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Business News

Motivating Employees – Motivating the Challenge Driven Employee

Most good leaders and employees are motivated internally through challenging themselves to improve their own skills, experience, and productivity. Internal motivation is very powerful when present, and can be easily quashed by micromanagement and ineffective delegation. The key to keeping challenge-motivated workers at their best is to develop your company culture to encourage autonomy and professional development across the board.
Building a challenge-motivating culture can be difficult for some entrepreneurs. The same self-assurance and drive to do things right that makes an entrepreneur successful can also make it difficult to trust employees to work on their own. But, if you plan to grow your business, you will have to rely on your staff to do things right on their own. Good employees will not only cover the tasks that you don’t have time for, but will also contribute their own knowledge and skills to drive the success of your venture.
Good leaders are masters of delegation — telling workers what needs to be done but not how to do it. Set clear objectives in the job descriptions for each position, clearly communicate those objectives to your staff, then get out of the way and let them work. Get to know each employee’s individual skills and talents. Assign tasks accordingly and encourage your staff to utilize their skills. Also, find out which areas your employees wish to improve and develop opportunities for them to do so. For example, most people wish they were better at public speaking. Consider starting a lunchtime Toastmasters club for your staff or sponsoring your employee’s memberships to an established club. The better your worker’s skill sets, the more they can contribute to growing the business.
For those employees who are particularly challenge-driven, it is even more important to encourage them to push their limits. Be careful not to burden these workers with too many mundane tasks. Give them assignments that allow them to show off their skills and develop new ones. Let them know how much their skills and willingness to improve are get out of their way!
Building a challenge-driven culture is critical to the growth of your business idea. The stronger your staff is in the skills that drive success, the stronger your business will be. As an entrepreneur, the odds are that you can relate to challenge-driven motivation better than any of the other motivators. Think about the environment required for you to be the most productive, and build your company culture around these ideas.…

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Business Plan

Why the Lifestyle of an Entrepreneur Is No Longer a Lonely Road

In a recent article written by Marty Zwilling (Entrepreneur: Challenge Yourself Before You Invest), he discussed several risks of starting a business. One of the risks he stated was: “Being a startup founder is not a job, but a lifestyle, getting married versus staying single. In fact, it’s more like being single, since founders usually have no one to lean on, no one to make decisions for them, no one to blame, and no vision to follow but their own.”
I completely agree with this statement and propose this question to the audience: When starting a business do you need a business mentor?
The simple answer is “Yes” and here are several reasons why:
Someone to be answerable to. It is often too easy for an entrepreneur to procrastinate when it comes to performing tasks that consume a lot of time, are boring, difficult, etc. A business mentor will help keep you on track by continuing to ask what your goals are and pushing you to succeed.
Someone to help you refine your business ideas into reality. You have great ideas… some of them; however, are raw and need refinement to be put into reality. A business mentor has the experience necessary to help you hash out the details of your idea and bring it into fruition.
Someone who can bring a wealth of new ideas to your business. A business mentor has been there before and understands what works and doesn’t work. As an entrepreneur your goal is to learn as much as you can and then use the lessons he/she teaches you to grow your business and become successful.
Someone outside looking in. As an entrepreneur, one of the hardest things to do is take a step back and see your business from an outsider’s point of view. A business mentor is an excellent resource to get this pivotal feedback.
There are many reasons why an entrepreneur should find a business mentor; however, how do actually find a business mentor? When looking for a business mentor the first place to check is your friends and family. As people who know you extremely well and vice versa there should be a level of trust already established. This should allow you to comfortably ask the question, “What do you think about this?” If friends and family are not for you, these are some other options available: SCORE, people in your extended network, complete strangers, indirect competition, industry leaders, and paid consultants.…

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Business News

Starting a Business? Why You Need to Know Technology

Of all the fundamentals that entrepreneurs need to know to succeed, technology provides the most new opportunity and the most constant change. Computer literacy is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity. Every business needs a website in the same way every business needed to be listed in the Yellow Pages 25 years ago. The marketing opportunities on the world wide web must be understood and evaluated to ensure the best decisions for your venture. The technological tools and capabilities available to small business are expanding every day, and only those entrepreneurs savvy enough to keep up are going to survive and thrive in the new economy.
You Need a Computer
The ability to use a computer is pretty much a given these days, though there is the rare entrepreneur who is still uncomfortable with the idea. The advent of the internet makes most things much easier, from conducting industry and competitor research to keeping in touch with your customer base. Excellent accounting system and contact management software decrease the time spent on these non-core competencies while simultaneously making related data more accessible and useful than the old ledger books and rolodexes ever could. Email is the preferred form of communication for many, from vendors to customers, so current business owners need to be prepared.
Your Business Needs a Website
A website for your business is an absolute necessity. Whether a simple 3 to 5 page business card site or a full-blown ecommerce store, having a web presence is no longer a luxury, it’s a must. What you need depends on your industry and business model, but failing to represent your business online is likely to become a fatal mistake. However, simply posting a website is not enough. Doing so without performing the appropriate SEO (search engine optimization) is pointless. It is akin to placing a billboard on Mars — if nobody sees it, it might as well not exist. Effective SEO tactics are not particularly complicated, but they take some time and research to ensure you are making the best use of your time.
Get Involved with Social Networking
Social networking is the new frontier for marketing a business. It’s hard to say whether that will continue or if and when consumers will become immune to the constant barrage of messages, but for now it is essential to exploit the opportunities available on these social websites. The contacts you gather through your activity on social sites and from opt-in mailing lists from your own site provide excellent direct marketing opportunities. Email newsletters and promotions are extremely effective, and cost you only a bit of time and effort. Email blasts to your customer base keep your company in mind. Even if they don’t open all of them, they are repeatedly exposed to the business name, a psychologically important outcome!
Consider a Smart Phone
In addition to basic computer operations and internet opportunities, the newest technologies can help entrepreneurs stay organized and manage their time more effectively. Smart phones are not just for twenty-somethings – every entrepreneur should consider investing in one. They can be used to keep up with email and phone calls, sure, but they can also supply your accounting, inventory, employee schedule, and other obligations at your fingertips. They have internet access, GPS systems, cameras, and thousands of applications available to fulfill just about any need for entrepreneurs. They are a bit more expensive than a standard cell phone and much more than a landline, but if used effectively they are worth every penny in the time and stress they can relieve.
Use Technology to Your Benefit
No matter what type of business you are launching, the available technology will play an important role in the success of your venture. It is important for every entrepreneur to be more than familiar with the tools that are out there and how they can support and promote your business. The constantly changing face of technology notwithstanding, the success of small business is intricately tied to an entrepreneur’s ability to use what is available now and to stay abreast of the opportunities in technology as they come along.…

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Business News Articles

Setting Up a Business: Knowing What Records to Keep

When setting up a business, it is important to know what records and accounts you need to keep from the very beginning. Starting up any business and dealing with the practicalities makes for a busy time, but neglecting your records can be costly and time-consuming. In the long run, staying on top of your records will ultimately help you to: keep track of your finances and cash flow; avoid penalties; hold accurate information about your business; plan for your business’ future.
The records you need to keep will depend on the type and size of your business, however all businesses must follow basic bookkeeping procedures.
All businesses
All businesses need to keep track of two areas: incomings and outgoings. For incomings, you will need to keep hold of any accounting records, till rolls, paying-in slips, sales invoices and bank statements acquired. Important outgoings records will be: receipts, cheque book records, purchase invoices and bank or credit card statements. These are basic essentials which any business must take care to record properly and keep safe.
Limited companies
If you are a starting up as a limited company (i.e not a sole trade), there are further records to keep. All limited companies must keep the following: dividend allocations and payments; articles of association; details of company share ownership.
Any company which is registered limited must also complete and return a number of documents each year. These include: Company Tax Return (with form CT600); statutory accounts; Corporation Tax; return to Companies House; a signed set of accounts to Companies House.
Depending on the nature of your company, there are number of other records which you may have, such as a register of members or directors.
Employers
All businesses employing workers will need to organise their documentation relating to employee payment. This is very important as it ensures that you are paying the right amount to your employees and allows you to keep track of these expenses. You are required by law to keep the following PAYE records: payments to employees; National Insurance, Tax and Student Loan payment deductions from wages; benefits and expenses paid to employees; statutory payments (sick or maternity leave).
VAT
All VAT registered businesses are required by law to keep the following records for at least 6 years: VAT sales and purchase invoices; a VAT account; all export and import documents.
VAT registered business will need to complete and return a VAT return form every quarter (4 times a year). This will include details of the following: what you owe or are owed by HMRC; what you have paid any supplier; what you have charged any customers.
Whatever kind of business you are setting up, getting to grips early on with your records can ensure that your first year of trade runs as smoothly as possible. With modern computing and accessible data programmes, it is easier than ever to produce a bookkeeping system which works for you and your business.…

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Business Owner

Defining the Distribution Channels For Your Business Startup

Whether you are still developing your business idea or already know exactly what you want to do, it is important to define the best distribution channels for your product, for your customers, and for you. The distribution channel is the way your product gets to your customer. Traditionally, businesses relied on a single distribution channel. These days, the most successful startups use multiple routes to reach a broader customer base.
For some products, the route to getting it into customers’ hands is self-evident. For specialized, service-only ventures, you or your employees will personally deliver to the client, either on-site or at your place of business. Selling retail products, on the other hand, allows multiple options for distribution — online sales, brick-and-mortar storefront, direct sales through sales reps, etc. Consider the distribution routes used by your closest competitors. Are they using the most effective channels? Is there any way to modify or improve on the standard methods that will still be appropriate for your product?
Your target customers also play an important role in the distribution channels you select. If you are selling directly to the end user, you probably have more options than if you are targeting distributors to market your product. Think about it from your target market’s perspective. What is the easiest way for them to access your product? Under what circumstances are they most likely to be looking for what you offer? If it is easier for your customers to buy from you than your competitors, they will come.
Your own work style and personality are also relevant in considering distribution channels for your product. If the idea of spending your days chatting up strangers is distressing to you, then a brick and mortar storefront is probably not the best option. If spending countless hours in front of your computer sounds agonizing, avoid any wholly web-based options. Be honest about your preferences — one of the greatest advantages of starting your own business is the freedom to choose how you get work done. Don’t sabotage yourself by choosing a business that requires you to be out of your comfort zone for every sale.
Many modern startups have a broad range of choices about how to distribution their products. Consider all three factors — your product, your customers, and yourself — before deciding the best routes for your business. If possible, consider developing multiple distribution channels within your startup, even if you only start with one initially. The more ways your product can get to your customers, the bigger your potential market.…

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Business Owner

Common Mistakes Made When Starting a Business

It is estimated that something like 20% of new businesses fail within a year of starting up, and 50% within the first three years. These are grim numbers, especially for anyone who is considering starting up their own business. Fortunately, there is an upside, looking at those figures in a slightly different way, 80% of all new business survive their first year and 50% make it to at least three years.
What anyone looking to start their own company needs to do is to analyse what the businesses that succeeded did, that the ones that failed didn’t. There are in fact a number of common mistakes that failed businesses have made and knowing what they are will give newcomers the necessary knowledge to help them avoid falling into the same trap.
Business failures are often blamed on insufficient start up capital or not hiring the right people. The truth however, is that the failure of many new businesses comes down to something far closer to home, a failure to thoroughly research the potential viability of the business in the first place. Believing you have a great idea and throwing money into getting it up and running, without first having undertaken proper market research is the number one killer for the majority of new businesses. Fortunately there are ways to avoid this by carrying out relatively simple surveys yourself, without breaking the bank on expensive market research organisations before you have even begun.
Test out the viability of your business by asking the opinion and advice of your own network of contacts. Take a look at government data on such things; it is almost always available completely free of charge. Take a look at businesses operating in areas similar to yours and see if they are succeeding or failing. If they are profitable take a look at why, and find out whom they are selling their products or services to. One of the most common mistakes made by new businesses is that of over estimating the market impact that they will have. Setting up in a larger than necessary office or shop; hiring too many people and purchasing unnecessary and expensive equipment based on cash flow projections that have more to do with hope than reality, are the quickest ways imaginable to send a new business to the wall.
The importance of accurate market research and enforcing a strict cost control regime cannot be overstated. Never be afraid to seek professional, expert advice on financial issues, preferably from an experienced business accountant or financial adviser. Make sure you have enough money to get your business idea up and running and have contingency plans in place should it fail to take off in a short period of time. Also be aware that situations can arise that are entirely beyond your control, such as interest rate rises, for example. Having healthy cash reserves to get you through an unforeseen crisis is an absolute requirement in this day and age.
A professional business plan is an essential tool for starting up a new business successfully and it is highly advisable to draw one up, or have one drawn up for you, before you embark on your new business venture.
If you can avoid these common mistakes, your business will have a much greater chance of becoming the profitable success you obviously expect it to be.…

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Business News

New Age Entrepreneur – Overcome These 6 Obstacles

Entrepreneurship has been growing in popularity the world over. The benefits in my opinion far outweigh the cons so I’ve written this article to overview my personal opinions in hopes of helping others. Procrastination is probably the number one defeating tendency that cripples many would be entrepreneurs before their journey ever even begins.
I’ve created my own top Six List to help others overcome what can hinder success as a budding entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship Obstacle One: It’s Easy.
Its human nature to make assumptions and it’s no different when an individual judges an entrepreneur on a superficial level. They dont necessarily recognize the hard work and perseverance that a person may have gone through on their journey to success. When we recognize a successful business lets use a restaurant for a hypothetical we immediately tend to think of the obvious. We may simplify it believing if we had a good chef, great food along with a busy location presto instant success.
This is looking at the potential opportunity at its most basic level as an entrepreneur you must learn to dig deeper into the mechanics of the operation to determine what actually makes it tick. A great example in staying with the same hypothetical would be to consider the HR skills to acquire great people, followed by the training requirements needed than onto marketing and learning how to get people through the front door in the first place.
Negotiating a lease on the commercial space required in addition to the kitchen equipment. Setting up payroll, employee benefits and more are just some of the mechanics that make the business you’re seeing successful. By understanding what it takes and what’s happening behind the scenes is what sets entrepreneurs apart.
Obstacle Two: Entrepreneurship is Hard.
The term contradictive may be running through you mind just about now but let me explain and define what it is I’m conveying here. Entrepreneurism is like architecture and it does require a valiant effort and the right building blocks to really achieve great success. Writing and following a properly structured business plan will be worth its weight in gold. Remember failing to plan is planning to fail so a business plan should never be overlooked or ignored.
Achieving success comes down to executing a well thought out plan. Taking predetermined steps that will guide you through the tough times and allow you to thoroughly enjoy good times. Many will immediately dive into the exciting aspects of starting a business then become intimidated with all that’s required on the backend.
The reality is that it’s only as difficult as you choose to make it. There have been countless successful entrepreneurs and if you have a willingness to learn and follow the proper steps you can easily find yourself among there ranks.
Obstacle Three: Most New Businesses Fail
Most of the stats will indicate that an enormous amount of new business start ups will ultimately fail within the first 5 years. True Entrepreneurs do not focus on such negativity if they did how many new businesses would even bother making the attempt. If you’re among those fortunate enough to have children would you ever tell them not to bother trying because they will only fail. Of course not so dont let yourself be shackled by the same short sighted limiting beliefs.
Your success and your failures will all be a learning experience building on your confidence to ultimately succeed. You success will not be predetermined by some run of the mill statistic that’s been a common household quote regarding new businesses for decades.
Always remember that the number of people succeeding will always be less that the volume of people failing. Negativity travels 4 times faster than that of positivity so bad news seemingly is always recalled first and in turn becomes an obstacle you must mentally overcome to succeed.
Your only focus should be on positioning yourself within the 1% of entrepreneurs who achieve success and forget about the other 99% in other words only focus on your most desired outcome.
Obstacle Four: The Risk is High.
The word risk has many different meanings and will be interpreted very differently from person to person. For example starting your own business is not going to kill you but how many of you even think twice about jumping in your car when driving is actually far more risky if we were to sit down and label it. We as entrepreneurs can not eliminate risk it comes with the territory but we do our best to minimize it through proper research and development and following a business plan with the greatest chances of achieving the success we desire.
Risk if often times mistaken as fear of the unknown. When you understand how to accomplish something you dont see much risk in …