The moment you realise that your startup expansion might be limited by its budget, you start thinking about ways of keeping your running costs down. A fair portion of new enterprises are initially funded out of the entrepreneur’s own pocket, which means there’s a line to it. Look into some of the ideas to cut your startup overhead costs and see which ones you can apply for your business.
One of the steps that the majority of inexperienced entrepreneurs have trouble with is drafting a successful business plan. Nonetheless, what they usually fail to grasp, distracted by all these early tasks, is the fact that the complexity of planning is nothing compared to the actual execution. While this usually isn’t that hard either, it usually takes skills and knowledge that it takes years of experience to acquire. Fortunately, experiences of others can partially prepare you for this journey. Here are some tips and examples that could perhaps help you make executing a successful business plan easier to make.
Drafting a plan
How hard it is to put a plan into action often depends on the plan itself. Therefore, while drafting, you need to think about the execution. While having an executive summary and a list of responsibilities is a must-have in every business plan, when it comes to the actual execution, mission, objectives and corporate values often tend to be predominant. Why? Well, because you’ll, beyond doubt, be forced to alter your plan at one point in the future, due to the ever-changing circumstances. In this particular scenario, knowing these three things will help you know how to tweak your plans. In other words, if you know the end game, it’s much easier to predict steps that can lead you to it. This is also why it’s smart to include keys to success in your business plan.
The hazard of patience
The majority of guides and manuals would suggest that you should be patient in order to see the results, however, being too patient can sometimes be a bad thing. For instance, let’s imagine a scenario where you have an objective that takes three months to be fulfilled. Giving up after a month because you still haven’t reached this objective would be absurd but the same thing goes for waiting for six months.
Both of these practices are catastrophic for the execution, which is why you need to plan and anticipate every move that you make. In order for a goal or objective to be measurable, it needs to be SMART. Seeing as how the T in smart stands for time-based, you should never forget that the time is actually a finite resource that you just can’t afford to take for granted.
Recognize temporary solutions
Sometimes, a method or a technique that you’re using is not there to stay. In this particular scenario, you need to avoid overinvesting in it. For instance, if you’re hiring a tiny office where you intend to stay for several months until you move to a different location, investing in the infrastructure of the place would be a bad business practice. One of the simplest ways to avoid this is to use a shared office space instead.
On the other hand, in the era of freelancers and telecommuters, these shared office spaces are so popular that there are some companies who use them as permanent headquarter solution. The way in which this works is simple, the nucleus of the company stays in the office while everyone else works from home.
The next great example of temporary vs. permanent can be seen on the popular trend of home-based businesses. For some, this is merely a short-term solution until they can adopt a more traditional business model. For others, however, this is indeed the end-game, due to the fact that they merely aimed to create a passive stream of side-income for their household. Warehouse solutions are another such option and they’re potentially scalable.
Knowing the difference from day one can prevent you from making a mistake of overinvesting in a dead-end aspect of your business.
Not letting your ego get in the way
Even some of the greatest business people in the history had scenarios in which they had to pivot or make compromises that they weren’t completely satisfied with. While it is true that there are some scenarios in which your ego can drive you forward, more often than not, it can have disastrous effects on your company. Although this may be easier said than done, one of the first things you need to learn if you’re to stand any chance in the business world is to start making data-driven decisions.
Outsourcing makes your job easier
There are some aspects of your business that you do not fully understand, even if you do know their significance for the success of your company. In these scenarios, you need to understand that outsourcing can make your life so much easier. First of all, it gives you a chance to focus all your skills, attention and most of your resources to handle the task that you’re the most familiar with. Second, it entrusts other, more specialized, tasks to people seasoned in their industries. To make things even better, outsourcing is a scalable option, which means that it qualifies as both short- and long-term solution (something we’ve already discussed).
At the very end, success is also a matter of perspective. Sure, having to close your business is obviously not a success, yet, the degree to which your company manages to grow, its expansion rate and ability to meet some of these objectives are sometimes hard to measure. There’s nothing easier than getting disappointed if you’ve already set your expectations too high. Remember, you’re a first-time entrepreneur so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Improving your strategic thinking skills can be a difficult road to follow, especially for marketers and entrepreneurs. The journey towards this goal must start with a drastic change of mindset. Strategic thinking means to focus on generating and applying unique business insights and opportunities in order to create a competitive advantage for your company.
I know it can be hard, especially when you already have a lot going on, but to be a successful businessman you’ll have to master the strategic thinking mindset we’re talking about. It will take some time to master this skill, but with a few techniques and daily practice, you’ll evolve more and more as the days are passing by.
With no further ado, in today’s post, we’re presenting you the best ways you can improve your strategic thinking skills.
Most efficient businessmen are aware that in order to be successful and effective in their careers they must have a long-term vision. Long-term thinking and strategic thinking are two things that are going hand in hand better than a pair of headphones – two different yet similar ends aiming for the same purpose.
Thinking long-term it’s about foreseeing the effects that will follow according to your decisions but, at the same time, it means to be able to predict and prevent potentially harmful factors.
You’ll encounter various aspects that will try to stand in your way, so you must first acknowledge and understand the upcoming changes and challenges in order to strategize your thoughts, emotions, and actions effectively.
It is crucial to learn from your experience, especially form your mistakes. There’s no better way of learning to improve your long-term vision and strategic thinking than from your own past mistakes.
Keep Track of the Latest Trends
In order to be able to have an effective strategic thinking, you must keep yourself updated with the latest trends, as well with the upcoming trends, so you’ll know how to leverage them for your business.
But first, you must already know your target audience very well, an aspect that you must’ve covered by now. This aspect is crucial as you must identify the trends that work best for your audience. Also, don’t forget to aim for the bigger picture, so you can leverage the latest trends from all environments like social, economic, political, environmental, and technological.
For instance, if your target audience is Gen Z, you can highly leverage the AR technology that has drastically increased in the past year and it doesn’t show signs of stopping especially on social media like Snapchat and Instagram.
Every successful entrepreneur who achieved to master their strategic thinking skills understood the importance of knowledge and that it always comes first. Once you gain knowledge it will be easier to make wise connections between the latest trends, traffic sources, and your target audience.
Back Down and Observe
To be a good observer is a virtue for any business owner. It’s one’s ability to evaluate and analyze accurately any situation. The problem is that as easy as it seems to observe things, very few people are really good observers.
A good observer is able to notice all the small details that others fail to notice and leverage them in their favor. For instance, a wise entrepreneur will notice if an employee is having a hard time no matter how hard he tries to hide it, and he’ll do something about it. In order for an employee to perform at his maximum potential, he must be motivated and in a good state of mind.
Cause-and-effect is the golden principle a wise entrepreneur follows as is the best analytical thinking. You see, everything in this life is actually working according to this principle. Everything you do stand as a cause which will inevitably have an effect sooner or later.
Wonder, Reflect and Relax
One of the most productive and effective ways to constantly improve your strategic thinking skills is to wonder – ask a lot of questions and take your time and reflect on them. Now, of course, we’re talking about hard questions that will help you increase your business productivity and incomes.
Here are some examples of thoughtful questions to wonder about:
“What are the pros and cons of making this decision and where it would lead the company towards?”
“Are all the employees aware of the company’s goals and care to achieve them? If they aren’t, what can I do about it?”
“What are the latest trends I can leverage to improve my brand awareness?”
Your mind has very distinguished and surprising ways to lead you towards your answers, so don’t push yourself and let your mind take its time. Great leaders are aware that relaxation is the best method to unleash your creative side, so they have their sweet spot where they’re free to reflect in solitude about important matters.
Whether you see it or not, by improving your strategic thinking skills you’ll be improving the quality of both your personal and professional life. Your problem-solving abilities will make problems a child’s play, your creative side will help you discover new growth opportunities, and your personal relationships will drastically improve. Is it worth it? I’ll let you decide that on your own.
Warehousing has evolved quite a bit over the past several years, as the introduction of revolutionary systems for handling storage units, processing information and communication have enabled businesses to speed up the retrieval and delivery of every package. These changes are particularly significant for start-ups, who often need a quick competitive edge that will help them gain the position as serious players. Let’s look into the most effective warehouse solutions today.
Moving to a bigger, better office is an exciting task, and a time when you should really take a moment to fully enjoy the success and growth your business has been experiencing as of late. However, nobody said that this exciting task would be easy – on your budget, your employees, your clients, or yourself. In fact, many entrepreneurs and business leaders dread the notion of having to relocate their office, trying to put off the entire project as much as possible.
It should go without saying that this is no way to organize a stress-free move, or be an entrepreneur; your employees and clients can trust and respect. Instead, use these principal tips to plan and effectuate a smooth business relocation that will take your brand into the new chapter of success.
It all begins with careful planning
As with any new project, whether you’re devising the next big marketing strategy for your business or if you’re restructuring your entire service package, relocating your entire office requires meticulous planning and preparation. And that’s not just a couple of weeks in advance – it’s more like several months to a year.
Why, you ask? Because relocating a business is vastly different than moving a home, and infinitely more challenging. From notifying your employees and clients, to giving your IT department enough time to reprogram your online presence and update it with the latest information, all the way to getting the best relocation quote from movers, prior planning is imperative. Take your time, involve your team members, and organize this move down to the last paperclip.
Make a detailed checklist for the new place
Office relocation is not just about making sure everyone knows where to show up for work on Monday, or leaving nothing behind at the old place – it’s also about knowing exactly what your new office space requires in terms of tech, connectivity, utilities, and equipment. This is a complex and nuanced task, and it will require of you to visit the new office several times before the move in order to make all the necessary preparations.
Consider what your employees and clients or customers need, along with the ancillary spaces required for a productive work environment. Along with that, determine your long-term goals and what your company’s needs in the years to come will be regarding employees, equipment, and utilities.
Secure adequate transportation and handling
Every office relocation project should begin with a simple warning: don’t try this on your own. Unlike a home move where you might be able to load up everything onto a single truck with a couple of your buddies and drive the whole thing to the new location yourself, office equipment, furniture, and tech relocation need to be handled professionally.
This is where Australian entrepreneurs make all the right decisions, so take note. In Sydney, for instance, business leaders make sure to hire reliable removalists in Inner West not only because of their competence, but because they insure belongings, meaning everything will reach the new destination safely, otherwise you get adequate compensation. Following the same mindset, be sure to find experienced movers who will relocate your office with utmost skill and care.
Determine the ideal layout for the office
Before they fire up the trucks though, you want to give your movers a detailed floorplan of the new office, in order to make the entire process as smooth, efficient, and pain-free as possible. A lot of time can be wasted trying to figure out where everything is supposed to go in the new place, so be sure to decide on the ideal layout for your office well in advance.
Modern work environments thrive on a mixture of spaciousness and privacy, so a prudent business decision would be to create a multifunctional space that will answer the needs of a dynamic workforce. What’s more, make sure that all of your basic areas are properly accentuated, such as the lobby, the front desk, the main co-working area, the private booths, meeting and conference rooms, and of course, the utility rooms such as the kitchen and the rec room.
Notify everyone of your move
Last but not least, many entrepreneurs make the inadvertent mistake of focusing too much on the move itself that they forget to notify key figures in the relocation. Sometimes, not even the employees get the right memo and someone is bound to be late for work. To avoid this, be sure to make a list of everyone you should notify of the upcoming move, including employees, associates and partners, clients and customers, and the authorities.
Business relocation is not exactly an easy task, but it is nonetheless an exciting new chapter in your company’s life, and should be taken on with zeal and determination. To make your life infinitely easier and organize a successful move, be sure these tried-and-tested steps make it into your relocation strategy.
Modern investors are always on a lookout for ways to diversify their portfolio. Stocks and bonds are the most common type of investments, but they are prone to volatility due to global political and economic instability. The current situation in the world is far from stable and investors are looking for alternatives to stocks and bonds.
No one wants another scenario like the global economic crisis that happened in 2007-08. However, investors are not just looking for an investment opportunity, but for a way to protect their funds and hopefully even turn a profit. Investments that are safe, secure and can easily be turned into cash is what investors today are looking for. That being said, here are a few investment alternatives to stocks and bonds.
Investing in precious metals has always been a popular alternative investment. Silver is the most popular option next to gold. It can serve as a hedge against global instability and inflation. Investing in silver can help you secure your funds for a prolonged period of time. The main reason silver is a good investment is that it pretty much retains its value over time.
Variations in silver prices are not volatile and can even be predicted based on needs and demands, as well as the state of the global economy. Silver is a highly sought-after material due to its special properties and its many uses in various industries. For example, silver is commonly used in medicine, electronics, jewelry, energy industry and so on. Also, silverware is another common form of silver and it’s sought-after by collectors.
Investing in Gold
Gold is a more popular and more valuable precious metal than silver. It’s also the most popular alternative investment to stocks and bonds. Gold has inherited value, as gold has been used by people since the dawn of civilization. It’s an excellent hedge against inflation and a secure investment for your funds. Gold is always highly sought-after and in high demand. Many people buy gold due to its cultural and traditional value, while others buy it for its special properties and uses in various industries.
For instance, gold possesses high conductivity, softness, lack of corrosion and tarnishing properties, all of which make it an ideal metal to be used in many different industries. For investors, gold presents a unique opportunity to ensure their investment’s safety and even turn a profit, since the gold price is constantly on the rise. You can buy gold bullion, coins, bars and so on.
Invest in Real Estate
Investors are opting for real estate as an alternative type of investment. Buying and selling properties is a good way to secure funds and gain profits. Real estate properties are in high demand, which makes this alternative an excellent method for long-term investments. Buying a real estate property makes you the owner and a landlord. You can gain profits from property appreciation and rent.
Rental income is quite predictable and you’re also entitled to other benefits, such as tax return or tax deduction on mortgage interest, as well as stability. You can own a property or partner up with other investors to manage multiple properties and share expenses and profits. You can also flip properties for profits. The way it works is that you buy a real estate property, invest in renovations and wait for the prices to go up before you sell it.
Venture Capital Investments
Venture capital is a form of private equity investments. It’s also a good alternative to stocks and bonds, although it is a more expensive investment with considerable ROI. Venture capital works in a way where you invest in a startup business whose business idea has the potential to become very profitable in three to five years.
In exchange for financial support, you become one of the shareholders in the company. In other words, once company assets become liquid and reach the stock market, you’ll gain a return on investment. Venture capital is a risk, but it’s a calculated risk that can yield significant profits. Successful companies, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter were all supported by venture capital investors.
Alternative investments are sought-after by investors to help them diversify their portfolios and secure their funds for longer time periods. Stocks and bonds are good investments, but they can easily crash if the global economy faces particular difficulties. In order to avoid such risks, investors are opting for more than one investment type.
One of the problems with the majority of first-time entrepreneurs in Australia is that the completely forget about the importance of live trade shows and face-to-face meetings. Fortunately, you can have both of these things encompassed in the phenomenon of the small business event. Still, organizing a small business event is not a simple matter, which means that it requires some finesse both in planning and in the execution. With that in mind and without further ado, here are several simple steps that need to find their way to your checklist.
Making a Guest List
The first thing you need to consider when hosting a small business event is the number of guests, alongside their names. The number will indicate everything from the venue/room necessary to some of your budgeting issues, such as catering and refreshment. It will also impact the organization of the place, specifically if you have a presentation that you need everyone to see. Once you have the list, which shouldn’t be that hard due to the fact that we’ve put the emphasis on ‘small’, you can start thinking about the invitations. Here, going eco-friendly is always a huge plus.
Once you have the number of guests worked out, you need to plan for the location. Now, in theory, you would be able to host an event in your own office, however, you might want to one-up this plan. After all, by showing the full splendor of your company and going for a tad more luxurious solution, you can gain some additional leverage, even make your agenda easier to fulfill. One more issue that’s important here, aside from your agenda and the number of guests, is the availability of suitable venues in the area. For instance, a company from NSW could host an event in one of the amazing Golf Clubs in Sydney, while companies from other regions need to explore their options.
Schedule It Carefully
As soon as you see when the venue that you’ve set your eyes on is available you need to schedule it. Prior to this, do some research in order to see if there are any other industry events around this same date, seeing as how you don’t want anyone stealing your spotlight. Moreover, by scheduling your event in the warmer part of the year, you’ll get the opportunity to think about the outdoor event, as well. Most importantly, you need to give everyone a chance to prepare and organize, which is why this needs to be done as early as possible.
At the end of the day, in order to make your event memorable, you need to A) ensure high attendance (at least according to your plans) and B) make sure that you pump up the hype. Think about it, by announcing the event early on, then revealing bit after bit through an elaborate teaser scheme, you stand a chance of making something truly extraordinary. Nonetheless, a proper marketing campaign for a small business event is not easy to make. Furthermore, it may require execution over the course of months, gradually intensifying as the day of the event draws closer.
The last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that this is not a social event but a business one. As such, it has a clear agenda. Therefore, you need to clearly outline your goals early in the planning stage and then pick all those methods, techniques and ideas that bring you closer to it. In other words, the attendee experience is a high priority, however, it’s not at the very top of the list. This place goes for your primary goal. Once you get this out of the way, this whole ordeal will become much simpler to deal with.
Micromanagement is one of the most commonly misinterpreted terms in the business world. First of all, it doesn’t mean looking over the shoulder of every single one of your employees while they’re performing their day-to-day tasks or doing everything on your own. After one point, such a thing would be completely impossible either way, due to the increase in the volume of your workload. Instead, micromanagement should mean effective delegation of resources, tasks, and responsibilities so that every single member of your team gets an opportunity to give their maximum. Here are several things you should know about this.
Giving more responsibility isn’t the same thing as delegating
Keep in mind that some of your team leaders may be overworked as it is. In this particular situation, giving them more responsibility won’t be seen as a reward but as an unjust punishment. Therefore, in order to avoid such bad practice, make sure to take a more careful approach to this situation.
First, the person in question might be wondering why you’re giving them the task instead of delegating it to someone else. Go in depth to explain which of their talents persuaded you to make such a decision. Then, explain how more responsibilities also means more authority and how they can personally benefit from this occurrence. The experience gained is only the tip of the iceberg; a potential for professional growth and more authority can be an even better incentive. With the right attitude, you can even encourage your employees to seek more responsibility on their own.
Earlier on, we talked about the chance of your team getting overworked, which sometimes happens even if you have the best of intentions. Imagine a scenario where a particularly important task emerges and you delegate it to your most capable employee. Soon after, another task of similar importance comes up and you are, once again, tempted to do the same. On the one hand, you don’t want to risk delegating this task to someone who might not be capable enough to handle it but, on the other hand, this means giving an individual in your employ more work than they can handle. This is why you need to make sure you divide this workload equally amongst your staff, even if this means less productivity than you would want.
Find an assistant
Not every task needs to be permanently delegated, in fact, sometimes, even a temporary solution might work. By finding a capable assistant, you can maintain a privilege of doing a certain task on your own when you can make it, and having it handled by someone else when you have no time for such things. Every entrepreneur knows that, due to the unpredictability of the business world, having a flexible solution always trumps having a rigid structure, even if you’re personally proud of the system you’ve made. Fortunately, executive assistant jobs are currently in demand and a strong job market means a healthy talent pool for you to exploit.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness
Just take a look at any great military leader or ruler in history and you’ll notice that they have one thing in common. Augustus had Agrippa and Maecenas, Alexander the Great had some of the most capable officers the world has ever seen while Justinian had Belisarius and his beloved wife Theodora as advisors. If none of these great men had any fear of asking for help, why would you? A capable leader has no problem to admit that there are certain tasks that others are better equipped to handle. Recognizing the right person for the job and laying this out plainly to them is nothing if not a sign of greatness.
Accept potential risks
Finally, you need to understand that there are many potential risks you have to be aware of when delegating work to others. Think about it, your instructions may be unclear or ambiguous, the listener may not pay enough attention or something might happen in the execution stage. When a mistake happens, you need to know how to react adequately, seeing as how becoming outraged may kill productivity and make others reluctant to take on this responsibility ever again. So, before you delegate, accept all the risks and unfavorable outcomes that may come from it.
At one point, delegation becomes more than necessary seeing as how it’s completely impossible for you to handle everything on your own. This is why it’s best that you do it voluntarily before you’re forced to embrace a practice you do not yet fully understand. With these five above-listed trends, such a thing will become much easier to pull off.
Running a business isn’t easy. This is mostly because a huge part of being an entrepreneur is handling your company’s money. Obviously, in order for your business to be successful, you need to make sure you cut your costs and make as much money as possible. The only problem is, this often sounds way easier than it actually is. And in case you’re looking for some help, here are 5 financial tips every entrepreneur should have in mind.
Don’t Forget To Pay Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is forgetting to pay themselves. Your company’s money may seem like yours but without a proper wage, you could end up hurting your personal finances significantly. And after all, you deserve a paycheck for all the work you do for your company. Therefore, you should try to figure out how much money you as a business owner should make and pay yourself that amount at the end of each month.
Separate Personal And Business Finances
Another huge mistake you definitely want to avoid making is mixing your personal and business finances. Having a single bank account may seem great but it also comes with a few downfalls. For example, if you keep personal and business finances mixed, keeping track of how well your business is doing can become extremely difficult. Not to mention that you’ll have to put more time and effort into doing your company’s taxes.
Think About Taking A Loan
If your business is still in its early days, you could probably use all the extra money you can get. This is why you should consider the idea of taking a loan. However, turning to a bank isn’t necessarily a good idea, since you can never be sure whether you’ll be able to obtain a loan or not. Luckily, there are companies that can give you a loan even if you don’t have any valid asset. Companies like this offer unsecured business loans and applying for one of these is something you just can’t go wrong with.
Collect Late Payments
If you want your business to succeed, dealing with customers who fail to make their payments on time is a must. And no matter what industry you’re in, you’re going to deal with customers like this sooner or later. The first step to collecting late payments is sending a polite reminder to the customers who owe you money. Usually, this will be enough to get you all of your money as quickly as possible. However, if a reminder doesn’t do the trick, you can always think about the idea of turning to professional debt collectors.
Keep Track Of Your Spending
One of the problems many small business owners face is not having enough money to pay a professional bookkeeper. Chances are this is the case with you as well, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get your organization’s finances in order. Tracking your company’s spending isn’t as difficult as you might believe and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go. You can even think about investing in good accounting software that’s going to make the job a lot easier.
Managing your company’s money isn’t necessarily fun, but it sure is rewarding. Have these 5 tips in mind and you’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about.