Archive for 'business'

What makes a successful business plan

When starting a new business, there are many elements you need to consider. Careful planning is essential to ensuring the longevity of your business, but what exactly goes into a good business plan?

A good business plan is one that is detailed. Sections should include; an executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management, service or product, marketing and sales, funding request and financial projections. These topics cover as much of the business as you can in the planning stage.

Showing attention to detail in your written plan demonstrates a commitment to the business going forward. When writing a business plan, there are a few ways to ensure you are creating the best guide for your idea. Researching the industry and other companies in the market you are looking to step into can give you an insight into more than just the competition. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to know how and if audiences will respond to you.

If you aren’t presenting your plan to investors or potential partners, determine what purpose your business plan will serve. A good business plan can be used not only as a sales document but a map for the business into its future. Writing a business plan that makes projections for the first five years can keep you on track and show you areas in which you need to focus on.

A business plan is a guide to help you create and maintain the best business you can. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, a successful business plan is one that teaches you the things you want to get out of the business and ways in which you can achieve them.

Posted on 14 July '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Improving efficiency in your business

As a business owner, making the most of your day to optimise productivity is crucial to your success. The most efficient businesses are those that can create more with less and are driven by highly motivated employees and inspiring leaders. To maximise efficiency within your business, it is necessary to understand the importance of time management, organisation, and managing resources.

Tackle the hardest things first:
Ticking off the jobs that will require the most effort are usually done more effectively first thing in the morning. Also known as ‘eating the frog’, this can help you to avoid procrastination. Once you have done these tasks, all subsequent jobs will seem much more manageable, allowing you to get into a more productive workflow.

Avoid multitasking:
While trying to do many jobs at once may seem like an important skill for increasing efficiency, in reality, it may have the opposite effect. Attempting to multitask can result in lost time and reduced productivity, as you are not focusing properly on each task. Instead, consider making a habit of committing to a single job, completing it thoroughly, and then move on to the next project.

Set manageable goals:
It a common problem for business owners is not having a solid understanding of whether their employees are performing highly or not. This can be caused by a lack of achievable and motivational goals. By offering manageable deadlines for tasks to be completed, it can provide your staff with an incentive to stay on track. Giving clear direction to your employees can assist in clarifying your expectations of the business, helping to increase efficiency.

Posted on 7 July '19 by , under business. No Comments.

The art of reinvention

Small businesses often rebrand or reinvent themselves to keep up with marketplace trends. Knowing when to let go of an idea so you can grow is a smart trait for a modern business owner to have. Those who resist change and leave it too late to reinvent risk stumbling behind and even failing. Instead, businesses should focus on a proactive approach to growth for optimal performance and success.

Know when to reinvent:
A new idea may seem exciting and different but rebranding without properly considering how it will affect the business can doom an idea before it can take off. Look at your reasoning for wanting to change, is it the market? Has the economy shifted? Are you not challenged anymore? All are valid reasons for wanting to reinvent your small business but practicality is key. Know your means and what it will take to rebrand.

Continually forecast:
Industries are continually shifting, competitors introduce new products, customer needs change and technology is constantly transforming the way business is performed. Anticipating market changes is essential to be a competitive leader in your industry. High performing business owners understand that remaining competitive means you need to expect changes and prepare as such.

Focus on strategy:
Strategic planning is imperative to make reinvention possible. Businesses need to be able to detect shifts in their industry, ideally before they happen. The best way to predict these shifts is to involve line managers, frontline employees, store managers etc into the strategy process, as they often pick up on insights business owners can easily miss. For a business to reinvent itself, it needs a permanent strategy which continually scans the market for unsolved problems and untapped customer needs.

Posted on 27 June '19 by , under business. No Comments.

How bullying brings your workplace down

Bullying is a serious issue in workplaces and can affect your business on many levels. Workplace bullying is where repeated and unreasonable behaviour is directed towards an individual or group of employees. It is considered to be workplace bullying where it poses a risk to health and safety.

Reduced productivity:
As people don’t perform well in high stress and anxiety situations, businesses will face a loss of productivity due to workplace bullying. When workers are distracted by bullying, research suggests that productivity could decline by 40%. Employees who are being bullied may also experience a loss in motivation, which will cause them to avoid putting in any effort or time into their work.

Higher staff turnover:
People that do not feel comfortable at work due to the effect of bullying will be inclined to look for work elsewhere. This can cause a business to have high rates of employee turnover, which will have significant economic impacts on the employer. This includes the replacement costs associated with recruiting, hiring and training new staff. A culture of bullying within a workplace can also create low morale, making the business even more susceptible to high turnover rates.

Financial impacts:
There can be many legal costs and other financial impacts associated with bullying within a business. In some cases, employers may be found to be liable for the bullying that takes place within their organisation. They may be required to pay for damages, costs of legal proceedings, or even settlements in more extreme cases. Further financial impacts may be associated with rehabilitation costs if the bullied worker chooses to stay with the business. These costs may include counselling fees, team-building activities or anger-management training.

Posted on 24 June '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Good record keeping practices

Starting your business with a good record keeping system can help you track your business performance, meet reporting responsibilities and access financial history with ease. Since different rules apply to different types of documents, the length of time that a business needs to retain documents depends on what the documents are. Some businesses may need to keep documents indefinitely.

The seven year principle is recommended as a base due to the fact that seven years is sufficient time for defending tax audits, lawsuits and potential claims. Government departments and organisations, such as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), require company and employee records to be kept for seven years.

Owners should note that there are some circumstances where it may be required to keep documents for more than seven years. For example, documents relating to intellectual property rights, such as trademarks and copyright should be kept indefinitely by businesses. These documents should be retained for as long as the rights in the intellectual property exist.

Financial, legal, employee, policy and procedural records are the main categories of documents that a business will need to retain. Keeping good records can save you a lot of time and money when a situation arises as you may need to rely on these files if disputes or other issues appear in your business.

The general standards for record keeping in Australia are as follows, documents need to;

  • Be in writing, either on paper or electronically.
  • Be written in English.
  • Explain all transactions.

There are benefits and risks to storing files both on paper and electronically. The most important thing to remember, regardless of storage method, is to back up your records. A combination of both methods can ensure you have documents available when needed.

Posted on 17 June '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Building the right team for your business

While hiring the right staff is a key element when running a business, to be successful you will need to build a strong team. Here are some tips on turning a group of individuals into a cohesive, collaborative team that will help your business to reach its full potential.

Have a vision:
When starting a new business, defining what your motivations are can help you to visualise the type of organisation you want to create. This can help your staff to know what you are aiming for and understand the goals of the business. Don’t just focus on your products or services, outline the principles and characteristics you wish to build in your organisation. For example, some of your core goals may be to have outstanding customer service or to create a supportive workplace. Once you have outlined your vision, you can use it as a guideline for both you and your employees.

Involve your staff:
By getting your employees involved in the day-to-day operations of your organisation, it will allow them to use their strengths to integrate and develop into the business. Challenge your staff by giving them timelines or specific goals to strive for. If they have achieved these, acknowledge their success. This will motivate them to work hard if they know they are being recognised for their efforts. Consider team-building exercises or activities outside of work as a way to foster a friendly and positive environment. When your employees are happy and enjoy coming to work, this will reflect in your business.

Posted on 11 June '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Startup essentials to help your business succeed

Starting your own business can be as daunting as it is exciting. There are many aspects that need to be considered when making the change to becoming your own boss. Here are a few of the essentials to get you moving.

Plan:
Do not go into a business blindly, as a good idea can only get you so far. A business model shows possible investors that you are serious and gives you a blueprint for how to run the business going forward. Look at elements such as start-up costs, risk assessment, hiring and outsourcing when making your strategic, operational and financial plans.

Be in the know:
Having an idea is all well and good but if you do not have the industry knowledge to back it up, your dream may be over sooner than you think. Experiencing an industry firsthand will assist with practical knowledge whilst research can help on a technical side. When you’re creating your business plan, you need to honestly assess your own skills and expertise so you can identify where you could use assistance.

Protect yourself:
Insurance and trademarks are essential to protecting your property, both physical and intellectual. Though this may not be an exciting step when creating a new business, it is your responsibility as a new business owner to manage the risks associated with your business. Implementing the proper insurance ensures your company is protected in the event of disaster or litigation.

Posted on 2 June '19 by , under business. No Comments.

How to get the most out of business meetings

Conducting meetings is a regular way of communicating what needs to be done around the office, but if nothing gets accomplished it can be discouraging. When organised properly, however, business meetings can be effective and efficient.

Plan ahead:
Meetings need purpose. If they are not planned well then topics needed to be addressed may get missed. Before starting ask questions like, ‘is this meeting necessary?’, ‘What is the purpose of the meeting?’, or, ‘who needs to attend?’ This can give you a solid direction for the meeting. Topics that need discussing could be listed on the agenda. Try itemising each issue to give everyone a firm guideline of what is expected to be discussed.

Timing is everything:
Starting a meeting on time reinforces the idea that others will fall behind if they are late. Punctuality can help to ensure that adequate time is spent discussing each item properly. Timing also applies to the practicality of the items you wish to discuss. Having specific deadlines for your objectives to get accomplished can assist in keeping everyone on the same page.

Encourage participation:
Do not let a meeting be dominated by only a few people. Instead, create a friendly atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable, this can help others to speak up and express their opinions. Exploring the views of other people can give you valuable insights into who can handle certain responsibilities or whose ideas are worth implementing.

Posted on 27 May '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Choosing the right business location

When setting up your business, choosing a location can be a critical factor in its success. Unless you are completely home-based, you will need to decide where you will conduct your business either by leasing or buying premises. Each organisation has varying requirements, so it is necessary to consider your needs and priorities when deciding on a business premises that will best suit you.

Know your business:
The types of premises will depend on your business. Businesses that offer professional services may consider choosing long or short-term leasing options that will allow you to conduct customer and business meetings from a central location. If you run a retail or hospitality organisation it will involve deciding on the best location to sell your products while also being accessible to customers. For those that involve manufacturing, wholesaling or selling over the internet, then selecting a business location will not impact on attracting customers.

Identify customers:
Identifying who your customers are and how you can best meet their needs can also assist in choosing a location. Researching relevant information, such as where they live and work, and how far they will potentially travel to buy your products or services, can help you decide on a location that is practical for existing customers and attractive to new ones.

Assess the location:
Consider the external elements that can affect your business. Look at the traffic in the area and work out how it can support or hinder you and what services are in the area in which you choose to locate. You may consider asking other local business in your desired location for some advice on the best providers for services such as gas or electricity, water, phone and internet.

Remember your legal and environmental obligations when choosing a place to set up your business, and check with the local council for any planning and building restrictions if necessary. For example, you could consider how possible noise produced by your business would affect the local community. Before making any big decisions, consider seeking further legal or professional advice.

Posted on 24 May '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Choosing the right business location

When setting up your business, choosing a location can be a critical factor in its success. Each organisation has varying requirements, so it is necessary to consider your needs and priorities when deciding on a business premises that will best suit you.

Know your business:
The types of premises will depend on your business. Businesses that offer professional services may consider choosing long or short-term leasing options that will allow you to conduct customer and business meetings from a central location. If you run a retail or hospitality organisation it will involve deciding on the best location to sell your products while also being accessible to customers. For those that involve manufacturing, wholesaling or selling over the internet, then selecting a business location will not impact on attracting customers.

Identify customers:
Identifying who your customers are and how you can best meet their needs can also assist in choosing a location. Researching relevant information, such as where they live and work, and how far they will potentially travel to buy your products or services, can help you decide on a location that is practical for existing customers and attractive to new ones.

Assess the location:
Consider the external elements that can affect your business. Look at the traffic in the area and work out how it can support or hinder you and what services are in the area in which you choose to locate. You may consider asking other local business in your desired location for some advice on the best providers for services such as gas or electricity, water, phone and internet.

Posted on 19 May '19 by , under business. No Comments.