Why Encouraging Diverse Representation Will Help Your Business Grow

Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic for business owners in recent years, changing from a novel idea to a necessity for success. Diversity comes in many shapes and sizes; differences in age, gender,economic background, race, and cultural differences are just some of the ways your business can focus on representing a diverse workforce.

While not always easy to achieve without dedicated time from your hiring team and management, when done successfully encouraging diversity at your business can actually help you reduce turnover, increase innovation, and help your business grow overall.

Improved Market Share

One of the most crucial parts of having a successful business is understanding your products and services and who your target audience is. Only employing staff from similar backgrounds in the name of ‘culture fit’ limits your understanding of other markets and ways your business could grow and succeed when marketing to these diverse groups.

By hiring employees that come from a wide variety of backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, genders, age groups and spending habits, you are gaining insight into the market groups you want to learn more about. This allows you to create products and services that are sustainable. for them more effectively and it enhances your chance of capturing a wider market share.

Increase Innovation

Not surprisingly, an increase in difference of opinions, experiences, and ideas can lead to innovation in your business when a safe space is created to share such ideas. A study by NC State’s business school looked at 3,000 of the largest publicly traded companies and found that those with a diverse workforce were better at developing innovative products and services.

This is especially helpful for those companies working in global markets, which tend to evolve more quickly and compete with other businesses who also hire diverse workforces. It is important to emphasize that your staff must feel that their differences in outlooks are respected and they are encouraged to express these differences to their coworkers to maximize your potential for innovation.

Recruit and Retain Talent

Finding talented workers can be a difficult task for a business, especially as you compete with other jobs that may be able to offer better benefits or pay. One easy way to do this is by hiring diverse employees. A company that embraces diversity is automatically throwing a wider net to applicants of diverse backgrounds, letting a larger audience know they would be welcome and fit into your company culture, increasing the talent pool you will see.

A recent study from Atlassian found that 80% of respondents believed diversity and inclusion to be important in the workplace, and companies like B Corps, who openly are rated on their employee happiness and diversity are highly sought after by top MBA students. Tiffany Jana, CEO of TMI Consulting, a B Corp, stated that, “I can barely keep up with the droves of highly qualified, passionate, values-aligned millennials who want to work for TMI. I no longer search for high-potential staff; they now come tome.” As you bring in a more diverse staff and focus on employee well-being, you will see a positive impact on your reputation as a great place to work.

When it comes to retaining employees, diversity can also help. It does this by communicating to employees that your business is open-minded to different ideas and ways of doing things, which research shows greatly increases employee happiness. When workers feel a sense of autonomy in daily operations, meaning they have a say in their own goals, responsibilities, and creative process, they perform higher, have a better moral, and tend to stay with that business longer.

It also communicates to your workers that you do not practice workplace discrimination, which again increases workplace morale and trust in you as the employer, leading to longer retention rates.

Increased Profits

Another benefit of having a diverse staff is an increase in profits. If your employees are helping you improve your market share, increasing the level of innovation at your business, and you are recruiting highly talented workers and are able to retain them, it is easy to also expect an increase in profits for your business. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that diversity increases the bottom line for companies,especially when that diversity is in the board room. 

Of the 1,700 companies surveyed, those companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams reported 19% higher revenues than those companies with below average leadership diversity, with innovation cited as the reason for increased revenues. 

Overall, improving your workplace diversity can help you attract and keep talented employees, increase creativity in your workplace which can help you better understand your markets, and increase the profitability of your business. But despite the overwhelming evidence that diverse workplaces help your business grow, many businesses still struggle to implement changes that are sustainable. Check out this list of easy steps your business can take to make sure your business is successful at encouraging diversity and reaping the benefits.

Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.

3 Reasons Your Company Will Need Legal Assistance

Whether you’re just starting out in the business world or you’ve been running a successful company for a while; there is never a bad time to converse with an expert legal team and make sure you have them waiting in the wings. All entrepreneurs will need specialist legal assistance at some point during their careers. It is sensible to make all the arrangements ahead of time, so you don’t face any delays when it comes to getting the help you require in emergencies. If the lawyers already know the ins and outs of your operation; they will swing into action much faster than they otherwise would have done.

Patent and trademark disputes

It is vital that all entrepreneurs apply for suitable legal cover if they plan to launch a new brand and bring original product designs to the market. If you don’t have trademarks in place for your terms and patents for your concepts; there is a chance another company with more cash could come along and blow you out of the marketplace and cost you a fortune. With that in mind, even with the right protections in place; you could still face issues, and that is why you need a lawyer. If you discover another business infringes on your patents; you’ll want to put an end to that straight away.

Employee dismissal claims

If you employ other workers; there will come a time when you have a dispute with them that you cannot resolve. Perhaps the person was late for work over and over again, and so you decided to fire them. Like it or not, employees have rights, and you can’t always take away their source of income on a whim. So, that person might end up dragging your business through the courts in the hope of reinstating their position or making a compensation claim. If you do not have legal assistance; your operation will stagnate because you will have to take your eyes off the ball.

Road traffic accidents

As a business owner, you never know when you will get a call from a semi truck accident lawyer or someone else in that industry letting you know they plan to make a claim against your firm. You become especially vulnerable to issues like that if your company makes deliveries to customers. If you have drivers on the road all day long, it is only a matter of time before one of them makes a mistake and ends up causing a smash. Without the right legal representatives in your corner, there is a chance you will end up getting a raw deal in the courtroom.

Now you know why it’s so critical to find the right legal specialists to assist your company; it is time to search online, ask associates for recommendations, and sort the wheat from the chaff. Look for law firms that specialize in the business world, and try to select a firm that has lots of other clients in similar positions to you. If you do that; you shouldn’t have too many problems when it comes to making sure you don’t get ripped off in the courtroom.

Opening a Restaurant Can Mean Tasty Profits

If the notion of opening up a restaurant has crossed your mind a time or two, will you go for it? For many restaurant owners having done so over the years, the profits have been rather tasty.

That said do not be under the assumption that a restaurant is an instant ticket to a gold mine. As any owner can tell you, there will be many hours of work and sacrifices when it comes to doing things right.

With that in mind, will opening a restaurant be your next move?

Know All That Will Go into Such a Move

If you decide opening a restaurant is your calling, be ready for the responsibilities.

Among them:

  1. Mission – What is your restaurant’s mission going to be? Before you even open your doors, you need to know what it is you want to do. To do so, you want to know for one what your competition is going to look like. For example, if opening a steakhouse in town, are there many ones there now? If there are, how can you get a foothold in the market? While you may well be the one to make profits, you could be wedged out because there is too much competition. By knowing the demographics and what you hope to do, you better position your brand for success.
  2. Employees – Running a restaurant of course means you will have to employ many people. As such, you want to do your best to hire the right people the first time around. If you do not, it can mean time and money working against you. Some of your employees will be the first lines of contact customers have with you. As an example, the hostess or host at the front door. You also of course have the waiter or waitress to serve customers once they sit down. Make sure you do your best to get quality people in such positions. And never forget the importance of a good chef and support staff in the kitchen. As you can see, you have to hire the right people for the right jobs if you want to make a go of it.
  3. Inventory – It is also key that you have the right inventory for your restaurant. For instance, items from ordering the best steak knives to good dishware can’t be overlooked. If you are of the notion that ordering second-rate supplies will save you money, it can come back to haunt you. Diners want to be able to enjoy their meals and part of that is making sure the food and how it is eaten are both exemplary.
  4. Marketing – Last, be sure that you are good at marketing your restaurant. From social media to customer testimonials, make sure the world knows about you. When it comes to customers, let them help market your brand for you. Their testimonials and remarks on social media and your site can go a long way in sending you business. When a customer has good food and stellar customer service, they are more likely to speak about it.

Despite long hours and responsibility, running a restaurant can be a great decision.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

 

How Savvy Outsourcing Can Help Your Business Be More Profitable

One of the first things you need to learn as a small business owner is that you can’t do everything yourself. Not only will trying to do so ruin your personal life with stress, it will also make the business suffer. Many of us are familiar with the saying, “He’s a jack of all trades but a master of none,” and it’s one that couldn’t be more true than in the context of a small business owner.

Luckily, there are many different ways you can reduce your workload and stay focused on what’s really important to the business, one of the most prominent being outsourcing. Farming work to outside firms will make it easier for you to stay focused on the crucial tasks connected to the running of your business. And if you can succeed in choosing the right outsourcing partners, then this practice can also make your business more profitable.

Here are three ways outsourcing can turn into an improved bottom line.

Cut Down on Costs

Keeping overhead down is critical for any business, but it’s even more important for small businesses. You need every resource available to you to invest in the growth of your business, as not doing so could get you into trouble. And since poor cash flow management is consistently the top reason small businesses fail, it’s especially important you’re minimizing costs wherever you can.

Specialized firms are entirely dedicated to one task or one set of tasks, and businesses like yours are their customers. As such, they have both the skills and the motivation to offer the best price possible. Paying for someone to handle certain aspects of your business can be significantly cheaper than trying to do things on your own.

However, for this to work, it’s important you spend time determining which functions should and should not be outsourced. For example, don’t outsource things you do well just because it’s cheaper to do so. Instead, make up a list of things you struggle with, or of tasks that feel extraneous, and then look for help in these areas. Doing so will allow you to focus on your strengths while saving money on things that either you don’t do well or that distract you from growth.

Get More Bang for Your Buck

The other way that outsourcing helps boost profitability is that it allows you to get more out of the money you spend on the business. Let’s think up an example: your company is beginning to employ digital marketing tactics—a smart move considering the world we live in—and while you’re current marketing team is exception at building a brand and at generating leads through traditional mediums, they don’t have a lot of experience in the digital space.

In this scenario, you have two choices: A) train your staff and allow them the space to learn about this new, constantly-changing field, or B) bring in some digital marketing specialists to help you. The better choice for a small business is almost always option B. This is because by asking your current marketing team to switch their focus, you’re going to take them away from what they do best so that they can work on something with which they’re unfamiliar.

As a result, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you outsource. Not only would outsourcing your digital marketing in this context save you money, but by delegating to experts, you’re increasing your chances of success, meaning your foray into digital marketing will end up giving your company’s bottom line a big boost.

Enhance Employee Productivity

The more you can get out of your employees, the better you can expect your bottom line to be. Yet the people who work for you are still human beings. They have limits, and if you try to push them too far, then they’ll not only begin to resent you for all the stress you cause them, but their work will also begin to suffer.

Outsourcing can help you with this. It can take certain tasks off your employees’ plates so that they can focus on their job functions that actively contribute to company growth. For example, you could outsource a number of human resources functions to a professional employer organization (PEO) so that some of the more time-consuming and mundane aspects of their jobs, such as processing benefits, managing payroll and ensuring all compliance paperwork is filled out, is done for them.

Once they’re freed from having to spend large chunks of their days worrying about these responsibilities, your HR team can focus on other things, such as improving your candidate experience and enhancing your employer brand, both of which will help you recruit more effectively and increase profits.

Find the Right Outsourcing Options for Your Company

Smart outsourcing decisions can have a radical effect on your company. It will save you time and money, and it will allow everyone at the company, including you, to focus on what’s most important for the company to grow. However, remember that not all outsourcing options are created equal and that you’ll need to do a thorough cost-benefit analysis before deciding to work with someone. But if you do your due diligence and choose the right people to help you, then outsourcing can be a way to truly transform your business.

About the Author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service. He started his first business when he was just 19, and since then has bought, run and sold several others, all of which operated in the digital space. Outsourcing has been a core strategy from the beginning, which makes Jock a big advocate of using this practice wisely.

Business Growth: 5 Tips to Meet Demand When Interest Is High

Consumers in today’s fast-paced world want their products as quickly as you can supply them. As a business owner, you need to be agile and ready to make changes that allow you to meet a spike in the demand for your products or services. We’ll provide you with some tips below that may help you satisfy the needs of your customers when everyone is interested in what you have to offer.

Focus on the Basics

Focusing on the core aspects of what you do is one of the easiest ways to keep up with the high demand for your services. It may seem like trying to do more in less time is a way to increase efficiency. However, trying to do things in which you don’t specialize can cause a lot of errors and waste quite a bit of time or money. Offer the basic services you know your company can provide to its customers and use all available employees efficiently.

Use Slow Periods to Get Ahead

Interest in your products or services might be high right now, but it will fluctuate with time. When a customer’s interest starts to wane, you can plan for the next high-interest period at your leisure. You should use this time to stock your inventory or get secondary services ready to provide what your customers need.

Find New Technologies

All industries find big advantages in using technology to meet the high demands of customers everywhere. Technology can help you keep up with demand and even flourish or expand your business. Robotics can help you create better products, statistical data can help you follow trends, and industrial boilers manufacturers can bring meet your energy needs.

Try Scalable Resources

Scalable resources may be able to help your business meet demand when interest is high and help you cut back on costs when that interest shrinks. You may benefit from using an agency that can connect you with extra employees during the busy season or from finding a transportation company that offers flexible shipping options. We recommend looking into affordable ways to store your extra inventory as well.

Try to Gauge Demand

It may seem impossible to gauge just how many resources you’ll need to meet the demands of your customer base. However, you can use your experience, statistical data, and response systems that might be able to give you a good idea of the trends you’ll be looking at during your next busy period.

It is always great to have periods of intense demand for your products and services, but these moments come with their own sets of challenges. You may be able to use some of our tips to prepare for your next busy season and minimize costly errors.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

6 Catastrophic Mistakes An Entrepreneur Can Make In Their Business’ First Year

What makes a great entrepreneur? There are numerous theories on the subject. Is it their hard work, dedication and commitment? Is it their invention, imagination and ability to think outside the box? Is it their ability to parse metric data and use it to keep their finger on the pulse of what their customers want and need? Or could it be their ability to motivate and rally their employees; helping them to work with gusto towards a shared goal. Ultimately, these are all extremely important but it’s arguable that the most important quality of entrepreneurship is…

dream

Image by Pixabay

Just start.

There are lots of people out there, right now, slaving away in jobs they despise who have a great idea for a business. They have spotted a gap in the market, devised a concept for a product for a product or service that neatly fills that gap and they have a clear vision in their heads of how that can be extrapolated into a living, breathing, working SME. They may have cobbled together something resembling a business plan in their free time. They’ve had some preliminary thoughts about what their business’ mission statement might be and how it would be reflected in their branding. They might even have crunched some numbers to create a reasonably accurate cash flow forecast. But they never reached the point where they reached out to sources of funding or even registered their business’ name. Why? Because they were paralyzed by their fear of the unknown. This perfectly natural and perfectly human impulse may be understandable but it can keep potentially successful entrepreneurs stuck on the path of wage slavery; languishing away in jobs where they’re underpaid, underappreciated and undervalued when they could be at the head of a thriving enterprise.

By far the most crippling of fears when it comes to starting a business is the fear of failure. After all, the numbers are not on the side of nascent entrepreneurs. We’ve all heard that 50% of SMEs fail within their first four years and we’re paralyzed by the fear of what will happen if we fall within this damning statistic. But here’s the thing…

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself

If you have a fantastic idea for a business that would benefit your local high street, create jobs, fill a gap on the market, benefit the local economy and liberate you from a job you despise, it behooves you to overcome your fear of failure and at least attempt to make your business a reality. Very often, failure in small business is not the end but simply a blip on a long learning curve. At worst, you will be made bankrupt (although this is certainly not an inevitable consequence of failure in small business). But in most cases bankruptcy is not the end of an entrepreneurial career. Some of the most successful people on the planet have been made bankrupt at least once.

That said, failure is never an appealing prospect. If we can forego the expense and emotional turmoil that come with failure in small business, so much the better, right?

Learning from the mistakes of others

The beauty of living in the digital age is that we have unparalleled access to a wealth of information which can give you and your business the inside track. As well as learning from our own mistakes (an inevitable and necessary part of small business) we can benefit from the mistakes of other nascent businesses. While there may be no surefire way of avoiding failure in the world of small business (if there were, everyone would be running their own SME), there are certainly commonly made mistakes that you can sidestep when you plan your operations and strategy around avoiding them. Here we’ll look at some of the commonly made mistakes made by businesses in their first year and how you can prevent your business from replicating them…

Under investing to insulate profit margins

When many entrepreneurs start out, they do so with one goal in mind… turning a profit. So long as the numbers are in the black month or month that means the business is going well, right? Well, not necessarily. As important as it is for small businesses to guard against irresponsible, reckless or vanity spending, it’s also vital that they avoid under investing in their enterprises. Under investment in personnel, capital investments like software or equipment, or maintaining / renovating your premises can impede your business’ growth. Unless you’re prepared to invest in better infrastructure for your small business it will only ever stay small and its scope will be limited. While you should certainly learn to walk before you can run and it can be counterproductive to set out with growth in mind before you know how to facilitate that growth sustainably, you should avoid the temptation to under invest in your business for the sake of insulating your profit margins.

Small businesses need to be agile and adaptable and if you fail to invest adequately, you may fail to capitalize on opportunities that come your way and your competitors will leave you in the dust.

piggybank

Image Credit

Dipping into personal funds to finance aspects of the business

Separating personal and business finances can be a real learning curve for nascent entrepreneurs. When you have a lot of passion and personal / emotional investment in your business it only makes sense to put your money where your mouth is… but this can be a serious mistake. Not only should you have separate accounts for your personal and business finances, you should take pains to ensure that one doesn’t bleed into the other. Otherwise you could find yourself on a slippery slope.

Trying to do a grade A job with grade B materials

In your first year of business, the name of the game is reputation. With such a plethora of competition out there, prospective customers need a reason to choose your business and not the legions of others who do exactly the same thing. This means that your reputation must be beyond reproach. While a big part of this is in how your employees deal with customers and the experience that your customers can expect, let’s not forget that you can’t do a grade A job with grade B materials. If you work in the construction industry, for example you know that you wouldn’t compromise on materials or make rush decisions when building the foundations of your project. You’d go to HelitechCCD.com and invest what you had to in materials that are right for the job. Otherwise, the whole thing could come tumbling down and take your reputation with it. Whether you’re in construction, catering or content the principal remains the same.

Spending too much time “at the coalface” and too little time on strategy

Entrepreneurs tend to have a proactive and hard working nature and when they see their employees struggling, their first instinct is to roll up your sleeves and join them at the coalface. But while noble in its intentions, this approach can be counterproductive in a number of ways. It can make your employees dependant on you at best or at worst turn you into the kind of relentless micromanager that employees hate to work for. Moreover, this is rarely the best place for you to invest your time and efforts. As the CEO of your business, your time is better spend in your office, concentrating on the strategic running of your business rather than day to day operations. It’s your responsibility to analyze your performance metrics and use them to influence your operational strategy month by month.

Having a resistant approach to new technology

Technology these days moves at a blistering pace. Investing in your technological infrastructure is rarely cheap and often requires an investment not only of capital but of time and effort as you and your employees get to grips with the software and hardware that your business needs to succeed. Thus, when equilibrium is achieved between a business and its tech, it can be extremely tempting to resist technological change. But technological change is an inevitable part of doing business in the 21st century. You need to maintain an agile approach to tech and be prepared to throw out the rulebook when a technological advancement necessitates an overhaul of your operations. If you resist technological change you could end up a dinosaur in your industry, like Blockbuster video in the age of Netflix. If this involves a prohibitively expensive overhaul of your IT or tech infrastructure, you may wish to consider outsourcing your IT operations. Not only will it insulate you from a lot of the cost of staying current, but your tech solutions can be scaled up as your business grows.

copetition

Image by Flickr

Failing to keep an eye on the competition

As important as it is to stay ahead of the curve, keeping your eyes too closely on your own work can be counterproductive. Your business does not operate in a vacuum and competitor analysis is an essential component of any sound business strategy. If your competitors offer something you don’t, run a promotion that you don’t or offer the same services at a price you can’t match you can’t assume that your customers will remain loyal to you.

Steer clear of these common pitfalls of first year businesses, however, and you stand every chance of laying a firm foundation for success.

 

 

 

 

Even The Smallest Side Hustle Has A Chance To Be Great!

There was a time when the idea of starting a business was reserved pretty much exclusively for those who were already well established or, at the very least, had a great deal of money to throw around. This was because a business usually needed premises, employees, infrastructure networks, and a whole host of other things. And sure, that’s all still very important to a lot of businesses, but the reality is that thanks to the rise of the internet, there’s been a pretty radical shift in the possibilities for smaller businesses. Now, all you really need to start your own business is a computer, a great idea, and the drive to make it happen.

Get online

If you want to start your own business and you don’t have huge amounts of money or power to throw around, then there’s only one place for you to go: the internet. The internet really has revolutionised the process of starting and running businesses in a way that no one could have predicted. Whether you want to become a freelance copywriter, you want to set up a retail store, or you simply want to promote a crafts business that you run out of your home, all of these things can be done online. With little more than some cheap online hosting a decent knowledge of web design, an understanding of social media marketing for franchises, and a few simple resources, you can create your own business in a matter of days. Sure, it’s going to take much longer than that to actually get it off the ground, but the barrier to entry really is that much lower now.

Crowdfunding

For a long time, if you wanted to get some capital for your business then you had to either sink a great deal of your own money into it or go courting investors. Both of these were perfectly viable strategies but they did come with their fair share of drawbacks. The first being that, if you didn’t have money to put into the business in the first place, you were kind of stuck. The other being that, if you wanted an investor’s money, you often had to give up a certain degree of control in your business up in exchange. Now, thanks to things sites like Kickstarter, you can fund your business with the help of your customers. Customers can donate to you in exchange for treats and bonuses which can help you finally get your business the funding that it needs.

Free marketing

Of course, however important funding is to any business, there are plenty of ways in which the internet has made things far cheaper. One of the best examples of this is marketing. Thanks to social media, it’s never been easier or cheaper to reach a huge potential audience. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are totally free and give you access to the kind of potential customer base that businesses in the past could only have dreamt of.

Sure, there are always going to be roadblocks in the way of creating a successful business, but in the modern era, it’s now more possible than ever before for people to start businesses that can become incredibly successful with only limited resources.