Tackling Your Business’s Waste Problem

With increasing regulations and a growing awareness amongst consumers, every business owner has to seriously consider the environmental impact their work has. In particular, waste is still a significant issue, but one that you can help to decrease dramatically. Here, we’re going to look at some of the greatest sources of waste in all businesses and what you can do to lessen your impact at least a little.

Paper

Paper isn’t being treated as the completely expendable commodity that it once was. This is thanks, in large part, to the growing reliance on IT. More and more businesses are turning to a paperless or near paperless model. By relying more on digital storage and backups, you can reduce the amount of paper your business uses dramatically. Not only does this cut on the costs of buying paper itself, it also saves in terms of printing costs and the storage space necessary to keep all that paper, too.

Power

Many businesses use more electricity than necessary. From vampire electricity wasted by leaving devices on standby to relying on old equipment that is far from energy efficient, you could be driving your power bills sky high. An energy audit service can help you easily see where exactly you’re using the most energy and what to do about it. Investing in question like a genset can help you cut costs, too. Many utility providers are willing to offer discounts on energy, for instance, if companies are willing to use their own genset to supplement their reliance on utilities.

Water

Water-saving faucets and toilets can drastically reduce the amount of water wasted by employees in every bathroom. However, water waste isn’t just about how much water your business uses, but how clean it is when disposed. From businesses with fleets to warehouses and construction crews, water contamination is a serious problem. Oil water separators are more than just an ethical choice, they could be an essential part of making your business compliant with environmental regulations, depending on the industry you’re in. As the business grows, make sure that you’re getting rid of waste water in the cleanest way possible.

Packaging

If you’re in retail, manufacturing, or production of any kind, consider the packaging you offer. Regular product packaging is one of the most widespread sources of plastic and paper waste, but there are eco-friendly packaging options available. You can make it much easier for your customers to recycle or reuse your products. Not only will this help tackle your ecological footprint, but it’s a very visible sign of your company’s dedication to environmentally friendly operation methods. It can be as much a part of the brand, helping to win the goodwill of your consumers.

It’s reasonable to expect that businesses will be legally required to produce less waste as time goes on. Even now, consumers are becoming more mindful of who they support and producing lots of waste can be bad for your image as far as they are concerned. Keep the tips above in mind, as it’s only going to become more important.

The Exciting Future Of Robot Development

There’s a lot the future is going to bring us. Considering everything going on in the world right now, we know things are going to be extremely different in 5 or 10 years time. And there’s no future possibility more exciting (or daunting, depending on who you ask) than the idea of robots operating in our society.

Sure, we already have forms of AI in our phones and in our houses to play music and record the shopping list for us, but what about actual walking and talking robots with semi-human faces? Are they on their way? With that question in mind, here’s some technological developments in the works regarding our mechanical counterparts right now.

There’s a lot of imagination surrounding the future of robots, and the future isn’t so distant…

Humanoid Robots are On Their Way

But don’t worry, we’ll still be able to tell them from any other humans out there! The idea about having robots take jobs away from people, considering the rates of unemployment out there currently, but having an AI to take part in potentially dangerous tests and experiments to save any human from having to participate can be seen as a huge success.

The idea of bringing cybernetics into the work sector is something that’s debated a lot, but also focused on as something we can move into to make the working world both safer and easier. Check out articles on Human Paragon if you want to know more about this in particular; there’s a lot artificial intelligence can perform or pick up on that many humans cannot, and it’s this idea of efficiency in human form that excites a lot of companies out there.

AI Looking After Your House

We already have Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to sit on our coffee tables and tell us the weather, but is there bigger ways an AI can take part in your household? Apparently, yes. Already there’s an app to allow these technologies to control the lights and the heating in your house, as long as there’s an electronic connection between the two.

And we see it all the time on the TV and in movies; the sci-fi genre is often based on the idea that an AI is in control or on the rise over humans. But it won’t quite work out that way in reality: they simply make running a household a lot more convenient and easy, and they can order things online for us. You can turn off the categories of data they take on you, and they can always be switched off or unplugged if you’re worried about what they’re gathering.

What are your thoughts on the coming implementation of robots? If you’re someone who likes the idea of a technological world, this is something to look forward to. Don’t worry, the security surrounding these ideas aren’t as bleak as the media can make them seem, but you can always choose what AI comes in and out of your house.

5 Ways Your Security Team Can Help Keep Your Company Safe

Business owners have a lot of responsibilities. This includes responsibilities to customers, employees, business partners, suppliers and the government. One of the most important responsibilities a business owner has is managing security operations. If you ignore security, it can put the well-being of the entire company at risk. Below are five things you should make sure your security team has covered to ensure that your business remains protected.

Secure Your Network

In today’s interconnected world, the biggest threats to businesses aren’t necessarily criminals that show up in person. Today, some of the biggest threats to businesses are hackers, cyber criminals, malware, viruses, Trojans and other cyber security threats. It has been estimated the annual cost of cyber-crime will rise to $2 trillion by 2019. Make cyber security a cornerstone of your security operations for your business.

Screen Your Employees

Your human resources department is actually directly related to security. If you don’t properly screen your employees with criminal background checks during the hiring process, you could hire criminals that are likely reoffend while under your employment. This could mean losing money to theft. It could even mean being sued when customers or other employees are put at risk.

Provide Radio Communications to Security Staff

In regards to securing your physical buildings and grounds, you will need to have security personnel on hand to deal with intruders and other security threats. However, your security personnel will not be able to accomplish much without the ability to efficiently communicate. Companies like Altech Electronics provide radio communications solutions specifically designed for security purposes.

Install Security Cameras

Something else you will need is electronic surveillance of your grounds. Without surveillance camera footage to examine after the fact, it can be very hard to solve or prove crimes. Make sure all significant areas of your grounds and buildings where theft or crime could occur are under video camera surveillance at all times.

Train Employees on Security Procedures

Even employees that are not part of your security staff should be trained on important security procedures. If employees do not know what to do when they come across evidence of a crime taking place, significant mistakes can be made. Employees must also be trained on how to maintain cyber security when dealing with company computer systems.

Overall, maintaining security is one of the most important responsibilities of a business owner. If you ignore security threats, the ramifications can be severe. It can even lead to the end of your business. Make security a priority and make the proper investments to protect your company.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

If You Rely On IT, You Must Know The Risks

Your IT systems can play a crucial role in helping improve productivity, make complicated processes much easier, and streamline workflow. However, the more you rely on it, the more you expand your network of devices and software, the more of a risk it can become. Rather than arguing that you should scale down your tech reliance, instead, we are going to look at how you ensure you cope with that growing reliance and stay protected.

 

Are you protected?

Every business owner, big or small, should be aware of the real security risks related to their tech. From antivirus software to ethical hacking, you need to consider what data is available on your systems and just how much of a risk it can be if that data falls into the wrong hands. The riskier it is, the more you should invest in protecting it. Studies have shown that the majority of businesses that suffer a major data breach tend to close their doors within two years, and if you lose customer data, especially financial data, you could be legally liable for their losses too.

What happens when the light goes out?

What percentage of your employees’ working day involves them using the computer as their main resource? There’s a good chance it’s more than 50%. In that case, does that mean they are 50% less productive when the power or internet goes out? Your business can suffer a huge blow due to downtime. Finding backup power sources scaled to the number of devices you need, as well as alternative internet connections such as accessible Wi-Fi dongles is essential if you don’t want that downtime to shut you down entirely.

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How do you cope with disaster?

Sometimes, a sudden event can do more than prompt downtime. A breach or a power surge can not only shut down your tech, but it can lose you significant portions of data, as well. Besides finding and preventing the risk of such disasters, strategic IT consulting can help you put a disaster recovery system in place. Such systems can help you get powered on and online much quicker, as well as ensuring that you have the data you need backed up so you are never at risk of truly losing everything.

Are you underutilizing it?

Finally, if you are scaling your tech reliance, you should also scale what you get in return for it. For instance, think about the data your systems produce. These can provide essential insights into the productivity of the team, the efficiency of your tech, and much more. Big Data consultants can help you find these insights and provide the answers to questions such as how to make your team more engaged and how to increase end-user adoption of new software, amongst many other things.

There are risks involved in relying more heavily on any one resource within the business. The more you rely on it, the more of a potential weakness it becomes. Ensure you give those weaknesses the time and thought they deserve and safeguard your business.

All The Signs That Your Business May Not Be As Strong As You Think

Are you sure that your business is doing as well as what you think it is? Sure, it can be quite difficult to tell when you are busy all the time trying to run the company; you could find that there is no time for you to take a step back and review your business objectively.

If things aren’t going quite so well, though, there are often some telltale signs that start to crop up. These following ones are some of the signs that happen in the early stages of a failing business. Do you recognise some in your own business? If so, it may be time to find some solutions!

You’re Repeating Mistakes

Entrepreneurs need to learn from their mistakes quickly and move on. And that’s nothing to worry about – we all make the odd mistake from time to time. However, if you seem to be continually making the same mistake without realizing it, then there could be an underlying issue with your company. So, it’s important that you try to get to the bottom of repeated mistakes as soon as you can. Otherwise, it could spell the end for your business.

Your IT Is Outdated

IT and tech are incredibly important to companies these days, no matter which of industry or sector they are in. Does your IT infrastructure appear to be struggling? It could be because it is dated. If this is the case, it’s worth finding a company that offers managed IT services and can help you update all your tech. Not doing this could damage your company’s productivity and efficiency, which won’t help you keep up with competitors.

You’re Struggling To Pay The Monthly Bills

There’s no denying that financial problems within your business are not a good sign. If you find that you are scrabbling around for money at the end of the month to pay all your bills and employee wages, there will certainly be some urgent improvements that need to be made. Simply reviewing and altering your budget could help you see areas in which you can save money. Otherwise, now might be the time to try and source some new investment.

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The Employee Turnover Rate Is Really High

Unhappy employees are going to jump ship very quickly. If you replace these employees without improving the company, then the new hires will also leave not long after they have arrived. So, take a look at your business through the eyes of your employees and see how things could improve. Perhaps you just need to offer regular reviews or make sure you focus more on employee well-being?

The Media Aren’t Interested In Your Business

There needs to be constant chatter surrounding your business. If the media aren’t talking about you, and no one is mentioning your brand on social media, then there is something wrong. Thankfully, an effective PR campaign can often fix this.

Fingers crossed that none of these problems affect your company for too long and that you can get back on the road to success!

Tackle Your Tech Future for Smarter Business Planning

Your business needs to have a plan when it comes to technology. Without a plan, you could forget to review and update the technology you use. This could lead to your company getting left behind your competitors, or you could end up wasting money on outdated tech and things that aren’t working. You might be wondering about the best way to approach planning your business’s tech future. There are several important factors that you should think about if you want to be sure of the best outcomes. You need to know what your company’s requirements are and what you should be doing to develop your technology at a pace that suits it.

Match Your Tech to Your Company Goals

Your company’s overall goals should affect your decision making in different areas. You need to keep them in mind when you’re deciding who to hire, how to market your products, and what sort of clients you’re looking for. Technology is another area that should be informed by your company’s goals and your hopes for the future. You need to consider what your goals are and how technology can help you achieve them. How will your choices in software and hardware support the things you need to do?

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Work Out Technology Requirements

You should think about your essential technology needs before you consider anything else. Everyone has a minimum level of tech that their business relies on to carry out day-to-day activities. From a computer for each member of staff to the right choice in accounting software, you have to think about what will keep your business ticking. Thinking back to your goals, you also need to make a technology plan that will meet your requirements as your business grows. Don’t just consider what you need now, but also how your needs will change in the future.

Ensure You Have Professional Help

Working out the trajectory of your technology development can be tricky if you don’t know much about tech. If you want to avoid feeling baffled and giving up, you need to get some professional help. By hiring IT consultants, you can ensure you have a plan for what your business tech will look like in the future. They can help you with life cycle planning for your hardware and software. This can help your tech to last longer and ensure you have a plan in place when it’s time to update. Professionals can make recommendations so that you can make better decisions.

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Have a Technology Budget

Money is, of course, important when you’re thinking about the future of your business tech. You can’t afford to perform every single technology update available, especially when some of them aren’t going to benefit your business. You need to create a budget for your technology, including buying new software and hardware, as well as paying for any services that might be useful to help keep your company’s tech running.

Don’t just make changes to your business technology as you go. Create a roadmap to get a better idea of what the future will look like.

5 Key Areas That You Should Always Look To Outsource

In business, everyone will always have their own way of doing things. Some prefer to micromanage, others want to take a step back, and some will prefer to only keep their toes in what’s going on. And whatever works out for each business the best, is often the greatest solution for them. However, from here, there’s also the great debate of working out where you sit when it comes to the idea of hiring in-house or outsourcing. Both options come with their ups and downs, but when you look at outsourcing, it’s hard not to be impressed by the benefits. Because when you outsource a certain function or area of the business, you’re going to save yourself time and money. And the best part is that you’ve got experts working on it, so you know that it’s going to be done properly. So let’s take a look at the five key areas you should consider outsourcing.

Customer Service

First of all, you have your customer service. And this is always the first thing to think about outsourcing. But we’re not just talking about sending it off to some company that can just take it off of your hands. Instead, you need a dedicated company that is going to be able to do a much better job than you can. Because keeping your customers happy should be at the core of everything that you do. So you need a service that will be able to talk to your customers from all angles and really ensure that their needs are met and queries are taken care of.

HR

When it comes to HR, there’s often a lot that you need to cover off. And it can be overwhelming. There are a lot of rules and regulations that you need to, and making mistakes is not something that any of us wants to do. But when you outsource to a specialist company, you don’t have to worry about it. You know that the team will be taking care of everything, keeping you legal, and ensure that your staff are looked after.

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IT

When you’re busy, you do not want to be dealing with computer issues. So this is where IT support comes in. By hiring the right support company, you don’t have to worry about downtime or having to deal with issues yourself. It will all be taken care of for you.

Finance

Next, you’ve got finance. And this one can be debatable, but unless you want to bring a full team in to take care of things, outsourcing your finance department could be what you need. After all, you need to keep your eye on the prize, so things need to be taken care of expertly.

Sales

And finally, you’ve also got your sales department too. If you know that you’re not great at making sales, and you really don’t have the time to take this on, then bringing in a specialist sales or business development company will not only save you time, but it will be in the best interest of your business.