Your Home Business Can’t Function As An Island

You will have heard, no doubt, of the old saying about no-one being an island. Well, the same is true of your business, and this is something which is especially important to think about if you run your business from home. A home business must not act as an island if it is to succeed in the long term – but what do we actually mean by that? Simply that you need to make sure you do not fall into the temptation of hiding away from the outside world, and operating only on your own terms. You might well be thinking that you would never do this anyway, but it can be surprisingly easy to fall into this trap. In this article, we are going to look at some of the ways you can ensure your business is functioning properly, without resorting to being something of an island.

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Keeping Office Hours

One of the main temptations when you work from home is to work over into the evenings or weekends. While you might well pride yourself on such industriousness, and probably with good reason, there is such a thing as working too much. You need to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of working yourself to death, and one of the best ways to do this is to simply keep regular office hours. What those hours are is up to you, of course, but it is generally a good idea to stick to the normal office hours that other businesses will go by. You can extend them a little further if you feel it is necessary, but as long as you keep enough hours for yourself, you should find that this is the right kind of balance.

Believe it or not, it can actually be to the detriment of the business to allow your office hours to be too long. After all, when you overwork yourself, all you are really doing is ensuring that your quality of work will decline, and this is the last thing you want to happen. You need to work long and hard, yes, but more often than not you also need to make sure that you have regular breaks – otherwise your business might actually suffer as a result. Keeping office hours in line with other businesses will also help you to be able to communicate with them more easily, something which is likely to prove hugely important over the course of time, especially as you begin trying to reach out for partners.

From the beginning, be sure to keep regular office hours at all times, so that you can improve your output and keep your lines of communication open. You will find this hugely valuable.

Partnering Up With Other Businesses

Before long, it is likely that you will become aware of just how valuable it is to keep in close contact with other businesses, especially those who function in the same industry as you. The best way to do this is to partner up with them, and this is one of the things that a young business should consider doing early on regardless. But for the home business, it can have the added bonus of helping you to keep in close contact with the outside world, and this can be hugely rewarding and beneficial in the long run.

There is something to be said for ensuring that you choose the right businesses for partnering up with, however. You don’t want to get too close to an immediate rival, for a start, but you also don’t want to partner up with an organization which has very little or indeed nothing to do with your own. Therefore, be sure to spend a decent amount of time choosing your partnering businesses wisely. The better you partner up, the more likely it will actually benefit your own business in the long run too.

But the important thing is that you do it at all, and this means that you need to make sure you go out of your way to find a partner early on in the lifespan of your company, if you can manage it. When you find a decent partner, be sure to make the most of it – as the younger company, you have more to gain and less to lose, so be sure to do so at your earliest convenience. With the right partner, your business will function much more as a part of the world, even while being run from your spare bedroom. This is a powerful idea to get behind, so be sure that you do.

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Communicating With Other Businesses

You will also need to communicate with other businesses from time to time, and this can be something that can be surprisingly hard to get down right. However, it will likely be essential to master if you want to properly function as a home business,so you will need to make sure that you have all the proper manners of communicating with other businesses at your disposal. You might be surprised at just how many you will need to get hold of if you want to be able to properly communicate with other businesses – including some which you might have thought were antiquated or useless technologies.

To begin with the obvious things, you will need to have access to the internet so you can use email, messaging and social media to keep in contact with other businesses. But you will also need to look further afield, and this is where you might run into some of the more surprising items of technological communication which you need to get hold of. By way of example – it is likely that your home office does not have a fax machine. However, there will be a surprising number of other businesses who do, and often they will want you to communicate in this fashion. Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean that you will need to get hold of a fax machine in order to keep in touch with those organizations. Instead, you can simply use an online fax service – yes, they exist – and communicate this way. You might also find that others want to talk by phone, and this differs from the fax machine in that you should probably consider a phone system in your home to be an essential way of keeping in touch with the outside world. Be sure that you have one before you get too far into your business’ lifespan.

It is important to be able to keep in touch with other businesses – probably more important than you might have imagined – primarily because you will often need to partner up with them, or else speak to them when you are in need of outsourced services and so on. This issue will crop up again and again, so you must not overlook this essential and vital part of the whole process of running your business from home.

Speaking With The Customer

As well as communicating with other businesses, you will also more obviously need to be able to keep in touch with your customers – and with potential customers. Fortunately, most consumers these days are happy to communicate online, and this will make things much easier for you as a home business – but there will always be those who would rather, say, speak on the phone, so it is essential to keep all lines of communication open. You don’t want to lose customers just because you could not be reached, so make sure that you don’t fall into this common early trap. Be as available as you possibly can be if you want your business to thrive in just the right way and at the right time in your business career.

Networking

In order to really ensure that you are not going to be stuck indoors and away from the world, you should also make sure that you get out there and network from time to time. Networking is an essential aspect of the running of any business, and this is just as true for your home business as it is for any other. Therefore, be sure to use whatever opportunities you can find to network your business as well as you can. You might be surprised at just how many such opportunities there are once you start looking, and the more you make of them, the better off your business will be in the long term. It will also ensure that you do not get holed up in your home office for too long – something which can desperately take a toll on your business if you are not careful. The more you network, the better off you and your business will be in the future. You will also find that practising with networking will ensure that your business is more likely to become the home brand name that you really want it to be, so it will help with achieving your business goals as well. A good networker is generally a good business owner, so you should do this as well as you can and as often as possible.

How to protect your back when working from home

Working from home gives you the freedom to work where you like, but that may not always be good for your health. In fact, it could mean you end up with back or neck pain.

Sitting in the same position for hours on end is a risk for anyone with a desk job.  According to the British Chiropractic Association it’s the most common cause of back or neck pain in the workplace.

Unfortunately home workers often take this a step further by working slouched on the sofa or even in bed. Home may seem more comfortable than an office, but it could really pay to take some proactive measures to ensure your back stays healthy.

There are some simple steps you can take to avoid  back and neck pain:

  • Always work at a table or chair rather than a sofa or bed.
  • Osteopath Wini Thomas says ‘Remember to take frequent breaks as sitting for long periods puts a lot of strain on you neck and back.’
  • Take the opportunity to do some stretches whenever you can, for example when taking a break to make a drink or taking a phone call.
  • Use a detachable keyboard when working on a laptop.
  • Make sure you have a chair can be adjusted so that your work can be carried out at elbow height. It should also support your back, especially your lower back.
  • Avoid bending and twisting to reach items you need for your work.
  • If you can’t place your feet flat on the floor, get a foot rest.
  • If your chair has wheels, make sure it doesn’t slip. This could cause a fall.
  • If you experience pain for more than a few days, make sure you get it checked out by a doctor.

As a self-employed people we want to avoid time off sick because we don’t get paid unless we work! Luckily, taking a few easy precautions can reduce the risk of us suffering back pain.

Image credit: www.jeshoots.com

Three Marketing Secrets that Will Get Your Accounting Start-Up Noticed

It’s not a secret that the majority of new start-ups often end up failing, with many of those failures happening in the first year of operation. There are all kinds of factors that can lead to the failure with finances being the top reason and then other factors, such as a lack of motivation or focus, getting bad advice, and just a lack of understanding on how to operate and market a business in general.

If you are currently just finishing up your online bachelors of accounting with the goal of opening up your own accounting company as soon as you graduate, then you obviously want to be sure you don’t end up as another failure statistic. Sure that bachelors of accounting will prepare you from a knowledge standpoint, but you need to have more than knowledge in the field in order for your business to succeed.

Here we’ll share three marketing secrets that will help to get your brand new start-up noticed, which will, of course, help increase your odds of success.

Get a Website Up and Running Immediately

The number one top priority in your marketing plan should be to build a website and have it go live as soon as possible. Nowadays, websites are an absolute necessity. It’s how people find you, it provides you with a way to engage with customers, and it gives you a chance to start building credibility in the industry. Your website instantly increases your level of professionalism and authenticity, which in turn helps to create trust in your “brand”.

And while you’re at it, don’t just stop at the website; you’ll also want to get on all the top social networks. One of the biggest secrets to marketing nowadays is that you shouldn’t be selling yourself or your product. Instead, focus on engaging with potential customers. Social networks are the perfect place to do this. You can also link back to content on your website and vice versa.

Start Blogging

You’ve probably read about the importance of blogging a number of times by now, and maybe you’re sick of hearing about it, but there’s a reason people keep suggesting it as a useful tip. Blogging truly does help to build your business.

When you add a blog to your website, it helps boost your Google rankings, which means more people are likely to find your company. Not only that but it starts to create an image of yourself as an industry leader, an expert, someone who really knows their content. From a client’s point of view, this is the kind of person they want to trust with their accounting needs.

Identify Your Target Client

The final tip is to make sure you know exactly who your target client is so that you can figure out the best path in reaching them. Your target client can’t be “everyone”; you need to hone in on a specific audience.

Put the Secrets to Good Use

Now that you’ve uncovered the top three secrets to marketing success, it’s time to put them to good use.

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3 things every network marketer must do to become successful

The best way to be successful in any kind of industry is to look at successful people and analyse their skills, their tactics and learn from their actions. Multi-level marketing is no different. When you study the top earners within the world of network marketing, you begin to notice many similarities. Of course, they have different backgrounds, personalities and upbringings, but their attitude, pattern of behaviour and work ethics are all very similar.

You may think that you need this success before you start recruiting with confidence, but this is not true. Whether you are 1 month or 10 years into your network marketing career, all you need is to do is be self-assured and assertive. Here are the most important 3 things every network marketer must do become successful in this continuously rising business industry.

Be a product of your product

Whatever your chosen business for network marketing, it’s really important to genuinely have love and appreciation for the product or service you are selling. People can see straight through a fake act. What is the best way to fall in love with your product? Become a product of it, use it consistently and make it a part of your life.

If you use this product yourself, it’s going to be really easy to sell it; you won’t even really need strong sales skills. This is the best part and probably the most important; all you have to do is promote yourself using the product and show the positive effects, results or outcome the product has given you. It’s subtle and will draw people in without them even knowing it.

Think about when you get one of those cold sales calls for a new energy supplier, if you’re not actually interested in changing your energy supplier, you don’t even listen to what they have to say, as soon as you realise they are selling you something, a wall goes up. However, they may actually be selling you a really amazing offer that actually suits you better, but the truth of the matter is; people don’t like to be sold to.

If you are simply promoting how a product has changed your own life, it stops the ‘sales wall’ from going up and you will find over time, people will become more and more interested in what the product has done for you and they will want one for themselves!

Sponsor – don’t recruit

Apart from selling, the other part of network marketing involves ‘recruiting’ other people just like you to bring into the business and you build profit from the sales they make. How to be successful in this part? Don’t look at it as recruiting, look as though you are sponsoring. The more happy, trained and content they are within the business, brings you more success, so take time to train them, celebrate their success and support them when things get difficult.

Sponsoring and selling can sometimes also send out conflicting messages. If one minute you are posting on social media about how amazing a product is and how much you love it and then in the next breath you are showing off about how much money you have made and how successful you have been, it can scare away your sales as they will see you in a completely different light.

Try and avoid talking about money or income publically as a rule. It is something you can share privately with your potential team recruits because let’s face it, money is one of the main reasons people do anything, but avoid posting about it publically at all costs. Success will shine through in the form of confidence and happiness.

Aftercare is everything

There is one thing both parts of multi-level marketing have in common, aftercare is EVERYTHING! In sales, if you are providing an excellent aftercare for your customers, they are going to tell their friends about you and how happy they are with your product, service and business, who will tell their friends and their friends. If someone’s not happy, help them, offer to meet with them to discuss. Set up group chats for all of your customers so that they can give their own help and advice to each other when you are not available to.

Same applies to your team members, if you are making them feel good the more likely they are to succeed in their business. Don’t just be their up line, be their friends, meet up with them regularly, give them a call every so often just to see how they are getting on, organise team building events for you all like this treasure hunt in Scotland to help you all bond and have a giggle at the same time.

If you take a look at any top earner in network marketing, they all have these 3 things in common. If you can apply them in your business then you are well on your way to a happy, successful and strong business.

There are Different Ways to Invest, but Which One is Right for you?

There are numerous ways in which you can invest your money in 2017, with the Fintech revolution having created brand new opportunities for individuals during the last decade. Remember, the value of global Fintech investments is set to more than double between 2015 and 2020, eventually peaking at $46 billion.

Aside from underpinning accessible, online trading platforms like Oanda, the great thing about Fintech is that it has raised awareness about the investment options that are available in the modern age. This has made it far easier for people to open their minds and appraise their options in greater detail.

The key, of course, is to choose which one is right for you? Here are some of the key considerations that you should keep in mind:

  1. Your Personality Traits

Before you even begin to consider the conditions of a particular market, you should appraise your own unique personality traits. This is because every marketplace and asset class is truly unique, meaning that each has a distinct risk profile and typical rate of return.

Now, if you’re a cautious individual who is a little risk averse, you’ll probably prefer investment options that provide you with a secure store of wealth (such as gold and company shares). Not only do these markets boast relatively low levels of volatility, but they also offer tangible assets that can be held for as long as is necessary to generate a profit.

Conversely, those with a greater appetite for risk will favour trading derivatives such as currency. Assets of this type are typically traded in volatile markets with high liquidity, while the fact that they enable traders to operate without the burden of ownership creates the potential to profit even in a depreciating marketplace.

  1. Your Lifestyle

Lifestyle is also an important consideration, even in an age where it’s possible to trade multiple assets through your mobile phone. After all, each market has its own unique trading hours, while many also have an optimal set of times for executing orders.

Depending on your working hours, personal life and sleeping cycle, this means that some investment options may be unsuitable. This does not apply to entities such as the forex market, of course, as this is open for 24 hours, six days a week and enables traders to operate over three distinct sessions.

Most other markets are far less accessible, however, so you’ll need to ensure that can create an effective trading schedule that affords you the time to analyse the market and execute orders without compromising on your everyday lifestyle.

  1. Your Unique Skill-sets and Expertise

Finally, you also need to pay attention to your unique skill-sets and areas of expertise, as these may naturally lend themselves to specific investment vehicles and assets outside of traditional financial markets.

If you understand the housing market or have previously worked in this sector, for example, buying and selling property could represent an excellent investment opportunity.

Similarly, those with existing financial or economic knowledge and numerical ability may want to consider investing in stocks, shares or currencies.