Archive for 'business'
Owning and running a small business often means that you are responsible for most or all of the tasks that need to be completed. Often, owners will find their time being entirely occupied with their business. This can take a toll on their mental health and cause work related stress. Which not only inhibits one’s ability to complete the duties of their role, but also puts them at greater risk of developing mental health conditions.
Keeping work hours in check
Although it is tempting to focus on your business at all times, this can prevent individuals from participating in other activities which are important for physical and mental health. Business owners may feel motivated and enthusiastic to put extra time into their work, however, long work hours have been associated with poorer mental health, fatigue, burnout, worry, and irritability.
Creating a work life balance by setting time limits on work hours might be a necessary precaution at the start. Taking breaks during the work day and setting time aside during the week will be extremely beneficial.
Running a small business can often be isolating as there is rarely someone to share concerns of the business with. This will mean that owners are dealing with all of the issues on their own.
Discussing issues that arise with family or close friends can help reduce the feeling of being isolated. Alternatively, there are groups of small business owners who, and business mentors who may be able to understand and relate to what owners are experiencing, and potentially provide relevant advice.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can help individuals manage stress and work towards improved mental health. This will also improve the ability to focus and concentrate when working.
Developing good sleeping habits is a great way to kickstart this process. It can also be helpful to try different relaxation techniques such as meditation and exercise is an important start. Remember that this is a trial process, so trying different techniques to find the most effective one is essential.
Engage employees in the company vision
It is important to share the business vision with employees so that they feel more motivated and enthusiastic. This will not only develop an interest in the work being completed, but also increase productivity. Further, engaged workers are more likely to bring in ideas and contribute to the growth of the company.
Continually recognising and rewarding effort will encourage employees to continue putting in the effort. It lets employees know that they are appreciated and builds company loyalty.
Upholding a stoic demeanour rather than being vulnerable prevents teams from developing strong professional relationships that are effective. Instead, vulnerability assists in team building and allows employees to feel comfortable with making suggestions that could be extremely promising.
Encourage differing opinions
Businesses should steer clear from creating an atmosphere where people avoid making suggestions because they are in conflict with other ideas. An environment where conflict is welcomed can lead to productive discussions and the generation of good ideas.
Determining the core values that your business holds and sharing them with employees can help with creating a strong team. The dynamic between team members is important in ensuring productivity and efficiency. Identifying a company culture will assist the hiring process as well as team dynamics later on.
Understanding what organisational structure is can help with making decisions about your business in all areas. Organisational culture is multifaceted, it consists of the shared values, beliefs and norms in the workplace, and determines employee interactions as well as customer interactions.
There are four types of organisational cultures.
- Clan Culture: Focussed on collaboration between teams to form a family-like relationship.
- Adhocracy Culture: Focussed on creativity and innovation and open to continual change.
- Market Culture: Focussed on achieving goals through competitive drive amongst employees.
- Hierarchy Culture: Focussed on formal procedures and guidelines and maintaining power structures.
The organisational culture reflects in all aspects of the business. It can help with determining which potential employees may be more suitable than others and the way that those in leadership positions communicate with employees.
The way a business communicates and interacts with their customers is also influenced by organisational culture. Businesses may desire friendly and informal relationships, or formal and reserved relationships. Communication methods may also change, such as preferring email interaction as opposed to utilising chat functions.
Of course, the culture of an organisation can have overlap of the different types. More important than focussing on one type of culture, is recognising what works best for your business and trying to foster values and norms that embody that.
Set realistic and actionable goals
Businesses should set realistic and actionable small goals which they can work towards, rather broad goals which provide no direction. Setting broad and unrealistic goals is demotivating and makes any progress made seem insignificant. Every person in the business should be given a target to meet over a reasonable timeline which contributes towards achieving a larger goal.
Establishing standardised and automated processes
Small businesses can make the mistake of ‘doing things as they come’ but this means that as business grows, adjusting to high scale tasks is difficult. To avoid this, business should standardise all processes of work. Any individual placed into a role should be able to follow standardised procedure and yield a product which is of similar quality to the previous one. Investing money into automation tools is worthwhile for this procedure. This can include automating management of social media, email, and customer relationships. Both of these will contribute to creating structures which support growth.
Identify competitive strengths and weaknesses
Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of one’s business is essential. Strengths will allow businesses to hone in on unique qualities they possess which give them a competitive advantage. Weaknesses will reveal which areas require growth so that changes can be made before upscaling takes place.
Businesses should continue to develop relationships with service providers, sales channel partners, suppliers and customers. Keeping an open mind about partnerships or potential collaborations could open up different avenues of business growth.
An important decision to make before you start a business is what structure your business will run under. This will reflect into all facets of your business, so you should spend time understanding the implications of each structure.
- You have complete control of your business.
- Your business assets and liabilities are not separate from your personal assets and liabilities.
- Personally liable for debts and obligations of the business
- Low-cost structure
- Share control and management of business
- Each partner pays tax on the share of net partnership income each receives
- Minimal reporting requirements + Inexpensive to set up
- Requires more documentation
- Separate legal entity from its owners – all profit, tax, and legal liability is directly to the corporation
- Members not liable for company’s debt (only liable if you breach legal obligations)
- Complex business structure + Extensive documentation and record keeping
- Wider access to capital
- Expensive set-up and operation
- Formal trust deed outlining operation required
- Trustee responsible for yearly administrative tasks
Maximising returns on investments is the primary goal for every business owner who invests in a marketing campaign for their brand. Learning how to properly test and troubleshoot your budget according to your business needs can help you save a failing campaign from costing you money.
The first step to budget optimisation is being clear with the goals you are trying to achieve through this campaign. These can include generating qualified leads, driving content downloads or building awareness of your brand. Understanding your objectives can help you decide what aspect of your campaign needs more finances.
Deciding how to set a maximum and minimum spend per day on your campaign can be challenging. A two to four week testing period can help in narrowing down the range that works best to deliver the results set in your objective phase. A common strategy is to start with a mix of ad formats including sponsored content, text and message advertisements. This testing method can help in identifying the types of ads and content that provides optimal results for your brand.
Adapting your budget
Budgeting for marketing campaigns may present a range of issues even after the testing phase. It should be noted that constantly changing and adapting parts of your campaign to run smoothly is a part of digital marketing. It may help to start with a daily budget that is higher at the start of the campaign, and use these insights to then optimise your campaign and lower daily limits if required.
If your campaign is exhausting its budget too quickly, consider lowering your daily limit. If your campaign is not spending its budget, then you may need to automate your bidding option or set more competitive bids. Automated bidding aims to deliver the most results while spending your daily budget in full. This can also help to provide fast results, which can be useful if your marketing content is time-sensitive. However, this will also lead to faster spending of your budget.
When business is going well, it can be easy to procrastinate planning for the bad times. However, preparing for disaster before it strikes by having a contingency plan can be the key to business survival.
A contingency plan can help businesses prepare for possible circumstances such as natural disasters, employee theft, negative publicity or staff injuries. Having a plan for these contingencies can help your business react faster to unexpected events to prevent ongoing damages, recover from disruptive events, and resume regular business operations as quickly and easily as possible. When writing a contingency plan, consider incorporating the following tactics:
Identify the risks
Think about the key risks that your business could face. This could involve researching your business market, competitors, economy trends, security threats or employment issues. It is a good idea to work with members of different departments in your business in order to foresee potential risks in all sectors.
Once you have identified potential risks, prioritise the ones that are most likely to affect your business. This will ensure that the most relevant issues are addressed first to provide you with a plan if they occur. One way to do this is by creating a risk assessment to identify the most pressing risks.
Create a plan
After identifying the key risks to your business, you can start drafting a contingency plan to mitigate their effects. This should include a clear guideline that outlines what to do when a contingency occurs and how to continue operating the business. The plan should also clarify employee responsibilities, key contact details, timelines of when tasks should be done, restoration processes, and existing resources that can be drawn upon to prevent damage, such as insurance coverage.
Consider the resources you may need in order to resolve a contingency. This could include extra staff, insurance, PPE, or technical support. In order for the resolution process of a contingency to go smoothly, it is important that you have enough equipment and support so that you don’t have added stress and time going towards finding extra resources.
Share the plan
Once you have written a contingency plan, ensure that they are accessible to your employees and stakeholders. Be receptive to any feedback your employees or stakeholders may have about your plan as there may be room for improvement. It is also important to review your plan over time to ensure that it stays up to date.
A successful sales strategy plan will provide your business with clear priorities, goals, and outcomes that can help you increase sales.
Outline your mission and goals
What’s your business’ mission statement? What are the goals and objectives that will help you achieve this? Your mission statement should define what your business stands for and what it aims to achieve, while your goals and objectives should be aimed at executing your mission. Consider using the S.M.A.R.T. framework when developing your goals to ensure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based.
Identify your ideal customer
Knowing your ideal customer persona is crucial as it will be the basis of your marketing strategy. Assess your ideal audience by researching their demographics, needs and wants while thinking about how your products or services have to offer them. Don’t limit your demographic research to age, location, and gender, but also consider their attitudes, aspirations, and lifestyle.
Conduct a SWOT analysis
Assessing your business by using a SWOT analysis can help you identify areas to consider when developing a sales strategy plan, by addressing:
- What are your strongest assets?
- How skilled is your sales and marketing team?
- What advantages does your business have over competitors?
- What resources are available to you?
- What are your areas of improvement?
- What types of complaints do your customers have?
- Where do you fall behind from your competitors?
- Are you working with limitations on resources or skills?
- Are there changes in the business environment you can benefit from?
- Have there been changes in the market that could present an opportunity?
- Do your competitors have weaknesses or gaps you can fill?
- Are your competitors expanding or getting stronger?
- How satisfied are your customers?
- Are there changes in the economy, consumer behaviours, or government regulations that could affect your sales?
‘Word-of-mouth’ referrals may seem like an outdated concept in today’s digital age of online reviews, but a few credible and positive opinions can still go a long way when it comes to attracting new clients. Customer referrals are never guaranteed, but here are a few methods you can use to increase the number of people who will remember and improve the chances of a client recommending your business to another.
Remind customers you exist
Maintain high levels of brand awareness and make sure your customers can easily remember your business and products. Use a mailing list database and keep in touch with your clients regularly through email or social media. Make sure to update your clients (personally whenever possible) when you have special offers and new products to keep them engaged with your business.
From professional organisations to online community groups, getting involved in different activities will give you new contacts, boost your business profile and increase your brand awareness. For example, using community hashtags on your social media posts when promoting a product will direct interested audiences to your business. Simply remaining active in such community spaces can go a long way in indirectly advertising your products and services.
Exhibit at industry events
Industry-relevant exhibits and events are a good way to increase your business’ brand awareness and meet a lot of new potential customers at once. Being active at these kinds of events (through sponsorships or networking) will keep your name in front of your current customers as well.
Similar to reviews, testimonials from your existing customers can help improve your brand’s reliability and encourage loyalty and trust with your new customers. The fact that a client allows you to use their name adds credibility and serves as another kind of referral.
Ask customers for feedback regularly
Constant improvement and clear communication is key to impressing clients and increasing the chances of referrals. By soliciting suggestions from your existing clients, responding to them personally, and providing high-quality service, you can let customers know that you care about them and want to meet their needs. Establishing such a caring relationship with your customers will improve your business’ reputation as well.
The Australian Government has announced that JobKeeper payments will be extended for a further six months after the initial 28 September 2020 deadline. However, the extended JobKeeper program will have substantial payment reductions compared to the original JobKeeper amounts, as well as revised eligibility requirements.
The new JobKeeper flat-rate payment after September will be reduced from $1500 per fortnight to $1200 a fortnight for eligible employees who were working an average of 20 hours per week in the four weeks before 1 March 2020. The rate for employees who were working less than 20 hours per week for the same period will be reduced to $750 a fortnight. These rates are set to apply until the end of 2020.
A further reduction in JobKeeper payments will be administered from 4 January 2021. After this date, eligible employees who were working more than 20 hours per week in the four weeks before 1 March 2021 will receive a flat rate of $1000 per fortnight, while employees who were working less than 20 hours per week for the same period will receive $650 per fortnight.
The JobKeeper extension shares a similar eligibility criteria as the initial JobKeeper program, however, it will be targeting support to businesses and not-for-profit organisations that are facing continual impacts from COVID-19. Those seeking to claim the JobKeeper extension payments must reassess their eligibility by demonstrating that they have met the decline in turnover test for the new required periods. Businesses who have experienced either one of the following will meet the decline in turnover test:
- A 30% fall in turnover for an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less.
- A 50% fall in turnover for an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion.
To be eligible for JobKeeper from 28 September to 3 January 2021, the decline in turnover test must be met for the June and September quarters 2020. Businesses must reassess their eligibility again in January 2021 to be eligible for JobKeeper from 4 January to 28 March 2021. To remain eligible for the March 2021 quarter, businesses will need to demonstrate that they have met the decline in turnover test in each of the previous three quarters.
The extended JobKeeper program is set to end on 28 March 2021.