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Archive for 'Business'

Raising early stage capital in your business

Raising capital is a step that every startup faces. When a business is brand new, the question of how to get money must be addressed. If you intend to launch a business that needs significant capital expenditure, such as a retail business or a company that employs several other people, then you won’t get far without initial funding. Every investor has pro’s and con’s, and it is best to know what ways will work best for your business.

Friends or family investors:
Going to friends or family members can be the first point of contact to raise capital for your business. Investments from family and friends usually come in the form of loans, which you can arrange to pay back. It’s important to ensure that documents such as a formal business plan and legal agreements are drawn up professionally and to be transparent about expectations surrounding the investment.

Angel investors:
Angel investors refer to wealthy individuals who enjoy helping entrepreneurs in their business ventures. They can be important to a new startup, investing their money in exchange for small ownership of part of the business in an equity investment. However, they can also provide loan investments in the same way as family and friend investors.

Venture capitalists:
One of the most popular forms of startup funding is through venture capital, who are wealthy investors that support small businesses and startups by providing them with capital to grow and expand. Unlike family or friend investors, venture capitalists are generally equity investors with the expectation of a stake in the business.

Posted on 18 March '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

Before selling your business

Deciding to move on from your business can impact a lot of different people. When selling your business, you will need to consider the effects on all areas of operation from the actual transfer of ownership to the impact on day to day operations. While it is easy to get caught up in the price of a sale, you should take the time to reflect on what selling will really mean.

If you have decided that selling is the way you want to go, make sure everything is in the best possible condition for sale. Having all policies, contracts, finances and other relevant information well documented can help to transfer the business a lot smoother and quicker. This will also be appealing to potential buyers as they can look into all business dealings easily and make informed decisions.

Next, you should get a valuation of your business once all the elements are in order. Having a valuation done will help you decide on the right selling price. Getting professional advice for this process will help you get the most accurate figure for all your assets and a detailed look into the market value.

After all this, it is time to put your business on the market. Advertising will greatly help your sale and attract different types of buyers. For this reason, you should be strategic with your marketing, appealing to the buyers you want to sell to. While you have a had your business valued, negotiations will still be a big part of a sale. Prepare yourself with what elements of the sale you are willing to change and what elements are definitive, this will help to determine what negotiations are worth your time. Involving a professional business broker, settlement agent or lawyer in the sale of your business can help prevent problems and make sure the sale is valid.

Posted on 8 March '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

Challenges your business can face

Owning and running a small business comes with positives and negatives that maintain a balance. When the negative elements start to outweigh the positives, you have a problem. Every business will face challenges along the way, the trick is knowing what they are and how to deal with them.

Clients and customer service:
A business is nothing without its clients but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily easy to work with. In the digital age, everyone is heard, meaning good client relations are vital to having a positive business image. Growing your client base comes from well-planned marketing techniques and knowing what your audiences want from you. There needs to be a healthy balance between supporting your existing customers and sourcing new ones, you should not neglect either area.

Data/Technology:
With technology ever growing, some small businesses can find it hard to keep up. For a business to continue to thrive, it needs to be able to grow and adapt to the changing market. For this reason, many businesses hire younger workers to run their social media because they don’t understand it themselves and expect the younger generation does. While having a dedicated worker to look after areas you may not be familiar with, you should have a basic level of understanding about what this technology is actually doing to aid your business.

Posted on 1 March '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

What advertising avenue is best for you?

Without exposure, businesses would come and go very quickly. In this new digital age, there are even more options for how you want to advertise your business. There are a variety of resources, all priced differently so you can pay as much as you want or nothing at all. You will need to be aware of your target audience and what form of media would they consume the most.

Traditional Media:
Traditional media most commonly refers to print, radio or television advertising. Ads in magazines, newspapers, on the radio and the television, are how you would target an older audience. To optimise this advertising medium, have your ads displayed prominently or played at peak times.

New Media:
New media refers to the internet and the various avenues on which you can advertise. Like traditional media, you can by ad space to appear on Google or other pages. Again this is monetarily based. The audience on social media, in particular, is younger and many services, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, offer free business models that highlight all your relevant information for public consumption.

Local Advertising:
On a smaller scale, physical advertising in your area can boost visibility. Flyers or business cards are a good way to get locals to be aware of your presence in the community and can be fairly inexpensive. This form of advertising lets you reach an array of people as well as helping to establish yourself in your local area. If you have more money to spend, consider renting a billboard or a bus stop space for larger scale advertising.

Posted on 21 February '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

Creating a positive business culture

Business culture is a reflection of what your company stands for, it’s your voice. Employee relations are what establishes this voice and can always be improved. A work environment that everyone enjoys can help to improve performance and productivity. Here are some ways you can help better the culture of your business

Vision:
For a business culture to be established, as the employer you must first decide what that voice will be. Having a clear direction for your business practices is common but for community in the office, a vision for your business culture will help the process. It is your job to help guide your company toward your vision in every aspect of the business.

Lead by example:
Often business owners can be separated from the general culture of the workplace. It is important to show you adopt the values and productivity levels you are expecting of your employees. Integration on this level helps to establish what you expect out of the business and its everyday processes.

Communication:
One of the most obvious points is communication, it is essential in running a business. Good communication is not only needed for basic tasks and management but also key to creating your business culture. If your vision for the business is not effectively communicated then the culture will reflect that.

Feedback:
If you foster an environment that encourages feedback, you get an everyday look into how the culture of your business is or has formed. Feedback to employees is important for their personal growth in the company and practices but when there is a mutual level of communication and trust, their feedback to you can help better your own idea of your business culture.

Posted on 14 February '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

What we can learn from ‘introverted’ people

Most of us fall somewhere in between the introvert-extrovert spectrum but our concept of a great leader often looks to someone who exudes characteristics we often associate with ‘extroverts’ – including being charismatic, confident, and courageous. While these traits are indeed admirable and can be essential to motivate and drive your team, recent research surprisingly suggests ‘introverts’ tend to be better CEOs. In light of this research, we look at some often overlooked traits to expand your concept of great business leadership.

Taking the time to be introspective:
Ensure you don’t underestimate the value of taking the time to self-reflect on certain issues, looking inward for inspiration and judiciously asking in-depth questions to better understand your organisation.

Forming and maintaining deeper connections:
In the age of Linkedin and the increase of networking events, growing your professional network is often a focus of many business professionals. When taking into consideration the notion that humans can only maintain about 150 stable relationships at any given time (Dunbar’s Number), you can consider the value of holding more small-scale events or arranging more one-on-one engagements to better utilise your professional network.

Identifying and accommodating for ‘introverted’ behaviour in the workplace:
While it often ‘takes one to know one’, it doesn’t take much effort to recognise and accommodate introverted behaviour. An effective leader takes advice from all people in the room – not just the ones who happen to speak out. For example, it doesn’t hurt to give a little heads up on issues that are going to be addressed at a meeting. This is so all employees, including ‘introverts’, have the time to process their thinking and prepare talking points.

Posted on 7 February '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

Instagram for business

Instagram business accounts help you reach new clients and companies that you wouldn’t be able to on other social media. It is an area of the market often overlooked due to its focus on an image but now is the time to utilize Instagram for your business and grow a profile in a fairly untapped area.

Why use Instagram?
Graphics and quotes are an easy way to engage with users and using hashtags help you to reach people who don’t follow you yet. The news feed algorithm favours active business accounts and suggests similar accounts for you to follow or see how they use the platform.

Business Profile:
The analytics feature alone is enough to entice businesses to the platform as it gives you insights into your follower base, interactions, peak posting times and paid advertising options. You can boost a post to reach more than just your followers and find new clients based on shared likes or similar accounts followed. A business profile is completely free and all paid advertising is optional though encouraged to get the most out of the platform.

Instagram Advertising:
One of the benefits of Instagram advertising is that it seamlessly blends into a news feed. Many ads on social media appear very out of place and obvious that they are an ad, Instagram formats advertisements like a regular Instagram post and targets it to people similar to your audience.

Posted on 31 January '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

Effective Team Performance

Teams, like workplaces, are becoming increasingly diverse, dynamic and digital. But the principle behind managing teams effectively remains the same. Are you providing the right conditions for your team to thrive? Here are some aspects to consider:

Shared Direction
A shared understanding of the team’s mission and tasks is essential to a team’s level of commitment and motivation. This is especially crucial when teams are made up of members from dissimilar backgrounds as the means for reaching the same goal can mean for different strategies for different people.

External Support
Supporting your team involves providing and maintaining an effective reward system, ensuring your team has access to the required materials and data to complete their tasks, and providing opportunities to expand their skillset if required.

Team structure
Constructing a high performing team requires a careful balance of meeting both organisational and individual needs. A recent study has found that more-cohesive teams had members with higher levels of emotional stability, inquisitiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity. Managers often utilise an employee’s strengths to fill a team role, but taking the time to observe your employee’s working style and personality can mean for a fresher approach to the way the team can think about, manage, and organise tasks.

Posted on 24 January '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

Challenging the use of country as a proxy for culture

Associating certain behaviours to different countries have long been a way of identifying and comparing cultures and widely assumes country homogeneity. For example, previous studies on national culture have compared vastly different working styles between East-Asian countries and the West. However, a recent study published on Havard Business Review found that equating country with culture can overlook even bigger cultural gaps within a single country – including those of age, gender, number of years of education, socio-economic status, and occupation. That is, it could make more sense to talk about cultures of age and cultures of the rich or poor than it is to discuss the cultures of countries.

Posted on 18 January '19 by , under Business. No Comments.

Hiring high potential staff

Your business is only as good as your staff, which is why you want to hire high potential employees. You may find it hard to spot a high potential candidate in an interview.

Our tips will tell you what to look for and ask when you are recruiting.

High potential employee traits
A common set of characteristics can identify high potential employees. These candidates will:

  • Have leadership qualities
  • Take on extra responsibility
  • Be team players
  • Think outside the box
  • Solve problems
  • Have a passion for their industry

Spotting high potential employees in an interview
In an interview, you can identify an employee with these high potential traits by:

  • Asking about their goals, to assess ambition
  • Asking about industry current events, to see if they are passionate about this area of work
  • Listening to the questions they ask you, to judge their interest in the position
  • Asking about prior challenges they overcame, to provide you with evidence of their problem-solving skills

Posted on 20 December '18 by , under Business. No Comments.