Ways Almost Every Business Owner Can Save Money

If you were to take a close look at just about any business, you would probably find ways that the business could save a ton of money. Businesses both big and small should be concerned with saving money. Even if you have a steady flow of cash coming in, you never know when you might go through a dry spell. Plus, the money you could be saving in certain areas could be put to better use in other areas. It makes sense to look at the places you can save money and then work towards them.

Here are some pointers that just about every business owner can use to save money:

Becoming More Eco Friendly

Becoming a more eco friendly business reduces the impact you have on the environment, and makes you more attractive to clients who are concerned with making the environment a better place, too. You’ll also save a lot of money, even if you take baby steps to making your business more eco friendly. Here are some ideas you can use to begin working towards a more eco friendly business right now:

  • Cut back on paper before going completely paperless
  • Buy from eco friendly, sustainable companies. You can get recycled paper and ink, for example.
  • Only use sustainable product packaging
  • Swap your light bulbs for more eco friendly light bulbs
  • Use more natural light rather than artificial light
  • Ensure everything is switched off before leaving the workplace at night

The above are just a few suggestions that will help you to become a more sustainable business.

Getting Rid Of Dead Weight

It might seem harsh, but you may have some dead weight in your business that you need to let go of before you can save money and move forward. Of course you should give people a chance to improve (plus this is what the law will state in most places), but if you have meetings and give written warnings and nothing improves, you may have to let employees go. Finding employees that are engaged and passionate about the work is important, but remember that your own leadership skills make a big difference too.

Creating Better Relationships With Suppliers

Creating better relationships with your suppliers is always a great way to save money. Whether you need cone bottom tanks for your warehouse or you’re looking for companies to provide you with stock to re-sell, creating relationships is the best way to save money.

Making Virtual/Temporary Hires

You don’t always need to hire a brand new employee when you have a lot of work on. Virtual and temporary hires can be just as effective, less expensive, and you have fewer responsibilities with them.

Allow Workers To Work From Home

Have you considered allowing employees to work from home every now and again? Not only is this more eco friendly, as you aren’t powering a whole office or getting your employees to drive into work, you’re going to save money on your overheads and other costs associated with working. It could even be a bonus for employees and make them more loyal to you.

An Ethical Business: Why Your Moral Compass Should Be Facing North, Not South!

In any modern business, many problems will, inevitably, come up. You will find problems with your tech, your employees, and your finances, but one really hot topic now is the problems with your business ethics. The idea of having an ethical business now is as important as the comprehensive marketing processes or the right employees. Having a business that is unethical is career suicide now. But why is it so important to have an ethical business now, and what can you do to implement this further in your company?

Nurture It Through The Culture

Your employees will dictate the office culture in general, but it has to come from you first. A positive workplace culture is as important as the product you sell. To make a workplace environment a positive one, your employees need to be free to raise concerns, and feel free within the company structure. This is easier said than done, but by having employees that don’t feel trapped by the antiquated notions of work, this will translate better to the outside.

Choose Your Suppliers Carefully

It’s all about who you do business with. If you are seen to have contacts with an organization that has shady dealings, this is going to automatically reflect badly on you. Nowadays, you can’t be too careful, because this will lose you custom from every angle. In the food industry, the importance of consumers knowing where their food comes from has such a major impact on who they buy from. This is why finding a global food trade supplier who is ethical and transparent in their dealings is an essential part of the process if you are dealing with the supply of food. If you have various suppliers in the chain (such as if you were running a department store), the potential for dealing with clients who have questionable ethics is more likely. This is why it’s important for you to undertake a comprehensive vetting of every client you deal with.

Shout It From The Rooftops

Are you ethical? Then say so! By making it public and having it as part of your statements, or on your products, this will give your product and your business a leg up. You’ll be viewed as a leading light in your industry. This is something that so many businesses do now, but because there are opportunities to cut corners and to be unethical your processes, now, with the modern consumer having their finger firmly on the pulse in this respect, you can’t not state your intentions if you are ethical.

Keep Your Promises

And the idea of transparency isn’t just something that will bode well when it comes to your client relationships. If you are ethical and you intend to be professional in every aspect of your company, from your marketing, to your product placement, to your efforts, it’s important to keep all parties happy by being clear and to the point. It’s not just for the benefit of consumers; your employees will feel happier working in a business that has a moral compass, and it will naturally transform into a better business.

3 Million Americans Quit Their Job Every Month: Top Tips for Employee Retention

Employees deserve to feel satisfied about their work, but it appears that a record-setting number aren’t. According to a survey of employment trends, approximately 3 million Americans quit their jobs each month. For many companies, this is a huge loss–both in talent and in money. After all, it can be expensive to replace your employees. In order to prevent your employees from walking out your door for good, you need to strategize carefully to encourage employees to stay. Yet, it may not be as hard as it may seem. Here are some pointers to help you retain your workforce.

Invest in Your Office Environment

Look over your budget and see if there is room for you to invest in sprucing up the office. It’s been proven that employee performance is significantly impacted by what their workplace looks like. You can start out small: consider redecorating to create an open floor plan, which in turn fosters greater collaboration. A support network like that makes everyone look forward to going to work.

Foster Positive Workplace Culture

The mental atmosphere in the office is just as important as the physical one. Organize regular team building events that go beyond building marshmallow towers or egg racing. Get creative with activities such as a volunteer outing or cooking classes. This helps employees feel a greater personal connection to each other and the organization, and will make them want to stay as a result.

Survey Your Employees

Your own initiative goes a long way, but you should also take employee input into consideration. Send out regular surveys to monitor office morale—but not too often, otherwise employees may feel annoyed. Checking in to see how everyone’s feeling shows you care. It lets them know that your staff are valued and are a critical part of the organization so they’re less inclined to take off. Surveys don’t have to be direct, either: you’ll also learn a lot from just taking part in the classic water cooler conversation.

Encourage Professional Development

Employee retention also has a lot to do with creating opportunities for growth. Give them something to work towards as much as you give them to work on. Hiring an executive coach can help with this. Bring one in for a workshop or similar event. Your employees will then recognize their own potential within your organization and be motivated to work harder as a result. It’s also been said that a rising tide lifts all boats, so if even one employee gets inspired, that extends to everyone else, too.

When you’re a business owner, you’re especially concerned about keeping employees on board. Making sure that your organization’s goals align well with their personal interests will keep them from jumping ship.

Are Your #Managers Good #Leaders?

leaderAre you getting the best leadership from your company’s managers? Not all managers are leaders – and your business needs leaders to succeed.

Leaders can help guide your team through the everyday challenges of work, and use their vision to steer your business towards a bright and prosperous future.

What can you do to get the best leadership from your company’s managers?

Hire and Promote the Best

Good leadership starts with the right people.

Whether you’re looking to hire someone new, or looking to promote someone within your business, you should always aim to choose people with the strong leadership skills your business needs.

Skills to look for include:

  • Calmness under pressure;
  • Courage;
  • A proactive personality;
  • Strong listening skills;
  • An analytical streak;
  • Good business knowledge and instincts;
  • Excellent people skills;
  • Honesty and authenticity.

Know what makes a good leader, and look for those traits whenever you have a position to fill.

Look for Strengths

Sometimes good leadership skills are in front of you and you just haven’t seen them yet. Take the time to really get to know your team and your managers.

Ask yourself who has the right skills to be a strong leader? Who has great raw material but just needs some polishing?

As well as every day observations, you might find it useful to run some team bonding activities to really see how your managers interact with people.

This also provides your team the chance to get to know each other, which can helps with team cohesion and in turn help your leaders to steer your team.

Encourage Good Leadership

Don’t leave good leadership to chance. Actively encourage it within your management team and your business as a whole.

Talk about leadership.

Make it a keystone of your business and a definite part of your business plan going forward.

Sit down with your managers and talk about leadership and why it matters. Let them know what you expect from them and what they can expect from you in terms of support.

Offer Training

Good leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Maybe not all managers are leaders – but many of them can become great leaders with the right support.

As the article, “Thinking Patterns to Embrace for Better Leadership” points out the greatest leaders are those who actively work on improving leadership skills until they become ingrained.

Leadership is a skill like any other, and it can be learned and honed.

Offer your managers leadership training and you’ll be equipping them with the skills they need to take your business forward.

Offer Chances to Shine

If you want to get the best leadership from your management team, you need to offer them chances to show you what they can do. If something needs doing, take a look at your team and think about who has the right skills to get the job done.

Give your team the opportunity to show that they can lead new projects or new teams, and to practice the skills learned during leadership training.

Build the Right Culture

culutreGood leadership doesn’t exist on its own, but rather is part of the overall culture of your business.

Respect, communication and openness are all key parts of good leadership, so build those into the foundation of your business.

Encourage a culture where your team is honest with each other, respectful to their colleagues, and where everyone knows management cares about and has time for them.

Good leadership skills will serve your business well for years to come.

Put in the time and effort to bring out the best in your leaders and watch your business go from strength to strength.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to build customer relationships, content marketing and how to bring out the best in your leadership team.

Are You the Best Boss You Can Be?

teamDo you ever stop to wonder if you’re the best boss you can be?

By brushing up on your skills as a boss, you can lead your business more effectively, ultimately helping you to cultivate a more productive team, and a more impressive bottom line.

So what can you do today to be a better boss? Start with these seven steps….

Learn to Listen

As a boss, you probably find you need to talk a lot.

Meetings, reviews, delegation … you get the picture. To be a really good boss, it’s important to learn to listen too.

When your employees talk to you, give them your full attention. Don’t be distracted by email or filling out the latest spreadsheet.

Your employees are working in the field, so to speak, every day.

Listening to them will not only make them feel valued, it will give you access to new ideas and information.

Build a Culture of Communication

Take communication a step further, by building it into your company culture.

Encourage an open-door policy and make time to talk to your team, and time for them to talk to each other and share ideas.

Don’t stop in your immediate office.

Use tele or video conferencing, VoIP services or instant-messaging to stay in touch with telecommuters or employees in other offices.

Make Time for Your Employees

If your employees feel like they matter to you, they’re likely to work harder and be more loyal. Show them that they matter by making time for them.

As well as making time to listen to their job related concerns, make some time for them as people. Learn about who they are. Show an interest in their lives outside work.

Let your employees know that they matter to you as people, not just for what they achieve for your company.

Recognize Your Employees’ Strengths

The article “7 Ways to Be a Better Boss” explains the importance of recognizing your employees’ unique strengths.

All your employees have their own strengths, whether that’s creative thinking, organizational skills, or being a good people person.

Employees who are encouraged to play to their strengths will find greater job satisfaction, while you build the most effective team.

Avoid Micro-Managing

Showing support is great, but micro-managing is not.

Micro-managing sends the message that you don’t trust your employees, and will likely hamper their efforts to get their job done.

Instead of breathing down your employees’ necks, delegate tasks to the most qualified person and make sure they have all the knowledge they need to carry them out effectively.

Be Honest and Authentic

People don’t respond well to insincerity.

If you want to be an effective leader and engender respect, be honest and authentic with your employees. Let them see who you really are.

That includes owning up to your mistakes, and being honest about how things are in your business. If you made a wrong decision, or the bottom line isn’t looking the way it should, tell your employees. They’ll respect honesty far more than platitudes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Have Fun

Being a good boss doesn’t mean being in super-efficient mode all the time. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun, and encourage your employees to do the same.

From desk massages to free healthy snacks or even simply taking a time out for a coffee and a chat, a little fun in the work day creates a more relaxed atmosphere, and ultimately encourages productiveness.

Improving your skills as a boss is an important investment in your business.

By being the best you can be, you encourage others to do the same, and learn the right skills to make the most of your team.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to build customer relationships, content marketing and how to be a better boss.

Let Your Company Culture Stand Out

cultureCompany culture is more important than you may think.

As a business owner, it’s in your power to set in place a company culture that either elevates the spirits and productivity of your employees, or one that undermines your employees’ efforts and minimizes the chances of your long-term success as a business.

Here are some ways that, as a business owner, you can set the right company culture in place from day one….

  1. Set Policies in Place

Company policies need to be written and distributed to every employee. Setting policies in place that cover company culture is a great way to get your company atmosphere across to everyone who works for you.

If your company culture is of concern to you – and it should be – you can easily write out an entire section of your company policies that is devoted to culture.

  1. Decorate Accordingly

Your office décor should reflect your company culture. A work environment with an open door policy should have glass walls, half-height cubicle partitions or an open floor plan.

A company culture that models itself after some place like the Google headquarters might have brightly painted walls, artistic light fixtures or modern sling chairs.

In essence, anyone visiting your offices should be to make a good guess about your company culture just by seeing how it’s decorated.

  1. Lead by Example

Your employees and department heads will take their lead from you, so lead by example. How you dress, behave and interact with everyone will influence how others behave while you’re around, and even when you’re not looking. Your company culture will influence the people who apply to your company, too.

As the following article looks at, if you’re wondering why many top engineers choose company culture over big names, it’s often because they are seeking a mentor in their field. Leading by example may mean you get to hire the best employees in the talent pool.

  1. Set Props in Motion

Props in the workplace help to make it the environment for work that you want it to be. If you’re going for a fun place to work, a kid’s basketball hoop on the wall makes sense. If you’re seeking a company culture of success, posters with inspirational sayings makes sense.

A company culture that values families would do well to have a bulletin board where employees can post pictures or announcements of their kids making Little League.

  1. Reward Accordingly

If you want to have a company culture that values education, then you should reward those employees who want to advance their career through continuing education or certification.

When other employees see that the path to promotion is paved with education credits, they will be quick to follow suit. The result is that your workforce will be highly educated and motivated to improve themselves through education.

Don’t let your company culture happen accidentally.

With some proactive steps and thinking, your company can be a great place to work and be a good example for the rest of your community.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

Opening up New Opportunities for Your Workspace

800_hiringThe workplace is constantly changing. With that in mind, is your business keeping up?

As technology provides more flexible working opportunities and workers’ expectations of the workplace shift, going to work is a very different experience than it would have been just 10 years ago.

Just what are some of the main changes taking place and how can they impact your business?

More Collaborative Working

The workplace is becoming more collaborative. More collaboration can be seen in everything from instant messaging to Google Docs, to work flow systems that let team members see which tasks they need to do and find out where everyone else is on a project.

The traditional model of a manager giving orders and everyone following is changing, as employees get more and more involved with decision making processes, making each business a truly team effort.

Encouraging more collaborative working is a good step for your business. More collaboration can lead to better communication and more efficient working.

A more team-focused culture means your employees will feel more heard, and will be more likely to get involved and be invested in your company’s success.

Increase in Telecommuting

As the article “The Dawning of Wide Open Workspace Slideshare” points out, as many as 3.9 million Americans are expected to telecommute by 2015.

The increase in telecommuting is changing the way people do business. More flexible working and the technology to stay in touch means workers can achieve great things for your company without coming in to the office.

Cloud-based technology, smart phones, and collaborative software make it easier than ever for your team to work and work together, no matter where they are.

Telecommuting is good news for businesses. Contrary to what employers fear, telecommuting can make workers more productive, by giving them the freedom to work more flexibly, and letting them know that your business supports them in that.

More Global Teams

Working with colleagues from around the country or even the world has never been easier. High-speed internet connections and the increasing opportunity for businesses to embrace a global audience is changing the shape of businesses.

Colleagues in one office may now find themselves working alongside team members from disparate locations.

More global teams are good news for your business. As well as tapping into the potential of other markets, more global working gives your team the chance to work with colleagues from a range of places, strengthening their knowledge and giving them new skills.

Changing Workspace and Culture

Working culture is changing, and this is reflected in changes in the layout of offices themselves. Many offices now are adopting a more open layout with plenty of areas where team members can sit down together to get some work done.

A good work-life balance and finding satisfaction at work matter more now than ever. Employees expect to be heard, and valued, which in turn means a more involved team with fresh ideas.

A more fulfilling and open workplace culture can reap big rewards for your business, including a more committed and engaged team, and a more positive office culture which is just as productive, if not more so, but much more enjoyable to be in.

Workplaces and the way team members work together are changing more and more.

By embracing these changes and finding the best ways to work with them, you can help create a rewarding culture and flexible workplace that people will want to be part of.

As an employer, what do you most value in a workplace?

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, inbound marketing, flexible working and social media.