| If You Don’t Feel Ready To Lead A Business, What Do You Do?

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

You might have the idea, you might have the capital, and you might have the desire to lead a business. But if you don’t feel like a leader, it can feel like you’re not able to take another step forward. You don’t have to be born a leader, however. Some of the best leaders are the best because they were forged that way. You just need to look for the opportunities for forge yourself.

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Get Educated

Being a leader isn’t something that you can learn, but it’s something that might come with a lot of other practical skills involved in running a business. The more competent and knowledgeable you become about running a business, the more you’re able to stand behind your judgments. For instance, an online MBA in marketing will help you better understand your approach to your target audience. Meanwhile, seeking advice from a mentor can help you deal much better with the aspect of managing your human resources. There are plenty of books, courses, and experts on different aspects of leading a business.

 

Get Experience

Leadership also grows over time. The more time you spend directing others and using the resources at your disposal to meet your goals, the more comfortable you can become with it. It might be worth working internally with a business if you’re in with a chance of progressing to a leadership position, just to see how you handle responsibilities or even to see leadership challenges that your current employer is failing. Managing hobby groups offline or online, or taking management positions in local charities and nonprofits will help you learn much more about your leadership style, too.

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Get Updated

Education doesn’t end when you’re done with certain experience or a certain course, either. Business is always changing and that’s a factor that a business leader has to get to grips with above all else. You have to be adaptable not only to changes in the business, such as staff turnover or introducing new processes and partnerships. You have to keep an eye on the larger changes in technology and business trends as well. Without that adaptability, you will always be at the risk of falling behind the curve.

 

Get Confidence

Leadership is about communication, as well. To be an effective communicator, learning confidence in your ideas and your abilities to express them can be a great help. Confidence is another aspect of the self that can easily be built with experience. Find networking opportunities that give you a low-risk environment in which you can express your ideas and practice communicating them to others. There are public speaking groups that can help you develop a much more confident persona, too, to help you better direct your future employees.

Beyond the tips above, you have to be willing to throw yourself into the situation even when you don’t feel entirely ready. Source the right people, the right information, and the right opportunities and you’ll learn a lot more on your feet than you might expect.

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| 5 Key Reasons Why Your Website Doesn’t Work

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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Regardless of the industry, you operate in or the kind of business that you run, you will have some key business tools that are crucial to your success. Alongside vital members of staff, your sales systems and the tech that helps you along the way, there’s also the ways you market your business to consider too. And it’s the latter that can often cause you problems. Of all your marketing tools, it’s arguable that your website is the most important of all. But when it just doesn’t work, you can find that you lose business, and you even may struggle to grow. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your website might not work.

 

Unappealing Design

It shouldn’t be all that surprising that one of the reasons for why your website just isn’t working is down to the design. When your design is off putting, a customer or prospect will leave. You often get only 3 seconds to hook your visitor, so the design has to sell. As in this post https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/10-principles-of-effective-web-design/, the principles of good web design should always be adhered to, but the design has to be appealing and make a customer believe that you’re what they’re looking for.

 

Complicated Layout

Leading on from the idea of the design not being appealing is also it’s usability as Smashing Magazine pointed out. If your website is not user-friendly, your visitors will leave. If they have to struggle to find that they are looking for, or are constantly misdirected, they are very unlikely to become a customer. So, you have to work with a simple layout to keep them on site.

 

No SEO

Another issue that can be causing your problems in terms of traffic could be your SEO. If you do not have any in place, or it’s substandard, you may struggle to get enough visitors on your website overall. So, you need a professional like https://ignitedigital.com/service/search-engine-optimizationseo/ that are experienced in the field. That way, your site should be optimized to the right standard, and you will find that your traffic increases thanks to your more prominent visibility.

 

Poor Information

Then you should always consider your content. Sometimes, you’ll find that your site is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, optimized to attract visitors, but then loses them because of your subpar content. If you have irrelevant information on site, or boring content, you will see your conversion rate plummet. Instead, you need to be informative, engaging and interesting with your content to keep your customers hooked.

 

No Call to Action

Lastly, you should also look at your content in terms of the call to actions you have in place. This is where you are encouraging your visitors to do something – namely becoming a customer or prospect in some way. As this post points out http://marketingland.com/power-call-action-strength-boosts-conversions-145845, your call to action is powerful. So, you need to make sure that you are actually asking for business in every way that you can on your website.

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| Has The Time Come To Go Paperless?

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

The term “going paperless” is bandied about a lot in business circles. But is it something that you should do now that the digital era is in full swing? For many companies, the value of going paperless isn’t entirely clear. So here are some of the ways it puts you at an advantage.

Better Security

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Although high profile news about hacking may make it appear as if documents are safer in physical, rather than electronic form, this isn’t the case. A filing cabinet or storage box is no match for today’s state-of-the-art encryption methods. Going paperless can actually help your business reduce its security risk and remain compliant with data protection laws.

 

Lower Costs

Paperless solutions might seem expensive at first, but digging a little deeper, you soon discover that they are remarkably good value. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, businesses that go paperless save, on average, around $80 per employee per year. If you have 100 employees in your organization, that works out to $8,000 a year. Going paperless reduces the amount of money you spend paying for ink cartridges, printer paper, postage, and storage space.

 

Better Access

Not only is going paperless often cheaper than the alternative, but it also provides companies with dramatically more utility. Paperless products, like Data Serv services, allow documents to be accessed over the cloud, meaning that your staff don’t have to waste time and resources traveling to the office to view a file.

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The benefits of this technology are remarkable. Say, for instance, you have a client over the other side of the country who wants to know specific information about their account or policy on a Saturday. Getting one of your colleagues to go to the office, retrieve the client’s file and relay the information to you would be enormously inconvenient for everybody involved. But with a paperless system, you’re able to access critical documents on your device and pass them onto the client. Even better, you’re often able to share documentation with all your clients online, getting rid of the necessity of making the call.

 

More Office Space

Depending on your business, the amount of space taken up by files and folders can be considerable, especially if you have a lot of client or compliance documentation. Often entire rooms are taken up just storing boxes, something which could be done much more cheaply on the hard drive of a computer.

If possible, try to calculate the cost of renting out extra office space to house boxes. Often you’ll find that it runs into the hundreds of dollars each month, far more than you’d pay if you switched to a paperless solution.

 

Higher Productivity

Processing physical documents can take a significant amount of time. Workers have to print out documents, wait for the printer to finish and then ultimately file them away. Find documents can also be problematic, especially if your physical filing system is a little below par. Retrieving digital documents, however, is a breeze by contrast.

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| Back From The Brink: The Resurgence Of The Automotive Industry

Posted in Manufacturing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

For nearly a decade the automotive industry in the West was very much languishing in the doldrums with the emergence of China and Japan as viable competitors in the vehicle market. Kia, Toyota, and Hyundai have all seen substantial market share increases across the globe. The automotive industry began to decline. However, even with enhancements in public transport and people tightening their belts in times of financial uncertainty, people have always wanted cars. In the past three or four years, we have seen a resurgence in the automotive manufacturing sphere, as 2016 saw over 17.5 million cars and trucks being sold in the USA alone. Take a look at the reasons behind such a miraculous resurgence.

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A Shift in What the Consumer Wants

Car buyers are more astute than ever before and will take their time to research the fuel consumption, reliability and safety features of any potential vehicle purchase. The twenty-first-century consumer demands value for money and transparency when picking up the keys to their next car.

Potential car purchasers are now more keen to opt for the new car rather than explore the used car market because of the range of finance options available. Used cars also have a tendency to be less reliable and become more costly due to necessary repairs. Provided you have a good credit history, you can now lease a new car for an affordable monthly payment or buy it outright using a loan with a reasonable interest rate. The choice for consumers is empowering and encourages them to shop around, hunting for the best deal.

The emergence of crossovers and SUVs has seen companies such as Ford and General Motors reclaim their crowns as leading manufacturers in the automotive industry. Their latest models, such as the GMC Acadia and the Ford Escape have proved popular with not only the typical rugged vehicle lovers but also with families who require more interior space and comfort. Along with the relatively low price of gas and the ease at which the average consumer can obtain credit, the stars have aligned for the automotive industry.

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Manufacturing Plants

Vehicles can be made in greater quantities than ever before without forfeiting on quality to fulfill consumer demand. Plants up and down the country now utilize the latest advancements in technology such as the robotic arm and the CNC plasma cutter. These instruments have seen an increase in efficiency with car manufacturing plants and have enabled the components of vehicles to be installed more quickly and with a greater degree of accuracy. Metal can be cut quicker, paint can be sprayed more evenly and faster, and welding can be done in a neater way.

The opportunities for human errors to impact the car building process have been significantly reduced with the application of new technology. At the same time, these computer aided machines need operators and supervisors with a more advanced level of technical knowledge leading to a more powerful knowledge base working the factory floor.

The combination of enhanced technology and a greater variety of personnel has led to a more productive manufacturing environment.

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The Hybrid Invasion

The automotive world is joining the green revolution and taking its responsibility to protect the environment very seriously. The Leaf is Nissan’s first foray into the sphere of electric vehicles and has seen a steady increase in sales since its launch. In 2016, sales of electric vehicles rose by 19% on the year before. The emergence of more sustainable cars has tapped into a consumer awareness of eco-credentials.

A criticism leveled at the sustainable vehicle market has been the initial cost of the cars. Due to their niche market at the moment, manufacturing has not yet become widespread and requires more specialist knowledge and technology to manufacture them. This leads to the higher cost that can price some out of the market. However, over time, this should diminish as consumer uptake increases.

Although still very much in the embryonic stages, the manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles will be the future of car manufacturing as diesel cars fall out of favor with consumers and governments across the world. Infrastructure will need to develop including the construction of charging points and alternative fuel options to cope with the inevitable influx of electric vehicles.

Many suggest that the automotive industry is reaching its optimum in terms of its resurgence. Even though it may be showing signs of leveling off, there is little to suggest another downturn. With consumer demand for new cars higher than ever before, the automotive industry looks to have a prosperous and secure future.

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| Startup: How To Fill A Hole With A Food Business

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

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When it comes to starting a new business, the owner has to choose the right industry. Did you know that 543,000 new companies start up each month? That’s over 3 million new businesses every 6 months, and 6 million by the end of twelve months. Of these firms, over 75% will fail within the first year.

If there is ever a time to choose a profitable industry, it is now. As a result, you have turned to the food industry because demand is high and there is lots of room for creativity. Still, getting off the ground is never easy, which is why the following tips should come in handy.

 

Find a True Niche

The food business is notorious for being flexible when it comes to new ideas and concepts. For example, food trucks were not a common occurrence ten years ago, yet now you cannot move for them. And, there are lots of other avenues to test that could make you a fortune. However, it is essential to make sure that the area is a niche and not a rehash. Far too many people are coming up with ideas that rip off the food truck industry, and it doesn’t work out. Customers aren’t stupid and can see when you are not original.

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Research the Market

Because the odds are not in your favor, it is a good idea to test the water before going live. Then, there is no reason to waste valuable time, energy and money on a flop. Of course, there is no way to tell if a product or service is going to be a hit, but you can collect the data and look for patterns. By heading out onto the street and handing out questionnaires or offering free samples, you can collate the demand. If there isn’t a lot of traction, it is even possible to ask why and use the info to tweak the product.

 

Create a Marketing Recipe

One of the great strengths of opening a business today is the marketing potential. In the past, a company needed lots of money and TV time to get a foothold in the industry. Nowadays, the best tools are free of charge and available to everyone. So, the first step is to ensure that the website works, looks great, and is easy to navigate. The benefit of a site is the fact that you can make an excellent first impression. Also, research effective SEO terms and implement them throughout the site. Finally, don’t forget to set up social media accounts and interact with your customers.

 

Start In the Kitchen

The most important tip is to begin in the kitchen before moving out into the mainstream. In the end, the customers will judge the firm on the quality of the food. So, if it is not up to scratch, they will bounce elsewhere and never come back. The great thing about easy is that it is easy to prototype – just hit the kitchen and get cooking!

The food industry has potential, but it is by no means an easy ride.

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| 4 Best Industries For Starting A New Business Venture Today

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

As years go by, there are always certain industries that are profitable for entrepreneurs. Today, we take a look at four of the best industries for starting a business in 2017. All of these industries will make a lot of money now and in many years to come.

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Construction

The construction industry is a very good one if you’re keen to start a small business venture. Creating your own construction company that builds houses or does general building work has always been popular.

There are a few reasons for this; firstly, a construction business is fairly easy to start up. You don’t require a lot of resources, and you can probably get one started with just yourself and a partner. This is how most of them begin, and then they expand into bigger organizations with more employees, more equipment, etc. The one trick with a construction business is to purchase some of your equipment rather than renting it. Things like the end dump trailers seen here www.Constructiontrailerspecialists.com/trailers/end-dumps, are going to be used all the time for site clearance. So, it makes sense to spend money on one or two and own them, rather than paying rent all the time. The same goes for general tools and equipment that you’ll use for every single job no matter what it is. Then, anything that’s not constantly essential can be rented, and you save money.

Construction is a good industry to venture into as there is a lot of money to be made. People are always going to need a company to help build something or fix something. Plus, you cater to both commercial and domestic markets, which expand your client outreach.

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Retail

You might think that retail is a dying industry, but it really isn’t. While regular brick and mortar stores are dying out, the online retail world is booming. It represents a great chance to make a lot of money, and there are many reasons you should start one.

For one, it’s incredibly low-cost to start an online retail company. All you need are products, a website, and a shipping method. There’s no need to pay for any business premises, and this saves you loads of money over time. Plus, you don’t need to have many employees either, which again will lower the costs of running this business quite dramatically. Furthermore, with online retail, you get the benefit of a really big customer base. You can sell things to people all over the world which means there is always someone out there that you can try and turn into a customer. There are few business ideas that allow you to open yourself up to such a wide market and have success.

But, online retail isn’t the only way you can start a profitable business venture in this industry. Traditional brick and mortar stalls aren’t as popular as they used to be, but you can start a business that looks like a brick and mortar but heavily uses retail technology. This is a fairly new concept where traditional stores are reinvented. You can see a good example of this in the article here https://www.ft.com/content/c4b8af64-6c37-11e7-bfeb-33fe0c5b7eaa which looks at how China’s retail industry is changing. Now, stores are opening without any employees, and there are plans for stores packed full of technology so you can go in, take what you need, and it gets charged to your account automatically. Starting a retail company in this area of the industry can be incredibly profitable in the future.

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Technology

The tech industry is obviously one of the greatest industries to start a business venture in this year. It’s booming at the moment, and things are set to get even better over the next few years and decades. 2017 is probably the peak time to get involved as we’re at a point where there’s a lot of good technology out there that’s still not reached its potential.

One example that springs to mind is 3D printing, this is something that’s starting to become more common in regular life but is nowhere near reaching its potential. There will be so many great things you can do with this technology in years to come, and so much money can be made here. Another example is drone technology which is really booming right now. However, there is still a lot that can be achieved with it. No matter where you look in the tech industry, there’s always something going on. There are always new things you can develop, and new business ventures to consider.

This is probably the best industry to start a business in if you really want to think ahead. The great thing is, it’s not hard to start a technology business. The costs are generally low, which makes the potential for profits very high.

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Healthcare

If there’s one industry that’s always been great to start a business in, it’s healthcare. People depend on companies providing them with healthcare. They need doctors to tell them what’s wrong with their bodies, they need dentists to look after their teeth, and they need a whole host of other healthcare professionals to help with all manner of issues.

When you start to look at the healthcare industry, you realize there are loads of different business ventures you can start. Private healthcare is increasingly popular and becoming more and more important by the day. People are calling out for affordable companies to start up and provide healthcare for regular individuals. You can see here http://www.profitableventure.com/healthcare-business-ideas/ for a list of great healthcare business ideas to start in 2017.

Unlike the other industries on this list, businesses in healthcare can often have a lot of overhead costs. However, money is almost always guaranteed as customers are also almost always guaranteed. There is always going to be someone somewhere requiring a health care service, and this will continue until the end of time.

If you’re an entrepreneur that’s keen to start a new business venture, consider diving into one of these industries. There are so many ideas within each industry, and they’re all built for now and the future.

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| Office Protection: Key Ideas For All Business Owners

Posted in Small Business at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

All business owners should want to provide a safe and suitable office environment for their employees. However, far too many people overlook the basics and encounter problems. With that in mind, the ideas below should help to point all entrepreneurs in the right direction. As with anything else in this world, acting fast will often help companies to save a lot of money. So, consider some of the suggestions below and put them into action as soon as possible. Team members are going to thank you for making an effort.

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CCTV

No company boss wants to arrive at work in the morning to discover the office has become a target for criminals. Still, that is something that happens to many business owners at some point. It’s easier for burglars to break into commercial premises because they know there is nobody inside. Installing some CCTV could be the best move entrepreneurs make this year. Police officers say that move helps them in a variety of different ways. CCTV could:

  • Identify the culprit
  • Provide video evidence for court cases
  • Contribute towards secure a conviction.

 

For the best prices on security cameras, it’s sensible to shop around. Some brands are better than others, and some providers offer excellent discounts.

 

Coded Door Locks

Securing the premises while people are working inside is paramount. So, it makes sense to invest in some coded door locks. Those devices will stop anyone from entering the building if they don’t know the code. There are also some products that require employees to use a digital key to gain access. Those items are not going to break the bank, but they could stop intruders dead in their tracks. With that in mind, read some online reviews to discover what other entrepreneurs think of particular brands. That should help business owners to make better decisions and avoid wasting their money on inferior products.

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Weather Protection

Sometimes criminals aren’t the only threat to an office. Indeed, adverse weather conditions could cause havoc if the business owner doesn’t take precautions. Some common issues include:

  • Frozen pipes
  • A malfunctioning heating system
  • Power cuts

 

Thankfully, the process of dealing with frozen pipes ahead of time is simple. Bosses just need to invest in some heat trace wire and fix it to all the water pipes in the building. Products of that nature help to ensure temperatures don’t drop below zero. So, frozen and cracked pipework should become a thing of the past.

There are specialists anyone can call to perform routine maintenance on their office heating system. So, it’s wise to ensure the boiler or furnace gets checked every six months. That should be enough to ensure any issues don’t go unnoticed.

When it comes to power cuts, the best solution is to purchase and install a backup generator. The business owner can then switch to the petrol-powered alternative if the worst occurs. That would allow all employees to carry on working as they otherwise would have done.

Take some of the ideas from this article and put them into practice to avoid office issues this year. None of those suggestions are going to require a substantial investment, and so most companies won’t have to stress about the cost. The biggest expense is the purchase of a generator, but it’s possible to hire those devices if money is tight at the moment.

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| Why EVERY Business Can Benefit From The Cloud

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

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Digital technologies have revolutionized 21st century business. Not only have they enabled for greater international communication and collaboration, they’ve allowed thriving businesses to be run by teams thousands of miles apart and enabled untold workers to shake off the daily grind and start their own businesses from the comfort of their own homes.

One of the greatest innovations of the past decade or so is the use of cloud based technology to facilitate IT infrastructure. While many consider the cloud merely a storage solution, there is a wealth of cloud and server based applications that are invaluable for businesses of all sizes.

 

Cost Benefits of the Cloud

Unlike physical storage costs (for example, external hard drives), cloud based storage is completely scalable to the needs of the user. This can enable small startups to begin with modest storage packages and upscale as their businesses and their subsequent demands grow. Physical storage pricing structures are far more linear, leading to businesses paying over the odds for terabytes of unused data. There’s no need for expensive and disruptive upgrades or overhauls since a cloud based infrastructure is updated and upgraded automatically. The costs are borne by the provider, while you as a customer simply pay a subscription.  Coupled with the reduced upfront costs then the cloud comes out as the clear winner!

 

The Security of the Cloud

Damage mitigation should be a priority for just about every business. Whether you’re a construction company laying ground protection mats, or a cafe letting the shutters down at the end of a day’s business. Whatever the nature of your business, you’ll likely handle data that you want to keep secure. Usually this means spending money on secure on-site data storage solutions such as hard drives and servers. The trouble is that these can be compromised by robbery or natural disaster. While data can be retrieved from damaged or destroyed hard drives, it is a lengthy and expensive process. By using a cloud your data is secure whatever happens to your physical premises. Most cloud providers offer sophisticated 128 or 256 bit AES encryption. They also have redundancy measures in place to ensure files are not lost or corrupted.

 

Collaborating with the Cloud

The cloud enables you to collaborate with people all over the world, sharing documents and working collaboratively using cloud based software. Google Docs, for example, is an excellent word processing platform that allows collaborators to access documents, make notes and share with others with by-the-second real-time updates.

 

Potential Risks

While there are many inherent advantages to using the cloud, it is not without its risks, and your provider should be researched rigorously prior to committing to a subscription.

  • Your data (and that of your clients) will be in the hands of a third-party, so make sure you know their security measures.
  • Your data can be compromised by a poor internet connection. A poor connection can impede your ability to upload, store or access data.
  • Data storage companies are based in different locations which may have different laws on the handling of data.
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| Enhance The Eco-Credentials Of Your Business In 5 Easy Steps

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

The new buzzwords in business are ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’, and there is a good reason for this. Over 70% of millennials are willing to pay more for an environmentally sustainable product. This statistic has driven businesses all over the world to try and give their processes, manufacturing and marketing some solid green credentials. There are some simple steps that you can take to embrace the new trend for sustainable technology and processes without breaking the bank.

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Agile Working

By implementing a policy of flexible working, you are handing control back to your employees and empowering them to streamline their own work processes. The green tint that flexible working lends to your business lies in the reduction in commuting.  As a result there is lower use of fuel and petrol and diesel. The widespread use of conference calls, WebEx and Skype, enables your employees to be present in business meetings from the comfort of their own home. You may even see productivity increase as your staff team is more content when working on their home patch.

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Initiate Eco-Friendly Schemes

Although working from home is a solution to reducing carbon emissions to a certain extent, it is impossible for your employees to work from home every day. Encourage car sharing by reserving spaces in the car park for those that don’t drive to work alone. Even more beneficial to the environment is a subsidized cycle scheme. Launch your initiative with a ‘cycle to work’ day advocating not only the environmental aspect of the scheme but also the health benefits. Lead by example, strap on the hi-vis vest and get on your bike.

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Reduce Wastage

The shocking amount of water, paper and electricity waste can be staggering. How many times have you been walking around your building to discover meeting rooms with nobody in them, yet every single light is on causing your energy bills to rocket? You could look into the taps in your office and fix any leaks and the next time that your office kitchen needs a new dishwasher ensure that it is Energy Star rated.

However, the waste that is the most mind blowing of all is that of paper. The amount of waste paper bins that are overflowing with screwed up pieces of A4 and shredded documentation because somebody printed out the wrong page can be difficult to comprehend. Every person in the U.S.A uses, on average, 700 pounds of paper every year. It is unfathomable how much of this is wastage. You could streamline your administration processes to prevent paper waste by installing contract lifecycle management software. Storing all of your contracts and legal documentation relating to clients electronically means you will have to print them out less frequently creating a near paperless office.

Make your business a green beacon for all other companies in your local area to follow. Initiatives and schemes are beneficial, but you also need to consider the quick fixes. Make sure your staff understands the impact that their action, or sometimes inaction, has on the business finances. Make sure all monitors, photocopiers, screens and printers are turned off at the end of every work day. Stop providing paper cups for the water cooler and encourage your employees to bring their own refillable containers. Each of these small tweaks to your office environment will lead to enhanced eco-credentials.

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Source Your Suppliers Wisely

If you are a manufacturer, whether large scale or cottage industry, it pays to investigate the eco-credentials of your suppliers. Are they local meaning you are reducing your carbon footprint? Do they use recycled materials when producing parts for your products? Your expenses may increase as a result of sourcing greener suppliers, but the modern consumer is willing to pay more for a sustainable item. If you market your product effectively and to your target market, you will see an increase in sales and a boost in profits.

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Recycle As You Grow

As your business becomes more successful and you renew your electronic equipment, consider how you will dispose of your old technology. Laptops, printers and photocopiers that are still usable but simply old will be of great use to local charities, schools and hospitals. Put the feelers out, forge links with local organizations and offer up your equipment. By doing this you will be creating meaningful links with your local community and enhancing your eco-credentials in equal measure.

Going green will see your chances of staying in the black increase. Enthusing your employees into taking an active role in the drive for sustainability will generate a more content workforce, enhanced productivity and increased profits.

Remember going green is not only creates a safer environment but may save your business money in the long run.  Interested in ways to stop waste and save on expenses, give Loftis Consulting a call at (312) 772-6105.

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| Best To Worst: 8 Methods Of Securing Useful Capital For Your Startup

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

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With the modern, accessible internet age directly on our doorstep, it’s incredible to witness the spawn of so many entrepreneurs culminating in the startup trend. Startups are loosely defined as small, humble business operations with threadbare staff and capital that make use of modern trends to get a leg up in their industries, such as using social media, web communications and accessible IT solutions to organize everything. These days, a shrewd entrepreneur with a stern will can make more growth in a year than established firms.

One of the benefits of running a startup is that you can keep costs low while you establish your operation. This might be as simple as working out of your garage instead of renting an office or fulfilling multiple roles of your small business between you and your partner. There is nothing new about small businesses being creative, but startups are usually defined differently. Startups usually have a unique or original or innovative (or all three) idea that they take a risk on to establish an audience for.

If you are the owner of a startup, it’s most likely that you have an interest in growing your operation to the point that is satisfactory to you and provides you with the most interest. It’s not difficult to assume that taking a risk on a startup should only serve to craft something you enjoy. If you don’t make the decision you want to make, what would be the point? You’ll just be working for a firm you dislike in a higher position, when you could have simply raised a career ladder to get to a higher-paid position in another, more established firm. Doing that would certainly have a lower risk associated with it.

But no, you are a strong spirit, and you have the needs of your startup in your mind first and foremost. You will defeat the risk and expose the business world for what it is, yours for the taking! But wait, don’t get so ahead of yourself there. You’ll need to fuel this operation with the juice it needs.

 

You’ll Require Capital

Money makes the world go round, and a lack of it can mean severe difficulty in getting your operation off the ground. Luckily for you, this following article lists in detail the best methods of securing your funds so you can bestow your new innovative idea on an audience who aren’t yet aware they are thirsty for it.

Without further ado…

 

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding serves two purposes. For one, it is a great way to expose your product to an audience online before you even begin selling it. For a tiered ‘prize’ system to be redeemed once the product is ready for release, consumers can fund your product with an undetermined amount of money in exchange for a paid-in-advance for product when your production process ends.

Of course, this can be set only to be redeemed once someone gives you the requisite amount of money that warrants a free product at the end of it. You may also allow consumers to donate small amounts of cash for no reward, but as a form of goodwill that will hopefully help see your firm develop.

To run a successful campaign, you will need to apply some creative flair to your promotional material first. Great graphic design, a professional video that details your business plan in a rudimentary form, why your product is different and where it will fit in the marketplace are all some of the best methods for crafting an appealing piece of material for potential viewers. Thanks to the integration of crowdfunding with most social media websites, you will easily be able to share new update posts to keep your backers updated on your daily progress.

It’s not unheard of for firms to experience a huge increase in their original crowdfund goal, sometimes popular products that resonate with consumers are backed to 200% or even 300% of the originally intended business costs. What’s more, when you have this money, it is free to do with as you wish, so long as you fulfill your original promise of actually making the promise. This is intrinsically freeing.

 

Business Loans

Business loans can serve as a great way to give yourself that initial boost without publicly declaring your product. Instead, you can begin development with a degree of privacy, and this allows you to make a nuanced marketing product that isn’t reliant on anyone other than the debtor and their terms themselves.

What’s more is that you needn’t rely on big banks to help you find a business loan. There are many investing firms worthy of import that understand what it means to be a new business, and genuinely want to see you succeed in your endeavors. Business loans are a great benefit, because they can often provide you with capital, and an immense amount of it, which might be difficult to make from a crowdfund, as not all are successful. Plus, unless your debtor stipulates, there’s no reason why you can’t make use of both.

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Investors

Investors are similar to business loans but often have more stringent terms of giving you their money, as they are not covered by business loss insurance to the same degree as a firm would be. They’re also likely to have more difficult terms of contract, such as wanting a proportional percentage of the business in exchange for the money. They can work very well for the right firm, but if you can secure a business loan, that might be preferable. However, investors, especially affluent ones, might be convinced to give you an investment of a huge amount of money if they trust your business plan and vision. It all depends on how you present yourself to them.

 

Fund It Yourself

If you can, funding your own business works too. This might take dipping into savings, re-mortgaging using the house as security or simply funding your startup while you run a full-time job. This can be the best way to fund a business thanks to yourself being the only person you have to answer to financially, but a bad investment can also lead to financial loss or ruin. Use this with caution.

 

Join an Incubator

Incubators are quite an interesting process to be a part of. Incubators are firms or investors that act as both potential investors and educating guides, who can help you develop or shift your idea to places even you might not originally think possible. It’s instructive to see businesses that have done well with incubators, as many leave with not only enhanced vision and insight into the operation they want to lead, but also have gained some great exposure for investors looking to place money in the hot new venture. Incubators can serve as one of the best methods for overcoming a difficult or stagnant business process, helping you identify what has gone wrong from people who have a financial or networking incentive to help you out. This can also be the best place to meet other startups, and together you can support each other’s operations in the business supply chain.

 

Shareholders

Shareholders are similar to investors, but there are usually many of them, and it will take you going public in order to receive those funds. Unfortunately, you can’t really expect to make a huge amount of these shareholders thanks to your low business value, but you can make enough to make it worthwhile depending on the success or scope of your long-term planning.

 

Friends & Family

Appealing to your friends and family for your funding source has all the requirements that an investor might have, except with this your investor will have an emotional attachment to your project. If something goes wrong, or you experience turbulence with your operation, or simply don’t make good on the repayments, you can be sure to alienate family members and friends alike.

Of course, this rule shouldn’t be expressly ruled out – part of the reason for running a startup is that you can choose how you operate entirely by yourself – but choosing it without due care can really turn into a negative experience. This should, in all honesty, be your last option, unless you have a rich relative who is willing to be your benefactor. Use this with discretion, and understand that a large proportion of startups will not be suited to this avenue, thanks to the high failure rate of beginner businesses.

The tips listed above, duly followed from top to bottom should be a sure-fire way to retrieve some form of significant capital for your business. Not only that, but they should serve to help you understand just what makes a business so appealing to draw money in in the first place, and even if your first project fails,  you will be armed with this knowledge to do better in the future. Of course, just because the list is rated here from best to worst, it doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to one of them. Try as many as you can contract to allow in order to overcome your lack of funds, and be well on your way to getting to the fiscal place you want to be.

Good luck with all your financial and business endeavors.  If you need help sorting out your financing options give Loftis Consulting a call at (312) 772-6105.

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