Run Your Small Business Like a Big Enterprise

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a big business or a small home company- your aim is the same. You want to provide your customers with excellent products or services and make a profit as you do. For this reason, it’s important not to see yourself as a different entity from bigger businesses and especially your competition. Here’s how you can go about running your small company in the same way as a big enterprise.

Take it seriously

Customers don’t expect a lesser service because they’re buying from a smaller business so be sure that you’re stepping up to the mark. Take your venture seriously, put the hours and effort in and treat is as you would if you were something much bigger. You have to work to build up that level of trust with customers and clients, and then run things professionally so you’re able to keep it.

Have a professional design

Again, just because you’re a smaller business doesn’t mean you can or should come across as amateur. A professional design helps to give the impression that you’re a professional business- which you are. A web designer is needed to give you a smart looking website- don’t try designing it yourself unless you have experience as it will be obvious to customers that it’s a DIY job. If you can afford it, invest in an app too. Since this is something that many smaller businesses don’t bother with, it’s an easy way to overtake your competition. Since most customers prefer to shop using an app (rather than a phones’ browser, laptop or computer) you won’t be missing out on any potential sales. If you send out things like emails and paper letters, you’ll need to make sure your logo is incorporated, this can be created by a graphic designer. You can find talented individuals to do this for you on sites like Etsy, and if you go down this route it isn’t as expensive as you think.

Outsource

Speaking of enlisting the help of professionals, this is something you can do on a regular basis. Not just for one off jobs like web design or logo creation, but on an ongoing basis. You can outsource entire departments meaning your company is able to grow but without you having to personally hire staff. Outsourcing is common with big businesses, but smaller companies don’t always realise it’s something they can take advantage of too. It can make your small venture more efficient, as you’re able to grow without having to spread yourself too thin by trying to do everything. If you know nothing about marketing for example, it would make sense to outsource your marketing to a third party company so that it’s all taken care of, and then use the time you would have spent on this getting on with jobs that you can do. Have a think about what your role is within your company, it shouldn’t be doing a little bit of everything. From there, you can work out where you need the extra help, and outsource companies to tackle these tasks for you.

Protect yourself

It’s easy to think that because you’re a smaller business that you’re unlikely to be targeted by criminals, but that’s just not the case. In fact, lots of criminals actually prefer smaller businesses, unlike large enterprises they don’t have a corporate firewall that’s impossible to crack, or strong security measures. Some are so lax they have easy to guess passwords and very little cybersecurity at all, making it easy to rinse accounts, steal data and much more. Make sure you’re protecting yourself online, not only could money be stolen but customer details could be taken and used in fraudulent activities. This of course is going to severely damage your reputation and could even lead to lawsuits being taken out against you. Protect yourself, use the right online security and complex passwords. Get insured so your back is covered if the worst were to happen.

As a small business owner, your venture really is personal. Chances are you started out because you wanted something rewarding to work on, something that means something to you instead of being stuck in the rat race. So success is crucial, start valuing your small business as it’s just as important as any other!

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

Roll Up! Roll Up! Hiring Your First Employee

It’s one of the big steps in running your own business. If you’re someone that works at home for yourself, the chances are that you have got into a sturdy working routine. Once it gets to the point that your business becomes more successful than your original endeavours, it’s time to start branching out, and hiring an employee is one of the first steps. It can be quite an intimidating prospect, not least because you are used to operating everything just so, but also, you may very well need to adjust your relationship practices, not to mention the fact that you need to motivate them so they get along with the customer, clients, and represent the business in the way that you want. But before all of this, how do you go through the process of hiring your first employee, and what can you do to ensure that you’ve made the right decision?

Defining The Role

What is so crucial at the very outset is that you determine what the role will involve. Because you may feel that because you need an extra pair of hands the role encompasses pretty much everything. But when you go through the hiring process, you could find that you won’t be able to get the “perfect” employee. After all, it’s so important that your employee (as well as yourself) need to know what they are being hired for. This brings into account other factors, like their wage, and what they need to do to earn a specific amount of money. Your budget is crucial, because you need to find how much you can realistically afford, and as the saying goes, “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” You have to look at the job market, and once you have identified the duties of the role, see how other companies in the market pay. You have to be competitive, but at the same time, you’ve got to be realistic in terms of your budget. It’s far better to have a part-time role advertised so you are able to get a good quality candidate, rather than getting a full-time role advertised which doesn’t pay as much and run the risk of hiring a below-average worker. Quality is the name of the game.

Crafting An Appropriate Procedure

You need to decide on an ideal procedure for the role that you have created. This doesn’t just include the hiring process, the criteria of the role, but it’s also about documenting each step of the process. From a legal perspective, it’s important that you cover your back. It’s not about paying lip service to the idea of legality, but it’s about getting into the habit of having a process in place for you to follow to the letter. It’s common sense to have an infrastructure in place because when you decide to hire more people, you’ve already done the hard work. This is most definitely the hardest part of the process.

Advertising For The Role

The great thing about advertising for a role in the modern job hunting landscape is that you can go pretty much anywhere to post your role. But if you’re looking for good quality employees, it’s important that you find the platform that can help you out with the vetting process, which is one of the more difficult aspects of hiring a candidate. You could very well go on social media to post the job, but will you get a good response, and will it be the calibre of employee you really want? There are numerous components to think about when you go down the job advertisement route, such as the candidate attraction rate, which is the number of candidates that look at the advertisement in comparison to those that actually apply. And while there are fantastic platforms out there, like LinkedIn, that help to bridge the gap it’s definitely worth looking at social media in the round as a supplementary tool to hiring people. Some people have had fantastic results purely from social media. But there are others that realise how much of a minefield social media is to get to the right candidate.

The Sifting And Interview Processes

Once the deadline has passed, or you have started to receive applications, it’s time to start sifting through them all. A lot of people have a simple vetting process for this, and it comes in the form of the application. A lot of companies, on their job postings, request something specific as part of the application process, purely to check if the applicant has read the description properly. As far as the vetting process is concerned, it certainly takes a lot of time out of the sifting, but will you end up with the wrong type of candidate as a result? This is something only you can answer. When you’ve got the list of potential candidates down to a worthy number, it’s time to interview them. One of the best ways to do this is to give them a task that tests their skills in relation to the job they are doing. Because the interview process is, in many ways, something that can be learnt and fine-tuned, if you really want to understand if someone can do a job, give them the tasks.

Hiring The Person

This is all about the right contract. You can find many contract templates online, but it’s essential that you have one in the first place. When you have found the right person, it’s about ensuring you cover your back as well as theirs. By having an official document that sets out in detail what the employee’s responsibility is to your business, you are not obliged to constantly refer back to it. Conversely, it’s important that people know the legal standing of their role. Once you have dealt with this, you need to integrate them into the business. By putting them into a role where they can find their feet, it will give them a lot more confidence. It’s important that you give them time because as with any new person coming in, they’ve got to figure out their own method of doing things. When it’s just the two of you, it can be quite intense, but you have to ensure that you have chemistry with this other person.

Learning How To Be A Boss

This can be a trial by fire in some ways. Ultimately, you want to get the best out of any employee, but it’s not just about finding the right person, the chemistry has a lot to play in the role, but it’s also learning how to motivate them effectively. You might have got working at home down to a fine art, but when it’s time to motivate others, you can’t necessarily use the same tools that motivate you. It’s a case of trial-and-error, but it’s also about using this opportunity to find out the type of boss you are. You can find all of the motivation techniques under the sun, but if they aren’t getting the results, it’s not fair to just purely point the finger at the employee. It could very well be that you are to blame. Learning how to be a boss is quite a process, as this will give you the opportunity to learn a lot about who you are, how you lead, but also what your misgivings are. If you’re used to working on your own so much, and now there is someone else, it could be quite a shock to the system.

Your first employee is a big adventure, and it’s proof that your business is on the up. But it’s quite a process. Make sure you do it properly.

Image: StartUpStock

8 Reasons Why Your Employees Would Love a Bean Bag Chair in the Office

The words “beanbag chair” and “office” seem to be an odd pair. Offices are places of work and bean bags are places of relaxation, they couldn’t be more different. So it may come as a surprise to some that adding a bean bag chair to their office can boost employee productivity and creativity.

It is a well-known fact that employee mindset is influenced by their working conditions. A tight cramped furniture situation can leave employees feeling stuck and cramped, mentally and physically. Introducing a bean bag chair is a good way to buck the trend of a stuffy office and increase employee morale. This is evidenced by a growing trend of more informal office designs that trade the rectangular motif of a traditional office for a more fluid, interpersonal, and collaborative space.

For jobs that require creativity and problem-solving, a traditional office environment can mute the senses. Replacing the straight-laced office environment with a more open design and engaging furniture relaxes employees and opens up the mind to get creative juices flowing.

1.Employee comfort

Traditional office chairs are rigid and can cause pain in the legs back and hips after prolonged periods of sitting. Beca bag chairs remove the stiffness from the equation and give workers a comfy throne to sit upon.

Comfy employees are happy employees and happy employees are more productive and report greater personal satisfaction in their work. Productivity can happen spontaneously when employees are given a choice of where to sit. In many ways, the kind of seating reflects the mentality; a hard and rigid surface leads to hard, rigid, and inflexible ideas. A soft supportive surface leads to flexible and fluid ideas.

Ergonomic bean bag chairs can also prevent long term chronic issues that frequently arise in office settings like sciatica and muscle pains. Bean bag chairs can, among other things, correct your sitting posture, take pressure off the spine and hips, and reduce headaches from improper sitting conditions.

2. Saves Money

A big problem small businesses have is managing their budget. Rental space, desks, computer equipment, employee salaries and break room supplies can all be tough to balance on a tight budget. One of the big yet unexpected costs is furniture. Furniture gets the most use out of things in the office and so broken furniture is a common occurrence.

Compared to traditional office furniture, bean bag chairs are much less expensive and are much more durable. Bean bag chairs don’t have any small moving parts and latches so there is less place for them to break. A single bean bag purchase can last you over a year and they do not require any constant maintenance to use, just a periodic washing every week or so. Bean bag chairs are also cheaper when you compare to a Lovesac.

Not to mention, bean bag chairs are generally more eco-friendly than traditional office chairs. The manufacture and sale of office chairs involve a lot of wood and deforestation is a huge ecological issue facing humanity. Bean bag chairs, in contrast, are made out of shredded foams and recycled materials. The production of bean bag chairs does not require any trees.

3. Save Space

Smaller business may frequently find themselves tight on space as well. Fitting all the necessary equipment and employees in the space can be tough, especially if you do not have space-conscious furniture.

A bean bag chair is a great way to minimize clutter and maximize the amount of sitting space you can have. Bean bag chairs do not have to be attached to a desk and can be moved around much more easily than a desk/chair ensemble. Say you need to clear out some space for an event. Chairs are annoying to stack sort and move. Bean bag chairs, in contrast, can just be piled in the corners or stacked on top of each other in a closet. A bean bag focused space can be easily rearranged into an informal circle or small groups for team work.

You don’t really have to worry about damaging bean bag chairs while moving them around either.

4. Multipurpose use

Bean bag chairs are more than just chairs, they can also serve for lounging, lying down, and s a footrest. Bean bag chairs are multipurpose which gives them a leg up over traditional office chairs. The perk of a bean bag chair is that it adds a fun a stylish flair to whatever use you put it towards.

The multiple color options of bean bags also give a nice change in pace from the greys blacks and browns found in traditional office settings. Vibrant colors can stimulate the mind and inspire creative thought so there is a good reason to put some color in your workplace.

5. Gives freedom to employees

Nobody likes being stuck at a desk all day. Sometimes, a thing as simple as moving to a different physical location can help break yourself out of a mental fog and stimulate some productivity. Bean bag chairs let them work at their own pace and quickly get up and change locale if they need some new inspiration. If they are tired of sitting at a chair at their desk, they could instead plop down a bean bag chair and sit away.

One positive effect this has is it lets employees have more of a say in how they conduct affairs in the workplace. They could, for example, have a circle meeting on bean bag chairs instead of meeting in the normal meeting room. Giving employees this freedom increases the dynamism of the workplace and make everything flow more naturally and organically. Humans work more productively when they get some freedom in determining their working conditions and they feel more respected and valued by their employers, which increases employee loyalty.

This fact is especially poignant in our tech inundated world where the pressures of “always-on” work culture can cause employees to feel as if their voice and contributions do not matter. Even something as simple as nonconventional seating arrangements can give a sense of freedom and belonging.

6. Makes Employees More Relaxed

Part of the stress of working in an office is the rigid formality of it all. While formality certainly has its place in the workspace, too much formality can be stifling. Too much formality can adversely affect employees and make them feel on edge and anxious at work. Given the association of an office with “professionalism” it is easy to see why formality is valued so much in traditional office spaces. However, we’d like to point out that there is no law of the universe that says you cannot both be professional and sit in a bean bag chair at the same time.

In this vein, a bean bag focused seating arrangement takes a bit of the edge off overblown expectations of formality and decorum. Ultimately, it gives employees a more comfortable space to be who they are instead of putting on some fake mask for the sake of appearances. It is without a doubt true that feeling more relaxed and natural at work increases productivity and make workers happier in general.

7. Give Your Office a Unique Aesthetic

Part of running a successful business is cultivating a culture and image that captures attention and retains loyalty. In that sense, an office designed around a bean bag seating motif is a great way to distinguish your company culture from others and let everyone know what you are about. The fact of the matter is people feel more comfortable and at ease in informal settings. Bean bag chairs promote this idea of freedom and style that is a nice change of pace from a traditional office design. The unique colors and visual appearance of bean bag chairs will let employees know the exact culture of the workplace and how it perceives itself. Ideally, this is a kind of work culture that will be reflected in the actions and habits of your employees.

8. They Are Super Fun

Come on, have you ever actually sat in a bean bag chair? They are soft, flexible, comfy, and turn any room into a cool lounge space. Big plush bean bag chairs offer a lot of comfort and versatility and are just fun to have. Especially in a place like an office, bean bag chairs provide a nice daily dosage of fun. Employees will appreciate being able to have some fun at work and bean bag chairs are a cheap and easy way to make daily meetings much more entertaining and stimulating.

Conclusions

So, should you get a bean bag chair for the office? Odds are your employees will love it and appreciate the change in pace. Bean bag chairs can help break down walls that are in the way of employee productivity and give them the freedom to work as they see fit. This extra freedom and autonomy in the workplace translate into better productivity and higher reports of employee

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Helpful Tips To Start Your Own Construction Company

Starting your own construction company may seem like a whole lot of money, effort and time, especially to ensure your venture is a success and is then able to yield you a comfortable profit. There are several important factors that contribute to creating a fruitful business in the building and construction industry, and there’s a lot to learn before you decide to actually go ahead and begin the physical side of the process. These tips should help you to get started!

Get Investment

You may be lucky enough to already have enough money to begin your projects, but if you do not then it is likely you will need to secure some kind of investment. Pitching your idea to someone who may be willing to finance your venture is a very stressful and nerve wracking experience, but this is your chance to turn your dreams into reality. There are several different types of investors, from big banks to private independent interest, so it’s up to you to choose who you would like to fund your project and under which terms. Create some kind of presentation to showcase what you would like to achieve, and think outside of the box for ways to stand out from the 25 other hopeful businessmen they’ve had stand in front of them on that day. In today’s economic climate it isn’t so easy for an investor to trust a company enough to return their money, so you need to provide them with faith in you and your ideas.

Safety & Regulations

Due to the dangerous nature of the work that will be carried out on your site, you must ensure before anything goes ahead that you have the correct health and safety measures in place, and adhere to the various regulations.These exist for a purpose, as you will be putting your own and your employees lives at risk each time you open the doors to begin trading every morning. PPE (personal protective equipment) must be worn at all times, including a hard hat, high visibility jacket and ear plugs. These are the basics that will allow you to keep a minimum level of safety, but more specific items should be purchased dependent on the nature of your construction work. If you plan to use any chemical substances on your site, ensure you put precautionary measures in place to avoid any dangerous accidents. You can read more about the requirement and importance of personal protective equipment at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/ppe, where you can also assess whether you are following the subsequent laws correctly too.

Get The Right Equipment

Sourcing the perfect machinery and tools for your new venture needn’t be hard. There are many helpful resources online that will guide you through which specific equipment will be required for each different type on construction company, so you can work out what you will need and start to search around. For larger machinery always locate a trusted seller or hire company, such as a site like https://www.freogroup.com.au/ for high quality mobile cranes and other big mechanical items. Ensuring you make the right decision will have a huge impact on the work your company can carry out, as even the most skilled worker cannot complete a task to any kind of standard if they only have access to the wrong equipment. It’s important that you adequately train anyone who will be using the machine to operate it in the correct manor and also how to perform general maintenance, so as not to cause damage to the equipment and keep it working properly to its true potential for as long as possible.

Invest In Insurance

It’s recommended that you take steps to seek out some kind of business insurance before any major works begin on your site. Realistically, you should invest in some kind of cover as soon as you employ your first worker, as you then take on the responsibility of that persons safety and security as soon as they step foot on your site. With the type of jobs that are likely to be carried out within your company, the dangers that are associated with them should be considered when taking out an insurance policy. You may also want to invest in some form of building or vehicle insurance in case of any accidents or events that cause damage to your property, as it can be an expensive feat to replace or fix machinery.

Skilled Workforce

The overall quality of the service you are able to provide potential customers with boils down to the skills your workforce harbors. If you do not provide any training before allowing employees to carry out any job, you are failing as a business owner in several different ways. Not only will the necessary training show them how to successfully operate machinery and complete a task to the right standard, but you can also take the opportunity to familiarise them with the different risks involved to ensure they can work safely and securely on your site. To source the right employees for your new company, you have to begin by creating the perfect job advertisement. Decide on the salary and explain the tasks that will be carried out, the expectations and goals your business has, and the perks and safety measures they will benefit from that make you different to other potential employers. You may find it useful to allow this advert to remain even after employees have been sought, as there is no harm in reviewing better candidates if they happen to come along.

With this information you should be able to begin converting your plan into practice, and take steps to create and form your own successful construction company. It will require hard work and dedication, but the rewards you can reap for the services you will be able to provide will make the whole experience worthwhile. So, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in – the gap in the  industry won’t stick around waiting for you forever!

Image by Esi Grünhagen from Pixabay

Is your pension protected when your employment or financial status change?

Many individuals set up a pension to ensure that they are protected throughout their lifetimes and are financially supported when they retire. However, there are a number of different events that can influence the status of your pension over time and have unexpected results. To ensure that you know the outcome of such events, this article compiles answers about what will happen in the event of redundancy, bankruptcy or working part-time, and the effect of these on your pension and retirement fund.

Does redundancy affect your pension?

No, your redundancy does not affect your pension in any way. When you have been made redundant, there are steps that you should take to continue your pension pot and ensure that it can support you in the future. Although the amount and its status do not change, to continue to pay into it, you can either leave it in your workplace fund or transfer it to your new workplace pension scheme or a private company. Your past employer can also pay into your employment fund rather than give you a redundancy payout, through a redundancy sacrifice, if you think you are in the right financial situation.

Does bankruptcy diminish your pension?

Yes, it is possible that your bankruptcy can diminish your pension. This is because when you are bankrupt, you must pay off creditors with any of your existing assets, a process that the government arranges depending on the date on which you went bankrupt. Before May 29th, 2000, you would have had to appoint a Trustee (TIB) who would have paid off your debts and outstanding payments with your pension, whereas after this date, your Trustee can protect claims against your pension. In fact, you can even recover some of this amount in an out of court agreement between you and your Trustee for a short time only. Your pension can still be diminished in this process though, as your Trustee can recover funds if they can provide evidence that you have paid in a highly unusual or excessive amount in the time before your bankruptcy.

Does working part-time have an effect on your pension?

No, working part-time does not have an effect on your current pension or the money which you could save towards your retirement in the future. Instead, pensions for people who work part-time is just the same as those for people working full time. In fact, by law, your employer must offer you an opt-out pension scheme which they must pay an equal amount into, with an annual percentage of their income going towards their employee’s pension scheme. The only effect that working part-time may have is that your reduced income may lead to you putting less money away for retirement.

Want to find out more information? Portafina specialise in offering pension advice, find out more about them here. Alternatively, you can contact and follow Portafina, a financial advisory service, on their social media accounts: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.

Image: Pixabay