netflix.

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Optimizing your resources

One of the most important (and underrated) ways of increasing agility is to watch where your company are putting their efforts. There are some areas that may be extremely important but could be done much more effectively if you outsource the task and allow your in-house resources free for other tasks. Social media management is a good example of this; you can read more at https://ignitedigital.com/service/community-management/. If you have an entire department that is dedicated to a particular job, then that’s costing you at least a hundred thousand a year. You’ve also paid for all the equipment they use.  If the task isn’t being completed as well as it could be, or if the need for that task declines, then you’re going to be in trouble.

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Always have your eyes on trends

Usually, a lack of agility can destroy a business when that business faces two things at the same time. The first is the rise in popularity of a particular piece of technology. The second is a competitor that springs out of nowhere, taking advantage of that technology. You need to keep a sharp eye on both the technological environment and the competitive environment. Tracking customer behavior along with these three are also important. As you can read about at http://uk.businessinsider.com/uber-versus-taxi-best-deal-cheaper, ignoring all three of these elements is exactly what is causing many cab services to be in trouble with the rise of Uber.

Consider where your profits come from

Of course, the reason Blockbuster failed against Netflix wasn’t as simple as “they weren’t as on-demand as Netflix”. There was a problem inherent in their business strategy. A huge chunk of their profits came from charging their customers late fees. Services like Netflix made the need for late fees obsolete; you can read more about how this affected the businesses around it at https://forbes.com/a-look-back-at-why-blockbuster-really-failed-and-why-it-didnt-have-to. So remember to take a critical eye to the areas where you make profit. If it’s even slightly possible that another company could negate it? Then you might need to make serious changes to your structure before it’s too late.

How Your Business Can Use WiFi Content Filtering

As a business, ensuring that your company is secure and your customers are protected is high on your list of priorities. However, many businesses may not realise that they can use internet filters to protect their security and keep their WiFi network protected.

In this guide, we’ve explained how businesses can use content filtering software, as well as the reason why you may want to incorporate this into your business’ WiFi network:

What is WiFi content filtering?

If you’re offering guest WiFi to allow your customers to connect to a network controlled by your business, you’re essentially providing people with access to the internet.

Simply put, content filtering is a method that businesses can use  to prevent people accessing the network, from visiting certain sites. Because almost anything can be downloaded or accessed on the internet, web filtering software will prevent customers who are connected to the network, from accessing non-family-friendly content or downloading malicious software.

Who can use it?

If you’re a business and you’re offering a WiFi connection to anyone visiting your premises, you’re able to use content filtering within your network. This means that whether you’re offering hotel, restaurant or stadium WiFi, you’re able to use web filtering software to block those connected to the network from accessing certain sites.

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How to use internet filters

Once you have web filtering software installed within your business WiFi network, you can use it to:

Block certain sites

The most common use for WiFi content filtering software is to block your customers from accessing certain sites. Many types of software will run by blocking a list of recommended sites by the Internet Watch Foundation. However, you may also have the option to block websites by category if you’re looking to tightly control the content that is accessible to your users.

Blocking users from visiting unwanted websites is often the main use of content filters for businesses operating in public places. It is useful to be able to prevent customers from watching content that isn’t family-friendly content in a public area.

Limit Social media access

By using web filtering software, you can also block employees using your business WiFi, from accessing social media websites.

Aiding with your employees become more productive in working hours, you may want to add other websites that could act as a distraction to the block-list.

Provide additional security

Because this type of content filtering will prevent users of the network from accessing certain sites, your business is provided with additional security. This is because customers are unable to download malicious software, which protects the network against hacking, malware or phishing attacks.

Protect against excessive WiFi bandwidth use

With slow WiFi being named as one of the biggest modern stresses, you may be surprised to learn that you can use WiFi content filtering to improve the speed of your network connection.

By preventing customers from taking advantage of your WiFi bandwidth and using it excessively and blocking them from downloading large media files such as videos, the speed of your business WiFi will automatically improve for other users on the network.

As you can see, there are a variety of ways that your business can use internet filters to improve your customers’ experience of using a secure network. Keep in mind that the security of your network is essential and you should always consider blocking sites that pose a risk of damaging the connection.

Top 10 Tips for First Time Builders

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A builders job is to construct or repair houses and other buildings. Here, I’ll be giving tips for a first-time builder to find their way in bricks, timber, mortar, and steel. However, I will also advise that even after reading these tips if you don’t feel as though you’d be confident and successful in building entirely by yourself, get a company to help.

You can get a steel building priced up easily online. One place you can do this is Armstrong Steel who are America’s number one preferred Steel Building Systems provider and have connected with over 1 million online customers. For expert help from their specialists and ensured fast turnarounds, it would be beneficial to invest in online professionals to help. However, if you’re confident in getting the job done yourself, here are 10 tips that you need to follow.

  1. GET LICENSED

Unleash the power of a state license and get one for yourself. It works both ways for builders by protecting their clients as well as enhancing their marketability. Today, property owners are shrewder than ever and the best ones do not want to save funds by working with unlicensed workers. They know that such builders may disappear in the middle of a project or do a below average job which could result in safety hazards. You can find more information about what licence you need here.

  1. GET CERTIFIED

The subsequent need after getting a license is getting certifications to rise above the crowd of builders. A client would naturally take a builder more seriously upon seeing his or her accreditations. These days, a steel building certified general contractor is more valuable than the rest due to its ever-increasing popularity.

  1. MANAGE THE CASH FLOWS

A majority of small builders go out of the game in the first few years due to problematic cash flows. A first-time builder could do the following to avoid clogged cash flows:

  • Ask customers for deposits up front.
  • Request your creditors for stretched repayment terms.
  • Converting receivables to cash.
  1. GET THE RIGHT BUSINESS TOOLS

A cursory online search would reveal the leading business tools for general contractors. To be successful, you need to be efficient with the business tools that are relevant to your scope of work. Also, learn the software to optimise your operations from design to billing, accounting and design.

  1. GET SERIOUS ABOUT ONLINE MARKETING

Word of mouth and personal referrals are still relevant, but today it is all about your online presence. The significance of showing up on top or on at least the first page when prospects are searching for your services is paramount. Therefore, even if you are a freelance builder there are many authentic platforms to get yourself registered and then progress through the ranks as you gain credibility through your work.

Moreover, it is admissible to be regular on social media by frequently tweeting or posting updates and announcements related to your industry and your own expertise.

  1. DEFINE YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION

A builder should know that his or her competitors are also licensed, certified and using the best software available. Therefore, to distinguish themselves they need to define their unique selling proposition. It could be their skills, attention to details or an eye for design which will make them exclusive.

  1. ALWAYS START WITH A CONTRACT

An essential tip to have a successful career as a builder is to always start a working relationship with a contract. It shall define the cost, quality of items being installed, approximate start and finish dates, and written specifications regarding the intended design. A good contractor never leaves anything to guess work by detailing every aspect in the mutually signed contract.

  1. IMPROVE YOUR INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE

It is not a hidden secret that keeping a close eye on the happenings of the construction industry is always beneficial. Today, about 3 million construction jobs account for 10% of the total UK employment. Moreover, it is an annual £110 billion industry and contributes 7% of the GDP. Moreover, approximately 1/4th of the construction is in the public sector while the rest of the 3/4th is in the private sector.

  1. IT IS NOT ONE JOB

To consider construction just one job is a dangerous over simplification. It is a blend of several jobs. When a building project is going on, you see lots of different people such as carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers, scaffolders, and tilers doing specific orderly tasks. Every individual’s output or the lack of it is the responsibility of the contractor.

  1. DEFINE YOUR AREA

It is admissible to mark the communities you have local knowledge about in your work resume once you get more experience as a builder. This is because a general contractor sees as many buildings as a realtor and therefore is better placed to offer insights about its different aspects to the clients.

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