| How to Make Your Small Business Look Big

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

As a small business, it can be difficult to establish credibility and trust in your industry. One of the most effective ways to do this is to make your business appear bigger than it is. Even if you have a small budget, there are ways you can make your business look and feel more like a corporation, as opposed to a small firm. Read on to discover some suggestions.

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Pay special attention to your website – There is only one place to start, and this is with your website. Your website is open to anyone who wants to visit it, at any time of the day. It is the face of your business. This is why it is so important to create a high-quality website that gives off a professional brand image, and this is something that you can definitely do on a budget. Free platforms like WordPress mean you don’t need to break the bank to give your business a prominent and prestigious online presence. You need to ensure your website looks sleek and operates effectively. Also, when it comes to writing content for your website, make sure you use plural language, instead of “I”.

 

Don’t use a formal title on your business card – You are clearly going to be the CEO at your business if you are a one-person operation. But, what is not clear is why the CEO would be doing everything? If you are a one-man band or you only have a few employees, you should stop using a title on your business cards or other forms of communication until your business has grown.

 

Use a virtual private branch exchange (PBX) – A PBX is a telephone system that gives you the ability to switch between phone calls via different lines while enabling all works to share the same single phone system. This telephone system can cost thousands of pounds, which is why it is better to go for a cloud-based PBX instead of a physical one. By doing this, you will get to select your own phone number, and you will have multiple different extensions for every part of the business. This can make your small company appear professional, and also give off the sense that it is a lot bigger than it is.

 

Get a central business address – Do you run your business from home? Maybe you have a few employees, but they are all remote? If so, it is a wise idea to get a central business address. A forwarding address in the UK – yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk – can make your business appear a lot more professional. All of your letters will be sent to this address, and the company will scan them to you, or you can pick them up if you would prefer.

 

Use bigger invoice numbers – Last but not least, start with higher numbers when you send out quotes and invoices to clients. This gives out the appearance that you have been in business for much longer than you have, and this creates increased confidence and trust. If you use small invoice numbers, clients will assume that you have only been open for about a week.

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| Setting Up A Startup Business As A Health Care Administrative Consultancy

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Many hospitals are short on funds, don’t have enough beds, short on staff and generally run in a bottom-up fashion. Bureaucracy is like a virus and it can come between patient care and office managers. Starting a health care administrative business can be a noble prospect when the goal is to simplify care for nurses, doctors, consultants and surgeons. Working on behalf of medical institutions or health care companies, your business can reorganize and coordinate the services medical practitioners provide. A startup business in this field must finely balance the human touch as well as cutting away unneeded barriers. Your business can thrive in this environment if you stick to a few principals.

 

Be Worthy of the Title

Health care is unlike any other business in the world. Aspiring startups sometimes perceive graduate-level education as the benchmark, but this is incorrect. It’s a fantastic start as you have the knowledge and the understanding of the basics of running a business, but very rarely to entrepreneurs have the medical and legal background in order to set up such a business. With an accredited health care administration degree online you should be able to critically analyze modern health care issues and utilize effective practices to demonstrate sensitive perspectives in the field. Working with a diverse society, you’ll also be acclimatized to remaining vigilant of cultural practices and assess a situation in regard to the American legal system.

 

Applying for Licensing

As a startup, finances are going to be crucial in keeping afloat during the risky first year. Professional institutions like the American Association of Healthcare Administration Management need to know you’re serious and operating from a stable base where you can be relied upon by clients. By joining the AAHAM and the Association for Healthcare Administration Professionals, you can enhance your qualification and outreach. When you become a member of these institutions, you officially register as a viable service on those systems. It will also give you an opportunity to network with medical professionals as well as access industry job lists.

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Hiring Like-Minded Professionals

The next step is to starting hiring professionals with qualifications and a history of working in the industry. Get the most out of your workforce by hiring those who have a proven track record of simplifying how a hospital runs its affairs, a feel for people management whereby they have kept the best qualified and most productive staff, and let go of the unneeded or below average performing individuals. Administrators should be willing to on board feedback from patients as their firsthand experience of how their facility could be run is free yet invaluable.

Image by – CityofStPete

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Searching for Your Needed Assistance

Using the job lists found with the associations or via online health care administrative job boards and career sections on the website, have your staff apply for the roles and offer a free consultancy to the establishment. Doctors want nothing more than to simplify their care and avoid large amounts of staff that potentially slow down the process of resupplying the hospital with drugs, getting the paperwork through to transfer a patient to another ward, or even just to get the go-ahead from insurance companies to operate on a patient. With your services and the degree you have obtained, your understanding and implementation of case studies should give you a firmer understanding of ethics and regulations.

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| The Biggest Technology Risks in Modern Business

Posted in Finance at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Modern businesses face a ton of unique challenges that the businesses of the previous generation didn’t have to consider. The world is now so tech-driven, not least of all in modern business. It’s not literally impossible to imagine a business that doesn’t use modern technology. We can picture an office without strong Internet connections, printers, or even computers. But we’re not exactly imagining a strong and stable business now, are we?

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Companies no longer really have any excuse. The world is too driven by computers and Internet connections for a modern tech business to skimp out on these things. We can’t just match the technology that the average consumer is using. In modern business, our technology has to be even better. We have to stay ahead of the game in order to adequately please customers and investors.

So what are the biggest risks and downsides in today’s tech-oriented businesses? In this article, we’ll be running through some of the bigger problems areas. You may even find some practical advice about lowering risks and costs! Speaking of which, let’s begin with…

 

The Cost

This is the first problem to become apparent for a startup. We no longer live in the world of Mad Men. We can’t just hire office space, move in the desks, get a load of paper and a few typewriters and get going. We have to invest money – and a lot of money at that – into getting our offices fitted out with the latest tech hardware. It’s hard to imagine there being one employee in a modern office who doesn’t need a computer of some kind, be it a desktop or a laptop.

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How much you’re going to spend really depends on what you’re doing. The price is going to be relatively high, whichever route you take. You can’t just give employees computers that aren’t up to the modern scratch. But it doesn’t mean you have to blow all your capital on Alienware computers, either. Determine exactly what it is your company is going to be doing. Are you going to be working mostly with spreadsheets and word processing? Then you can afford to spend a little less when it comes to processing power and graphics capabilities. But if you’re starting a company that deals with animation or video game development, then you can’t cut corners. You need machines that are going to be absolute beasts.

The cost is going to depend heavily on what system you’re actually planning to us. If you want to use Windows, then you’re in luck. PCs are more reliable, more pliable, and more affordable than its main competitor. That, of course, is the Mac. Some companies may find themselves requiring Macs. If you’re in mobile game development, for example, you’ll find it hard to get by without using Mac to develop for iOS devices. Your average Mac costs a phenomenal amount more than a more technologically-advanced PC. If you have the choice, do not believe the myth that Macs make things any easier for business. A popular myth is that creative endeavors are more achievable on a Mac. Do not believe this. Unless your company specifically requires Macs to do the job, avoid the unjustified extra cost.

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Security

Office security used to be so much easier, am I right? If your doors were locked and your security guard looked scary enough, you were probably protected from outsiders. As for people on the inside? Well, we may have the advantage in the modern era. With permission settings, it’s probably easier to prevent leaks than it was in paper-oriented offices.

That being said, the issue of security in general has become more costly, more time-consuming, and more important than ever. Modern tech companies are at quite a large amount of risk. As discussed previously, the cost of equipping a modern office is pretty high. Not only does this cause the initial problem of it taking a sizable chunk out of your capital. It also means that your office is now loaded with high-quality and very valuable equipment. And that’s exactly the kind of thing that many criminals want to get their hands on.

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So now the risk of losing expensive equipment, as well as the work that is being kept on that expensive equipment, is higher than ever. So we have to really beef up our physical security to compensate. Thankfully, most offices these days already come equipped with the security tech to make this feasible. When you rent office space, you generally don’t have to install things like keycard functionality or alarms yourself. These things should come with the office.

Be sure that you create a culture of security among your employees. Keep them vigilant. If they see anyone unfamiliar in the office, they must know what action to take. Everyone should know how to lock the front doors at night. If everyone has security in mind, then it will be harder for anyone to come in and start taking your stuff!

Of course, we don’t just have the physical side of security matters to consider. Criminals aren’t just trying to physically access your office and equipment. I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard of cybercrime and its mortal enemy cyber security. So much business is done over the Internet these days that it’s become easier for outsiders to access our sensitive information. That is if you’re not adequately prepared. The world of cybercrime seems pretty dizzying at first. There are so many different crimes and criminal methods to consider. There’s hacking, spyware, key logging, rootkits and full-blown viruses. Some people will leave it out of their mind. After all, computers are generally sold with firewalls and antiviruses, right? Shouldn’t that be enough?

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Quite often, it isn’t. You need to be on the lookout for more tactics to use in the good fight against cybercrime. Find some virus protection tactics to use. Make sure people can’t access your data by ensuring that your employees only connect work devices to the secured network you use in the office. It may be tempting for them to use local and public Wi-Fi connections if things in the office run a little slow. But unsecured Wi-Fi connections are, well, unsecured. They’re dangerous and could allow someone entry to your work devices if used.

 

Complexity of Use

One of the drawbacks of technology getting more and more advanced is that sometimes it gets more difficult to use. This isn’t always the case. Thanks to the competition of Apple, many companies want to make their products are user-friendly as possible. But ease of use sometimes means that certain advances fall by the wayside. What this means is that companies who want really good technology – and a lot of it – risk alienating some of their employees.

Of course, if you’re working in a tech company, then you should be able to expect a certain level of tech-literateness from your employees. Many job adverts for modern companies require the applicant to be well-versed in Word and Excel. And if you’re working directly with code, then most employees will probably have a background in coding and computer science. But it’s not just basic use of the hardware you have to worry about.

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Often, the best results your company can get is through expensive software. This software isn’t something your average computer user is going to engage with. This makes it less likely that any given applicant will have experience in it. This means it may be best to ensure not every important document is accessible only via software; paper documents in pocket folders are still useful in the modern office! This also means that you need to invest time into giving them training. This will also need to occur if you ever switch the software you’re using. And if you ever decide you want to change the hardware you’re using, then you’ll also need to provide training for that. With all this extra training you may need to consider, you’ll have to be careful about when and how you hire employees.

We’d probably all prefer it if we could trickle in employees one by one as we need them. This is, in fact, how many tech companies do it. If the person who is going to be the line manager for a new employee has time, they will give them the necessary training. But if much training is required and you’re hiring people one by one, then that creates a massive time commitment when it comes to training. This may mean that you’ll have to hire pools of employees; several at once so they can be trained in one go.

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Do not assume that everyone is as tech literate as you are. With the software landscape always changing, you need to ensure that your employees stay on top of things. Of course, they also have the actual work to consider. This means you or a hired specialist will have to take on the burden of managing general technology and training. It all needs to be as smooth as possible to minimize disruption to an employee’s work day.

Keep all of these things in mind as you go forward with your tech-minded business. Modern technology has made so many things easier, but that doesn’t mean everything is going to be a breeze!

Part of the role of a Controller or CFO is to ensure the protection of the assets of the business. These assets could me physical such as computer equipment or data such as customer credit card information.  Don’t have a CFO or Controller? Loftis Consulting can help by performing an assessment. Give us a call today at (312) 772-6105.

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| Tech Shaping The Future of The Office

Posted in Staffing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

The work environment is a crucial component of a business’s success. It’s the public face of the business. It’s the space that directly contributes to how effectively and efficiently your team can work. It’s the living beating heart of the business. Just like every other important aspect of the business, it’s going to need some work. Here, we’re going to look at what exactly it needs, and how new trends in technology and design are going to improve how you use that physical space.

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Stay Connected

Nowadays, the idea of a business that doesn’t rely on the internet is fast becoming a rare occurrence. It’s safe to assume that any workplace is going to have multiple people connected to the internet at once. They rely on being able to upload and download data quickly in order to do their jobs more productively. However, many business owners don’t give their connection speed the kind of attention it deserves. However, there are a lot of methods you can use to tackle this. For instance, you can use powerline networking, allowing more cabled connections to devices so long as the device is situated near a power outlet. If you’re using wireless, then ensure that there’s as much open space around your routers, lacking metals, mirrors, and electronics, so signal strength is much better. You can use signal boosting accessories to improve the wireless connection, too.

 

Communication Is Crucial

The network can also be one of the strongest tools to improve the communicative abilities of the team.  There are a plethora of different tech tools you can use to help people communicate in different ways. It’s all about finding the right tool for the right kind of communication. For quick conversations, chat apps like Google Hangouts can work, while the video conferencing end of that app is better used for hosting team meetings. On the other hand, email chains shouldn’t be started to have a long conversation on a point but rather as a point of informing others in the business. Structure how you use your communication technology and people will be able to share and retrieve information from one another a lot more efficiently.

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Less Is More

Lighting in the office is used for a lot of things. It’s used, obviously, to give your workers the visibility they need to work safely and happily. It can also be used as a decorative tool to give the office the ambience and make it fit the branding you want; but lighting costs a lot if you use traditional methods. More people are moving to greener, more economically sensible lighting tech and LED manufacturers are becoming more able to offer lights that do more than illuminate. They help you brand the office with things like backlit panels and LED walls, meaning you can get a lot more visual punch out of your office while spending less on the energy bill.

 

Changing Spaces

It might not need an internet connection or a power outlet, but the way furniture is changing is a technological evolution all-the-same. Perhaps the most exciting way that furniture in the office is changing is that way that allows businesses to make spaces more moldable and adaptive. Modular furniture creators are designing tables, chairs, and more that can be connected, disconnected, and moved as you will with little effort. No longer do you need to create separate areas for when people need to work collaboratively vs. when they need to work with privacy and isolation. The workspace can warp to fit many needs all at once.

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All According to Plan

What about the technology we use to decide on and improve office design? Now, more than ever, business owners are looking at the paths that their employees take. For instance, looking at floor plans can help you better decide the best center points of the office which can serve as the space where you put shared resources. Then, it’s all about organizing furniture to create paths that allow for more efficient travel through the office. For bigger spaces, the proper use of wayfinding design is going to keep moving from place to place simplified, too. It might seem like a minor change, but the better that people and resources can move through the office, the less time wasted doing so.

The employee of the future and the client of the future is going to need the office of the future. Look at the inefficiencies, the elements the office lacks, and what you can do to fix them. The five tips above are just the beginning.

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| A Face To A Name: Creating A Brand Which Reflects Your Business

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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The human mind is an incredibly complex thing. It uses hundreds of different senses, working in tandem, to create the world we experience around us. Of course, this isn’t to say that things like sound and light aren’t real things. In fact, they are undoubtedly real, thanks to our ability to measure them. But, the way that we perceive them is greatly influenced by the mind. Memory plays a big part in this. The more senses are stimulated, the more you will remember something. And, this is why branding is so important in business. People may not recognize your name. But, they will be very likely to recognize a good logo. To help you with this, this post will be going through some of the basics of your brand. And, the ways you can make it into a true reflection of your company.

When you’re creating a brand, one of the most important things to keep on your mind is consistency. A lot of people decide to change their designs during the run of a brand, without updating the things around it to match. This will only make a company look disjointed and even harder to remember, though. So, you need to come up with a strong house style for your brand, if you want people to see it. This involves choosing a set of colors and fonts to go with your business which complement and match one another. For colors, you have millions of options. So, it can be very helpful to use current color trends to help you. Choose one or two main colors, as well as some complementary ones to use as accents. With a font, you have a lot more freedom. But, you’ll need two of them, so you’ll have to make sure the ones you choose look nice together. One of the fonts will be for headings, and the other will be for the main bodies of text on your site.

Once you have colors and fonts in place, you can begin to consider the logo you use for your company. This is one of the areas of your brand which will most heavily tied to the business itself. It’s wise to choose a logo which shows the sort of work you do, to make it easier for people to understand. For example, a lot of charities use hands holding each other as a way to convey their work which supports others. Imagery can be used like this in most businesses to show what your company does. Your logo should include your main colors, as well as an accent or two. But, of course, most good logos rely on simplicity more than anything else.

Having all of these branding tools at your disposal will give you a good opportunity to make a name for yourself. But, you will only manage to do this if you use the tools correctly. For example, a lot of businesses work very hard to create great brands. But, then, won’t use resources like Facebook and Twitter to show them off. You should be aiming to put your brand into the public eye as much as possible. Using social media is one of the best ways to get your business out, in the modern world. But, you could also try some traditional methods, too. Mailing lists provide businesses with a great way to get their name out. Today, this sort of job is handled by emails, instead of letters. So, you can do this for free, as well. Customers love to get something for free, alongside the information you give them. A custom sticker here and a branded pen there won’t cost your business much at all. But, it will help you to get people sharing and wearing your brand.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what needs to be done, when you’re trying to get your brand out there. A lot of businesses ignore this sort of work when they’re first starting out. But, this is a mistake. It’s critical that you start off with a well-branded business, to avoid missing your chance to become known.

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| 5 Tips for Getting a Business Loan

Posted in Business Financing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Most small businesses will need an investment of capital at some point. Whether it’s to put more money into a marketing plan or push your business to go further and make more profit, business loans aren’t a must have. However, getting a business loan depends heavily on how you present yourself and the business. So, when you need money from the bank, here are a few tips on how to get it.

 

Demonstrate Your Reliability

If you’re an already established business, your bank will need to know they can trust you with their money. This means you’ll have to demonstrate how well your business manages money. It’s important to know your business finances inside out before stepping into that meeting. That way, you’ll be able to show how your business makes a profit and how you plan to stay in business for the foreseeable future. If your business looks like it’s falling apart at the seams and you need the money to survive, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to secure a loan.

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Be Specific

This is especially important for businesses just starting out. In order for a new business to get a bank loan, the bank will need to see a business plan. It’s no good just saying your building a manufacturing company when you can say you specialize in custom sheet metal fabrication. The more specific you can be, the more likely you’ll get the money. Businesses that provide a niche product or service are unlikely to have as much competition from other businesses. Therefore, if you have the only business of its kind in your area, you’re likely to get all the custom and high profits.

 

Why Should You Have the Money?

It may not be a question that you’re asked, but it should certainly be one that you think about answering. The more reason you can give the bank to lend you money, the better your chances. If a bank is on the fence about whether or not to lend, give them as much information as possible. Outline your future prospects so the idea of investing in you becomes attractive. Banks know that you often need money to make money, so demonstrate how you’ll use the money to make a profit.

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Stay Local

If you’re a small town business, don’t go to a national bank. It’s likely that national banks will have better prospects than you, so you may find that your business is overlooked. A local bank will have more time to consider your needs, and they look better if they’re investing in the community. It’s also likely that you’ll know someone in the bank who can put in a good word or is willing to vouch for your reliability.

 

Keep Your Own Finances in Order

There may be times when banks or lenders look at your personal finances before agreeing to lend. If you’ve got missed payments and piles of debt on your record, they may be swayed against lending. Try and keep your personal finances in order to avoid disappointment.

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| How To Keep Your Online Business To Customer Relationships Strong

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

If you’re running your business online, without any face to face contact with your consumers, it can sometimes be a challenge to keep them satisfied with your customer service, and actively engaged. Therefore, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to ensure that your website and services run as seamlessly as possible so that your patrons keep returning for the positive customer experience. The following are some things you might want to consider if your online business could use a boost in customer satisfaction.

 

Be Available

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A downside to running a business online is that you don’t get often get to meet your customers in person; therefore, it can be a challenge to form a relationship with them, or put across your friendly service ethics. Your customer care can be reflected in how available you are to each person that visits your website; so it’s important to ensure that you are getting across that someone is available to help your customers in an obvious and clear manner.

Whether you’re there to offer suggestions on what product to buy, or give advice if they are struggling with glitches on their laptop; your presence is everything. Pop-up technology allows you to immediately show the customer that a member of your team is there and ready to help should they need it. Utilizing web design tech, to create a live chat box on the screen is a great way to remain with your consumers as they browse the site. Your customer service team should be trained in how to chat to each patron in an appropriate and friendly manner, so the customer doesn’t feel like they are speaking to an automated response service; which can irritate people and put them off coming back.

For the times that people visit your site out of office hours; you can still provide them with immediate contact details, and ensure that they know exactly what to do if they have a query or a question for you. Again, pop-ups are an excellent way to provide contact information; however, if your website is not at that stage yet, your can ensure that all the relevant email addresses and phone numbers are clearly shown at the top or bottom of each page. Customers will appreciate how easily they can contact you and like to feel that you’re available to help when they need it.

Your social media platforms are another way to engage with your audience in a live setting; quick and friendly responses to Facebook messages and Tweets, are a sure fire way to create positive customer relationships and build upon existing ones. Therefore it’s worth investing in staff who specialize in the running of your social media in regards to customer inquiries and issues. Avoid any social media mistakes, and take a look here: http://loftisconsulting.com/blog/2017/06/05/the-social-media-mistakes-that-are-holding-you-back/. Always keep your brand identity in mind when you respond; if you’re a young and fun company, you can be playful with responses. However, if you provide products to a more discerning market, you might want to respond formally; it’s all about gauging your audience and choosing the right tone of voice as your team write back.

 

Be Attractive

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Just like the front of a physical store; a customer is more likely to stop by and have a browse around if it looks appealing and inviting. An overwhelmingly busy landing page, full of confusing information and headache-inducing colors, will put off your potential patrons and they’ll shop elsewhere. When you go through the branding and marketing stage of your business; you should have organized a particular color palette and theme, which can be used across all your online platforms and channels.

Try to stick to colors that promote your brand’s aesthetic and identity clearly; calming neutral hues would be perfect for those who sell aromatherapy equipment for example, instead of a bright rainbow color range. For some inspiration, check out some of the best brand identities of 2017 here: http://bpando.org/best-brand-identities-2017/. Your homepage should be a place where people can see exactly what you offer and sell, any promotions that you have going on, and how to make contact with customer service.

Ensure that each page that follows is just as simple to understand, and as pleasing to the eye, as your landing page; that way your patrons will have a positive experience and won’t think twice about revisiting your business. Don’t overwhelm visitors with too many pop-ups and special deals; try to stick to clear and concise information, that people can take in easily and utilize should they want to. A strong and attractive brand aesthetic will work across your whole business and will help to ensure that consumers will know who they’re looking at wherever they find you on the internet. When people start recognizing a brand; you can begin to build a strong and trusting relationship with them, which will ensure that plenty of traffic comes your way.

 

Be Accessible

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If you’re an E-commerce business or online retailer; the chances are that your customers will expect to gain access to your website, wherever they are. Therefore, it’s crucial that you ensure that your site is responsive and easy to navigate across a multitude of platforms. You may need to outsource some help to get your website working and functioning correctly on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and monitors, so that whoever decides to shop with you, on their commute to work or in their bathtub, can still access what they need seamlessly and with ease.

As previously discussed; your website should be easy to navigate and understand, and it should be simple to get to the various areas of your online store. Clear and bold call to action tabs, sales banners, and routes to each product, should be straightforward to click, and all information needs to be easily obtained.

You’ll also need to ensure that you have site maintenance on hand to fix problems as soon as they arise; if your website goes offline, you could end up permanently losing potential new customers, not to mention any profits. Therefore, it’s worth investing in the right team and experts to help your site run smoothly at all times.

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| 4 Reasons Why You’re Not Making A Profit

Posted in Finance at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

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Making a profit isn’t just something that happens overnight, it can take a lot of time and effort to get back what you’ve put out. Here are some reasons why you may not be making a profit.

 

Wrong Business Venture

Your business idea may sound or look great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. We all have our different areas of expertise that we strive in more than others, so it’s important to make sure you’re doing something that uses the skills you have; otherwise you’ll find yourself in a tricky position and may not be able to continue.

Sit down and write out all your ideas, and why you like them. Then take into account your experience in that department, the financial costs, and whether you have the right resources to run the business successfully.

 

You Won’t Sacrifice Your Lifestyle

You can’t expect to build yourself a profitable business that you are able to live off comfortably, all while going out on the weekends, watching all your favorite tv shows in the evenings and working the same 9 to 5 hours as your friends and family – that’s just not going to happen. You are going to have to create a new weekly schedule around your business, as a pose to your wants. This doesn’t mean you can never go out with your friends again – but you need to prioritize in a way that will make you money.

 

Not Managing Your Accounts Properly

Dealing with numbers is the most obvious thing when it comes to making a profit, and it all begins within your account. If you’re not able to manage correctly and understand what’s going in, and what needs to come out, then you can expect a difficult ride. For example, when you send out an invoice to your customers, and they have paid, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you receive the money straight after – sometimes you can wait up to 90 days for the payment to be cleared. But with debt factoring you can get the payment a lot sooner; covering the gap of waiting.

Little things like this will really make a difference so should be taken into consideration, and if you’re not any good with money, hire in a bookkeeper so you know you’re in good hands.

 

Bad Customer Service

If you ‘can’t be bothered’ to put in that extra time and effort to give your clients the best customer service possible, then there’s really no point in even owning a business, as this is the key to success! If you don’t have happy customers, how do you ever expect to make any money? It starts with one – if you go out of your way to treat someone with the utmost respect and give them the attention they desire as a consumer – that one person will tell their friends and family, and one of the family members may tell their friends, and so on. So think of the bigger picture at all times. It’s never just one customer; it’s a whole bunch of potentials po

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| The 6 Sacred Tenets Of A Successful And Healthy Manager/Employee Relationship

Posted in Staffing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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It’s often said that two heads are better than one. This saying emphasizes the importance of compassion, teamwork, and mutual understanding. Of course, on the surface, this can seem easy. When it comes to achieving a certain goal, two people, even if they don’t initially get along, might form an unlikely pact to help the other person relieve their stress and achieve the rewards. This is why unlikely countries can help fight a war together, or help when a humanitarian effort is required.

However, in the workplace, getting along with your boss might seem the most unintuitive relationship to foster, especially if your personalities are diametrically opposed. Luckily, the world of business doesn’t demand that you and your boss become best friends and start doing everything together like high school best friends.

All that the world of commerce asks is that you work together well. If you cannot provide this, then you will fail. It’s that simple. New and small businesses have a tough enough time keeping the doors open in the first place to have to worry about small interpersonal disputes that mean nothing in the bigger picture.

There are two quite important considerations you must keep in mind to maintain a successful manager/employee relationship, and it requires both sides work at it throughout their entire business relationship together. Doing so will not only help their career but will affect your career for the profoundly better too. The following six tips should be taken as gospel, and will let you know the methods for cultivating this most important of relationship:

 

It’s Based on Respect

Respect is usually earned and not freely given, but sometimes providing a little respect to lubricate the wheels can get the relationship moving. Be mindful of your managers or employees time, and only take it when necessary. If they aren’t completing their duties to standard, offer to lend a hand in the spirit of co-operative teamwork, as opposed to condemning or belittling. The ideal manager respects the space and capability of those under him, while the employee will listen to the manager with an open ear, even if the manager is repeating information the employee already knows.

The employee would do well to remember that managing is hard, and doesn’t come intuitively to some people. As Exponential Programs points out on their website: www.exponentialprograms.com, managing multiple employees is difficult and requires a manager keep their social discipline to a dizzying degree. Don’t read into your manager’s words too much. A simple comment can be misinterpreted as a condemnation, and the spiral of passive aggressiveness can begin. Unless your manager or employee is outright criticizing your competence, make sure that you never assume they are doing so.

 

Both Know They Can Improve

Just because you manage a worker doesn’t mean that you are a better person than them. You simply occupy a higher position in the company or service you both work for. Berating, condemning and complaining from either side will lead to a stifling in creativity and innovation because it automatically puts the other person on the defensive. This prevents communication, and that leads to less productivity. That should be enough of an argument against it. Anything that can lessen your productivity will make you seem incompetent, even if you’re not. Don’t waste your creative energy in petty arguments. Instead contribute clearly and honestly, and if this means you need to highlight an error you’ve made, be unafraid to do so. This will create a spirit of openness that the two of you can inhabit more freely.

 

No Question Is Too Large or Small

An employee might hesitate to ask a manager a simple question for fear of reprisal, and this can lead to them operating with less knowledge than they should have. A manager might hesitate to ask an employee a simple question even more so for fear of losing pride or seeming less competent in their position. Both of you should make an effort to cut through this mental fog that clouds your clear decision making. We are all human; we all forget information we need. Don’t be afraid to ask.

 

Dress Is Respected

In the military, correct dress is emphatically emphasized at all times to ensure that officers and privates stand on equal footing. This can benefit your workplace culture, and more importantly you as an individual manager or employee. This article from Riskology details the link between dressing well and performing well.

Dress well and appropriately for work, and keep yourself well-maintained. Present-ability is a virtue, and it shows that you respect the space in which you work. For an employee, it’s important to dress well to show that you respect the position you occupy and would like to execute your tasks efficiently. For the manager, dressing well is a symbol for the staff to look up to, and should speak of the values that helped you achieve your position in the first place.

 

Work Isn’t All

Remember, even if you both have completely opposite personalities with absolutely zero in common, you are both humans. Small talk never hurts. Don’t keep everything about business in your exchanges, to lighten the burden of getting into a fixed discourse with them. At its most awkward, small talk can be as simple as a quiet word about the weather or news of that day. No one is asking you for poetry, but your workplace comfort does require some form of sociability to make the long workdays somewhat bearable.

 

Both Share the Credit

If you achieve something, make sure that the higher ups that come to praise you are aware of your manager’s contribution to the effort, or the great work of the employees(s) that allowed your department to flourish. This ‘everyone profits’ attitude can help you greatly increase the favor of the opposite party and can help both of your careers tremendously. The people who manage managers are usually stimulated to see positive employee/manager relationships because it shows that their departments are fluidly executing their responsibilities. This allows for both of you to climb the corporate ladder more efficiently than if you were working against each other.

You’ll notice that these tips are social etiquette that are ideal but are intensified. The world of business is intense, and as such requires a complete framework of positive social discourse. Be the change you’d like to see in your office, and the whole department, employees and managers alike will benefit as a result.

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| Ways to Improve Your Business’ Debt-to-Income Ratio to Get a Bank Loan

Posted in Business Financing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

It makes no sense to begin a loan process if going in you don’t know or understand the key metrics lenders use to determine to who they give credit.  The debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is an important metric used by banks and other lenders as one factor in determining your business’ ability to pay monthly debts in order to extend credit.  The formula is as follows:

DTI = Monthly Debt Payments/Monthly Pre-tax Income

Make sure you include the projected monthly debt payment for the needed loan in your calculation.  The lower the DTI result the better; however, it will vary by industry since some businesses have to take on more debt than others in order to operate such as manufacturing companies versus professional service firms.

Once you have determined your DTI, and if it is too high for a lender to give you a loan then you will need to find ways to improve this metric before applying for the loan.  This will take time and discipline.

 

Steps in Improving DTI – Expense Control

  1. Review expenses and cut out any expenses that do not go to the heart of the business and any extras. It may be a sacrifice in the short-term but remember the goal is a loan.
  2. Review expenses and remove any one-time non-recurring expenses. You want the bank to focus on normal day-to-day expenses.  Major one-time costs could negatively impact the calculation.
  3. If you know that there are some major expenses coming up delay them until after the loan process has been completed since any major expenses will unfavorably impact DTI.
  4. Recalculate DTI based on steps 1-3. If not where you need it to be think of ways to improve monthly pre-tax income besides expense control such as improved sales.

 

Steps in Improving DTI – Improve Sales

  1. Review length of time it takes to sell inventory. If it is over your industry average look for ways to move it faster. For super old inventory put it on sale to improve short-term cash flow.
  2. Perform data analytics on customer base in order to target sales better. Loftis Consulting can help analyze your sales data for improved results.
  3. Get rid of slow moving product and increase amounts available to sell for products that sell easily.

 

Steps in Improving DTI – Other Tips

  1. Lower the loan amount requested if possible. This way you meet the DTI guidelines and if the loan investment will improve sales or make your operations more efficient you can get a future loan as the savings or increases sales are realized.
  2. Shop around for a bank that caters to your industry. An industry-specific banker will likely have more flexibility on the DTI requirement since they understand your business. Most banks want a DTI no higher than 36%.

Need help getting your financials in shape for a loan submission or need assistance with expense management and increasing profits, call Loftis Consulting today for the CFO Services.

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