Every Bit Counts: 5 Areas to Focus on to Improve Your Whole Business

Every business needs a little boost here and there with the success of a business often focused on the ability of a manager to see and reach their potential. A number of areas can be identified which are important for the future of a business, including the purchasing of new equipment and having faith in employees.

Trusting Your Employees

One of the most common areas of concern for a new manager or entrepreneur is entrusting the vision they have for their business to a group of employees. New managers and those responsible for establishing a business often feel they have to micromanage their employees to get the best results, but having faith in those you employ can result in new ideas and options for success in the future.

Take a Look at Your Current Situation

If you are looking to improve your entire business it is clear you believe new ideas are needed for the future of your career. The first step in understanding how to improve your business is to begin working to analyze every department of your business and begin understanding what is working and what is not. Analytics and the use of artificial intelligence in every industrial sector are changing the way business is being done around the world.

Use New Equipment to Improve Efficiency

A business can only work as well as the employees and equipment in place, which means outdated technology can cause major issues in any company. Small Business reports a Microsoft survey revealed millennials cite outdated equipment as the main problem with completing their work in a successful way. In many industries, the latest equipment is a requirement to reach business goals. For example, bakers need a lot of equipment. As technology advances they’ll need to update equipment. Therefore, they’ll need to find trustworthy companies to be their oven and industrial mixer suppliers.

Appearance Is an Important Part of Any Business

If you are involved in a business where clients regularly visit your office the first impression you make is always important. A clean, technologically up-to-date office space is vital to impressing existing and potential clients who will be important to the future success of your business. However, don’t fall into the trap of being something you’re not. For example, if your company boasts family-friendly services, a cozier atmosphere is probably the way to go.

Set out Clear Goals

The goals your business hopes to reach are an important part of your business and allows every member of your team to work together to achieve your stated aims. Making sure every member of your team understands the goals you have set out is important and should include a system for reviewing and addressing how successful your business has been.

Alongside making sure your business has the right equipment and tools to complete your stated aims, it is important to make sure you are clearly communicating your goals to your team. Addressing your goals and making sure they are being reached should form part of the culture of businesses of all sizes.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

4 Ways to Put an End to Your Debt

We have strong impulses that can quickly get us in trouble, and that’s a fact. Probably the strongest is the impulse to spend money – too much money. Sometimes it’s just a stupid thing, like relying too much on the power of our credit cards, but you don’t have to be reckless to end up in large debt.  Borrowing money has become a pretty normal thing in every grownup’s life – in this capitalistic society it may be the only way to get things we want or even really need. You’d say that there’d be a great debt awareness by now, but that’s not always the case. Even when it is, not many people are prepared for the unexpected that can take many forms – childbirth, lost job, an accident, etc. All these life-altering experiences will also quickly alter your finances and prevent you from paying back your loans on time.

Even if you lead a pretty steady life and are punctual with your repayments, their end may seem far out of reach. You’d want to pay off your loans faster and be done with it, but coming up with enough money seems impossible. That’s how you get accustomed to your debt. If you’ve signed a loan to finance your business you might expect that the growth of that business will take care of the repayments. But nothing can grow in financial shackles – not your business, not your life. And you’re the only one who can break from them. Poor financial decisions can be overcome with the right ones, and debt can become a thing of the past.

1. Make it a Priority

This is the worst thing about debts – the bigger they get, the less we want to look at them. You might say that you’d rather live your life than deal with numbers all the time, but there’s not much life in the situation where you’re running in circles. If you want to find the way out you need to look the numbers straight in the eye. It is actually a pretty obvious move and a really simple one. All you need is a Google Spreadsheet or a piece of paper if you’re a pen person. First, you need to visit the websites of each financial institution you have a debt to. Then simply copy down all balances along with their respective APRs, exactly as they appear – and pay special attention to your minimum payments for every account. Only after you track down all your debts this way you’ll know how much exactly do you owe and that is the road to getting rid of it.

2. Set Goals Along The Way

Knowing the exact amount you need to pay back can be overwhelming even for the most goal-oriented person, so the best way to go is to break it. Once your debt is in the form of manageable parts it won’t be scary anymore, and every small victory will provide you with more determination. The first thing you need to do is to assess how much money can you set aside for monthly repayments since that will shape your periodic goals. It will also provide you with a rough estimate of how long it will take you to get out, eliminating the factor of a neverending financial nightmare. To make these goals even stronger and boost your motivation, try to negotiate a lower interest rate with your creditors. Most people think that this possibility of interest rate reduction is a fairytale, but if you’ve done your homework on comprehensive credit reporting you should know better.  And now you have a bigger monthly repayment budget.

3. Catch The Big Fish First

When you have a clear list of debts in front of you it might be difficult to figure out where to start and decide on debt payment portion. Most people decide to pay balances low to high, not thinking about interest rates. It is understandable to try to keep your money, but that way you’ll do quite the opposite. If you’ve succeeded in reducing your interest rates you might be encouraged to take this road, but this should actually serve as a motivation to attack the debt with the highest interest rate and continue with the buildup of your budget. Debt is probably the only area in life where working your way down will get you much quicker above the surface. So you need to focus on the big fish you wish to eliminate first, making the minimum payment on other accounts. Then simply pass onto the next debt on the list, adding the money you’ve freed up to the minimum payment. People call this the snowball method, but once you try it it will seem more like a cleansing avalanche.

4. Balance Your Work And Savings

It is obvious that you’re gonna need to work more to pay off your debt faster. People go at great lengths, working overtime, taking second jobs, babysitting in their free time, etc. Although this is a very responsible thing to do, it could take you to the extreme where you’ll make your final payment in the nuthouse. That’s why it’s important to find the perfect balance between your work and savings. Yes, but you’ve thrown your complete savings on that big fish we’ve talked about above. Well, there are other ways to save up without working your ass off. It is just the question of how you look at the money. You have your bonuses, tax returns, birthday and wedding gifts, don’t you? Instead of treating that indirect income as a reward which you’ll use to buy you something nice, apply it directly at your debt.

But this windfall money is still not the only way to save up. You can downsize, for start. You have a shiny new car in your driveway, but you also have debt. So trade it for something cheap and you’ve saved up. Do the same with all your ʽtoysʼ – there’ll be plenty of time to play once you’re out of your debt. Once you’re out of big-ticket items that don’t mean your race is run. Every house or apartment is full of things we’re never gonna need, and yours is not an exception. And there are many people who do need (or think they need) that stuff, so it’s time for a garage sale.

In the end, you’ll save up by careful spending. Start with your utility bills. It’s pointless to pay for cable if you only watch Netflix, right? Then take a look at your fridge. Do you really eat all that? How about planning your meals? Maybe you can walk to the store instead of calling delivery every time? When you go shopping, leave your credit cards at home – handing cash will always remind you that you have to save up.

There you have it – looking your debt straight in the eye and breaking it down into manageable pieces it’s already half of the work done. It will boost your motivation to work harder and determination to keep the cash flow in the right direction.

Guest author Lucas is a business consultant with a passion for writing. Doing his research, exploring and writing are his favorite things to do. Besides that, he loves playing his guitar, hiking and traveling.

Using The Laws of Attraction in Your Business Journey

Applying the laws of attraction to your business might seem like a little bit of hoodoo. However, the chances are you have always, in one way or another, dreamed about what you want to do for your career. Where you would like to live. What you see yourself doing finally. If you’re not familiar with the laws of attractions then this is your quick summary:

The Law Of Attraction is the belief that your negative or positive thought will bring the same experiences into your life. For example, if you a constantly in a negative mindset, and talk negatively about others, or always see why you cannot do something – then that is what you will keep getting.

So when it comes to business, thinking positively can change everything for you. Of course, no one is suggesting that positive thought will pay off your creditors for you, but seeing it in a positive light will make it feel very different. Similarly, when driving, you don’t drive around assuming you might need a car accident lawyer, and then suddenly you need one. It is a little deeper than that.

Goal-Digger

When it comes to setting goals, it isn’t enough to say ‘I want to be a millionaire.’ You need to drill that down. How do you want to make that million? What steps will you need to take in the next few years to make that happen? What are the actions that you will take part in to ensure that you are on the right path?

You need to focus solely on the goal, and the positive way you’re going to get there. It is very easy to fall into the negative mindset and only see setbacks. That has the effect that you will focus so much on them, you will achieve them instead. The very opposite of what you wanted to do.

Keep Your Path High

Have you ever met that person who walks around being negative all day? And they really crush your happy bubble. Then, after you leave them, you are also feeling a bit negative? It is a ripple effect that can keep going. So your job is to ‘vibrate higher.’ Think about everything you throw out into the world coming right back to you like a bouncy ball. Think about the joy you’re going to get from running your own enterprise, or the difference it will make to your family. Focus on the positives. Work with positive people.

Intuition

The Law of Attraction focuses heavily on following your hunches. The basic principle here is that your intuition will be signs from the universe that you are on the right/wrong path and you can adjust accordingly. But, you are also meant to do this intentionally. So if you feel something isn’t working, look at why, how you can change it and move forward.

Using some of The Laws of Attraction you can create your ideal business environment and apply some of the theories and fully immerse yourself in the journey that you have mapped out before you, with a little support from the universe.

5 Big Mistakes No Successful Entrepreneur Will Make Again

It may seem like some of the biggest companies out there are being run by people who know everything about the business world. While they may know a lot about it, it doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. In fact, almost every entrepreneur has made at least one mistake in their career. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake as long as you learn something from it. And if you don’t want to learn from your own mistakes but you’d rather learn from other entrepreneur’s experiences, make sure you read on.

Not using social media

There’s no need to say that social media is huge right now. Just in New Zealand, there are 3.5 million active social media users and we can expect this number to grow in the future. However, some entrepreneurs believe using social media is a waste of time and decide not to create social media presence for their business. This is definitely something you don’t want to do, especially because people now often turn to social media search when looking for a product or service. In order to make sure everyone can reach you, you need to create pages on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and use them on a daily basis to communicate with your customers directly.

Forgetting to pay themselves

Many rookie entrepreneurs get so excited about running their own business that they completely forget about paying themselves. Even if they do remember to do so, they often decide not to do it in order to leave more money for their company to work with. This can seem like an amazing idea at first but it can seriously hurt both your personal and business finances. If you don’t pay yourself, you’ll soon find yourself with no money on your bank account. Also, you won’t get a clear picture of how well your business is doing and doing your taxes will be more difficult. Those who decided not to pay themselves have learned the hard way that they deserve to receive a paycheck for all their hard work.

Not being formal enough

Running a business is a serious task and only those who take it that way will be able to succeed. That being said, you should try to be formal whenever you get the chance. Let’s say you’re responding to a negative comment from a customer. Instead of arguing with them, you should try to be as formal and polite as possible. This will show your customers that you care about what they have to say, which can be a big plus for your company. When meeting a business partner, renting a vehicle from companies such as Avis Car Rental is a good idea as it makes you look more professional and helps you bring your A-game to the meeting.

Setting unattainable goals

Running your own business sure is great and just like most entrepreneurs out there, you dream of conquering it all. While dreaming big is an important part of success, you can’t just expect your business to do exceptionally well from day one. Many entrepreneurs end up setting unattainable goals for their business right from the start which ends up affecting their operations. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, you need to be extra careful when setting goals for your business. It’s important to start small and adjust your goals as your business grows. We recommend putting your goals in writing so that you could review them every once in a while and make any necessary adjustments.

Taking everyone’s advice

The business world is full of “gurus” who believe they’re the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Ellison. Those people will often give you advice in order to help you grow your business. Taking everything they say seriously is a good idea and it could help you take your business to the next level. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do everything they advise you to do. Instead, you need to rely on your own knowledge and instincts. Therefore, every time you need to make an important business decision, you should think about what you want to do and only then listen to what other people have to say. Many of those who’ve taken every piece of advice they’ve got ended up failing even before they got a chance to show what they can do.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Make sure you don’t make these 5 mistakes and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Even when something goes wrong, fix it as quickly as possible and try to learn something from it.

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in latest business news and new social media trends. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

7 Ways To Get Your Business Organized and Ready for An Incredible 2019 Start

With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to organise yourself for the year ahead. The last few months of a year are incredibly important to business owners as things start to quieten down, it’s the perfect opportunity to focus on what the next year will look like for you.

To help you have an incredible start to 2019, here are 7 ways to get your business organized and ready for the new year:

  1. Organize Your Business Space

Whether you work from home or have an office space, organizing this area is a great way to refresh both your business and your mind. Clear out the things you don’t need, make space for new files and folders and make sure everything is ready for the new year. Of course, this also includes treating yourself to some fabulous new stationary.

  1. Tie Up Any Loose Ends

Whilst it’s not one of the most important things you can do, tieing up any loose ends will make you feel more organized going into 2019. Chase any unpaid invoices and reply to all your emails, you’ll feel much better for it.

  • Clear Out and Organize Your Computer

An organized computer makes for an organized mind! Taking the time to clear out any unwanted files and apps can make the world of difference when it comes to your computer’s speed. If you’re looking to remove apps from your Mac, you can learn how to do it here

  • Buy Yourself A New Planner

Planners are essential for business owners, even those who do most of their work online. With the option to plan your year ahead, focus on each day individually or look at things week by week – a planner is vital when it comes to keeping yourself organized throughout the entire year, not just the beginning.

  • Set Your 2019 Goals

Goal setting is important and with just a few weeks to go until 2019 begins, it’s important to ensure you know what it is you want to achieve within your business throughout 2019. Whether you set year-long goals, monthly goals or smaller, individual goals you’d like to hit. To learn more about goal setting, you can visit the MindTools website here.

  • Commit To A Schedule

If you noticed that you struggled to stick to a work schedule in 2018, take the time to put together a new work schedule that you think you’ll be able to stick to. Look at where you think you struggled and try to come up with a schedule that will resolve these issues, making 2019 your best year yet.

  • Mark Key Events On Your Calendar

Whether you use a physical planner or a virtual one, marking those important dates on it early will help you visualise how your year is going to look. Note down events, key holidays and anything else you think might be important to your business.

How will you be preparing yourself for the new year? Let us know in the comments below!

Keeping Remote Employees Happy And Productive

Keeping your online team happy, engaged, and productive doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, two-thirds of managers say their employees actually become more productive once they go remote, SurePayroll reveals. Being in control of their own schedule — and eliminating the daily commute — gives remote employees more time and flexibility, which increases motivation and productivity. However, remote teams still require conscientious management. You want them to feel valued and part of the team even though they’re not on-site. With the following tips, you can cultivate a happy, engaged, and successful online team.

Communicate effectively

Communication is key in every aspect of business — and online teams are no exception. In fact, poor communication is one of the prime reasons employees get frustrated in their jobs. It also leads to feelings of isolation which means employees are less likely to contribute to the team. The solution? Effective communication channels. Let your team know which situations require video chats or phone calls and which situations can be dealt with via online chat. Email is still useful, but not always ideal as messages can be missed. With online chat, team members can instantly ask questions and get answers if they need guidance. This is great for productivity since they’re able to continue with their work right away rather than having to hang around for an email response.  

Define expectations and goals

Although they’re not in the same building as you, remote employees need the same amount of guidance and direction as you give you regular ones. In order to encourage your online team to work efficiently and independently, you need to be clear on the specifics of their working arrangement. Defining the expectations you have for your remote team — preferably with them being mutually agreed upon — will help your employees stay on track with their work. This also includes explaining your mission and goals for the company. Your remote team will therefore feel included in the company culture, but be comfortable and efficient working elsewhere.

Recognize great work

If your remote team does great work, make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed! Failing to give positive feedback where due can leave employees feeling undervalued and even increase your turnover risk. Appreciating exceptional work can motivate your team to maintain that standard. You can also use bonuses or raises as an incentive. It can help to make the recognition public on company-wide channels, so your other employees are informed about the valuable work the remote team does each day. Your online team will then continue confident their hard work is going noticed and appreciated.

A productive online team can be a huge asset to your business, so make sure you take the steps to make yours the best it can be. While creating an engaged and motivated group of remote employees can be a challenge, once you put the above appropriate systems into place, it’s more than possible to achieve. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll soon have a motivated, engaged, and high-functioning remote team.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

4 Factors That Trigger Employee Stress in the Workplace

According to the National Institute of Safety and Health, over 40 percent of people reported that their job was stressful or extremely stressful. Over 29 percent of people reported that they felt extremely stressed at work. Good employers should be taking the stress levels of their employees into consideration and planning ways to help lower stress in the workplace.

Eliminate Intrinsic Dangers

Many workers report that there are intrinsic dangers that are inherent in doing their job. While not all workplace dangers can be eliminated, meeting regularly with your employers and allowing them to voice their safety concerns is a great place to start as they may have super ideas about how to make their jobs safer. Take a realistic attitude toward the amount of time pressure you are putting on each employee. See if there is a way that you can divide the workload in a more realistic manner. Hire a commercial cleaning service to make sure that the work environment stays spotless.

Develop Clear Work Guidelines

Many people report that they do not understand how they can move up in the company. Others report they feel stressed because they do not clearly understand what their job entails. Still, others report that they feel stress because they do not have a good life-work balance. Writing company guidelines is a great place to start eliminating a lot of these stresses. The guideline should clearly spell out how you expect employees to behave away from the office along with clear guidance on how they can move forward.

Put into Place Objective Goals

Your employees should be well informed about the goals that you want your company to meet over the short-and-long course. Yet, many employees report that they feel stressed because they do not understand how their job responsibilities align with meeting those goals. Meeting with everyone to explain how their goals fit into the overall picture can help. Make sure that you are giving pay raises and promotions based on preassigned criteria so that people know what they must do to be considered. Create an open-door policy allowing employees to voice their concerns while receiving guidance from you.

Build Better Relationships

Make a large portion of your manager’s evaluations their ability to manage others. Then, seek feedback from those working under them regularly. Plan team building activities to allow employees to get to know each other better. You may be surprised what hidden talents lay on your team unless you allow someone the freedom to express themselves. Watch for signs that someone is feeling overly stressed and have a private conversation with them about what you can do to help solve the problem.

While it is impossible to eliminate all stress in the workplace. Use these ideas and your own ingenuity to help lower everyone’s stress levels at work.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.