Shrink The Staff, Sell The Office, Slice The Costs

We’re not sure if our readers are aware of this, but the economy could be heading for a tumble. There were already signs of this yesterday after the results of the US election were finally announced. The world market dived down as investors started to panic. Now, the good news is that everything stabilised and the horror scenario some predicted didn’t happen. But, if we’re playing devil’s advocate it could still occur further down the road. So, now might be a great time to tighten the belt buckle and trim the fat right down in your business. Here are a few ways you can do just that.

 

Sell The Office

Our first suggestion is that you consider selling the office if you’re still working from one. A lot of people have already embraced the home run business model and found plenty of success. There were once fears that home run businesses would never work. But technology has changed the game quite a lot since then. Indeed, it’s true to say that it’s possible to function from home as you would from a major city office. You do need to invest in the tech but once you have that your business can run like a dream.

You might worry about what happens when your clients find out that you’ve downsized. Well first of all, who’s to say they have to find out? It’s entirely possible to switch to running your business from home without ever telling the clients. You can do this with a service like yourcompanyformations.co.uk – registered office address service. With this service and others like it on the market, you can make it look like your business is run from a large central city office. Clients will never know it’s being run from home. Since you’ll be cutting the costs here, there’re a few other ideas we’d like to introduce.

 

Cutting Down Staff

These days, it’s easier than ever to run a business with a smaller office staff. You can do that by investing in outsourcing. With an outsourcing company, expensive areas of your business can be handled out of house. An example of this would be marketing. Rather than investing in the services of a full marketing team, you can instead hire a company for a fraction of the cost. You still get a great service without the added paychecks added onto your bills.

You may also want to investigate the possibility of automation. With automation, you don’t need any employees at all. Instead, everything is handled by machine and mechanical processes. This is a possibility when setting up customer service communications within your company.

 

Go Digital

Lastly, since you might now be running your business from home, you may want to consider going digital. You can get digital replacements for things such as file storage. Digital storage is often seen as the better choice as it is more secure and easier for big and small companies to use.

Is Your Small Business Image Losing You Money?

Small Business Image

Small businesses can be between a rock and a hard place when it comes to getting their names out there. A lack of financial means is often the problem – you just don’t have the budget to compete against the bigger players in your industry.

Another major issue is your company’s image. You are a small business – but you don’t want to look like a small business. Your image is everything when it comes to doing deals and finding customers. And, that puts you under a lot of pressure to spend some time developing your image, so you appear as professional as you are.

With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at a few of the most important things that prospects will take a mental note of when you approach them. And make no mistake about it – each of them is important, even on a subconscious level. Image building has to be an investment, even if it’s a small one. Focusing on these critical areas when you are just starting out will help you find better prospects. Let’s get started.

Business cards

Let’s kick things off with something simple – business cards. If you are talking to someone about business and you don’t have a card, it’s an instant red flag. Your prospect will wonder why you don’t have one – because every business owner should. Not only that, but your cards should look great. Far too many small business owners try to save a little money by using free templates, which just don’t have any impact. So, first of all, you should get your business cards professionally designed. Include all of your details on there, from your website through to email, and phone number through to social media channels. You never know who might call you a few months down the line after handing them a card.

Spelling and grammar

You might not think that spelling and grammar will have much of an impact on your image. But it does. People will question your credibility if your site or brochure is full of mistakes. Not only will your image take a kicking, but you’ll lose sales, too. In fact, correcting grammar mistakes could increase your revenue by as much as 100% – which is worth a lot to your business, no matter what you sell.

Office image

Office space

As a small business, you have no chance of competing with all singing, all dancing offices of your larger competitors. In fact, as a freelancer, you might not even have an office at all. More businesses than ever are starting out in people’s homes, which is causing a big image issue. Meeting in a coffee shop isn’t ideal so you might have to be a little more creative if a client wants to visit you. Organisations such as www.yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk and others might be of help. Services like these allow you to rent out meeting rooms – and can even give you a more credible address. It’s cheaper than renting an office and gives your image a much more professional sheen than bringing people into your home.

suit business

Dress

Like it or not, people will judge you on your appearance. It is critical, then, that you dress appropriately for your industry. Let’s say you are an accountant – or a financial advisor. While other industries might get away with dressing down, when people are talking money they want to see someone in full business gear. It’s pure psychology – and it is critical. First impressions really do make a difference. You will find you turn more prospects into clients when you dress better.

Etiquette

The way you treat and speak to people will also have an enormous impact on how they see you. Make sure you are aware of how you appear to others – not just the words you say but also your body language. As www.worketiquette.co.uk point out, it can really make a big difference to your sales. Greet people warmly and with confidence. Allow your clients to talk to you – and listen to them! You should be spending time hearing what your customers have to say, and they will expect you to frame your talking points as a response. If a customer outlines their problem and you offer a solution to something that doesn’t address their issue, how do you think that will play out? Finally, if you are meeting a client on their territory, be respectful and friendly with everyone – not just the decision maker. Word will get around if you are rude or ignorant of others in the building. People talk – make sure they have positive things to say about you.

Office meeting

Websites

The Internet provides your business with a wonderful opportunity to make more sales. But at the same time, a poor website can do more harm than good. If you look unprofessional, untrustworthy, or careless, people will be less likely to risk spending money with you. It’s as simple as that. Spelling is important, of course – as we mentioned above. But you should also focus on the customer’s experience, and ensure your site flows properly. While spending a fortune on your website is unnecessary, you should be prepared to fork out a little. Using a free website template might be a good starting point, but the sooner you get professional help, the better.

Social media

Social media can also be a help – or a hindrance – to your professional image. While it’s a great opportunity to develop a robust and loyal customer base, there are many dangers and pitfalls you might experience. You will need to invest time, money, or both to ensure your tone of voice is consistent. You’ll need to respond to people’s comments, and also face up to complaints and angry customers. Don’t fear negativity, however, – how you respond is often more important to your image than the initial charge. Finally, keep your message consistent and on-point. Make sure people know what you are about straight away, and you should be able to build a more focused audience.

We hope these tips help you see the value of improving your small business image. Feel free to discuss or comment on any of the points raised below.

You’re Fired! Serious Personal Issues That Could Kill Your Career

You might think that you can keep your personal life and your business life separate. For the most part, that’s true. But in some cases, a personal issue could cause you to lose your job or make you less hirable. Essentially, there are some occurrences in life that push you off your career track and into the unemployment line. Let’s look at some of these problems and how to handle them.

 

Criminal History

If you have a history of arrests you might as well wear handcuffs to your interview. There is absolutely no way that you’ll get hired. Particularly because these days most employers run background checks on potential candidates. It does depend on the crime but even small criminals acts will be judged and could prevent you getting your dream job. For instance, you might have a DWI offense on your record. Assuming you didn’t hit anyone, you may not think that’s a big deal. Unfortunately, it is to employers, and they could see you as a liability. If you’re looking for a DWI lawyer, you must make sure you find one of the best firms. Otherwise, you might end up with a mark on your permanent record that won’t be easy to hide. You should always try and prove your innocence when you’re charged with a crime like this. Or, work to have your record expunged.

 

Poor Credit

Your credit history is accessible to anyone who is interested in your finances, and that includes a future employer. Again, they might check this as part of a background exploration. If you have a poor credit, it does paint a rather negative picture of you as a potential employee. It shows that could be unreliable and you may even struggle to get a basic job. After all, employers will assume that people with poor finances are more likely to try and steal money. They will assume you are in a desperate situation and it could prevent you getting a job such as operating a till.

 

Appearance

Employers can be superficial and will judge you based on your appearance. Particularly, if you are applying for a job that will involve you representing the company by interacting with customers. If employers think you are poorly presented, you will need to work to cover up your appearance. This might include taking out piercings or covering tattoos. Generally speaking, employers are becoming more accepting of these style choices. But, there are plenty of businesses that will avoid hiring employees with this type of mark on their body.

 

Embarrassing Profiles

Last but not least, you need to think about your online footprint. You must make sure there is nothing online related to you that could embarrass a business. This might include social media posts, online videos or forum memberships. Anything like this should be private or deleted, particularly when applying for a high profile position at a business.

If you take this advice on board, you can avoid or fix personal issues that will kill your career.