The Biggest Dangers Facing A New Business

There’s a reason that not many people start a business, and even less of them succeed. The bottom line is, it’s hard. There are so many risks involved and then you have to consider all of the factors that are outside of your control. Sometimes people can fail even if they get everything right, but a lot of the time people tend to fall prey to the same things. There are a few mistakes that people seem to make over and over. Knowing what these issues are and how to avoid them before you get started can massively improve your chances of success.

Increasing Revenue

Most new businesses tend to start off getting a few clients, it feels like everything is about to snowball. Then it all slows down. The clients aren’t coming in as quickly as they were and the cash is starting to run out. This can often happen because companies get complacent after their initial success. If you fail to increase your revenue then you won’t be able to keep your head above water for very long at all. Just because you’ve had a few good clients, don’t stop pursuing them. Being proactive about finding business is the key to bringing in more money. If you are struggling then consider a merchant cash advance company to give yourself a bit more breathing room.

Hiring Employees

Any business leader worth their salt knows that good employees are vital to a winning business. They are responsible for the day to day running of the business so if they aren’t the best people for the job then you’ll run into all sorts of efficiency problems. When hiring employees, always think quality over quantity. There’s no use paying lots of people that don’t offer any value in the business. It’s better to have a small staff of people that each bring something to the operation. When you interview, it is important to consider all of the usual things like qualifications etc. but don’t neglect personality. A team that works well together will be far more productive so choose people with a similar outlook to your own.

Government Regulations

You can’t blink without filling out a form these days. Government regulations have wormed their way into every single aspect of our lives. The regulations around businesses are particularly restrictive. Unfortunately, you can’t just avoid them. If you are caught operating outside of these regulations you’ll find yourself being hit by a hefty fine that you can’t afford to pay. It could kill your business there and then. Although it is an extra expense to take on, it might be worth hiring a lawyer to help you navigate the legal minefield and make sure that you don’t make any costly errors.

Healthcare

Health Care for your employees is one thing that is majorly affected by government legislation. There are certain rules that need to be adhered to. Any business with more than fifty employees is legally obliged to provide health care. Smaller businesses aren’t obliged, but if you want to get the best people working for you, it is a good idea to provide some kind of package.   

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Quick-Win Marketing Solutions

If you are looking for some fresh marketing ideas to inject some life into your business but you don’t have much time or money to invest into it, then there are still some ideas that you could look into:

Facebook Live – As you will know, Facebook is a hugely popular social networking site that reaches huge numbers of people on a daily basis. While the site was set up predominantly for social interaction, more and more businesses are using the popularity of Facebook to generate more business leads.

Therefore, you will probably already have set up or at least considered creating a profile for your business on Facebook. Video content is expected to take up to 90% of all Facebook content by 2018. So, video is going to be a dominating channel to interact with people. This is because video is the format chosen by consumers, it is the easiest, quickest way to get information and it is much more engaging than for example, a page of text.

For you are to tap into the potential of video marketing for your business, you need to also listen to consumer demand and cater for the predicted change in content consumption. Facebook Live is an easy way to get your business out there, all you have to decide is how to appeal to your target audience. For some lines of business, this will be harder than others, but with some creative thinking, you should be able to identify a successful solution.

If you run a pub that has a band playing and everybody is up dancing and having a good time, you can capture it on Facebook Live. A restaurant? Show a clip of taking a birthday cake out to a customer. There are lots of different things you can do. For a corporate business, if you take part in charity events then that too could make for great Facebook Live content. When you spend a bit of time planning your ideas, you will see that more and more opportunities come along as you get thinking about it.

Podcasts – A large section of businesses also produce podcasts as part of their marketing plan. A great thing about podcasts is they are so easy to create. You can simply record a monologue or discussion that covers an interesting topic that your target audience are interested in using your laptop or smartphone. Then you can upload it onto a platform like SoundCloud to share it with the world via your other marketing channels i.e. on your website, through email, social media, etc.

If you don’t have the resource to promote your podcast heavily, then there are other solutions to get your content more attention, such as purchasing SoundCloud likes. This will quickly get your podcast higher up in the rankings and encourage more people to listen to your content.

These are just two quick wins that you can create with great ease, but by keeping up to date with innovative marketing methods, more ideas like these will come along.

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Three Ways Your Business Can Communicate Internationally

These days, international business is not restricted to established companies with ample resources. If you have a strong website and desirable products, people from all over the world can find you and request your services. Obtaining international clients is an exciting accomplishment, but it can also present some logistical problems you may not have considered. One of the key issues international businesses face is how to communicate clearly, courteously, and cost-effectively with their clients. Here are three communication techniques you may not have previously considered.

  1. Messaging Apps

Texting is not a traditional medium for professional communication, but it could be appropriate in your case depending on the nature of your business. For example, if you are creating commissioned artwork for a client, then he or she may wish to receive frequent visual updates on your progress. If your client lives abroad, then you can simplify your working relationship by using texting apps. There are numerous texting apps available that use an internet connection to send messages. If you and your client have the same apps, you can quickly exchange messages and then get back to work.

  1. Internet Phone Calls

As useful as texts and emails are, sometimes you need to speak to clients directly. Unfortunately, video messaging services are not always reliable internationally, and it can be expensive to place international phone calls. So how can you speak to your clients without spending an arm and a leg?

Emerging technologies such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) make it possible to place international calls using your internet connection. After paying a minor flat fee, purchasing a single device, and installing the device on your computer, you can use your regular phone to make calls. MagicJack is the leading provider of this type of service, and its offerings are growing. Under the leadership of chairman Donald Burns, MagicJack and its app have been installed and downloaded millions of times.

  1. Translation Technology

The more international clients you have, the more likely it is that you will encounter translation problems at some point. Even if you and your client are fluent in the same language, there is always the chance that struggles will arise just when they are least welcome. This is where translation apps can come in handy.

Some translation apps can record your phrase and play it back to your audience in their preferred language. Others can translate pictures of foreign text. There are apps available for almost every language, so you do not have to limit yourself to clients who speak languages you vaguely remember learning in high school. While it is not necessarily wise to rely on these apps exclusively, they can supplement your ongoing language acquisition while helping you and your clients overcome momentary hurdles.

Get to Work

As you can see, international business communication has become a relatively simple undertaking. The good news is, these are just a few of the ways you can connect with clients from around the world. Now that you know more about your international communication options, you may be more comfortable leading your enterprise into uncharted territories. Go forth and explore new markets, knowing there are numerous ways to communicate.

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Recruitment: Finding The Perfect Employees

Photo: Hypnoart

Do you want to know what makes a business successful? It’s the people that work there day after day. Without the ‘lackeys’ doing the ‘donkey work,’ your business can never reach the heights that it intends. Indeed, the ones that wallow at the bottom tend not to choose wisely regarding staff. Therefore, that means your job is to find the perfect employees that will take the firm to new heights. Are you ready? Good, because you’re about to delve into the murky waters of recruitment.

It isn’t nice or pretty, but it’s necessary if you want to locate the ultimate workforce.

Resume

The Americans call it a resume, whereas the British call it a CV. Don’t worry about the name though because the syntax isn’t important right now. What is important is how the resume looks and feels. For one thing, it should look and feel sharp. A resume is a reflection of the individual, so always take into account its appearance. Also, it should be structured and easy to follow. You have hundreds of people to interview, and you can’t waste time reading essays. The best candidates know this, so they tailor their submissions to your benefit. Finally, the great employees have qualifications like IMC masters programs and leadership courses. As a result, their CVs should have more to say than the average person.

Mandatory Skills

Before you start to think about them more as a person than an employee, you need to know they can do the job. Simply put, hiring a person that can’t complete their tasks on a daily basis is a bad fit. In fact, they are a terrible fit. With this in mind, you need to test their ability and business acumen. There are plenty of ways to do it, from asking open-ended questions to setting test questions to a time limit. What you need to take from it are two things. The first is, did they have the ability to perform the tasks to the required standard? And the second is how do they rank against the other candidates?

Motivation

You never know if someone is a good fit until you know what motivates them as a person. You see, motivation is what keeps people working hard and maintaining their standards from their first day to their last. If they lack the necessary amount, they will start to flounder after a short while. Everyone has a trigger, and you need to find it. They might want money, they might want adulation, or they might plan to run the business in the future. Hopefully, they will want all three mixed with a passion for the work. There are lots of things that drive people, but passion is the most effective. To figure them out, ask them questions about money, work, and work-life balance. The answers should be enough to put you on the right track.

Finally, always look beyond what the person says in the interview. Interviews are notorious for changing people into different versions of themselves. You, however, want the natural one that clocks in at 9am and leaves at 5pm.

6 things you need to think about when starting a new business

Photo: Unsplash

Thinking about starting your own business? We’ve put together a great checklist of things to consider before you do, from marketing and insurance to lifestyle and relaxing.

  1. How will people know about your new business?

If your target audience doesn’t know anything about your brand, then you sure as hell aren’t going to make any money. Marketing is one of the most important parts of any startup – you need to generate hype and get people talking about you if you want to be able to sell to them.

The days of printing out leaflets and advertising in the local newspaper are over. In today’s world, you need to work harder than ever to ensure your marketing is heard by potential customers, so digital marketing is the way to go. Alongside pay-per-click campaigns on Facebook and Google, you need to set up social media accounts on the biggest platforms and post engaging, relevant content that speaks to your audience. From there, you can also consider the benefits of content marketing – that is, blogging on your website and enjoying organic traffic that comes from doing so. In fact, small businesses who used content marketing had six times higher conversion rates than those who didn’t. It makes sense.

  1. Will you be insured?

When you’re launching a small business, the last thing you want to think about is the law, but keeping yourself protected should something go wrong is essential. If you, or a member of your team, will be coming into contact with the public, then you’ll need to consider having some form of public liability insurance. Without it, you could face significant legal fees and compensation challenges, and you could have to take time off work or close your business while legal proceedings are underway. With the insurance policies provided by companies such as Be Wiser Business Insurance, however, you know that you’re covered should an accident occur or a member of the public is injured.

  1. What’s your competition up to?

Understanding the ins and outs of your competition is important, so make sure that you conduct some thorough research before you start your business. Ask the important questions, like whether the market is big enough for two companies, whether you’ll be able to offer a product or service better than the competition and why your business is different. Defining your brand and offering something that’s a genuine alternative to a mainstream brand is a great way of boosting your profile and cementing your position as a valuable company – if you’re only hoping to become a carbon copy of an existing brand, you’ll fail.

One great way to get an insight into your competition is actually to use their products or services. Call into their store and see how they service their customers, find out more about why people like using their brand and what the company’s downfalls are. From there, you’ll be able to use their weaknesses to create a brand that consumers will love.

Photo credit: Pexels

  1. Will you be hiring? 

In the early days of your new business, you’ll want to have your hand in every pie. It makes sense – the first few months of your business are the most vital, and you want to create the very best first impression you can. However, after a while, you will need to consider the possibility of hiring staff, and so make sure you have a plan in place before you launch.

Think about writing job descriptions, determining an appropriate rate of pay, writing the advert and advertising the role in advance of you needing a member of staff. It’s best to hire one great employee early to take some of the weight off of your shoulders than wait until you absolutely need to hire and make a rushed decision that won’t benefit your business. Information Week has put together ten signs you’ve hired the wrong person – reading this before you start the interview process will aid in you finding the right member of staff.

When you’ve received a few applications, it’s time to shortlist and then arrange interviews with candidates. From there, you can make checks to ensure they’re eligible to work in the UK, then select your favourite candidate and offer them the job. The process of hiring your first member of staff can be stressful and time-consuming, so consider asking for help from your friends and family if you’re feeling overwhelmed when making important decisions.

  1. How will your lifestyle change?

If you’re starting your own business after leaving a traditional 9-5 job, then the freedom of managing your own time and schedule may be overwhelming. Make sure you understand what you’re letting yourself in for, and be sure to practice good time management to get the most out of your day. You should also consider, for your sanity, to take weekends off, and find time to spend with friends and family so that you maintain an active social life.

  1. Will you be able to relax?

Starting a new business can be an exciting time, but it can also bring with it a great amount of stress and sleepless nights. Make sure that you set aside time to relax, and if you’re going to be working from home, consider imposing a ‘work ban’ after a certain time so that you can switch off. Answering client emails when you should be relaxing with your family or enjoying a day out can be frustrating for all involved; learn to work inside your boundaries.

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