7 Foolproof Agility Factors That Accelerate Growth

Having a plan to help speed up your business operations and improve the overall functionality of your business is vital to getting a sizeable amount of growth and allowing a business to not only succeed but to also become the leader in your particular industry. You can always consider financing options like the business factoring, credit line financing etc. from trusted loan providers for a smooth business cash flow, but sticking to the predefined budget always helps. So what are some of the things that you need to consider when it comes to increasing speed and becoming more and more productive?

The following are some of the tips that the industry leaders use in their operations to become better at what they do.

Learn the Word No and Use it on a Regular Basis

It is okay for you to say no and to do so on a regular basis. Many people think that the word no is an evil word and that if they tell someone no that there will be some sort of fallout from it. The simple truth is that it is okay for you to not always feel like you have to say yes when you are asked to do something. Just because someone comes up with a particular idea does not mean you have to go with it. Learn to trust your gut a lot more and you will be just fine.

Set a goal that is your #1 goal

It is vital that you have a goal that is your biggest point. Too often a person will feel that they have to give equal attention to all of their goals. This is not the case, it is acceptable for you to simply find one goal and let that be the centre of your main focus. This will help you to not find yourself wandering all over the board with a variety of ideas. This allows you to stay focused on one single idea and avoids you taking away your focus for other ideas and projects. It may take a little time for you to look at all of the goals that you have, but you will need to narrow these down to a single one.

Don’t hesitate to become a partnership expert

If you feel that there is no real advantage to this, then simply look at Google and where they are as compared to where they were in 2005. This has come from the fact that they are willing to partner with other companies. The same can be said when talking about Amazon. These are companies that showed a willingness for them to partner with other companies to help and better their standing as well as help them to become more of a household name. the more partnerships that you build, then the stronger of a bond you will have in the business world. Taking a chance and building a partnership will go a long way in helping you to be in a better position with your business.

Take the time to create prototypes

It will be tempting to want to just get a product out to the public. This needs to be avoided and you need to make sure that you take the time to create test products that will allow any flaws to be seen before you send the final product out for people to buy. This is generally a great time for all of the bugs to be worked out and help you and your testers to see where some improvements can be made with your product. This may take a little more time for you to get things out to the public, but in the end, it will lead to you not having to send things back to the drawing board to fix any issues that were not discovered due to a lack of a test product.

Eliminate the budget from last year

Many people think that if they simply use the same budget that they had the previous year that everything will work out perfectly. That is a thought that needs to be left in the past as companies have budgets that swell and shrink based on their particular needs. If you are simply trying to use the budget from last year, you may discover that you are not able to get the same level of results as you had hoped. Understand that what worked last year may not be as valuable in the next year. You may even get to the point that you discover that you don’t need nearly as much as you did last year and can roll the savings over into another project or the next year’s budget.

End the use of a three-year plan

Planning is a good thing, but you need to also look at the fact that these three-year plans are not nearly as useful as they once were. Plans change and if you8 are locked on a three-year plan, then you will discover that this plan of action will not allow for you to make any concessions and your plans will be up in smoke before you even were able to get them going. A quarter by a quarter plan is a lot more effective and tends to have a lot better results.

Focus more on speed than you do costs

Those that look at the speed of their business as opposed to the costs will see that there is a big difference and this will generally lead to there being a small advantage to them being fast as opposed to cost mindful. There will be a lot of room for you to adapt and adjust this mindset if it is not working as well as you had hoped.

All of these ideas and tips are able to make a huge difference. No matter if you use just one of these or adopt all of them, you will see a drastic change in your business and see for yourself that the more effective you are, then the faster that you will be and the bigger growth you will experience.

The Reality of Hiring a Consultant for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you probably like to be involved with every aspect of your business, from the mundane to the most critical tasks. Hiring employees is one step to getting help for your business, but there may be some problems outside your and your employees’ knowledgeable scope.

Perhaps you need the help of more specific professionals — which is the void a consultant can handily fill. Still, you find yourself wondering if you really need a consultant, and if paying them would be worth the knowledge and skills they bring to the table. As a small business owner, you have to learn when to ask for — and find — cost-effective help.

Do You Really Need a Consultant?

Consultants come in a variety of flavors with different niche skill sets to potentially suit your needs. Trying to figure out if you need someone’s specific experience to help your business might be as easy as asking yourself a few questions.

First, make sure you’ve done all the research on the subject you could. If information was beyond your grasp or unavailable, reaching out for paid help might be the way to go. Second, focus on the job you want them to bring to your business. Is this skill something you or an employee can learn in a few days or weeks, or is this an area that takes years to master? If the funds are available, but the skill set isn’t, a consultant may be exactly what you need.

What Does a Consultant Do?

A consultant is an outside expert you hire through an agreed-upon contract to help your business. The consultant is independent of your company, so they keep to their own schedule and may have more clients than just you at one time. You might even hire a consulting team, rather than one person.

There are many different types of consultants for different jobs. Some of the most commonly used consultants work in accounting, IT, human resources and legal services, each able to bring a new and better direction for your business.

There is a general process for every consulting project. The pre-consulting phase is before the work starts, where you and the expert discuss terms and come to an agreement. The consulting period consists of discovery, research and the final presentation for your business. Lastly, the post-consulting phase is where you may choose to extend the agreement or implement your own.

Find a Consultant

Finding a consultant for your specific needs may be easier than you think. You have to know what you need from the hired expert. Searching through friends, business partners and online are sure ways to find the person you need. However, you need to make sure they fit the role. They should be fluent in data modeling, in addition to an ability to connect information from seemingly random sources, also known as dot-to-dot literacy.

An ideal consultant is someone who has experience as a coach and a fellow small business owner to relate to the process. Coaching skills are important so they can take action and get involved with your employees. You can also check their LinkedIn profile for testimonials and recommendations if you’re still in any doubt.

While looking around for a consultant, you may run into a lot of contractors and need to know the difference between the two. Both are temporary experts hired via a contract, but a consultant works outside the business, while a contractor is an internal component. Knowing the difference can keep you from hiring the wrong job title, especially if you’re in the market for a contractor instead.

Payment and Budget

Typically, your consultant is going to work with you for about three to six months, with the open option to renew the contract. The pre-consulting phase is the time where you talk to the expert you’re wanting to hire to hash out pay, time and your budget. An important bit of advice is to remember value determines price, not any pre-set rules.

However, on average, expect the price to be anywhere from $150 to $10,000 an hour, with projects ranging from $1,000 to $250,000. Here is where you have to find your budget. Once you discover how much the expert help is worth to you and how much you can afford, the rest should be easier. Figure out your sales percentages and where you need them to be, versus what you’re willing to pay the expert, and discuss your options with them personally.

What’s Best for Your Business

A consultant will be an expensive add-on to your business either way if you discover you need the help. However, the reward can easily outweigh the cost. Decide what you want the future of your business to look like, and explore all the avenues to get you there. A consultant may be expensive, and hiring one could be a process, but they could bring your business to new heights you likely hadn’t imagined before.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

 

5 Ways To Make Sure Your Next Project Succeeds

Trying to get an idea off the ground can be tough. It’s not always easy for you to know what you’re doing wrong, or what processes you need to put in place in order for things to work out. However, you will know that you want to work with a few solutions that are likely to help you to succeed. To do this, you need to have the right knowledge. No matter what your small business does or the industry you work in, if you go in blind to a project, you’ll find it difficult to get yourself to the right levels of success in time. To help you get on the right path, you’ll find that there are five tools that can help you. So let’s take a look at what they are.

  1. Set Goals

To get yourself started off on the right foot, you need to set goals. In this post on www.CodeOfLiving.com, you’ll find out all about the power of goal setting. But in short, when you write down your goals, you start to think about what you need to do to make them happen and visualize where you want to be. This is going to help you to create an overall plan for the project and start it successfully right off the bat.

  1. Make A Loose Plan

Planning is a key part of finding success, but you can’t always plan out an entire process to a t. You’ll often find that you have hiccups along the way, and trying to force yourself to a structured plan can make things feel out of control. Instead, when you have a loose plan, you’re a little more fluid about what’s going to happen. Your plan should be there to guide you, not restrict you. Then having the ability to adapt and adjust is what will help you to find success.

  1. Quality Control

Any project that you try to rush or cut corners with is going to have a hard time doing well. However, when you focus on working in quality control and being rigorous with how you operate, you’ll enjoy more success. So make sure you bring in the right services, such as www.CochranEng.com, to help you stay on track throughout the project. When you’re checking for quality and looking to go about things in the best way possible, you’ll find that your end product is of the best possible quality too.

  1. Budget Properly

Budgeting is going to be successful if you want to make enough money on your next project. This can take a bit of getting used to, but if you want to ensure that you do generate profit, you’ll want to be overly cautious with your budget, just in case.

  1. Forecast Your Timings

Finally, you’re also going to want to get your timeline right. Building a timeline as www.LucidChart.com shows is essential for success. If you get this wrong, it could cost you your profit. So you need to be able to get an accurate timeline in place that you are going to be able to successfully stick to and see play out.

How to Choose the Right Work Laptops for Your Business

Most modern-day businesses require owners to get a laptop for each of their team members. If this is the case with you, putting some extra effort into finding the right work laptops is a good idea. However, with so many laptops and deals offered by tech stores, choosing work laptops for your business can be overwhelming. However, with some help, you should be able to make the right decision and provide our employees with the machines they need for their work. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at our guide for choosing the right work laptops for your business.

Figure out your budget

There’s no need to say that your budget plays a significant role in choosing the right work laptops. Fails to figure out your budget before you start shopping for laptops and chances are you’ll end up overspending. On the other, you don’t want to go for the cheapest laptops out there since they’ll probably cause your team members a lot of problems. The key here is to figure out how much you can spend and stick to it when choosing your laptops.

Depending on how much money you’re working with, there are different laptops you can consider buying. For example, if you realize that you simply can’t afford to buy top-notch laptops for your employees, you might want to stick to cheaper machines. Just bear in mind that this means your employees will have limited storage and slow performance. We recommend buying such laptops only if your employees will use them for nothing but browsing the web. But if you’re able to spend more on your work laptops, you’ll be able to get more powerful models that’ll suit all of your employees’ computer needs.

Compare the important specs

Of course, you’ll need to take a closer look at the specs of every laptop model you seem to like. It’s critical that you go for the laptops that fit all of your employees’ needs.

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First of all, there’s CPU. The quality of your laptops’ processor has a huge impact on how usable they are. This means you’ll probably want to go for midrange or high-end CPUs, which means Intel Core i5 and i7 processors are something you just can’t go wrong with.

Opting for a laptop with enough memory and storage is extremely important. Still, this is also where you’ll first want to think about what your employees are going to need. For example, if Microsoft Word is the only thing they’ll need to use, 2B RAM laptops might be enough. However, it’s always a good idea to go for laptops with 4GB RAM or more.

Another thing to have in mind when choosing your work laptops for your business is battery life. No matter what kind of work you do, you’ll probably want laptops with long battery life that can be used on the road. This means that opting for laptops such as Lenovo X1 laptop with 11-hour battery life is a smart move.

Choose the right operating system

Another important decision you’ll have to make is which operating system you’ll want your employees to use. It’s recommended that you stick with the same operating system for each of your new laptops since you’ll want every employee to be able to use each of our new work laptops. Therefore, when buying you’ll want to choose between laptops that are run on two most popular operating systems out there – Apple OS X and Windows OS.

Apple OS X is something many business owners decide to go for. This is the case because there are plenty of die-hard Apple fans who’re willing to pay more to get a beautiful interface. While Apple OS X-run laptops are a great option, bear in mind that they usually carry hefty price tags.

Windows OS is the standard option for small businesses. Not only that going for Windows means there are more laptops to choose from, but it also guarantees you all of your employees will know how to use them. On top of this, Windows machines are available in every configuration possible which means you’ll be able to find laptops that fit into your budget easily.

Go for the right design

When choosing work laptops, you’ll also want to go for the right design. This is especially the case if it’s in the nature of your business for your employees to spend multiple hours in front of the screen. Therefore, going for laptops with a comfortable keyboard is your safest bet. Larger keyboards are your safest bet since typing on a miniature keyboard can be very tiresome.

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Portability is another aspect of your work laptops that you’ll want to have in mind when choosing your work laptops. If your employees spend a lot of time traveling, going for smaller and more portable laptops is recommended. So, make sure you check the dimensions and weight of every laptop model you like before you make any final decisions.

New hybrid laptops are constantly gaining more popularity. Basically, these machines can work as a laptop and as a tablet, depending on what your employees need at that point in time. Again, we recommend thinking about how your employees are going to use the laptop and determine whether they might need a hybrid laptop or not.

Purchase your work laptops

Once you’ve narrowed down your choice, it’s finally time to make your final decision on which work laptops you should go for. If you’re still unsure which laptops you should go for, you can always take some extra time to read reviews online and put more time into comparing specs.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

Battle of the Marketing Strategies: Promotional Products vs. Traditional Advertising

Traditional forms of marketing have been around for a long period of time. As times changed, so have the methods of marketing, with digital marketing taking over the market. Now another new form of marketing that is gaining popularity is marketing using promotional products. 

Promotional giveaways through social media or at conferences are bringing in impressive business and thus are proving to be a better form of marketing than the traditional forms of marketing. Promotional items usually focus on your brand and do not distract the focus of customers. On top of that, it displays the brand logo and name clearly, etching its memory in the mind of your customers.

  • WHICH IS A BETTER INVESTMENT: PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS OR TRADITIONAL ADVERTISEMENT?

One of the most powerful terms in marketing is the ROI or Return On Investment. The modern age of communications is making the traditional forms of marketing something of a bygone era. Brands can now get associated with their customers first hand, which cannot be possible through traditional forms of marketing. Here are some pointers, which prove that promotional products are much better than traditional advertisement:

  1. Budget:

It does not matter how big your business is, but one thing common for all businesses is the budget. The budget will dictate in what type of marketing option you are considering to invest. Even if you are a huge business or brand, would it not be a good idea to invest less in advertisement and more in other sectors?

This would be possible with promotional products, as investment in promotional merchandise is much less than a minimal traditional advertisement. If your business is a start-up or a small one, then promotional items will definitely be the better marketing strategy.

  1. Length of Exposure:

Any advertisement, whether on a billboard or television and even the radio can hold the clients attention for a few minutes at the most. A promotional item, on the other hand will be able to hold the attention of your clients till the time they continue to use the merchandise and even after that.

Promotional products are usually daily use items that people will not throw away easily. As they continue using the merchandise with your brand logo and name, it will stay in their mind. It will also reach a larger group of people, as colleagues, friends and family get to see the promotional product and feel inclined to become associated with your brand.

It is basically a portable billboard that carries your brand name wherever it goes. This will offer continued exposure for your brand, which would not have been possible with traditional forms of marketing.

  1. Smaller, but Efficient Reach:

Using promotional items as part of your marketing strategy might not be able to reach a larger audience, as is the case for traditional marketing forms. Promotional items will, however, help you reach out to an audience that is interested in your brand and not the general mass who do not connect with the brand. This ultimately helps enhance the ROI, which can bring in monetary benefits for the business.

A traditional advertisement does not offer a face to face connection with the brand, which may alienate some customer towards the brand, whereas for promotional products the customers get a face to face interaction with you and your brand. This also plays an important role in targeting and achieving customer conversion as well as retention.

  • IS PROMOTIONAL MERCHANDISE TRULY WORTH YOUR RESOURCES AS AN EFFICIENT MARKETING STRATEGY?

As a business owner, you must have a simple goal: To let your brand reach millions.

This can be possible with all forms of marketing, but then come the other factors that help you take the decision like cost. Promotional products are of high quality, but do not cost too heavy on your pockets unlike traditional marketing.

Apart from that, promotional merchandise has a huge impact on a targeted audience, which converts into better ROI. Thus, investing in promotional items as your marketing strategy is definitely a brilliant and better idea. 

Author Bio : Jason possesses wealth of experience in the promotional merchandise industry as well as expertise to handle various aspects of the merchandising process, right from conceptualising branded merchandise to integrating them on global supply chains.

Is Your Business a Budgeting Success or Nightmare?

As a small business owner, you are in an especially precarious situation with regard to cash flow and budgeting.

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As you know, it never pays to bury your head in the sand when it comes to finances. If you haven’t been paying enough attention to your business budgeting, it’s definitely time to start now.

Here are some issues you might be facing, along with strategic ways to handle them….

 

Running Out of Cash Before the End of the Month

This is a classic symptom of poor cash flow. If you’re consistently running out of cash before the end of the month, it’s likely that at the beginning of each month, you’re playing catch up on the bills you couldn’t pay last month.

This in turn will leave you short for the current month.

It’s a vicious cycle that will repeat endlessly unless you’re able to pay your bills ahead instead of in arrears.

Though the answer is counter-intuitive, the answer is to borrow money.

Borrowing money will enable you to pay your bills forward, protect your credit, and give you some breathing room while you figure out a way to increase your business income permanently.

Your Loan Selection Does Matter

The type of loan you get matters.

Instead of going for a no-credit loan that gets repaid with future business receipts, try going for either a collateral loan, or a personal loan based on your income.

No-credit loans repaid with receipts are fine for some purposes, but in this case, the repayment style would defeat your purpose.

A personal loan or collateral loan is repaid in the traditional way, with payments coming out of your business checking account each month, which is what you want.

For more about personal loan options, check out this article about 9 methods for budgeting success.

You Need Help but Can’t Afford More Payroll

Payroll is an expensive liability when you consider that you have to undertake a long-term commitment, plus manage payroll taxes and possibly health insurance. If you’re already having budgeting problems, you’re better off not hiring anyone right now.

A better strategy is to hire out work on as as-need basis to subcontractors.

Subcontractors are not your employees, so you aren’t responsible for insurance or payroll taxes.

You simply agree on a price for a specific task, and when it’s done to your satisfaction, you issue payment.

You can find subcontractors online at places like ODesk or Elance, or you can call local businesses to see if they have workers available for contract work.

Some ways you can use subcontractors are:

  • Accounting
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Virtual Assistants
  • Drivers

Basically, anything you might need for your business, you can probably find someone to do for you on a contract basis.

Stop waking up in the middle of the night with budgeting nightmares.

Use these strategies to take control of your business finances once and for all.

About the Author: Kate Supino is a successful small business owner and expert on best business practices.

These U.S. Manufacturers’ Know How to Budget

Staying on budget is one of the most important aspects of any business and there are plenty of manufacturing companies that put their budgets first.

shutterstock_113492155If your business is in need of some budgeting inspiration, it needs to look no further than manufacturers in the United States.

With well-built budgeting in mind, here are a handful of manufacturing companies that really know how to budget….

Manufacturers Spending Wisely

No matter how large or small, manufacturing companies of all sizes have to keep their budgets on track.

As the government increases taxes and healthcare costs for major U.S. manufacturers, budgetary concerns become even more critical.

Here are just a few ways some manufacturers are dealing with their finances:

  • American Standard – American Standard Brands is a major manufacturer of toilets, sinks, and other plumbing products. To keep their budgeting on track, the company cuts back on production if and when sales drop from one quarter to the next.
  • Superior Products LLC – The natural gas fittings and regulators manufacturer Superior Products LLC budgets wisely by keeping track of its exporting practicing. They bulk ship items across seas and hold off on importing supplies until they have a full order, which cuts down on shipping costs.
  • Boeing Corporation – Even Boeing, manufacturer of commercial airliners, is cutting back in order to stay within budget. Instead of moving forward with their multi-billion dollar 787 Dreamliner project, they are putting it on the backburner until equipment and supplies costs drop.
  • Navistar International – Navistar International manufactures military trucks and engine parts. Most of their business comes from Department of Defense contracts and, whenever these contracts slow, Navistar pulls back on production in order to keep its budget in the black.

Budgeting Tips

Although your business might not manufacturer airplanes or plumbing parts, there are some lessons you can learn from major manufacturers when it comes to budgeting. From cutting back to keeping an eye on the numbers, a healthy budget is attainable even in this tough economic climate.

As the following article shows, the two most important budgetary tips you should follow are to keep track of your finances with a free budget template and stay vigilant with the numbers. Budgeting with a template is a helpful way to track your expenses and pinpoint financial issues when they arise.

Likewise, staying hyper vigilant of your business’s numbers is also crucial.

Budgeting once or twice a week instead of once a month is the best approach to take. When your expenses and earnings are always in the spotlight, you’ll have an easier time staying within budget.

Make Your Budget a Reality

From the biggest manufacturers’ to the smallest, run the numbers, see what’s possible, and aim for that financial goal. If you’re doing better than expected, you can adjust your budget accordingly.

However, if you continuously fail to stay within budget, you need to reassess and possibly make some cutbacks like the major manufacturers above.

When it comes to budgeting, your business can definitely learn a thing of two from many U.S. manufacturing companies.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including budgeting and small business.

Thanks to Nelly Sheina for sharing some additional resources:

Budget Templates for Excel

Budget Templates from Dotxes