Generating Trust

trustThe internet world is an anonymous one, which has created the perfect hidey hole for thieves and hoaxers.

Scare stories of people who have lost their money through hoax websites circulate the media; hence online customers are now much more cautious when making online purchases (unless it’s a major brand name that they immediately recognise).

People will happily purchase from brand names because they TRUST them. These companies have built up a reputation and customers know they’re genuine.

So if you’re starting up a new business, you need to create a feeling of trust as quickly as possible, and convince your customers that you’re genuine. And here are three ways of doing it… Continue reading

Countdown to Smooth Cash Flow

cash flowYou’ve got a great business. You provide first-class service and products to your loyal clients, who come back again and again. Sales are up up up, and you’re way over your projected targets for this year. So, why haven’t you got any money in the bank?

Is your business subsidising your clients’ profits at the expense of your own? How often do you get to month end, and have to juggle finances and top up your business account to pay your staff? Or pay your taxes?

Take heart, it’s a familiar scenario for many businesses. On paper your finances are very healthy and growth is good, but in reality your growth is hampered by your debtors. The market is competitive and in order to win and keep customers you must also charge for your services competitively, and do so in good faith; always assuming that your clients will pay promptly. You, and even your staff often put in several hours of effort a week towards chasing late payments, which is unpleasant and can damage your relationship with your clients (you have to bring up the tricky topic of money which can spoil your discussions of the exciting developments and progress of your projects).

If this sounds like you, then you need to stop and consider: How much is this really costing my business?

Look at your aged debtors list – how much do your slow paying clients owe you? If you could rein in this money would it solve the problem? Also total the working hours that you and your staff spend chasing these payments each month. How much are those ‘working hours’ worth to your business growth? Could they be more profitably spent – marketing, sales, product development?

Remember cost is not just about cash – think of the value of your client relationships, and your / your staff’s morale. It’s damage all over! It’s time to overhaul your systems and develop a smoother way to get that cash coming in.

Read our countdown to smooth cash flow for help:

Continue reading

How to get more done – 10 tips on working more efficiently

get more doneSuccessful people are able to get more done and are very efficient. But what is it that gives them that edge?  Here are 10 top tips to help increase your efficiency: Continue reading

Leadership Do’s and Don’ts

leadershipDo’s

  • A good leader will facilitate their staff rather than supervise. There is nothing more disempowering and de-motivating for a member of staff to be micro-managed. You hired them to do a job because they were the best person you could find, so let them use their skills and their brains! They will flourish and be keen to come to work if you empower them.
  • Support your team in their decisions, based on your prior training and supervision. Gently let them start to make decisions on your behalf and support them if they didn’t quite make the same decision you would have but it was still a good one, made with confidence and with support from you.
  • Communicate with your team, keep them informed of your over-arching plans, goals, policies, rules etc. Give plenty of praise and feedback not criticism, and do it rapidly so that they do not get into bad habits. Allow them to feedback too, and listen – they might just have some great new ideas that will help your business move forward. Continue reading

Top 10 Legal Tips for Businesses

Running a business can present you with many unexpected legal issues. This article is just a brief guide, for specific advice you need to seek professional legal advice. Here is a selection of legal issues that you will need to consider or address:

1. Don’t put your personal assets at risk.
If you are starting a business with one or more people, you can choose to set up a partnership, limited liability partnership (LLP) or limited company. In a partnership, all partners are jointly liable for any debts and you will be risking your personal assets if you come up against a legal problem. A limited company is better than a partnership or sole proprietorship because the company becomes an entity in its own right and you are less likely to risk your own assets like your house. Check with a lawyer which sort of company you should set up.

2. Put it in writing
Make sure all your business agreements are confirmed in writing. Continue reading

Home-Based Business Obstacles and How to Deal with Them

When you start a home-based business, there are certain obstacles that always arise, especially for women. These aren’t things like marketing strategies or new technologies to learn, they are the unexpected challenges of working at home.

Here are some of the top obstacles and some tips on dealing with them: Continue reading

Top Tips for Balancing Your Work and Family Time

When your home based business gets off the ground and you get that first taste of success, it can be addictive. You’ll find yourself turning into a workaholic because you want more of that sweet success and you are enjoying being your own boss at last.

At this point, most home business entrepreneurs suddenly have a totally different challenge to face – balancing time between work and family, especially if you have children. It is a difficult juggling act to keep everyone happy, including you!

Your family needs you just as much and probably more than your home business does. And working from home makes it difficult to focus on your business when the chores are still waiting to be done. Here are some tips for striking the right balance. Continue reading