| Keep Your Business Engine Well-Oiled

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

All of the separate parts of an engine need to be properly maintained, and well-oiled. If they are not, your car will come to a standstill, instead of driving forward. A business is much the same. It is not enough for you to be doing your job properly, if you want your business to be efficient then you need to make sure every separate aspect of it is functioning properly and that they all come together properly. Poor efficiency could be the reason that your sales have started to slow, so it needs to be sorted out as quickly as possible. If your business is in need of a few repairs, here are some simple ways that you can get the engine running again.

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Good Access to Information

If your employees don’t have easy access to the information they need, they will be wasting precious time trying to seek it out. In an office that I worked in, dealing with complaints, the company had a strict policy on information. Although this was partly for data protection reasons, it was a huge hassle. Requesting certain pieces of information, or authorization, that I needed to help customers could take up to two or three days. That delay was then passed on to the customer and you can be sure that the people I spoke to would definitely not recommend that company to anybody else. Obviously, there are some pieces of information that need to be kept secure, but the majority of things can be freely available to employees, meaning that they can deal with problems themselves without having to go higher. This saves their time and your time.

 

Motivation

This is key. If employees feel that they are undervalued, then they will not be enthusiastic about their work. I speak from experience here. I have worked in a few different offices and found that if I am treated with respect and given credit for my work, then I am a lot more productive than I was in jobs where management had a bad attitude towards employees. Visit moneysoldiers.com for some more detailed information on motivating your employees. The key areas to focus on are making them comfortable, letting them work independently, and offering them praise when they are successful. You’d be surprised just how much difference it makes.

 

 Clear Chain of Command

My favorite office job was working as an intern, helping to launch the website, for a small local company just after I graduated college. Though it wasn’t my dream job, the work was interesting and my colleagues were great. The only problem was the chain of command. The company was family run, by two brothers. Though it was clear which one was my boss, and which I worked most closely with. The other one would sometimes ask me to do things as well. It was unclear which work should take precedence as both said that theirs was important. In the end, I attempted to juggle both, rather than prioritizing one, meaning that I completed both tasks, but at a much slower rate for both. Without a clear chain of command, your employees will be unsure of what they should be doing and when.

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| Essential Tips for Business Trips!

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

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When your business is in its nascent stages, you usually need to keep things pretty local. But as it grows, moving away from its bedroom beginnings and expanding into the world of offices, you may find that your business takes you to completely new geographical locations. It may require you to make trips to new places in the city, or within the country, or maybe even around the world.

This travel is usually a very good sign of growth. After all, travel usually means that you’re meeting exciting new clients, or attending important events that can bring further weight to your company’s name in the eyes of others in the business world. But you need to be very careful, because business trips can be pretty tricky business!

This here is a quick guide to smoothing out the various complications that come with a business trip. Ensure that you consider all of these factors before you set off on your company adventure!

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Deciding Who Needs To Come Along

For some people, business travel is a bit of a drag. For others, it’s an exciting opportunity to do something new. The idea is especially enticing if you’re attending a famous and fun event – think E3 for those in the gaming industry. But your budget is unlikely to accommodate everyone who wants to go on a particular trip! Besides, you’re going to need to consider the times where particular people you’d like to see join you on the trip may actually be better kept in the office. It’s best if you are as strict as possible when it comes to the criteria for those who should come along. You shouldn’t just bring people along who just want to go on the trip and who won’t provide some specific and useful function. After all, when you do that you’re simply draining the office of an employee!

 

Special Accommodations

There are plenty of complications that come with travel, and medical ones are usually the trickiest to deal with. Someone you need on the trip may suffer from some form of motion sickness. Elevation sickness, for example, may make a plane trip very unpleasant for the employee in question. Particular diets may be hard to maintain in another country, too. Make sure you’re familiar with all of these needs – medical, dietary, and otherwise – when planning your trip.

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Planning Ahead

You should build an itinerary with your employees before you head off. Know what areas you’re going to be spending most of your time in and find out where the best and cheapest places for food and entertainment are. It can be difficult to find the best places for you when you haven’t planned out an itinerary beforehand, which can cause a lot of problems when you consider the aforementioned complications that some employees may have to deal with. Maps.Google.com is probably one of the best tools at your disposal here; you can look up the area in which you’re staying to get a good look at all the amenities available in that area, which you can generally arrange by quality and price.

 

Dealing with The Costs

If you’re really lucky, you can get help with the expenses of the trip from the client or business partner you’re travelling to meet or work with. Most of the time, however, this is something you’ll have to deal with by yourself. This is why it’s so important that you’re careful when it comes to selecting the employees who should be coming with you. Paying for accommodation and flights will, of course, be the biggest expense. It’s recommended that you search deal websites to help alleviate some of these costs. Websites like DontPayFull.com can help you locate such deals in the form of online coupons and discounts. When it comes to food and entertainment – well, this is why you need to research cheap places before you leave!

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Essential Documents

When you have several people coming with you on this trip, you’re going to have to take a lot of documents with you. There are the plane tickets if you’ve had them printed off beforehand. Passports are essential, unless you’ve found some magical way to get past country borders without them! VISA documents are also needed, though you can generally get these filled out on the plane there if anyone forgets them. You can read more about VISAs at Travel.State.gov. One of the best ways to ensure that everyone brings everything they need is for you all to meet at the office way ahead of time. Do an inventory check to ensure everyone has everything they need – if someone has forgotten something, you should leave enough time for them to retrieve it. Once everything is accounted for, then you should head to the airport.

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Transportation

One of the problems with going to a new location is how much you need to rely on public transport. This can be fairly manageable if you’re on your own, but if you’re dealing with a group then it’s rarely ideal. Not only that, but you also end up at the complete mercy of local public transport schedules and delays. Cabs can be very useful, of course, but ordering cabs for several people can be pretty inconvenient, not too much expensive – and, yes, this is assuming that everyone is going to get the same cab! You may want to consider renting a vehicle for the business trip. Resources such as Hertz.com offer discounts for business rentals, so it may end up being much cheaper than you may imagine.

 

Keeping Everyone in Contact

In some ways, a business trip like this is going to remind you a lot of school trips. You need to make sure everyone sticks together, or, at least, that you know where everyone is you split up. The key to ensuring everyone can stay in contact. Smartphones are essential, but you’re going to need to ensure everyone has roaming data available. This can be pretty expensive, so you may want to put such data down as business expenses instead of making your employees pay for it! Consider making sure everyone has something like WhatsApp on their phone – not only does this allow you to use local WiFi to contact each other, making the whole thing much cheaper, but it also enables you to use group chats, which will come in very useful.

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| How To Create a Successful Ecommerce Site

Posted in Small Business at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Ecommerce sites can be particularly tricky to make a success of. Rather than just informing people about your business and asking them to get in contact with you, you are asking them to buy directly through your site. This requires a great deal of trust which isn’t always easy to obtain in the sometimes murky online world. Having said that, you can make life easier yourself by following a few techniques that boost your chances of making a success of your site. Take a look at these five tips to do just this.

 

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Don’t Rush Launching the Site

It is a natural trait of many entrepreneurs that they are impatient. They tend to want to get things moving as quickly as possible. While this is not always a bad quality to have, something like an ecommerce site cannot be rushed. Remember, you only get one shot at launching your site so you need to make sure that it counts. It is fine to purchase the domain name, but the build itself should be a gradual process. Take a look at this link for more information about this stage. Avoid getting ahead of yourself and make sure everything is spot on before launching.

 

It is a Social Affair

Ecommerce websites need to go hand in hand with a strong marketing approach. Social media should act as the heartbeat of your company, telling people about the latest products that you have in stock and engaging with people who have questions. You should also have a blog page in which you regularly post content such as product reviews, videos and other industry updates. You should also capture the data of people when they make a purchase and send them relevant offers of other things that they may like to buy.

 

Don’t Forget Mobiles

 As so many people are accessing the internet through their mobiles, you need to make sure that your site is responsive so people are able to easily access it when they are on the go. Making your site responsive should be one of your primary concerns. You could also consider building a mobile app if you think this is appropriate. The main advantage of an app is that it is much quicker to use than a standard website and it also provides another channel to contact people through push notifications etc.

 

Keep Up With SEO

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 SEO is at the heart of any strong business these days so it is certainly something you can’t overlook when creating your ecommerce website. Fresh and original content should be at the very heart of your site, so rather than copying product descriptions from manufacturers, you need to write them yourself and make sure they are keyword rich. In such a fast-moving field, it makes sense to stay in contact with an expert who can provide you with advice on how to get your site to the top of the pecking order. This will become even more important in the next three to five years so it is important to get it right now.

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| Is Your Business Ready To Launch Its Website?

Posted in Marketing at 4:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Something that all business owners can agree on is that a website is one of the most important parts of the whole venture. With a website, you have much more of an opportunity to market your business in a powerful way in the digital realm. You also have more chance of getting your brand name out there to many places where it would not otherwise reach. As for the customer, when your business has an easily accessible website which offers up plenty of useful information, this can help dramatically to improve your service to them. But it is important that the website is as close to perfect as possible, especially if you want to make the most of it. Let’s have a look at how to launch your website as well as possible.

 

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Find a Host

One of the most vital ingredients to the success of any website is the host of the site itself. Finding a decent host for your site can be tricky, but by following some basic guidelines you should be able to find the right one in time. As a rule, you should try to find a hosting service which fits with whatever platform you are using best. If you are using WordPress for example, you will want to find a host service that specializes in optimized hosting for WordPress. Whatever platform you are using, be sure to find the relevant host. You should also check reviews to make sure that you have the best host possible on your side.

 

Design Your Site

Website users are growing increasingly savvy. If you want your website to have the best effect on your audience, then you need to think carefully about how you are going to design it. The web design is something that a lot of people struggle with. It is absolutely one of those aspects which you want to get professional help with. If you don’t, it can be easily recognized that you did not think it through well enough. A well-designed site should look good, fall in line with your brand message, and be easy to use for your visitors. Spend time on this part of the process, and take care before publishing anything.

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Test

In fact, it would be highly advisable to test your website thoroughly before you publish it at all. Testing your website means that you put it online, but only as a temporary means of discovering how well it works. You could even apply it to a focus group, see what they think of it, and improve or update it accordingly. Or it could just be that you want your internal tech team to tweak it before it goes live. Either way, missing this step could be a very bad idea indeed, particularly if you have a lot invested in your website as a business. Once you are truly happy with it, you can go live knowing that you have made it as perfect as possible.

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| SEO Mistakes Your Business Cannot Afford to Make

Posted in Marketing at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

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If there is one thing that all businesses need to master today, it is search engine optimization (SEO). It is likely that you already have a SEO strategy in place, but is it effective? Have you reached the dizzy heights of page one, or are you languishing at the bottom of Google’s search engine rankings? Is your conversion rate high, or is your bounce rate causing a problem? If your SEO strategy does not seem to be producing the results you had imagined, it could be that you are making one of the following critical mistakes:

  • You aren’t tracking your progress – One mistake a lot of business owners make is overlooking the importance of analytics. How are you supposed to make progress if you don’t know how your SEO efforts are going at present? There are a number of different tools you can use to determine if your strategies are working, enabling you to make the necessary changes to constantly improve your online presence.
  • Ignoring the mobile experience – Google and other search engines do not merely rank your website based on the keywords and content used within it. It is a lot more complicated than this. The quality of your website also comes into play, especially with regards to the performance of your website on smaller devices, including smartphones and tablets. If your website is not mobile-friendly, your ranking is going to suffer. Failing to have a great mobile experience in place is a sign that your business is behind the times.
  • Missing quality links – Have you focused on the quantity of external links instead of the quality of them? If so, this could be where you are going wrong. It is better to include links to websites that are relevant and rank well, as opposed to incorporating as many links as you can find from any old website.
  • Viewing SEO as ‘one thing’ – SEO isn’t a separate part of your online presence. In fact, it should be incorporated into everything you do. It needs to be integrated into your website design, mobile optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, your use of images, video creation, and much more. This is where managed website services come in. Such a service provider will manage your entire online presence, ensuring your SEO strategy is being effectively implemented across all areas.
  • Skipping meta descriptions and title tags – This is one of the biggest SEO sins you can commit. Simply including keywords in your article content is not enough; meta descriptions and title tags are essential SEO elements that should never be forgotten. These are critical factors that are taken into account by search engines when they are crawling your site.
  • Creating content that is not about your keywords – Finally, a lot of people make the mistake of creating content that does not relate to the keywords they have used. The problem is that they want to focus their content on their target topic, yet they need to rank for a particular keyword. If your content is not relevant, it won’t rank well, as Google wants to provide their users with the most relevant content based on the search term they input.
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| Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Digital Nomad?

Posted in Small Business at 12:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

One of the great things about running an online business is that you can take care of the vast majority of your responsibilities from any location. That means that you can stay in touch with your business while on vacation, work remotely while commuting, or becoming a digital nomad and travel the world – which is the focus of today’s post.

However, there are some inherent challenges with traveling when running a company, and the simple truth is that it might not work for your particular online business. Today, we’re going look at what it takes to become a digital nomad and how you can integrate your business into your travels. Let’s get started with the basics.

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The Hard Truths

First of all, are you strong enough to travel the world while running an online business? While the concept sounds amazing, it’s important to understand that it can be tough going. Homesickness is a major issue, of course, running a business is tough enough as it is, without the uncertainty and challenges of being in unfamiliar territory. Travel burnout is a distinct possibility, too, so think about allowing yourself some time home to normalize every six months or so.

 

Trusted Relationships

It’s possible to connect with workers, suppliers, teams and distributors on platforms like Skype, Trello and Slack, of course. But you have to be trusting enough in your partners that they will be able to show some independence and decision making skills in your absence. This is especially true if you are traveling to areas in a different time zone – your partner’s working day could be taking place as you sleep.

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First Class Tech Support

When you are out in the wilderness and nowhere near a WiFi signal, what will you do when your blog or website goes down? As this interview over at Bluehost suggests, it’s important to have first-class technical support when you are traveling abroad. Again, you will have to hand over the reins a little if you want to be a digital nomad, releasing a bit of control so that your business isn’t affected.

 

It’s Not a Vacation

You also have to bear in mind that your business must take precedence over your traveling. If you want to see the world for a year or so, you are far better off taking a year out than taking your business on the road. Effectively, you will be working just as hard – just in a sunnier or more exciting environment. There will be downtime to enjoy, of course, but ultimately you will still need to be working your standard 40 hour week – or more- if you want to keep that income flowing in,.

 

Routine Is Critical

Traveling to new areas of the world can be incredibly disruptive. So, as a digital nomad, it is vital that you have a regular routine that enables you to work hard, as well as giving you time to relax and soak up some of the inspirational places you visit.

OK, so there you have it – do you have what it takes to become a digital nomad? Let us know in the comments section below!

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| Know Your Niche: Keeping Your Marketing Specialized

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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 Not everyone is going to be interested in your business – so don’t market to everyone. Targeting a specific group of people that you now are interested in your business using specific methods can often be more affordable and more effective. Here are a few ways that you make your marketing more focused.

 

Use Analytics

Analytics are a way of using web data to better focus your marketing. Having an analytics plug-in on your business website can allow you to know who is visiting your website, their age, their gender, where they’re visiting from and at what time. Analytics can give you a better idea of your demographic. Many forms of online advertising including PPC ads and promoted Facebook posts will use analytics to focus where and when ads are placed – when promoting Facebook posts you can usually tailor who sees your ads by picking the age, gender and interests.

 

Do Surveys

Many businesses will survey their clients after working with them as a way of finding out what they did well and what could be improved. This can be a great way of improving service, but it can also be a great form of market research allowing you to have a better idea of what clients and don’t like. There are many online survey generators that you can use. Customer satisfactions cards are also a common form of physical surveying used by many restaurants, hotels and tours.

 

Visit Specialist Conventions and Conferences

General business conventions and conferences can be useful networking places, but the chances of bumping into your demographic as a niche business are unlikely. Instead, try to attend conventions and conferences that are more specialized to your business such as fitness trade fairs, tech conventions, fashion shows and gardening shows. These specialized conventions are more likely to attract dedicated hobbyists, niche business owners and other people within your sphere.

 

Work With Niche Marketing Companies

There are many digital marketing companies that will cater for businesses of all trades. Whilst these businesses may be more sizable, they may not have the niche knowledge to fully focus on the right demographic for you. Companies with specialisms such as law firm web marketing or tech pr may be able to provide a more successful campaign. Services may even cost less than a major marketing firm.

 

Keep Tabs On Your Competitors

By knowing the marketing methods that your competitors are using, you can better focus your own. You should never copy the marketing methods of your competitors, although you can try and outdo them. If you see a deal advertised online or a promotion advertised on a board outside their shop and you think that you can provide a better offer, don’t hold back. You can also observe competitors’ marketing strategies in order to differentiate your own business. You may have a unique product that you can offer that they don’t have. Don’t be afraid to also turn your weakness into strength. If your services are more expensive and you can’t possibly lower your pricing, you can market yourself as a ‘luxury’ service. If your services are more dated and you can’t afford to buy better tech, you can market yourself as ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic’.

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| Oops! Errors Which Could End Your Business

Posted in Small Business at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Getting your business off the starting line can often feel like the hardest part for entrepreneurs. After all, it can take a while before you get clients on board. But when you finally have some success, it’s easy for it to end in a jiffy. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs make silly mistakes which lead them to face the end of the road sooner rather than later. In fact, here are some errors which could end your business.

 

Not Getting a Proper Contract in Place With Employees

As your business grows, it’s likely that you will hire people to work for you. After all, you can’t do everything on your own. And you might need a helping hand when it comes to things like customer service. But you need to make sure you follow the contract route if you do employ someone to work for the company. Even if it’s a friend, it needs to be done properly. After all, you don’t want someone letting you down when you need to get work done. Otherwise, you could end up losing work and ultimately end up in debt. Not only this but you need to set some rules when it comes to confidentiality. After all, you don’t want them to spread sensitive information to their nearest and dearest. Or even stealing your ideas to make their own business. Therefore, set some rules at the beginning for the sake of your company.

 

Not Using Copyright Free Photos

It’s likely you will need to use photos for your business. After all, it can help your branding come alive. And photos are necessary for your website and any newsletters you send out. But a lot of entrepreneurs make the error of not using photographs which are copyright free. Therefore, they can end up in a lot of legal trouble if the owner of the photo does come forward. And if it ends up in court, it can send a company under. Therefore, you should make sure you use copyright free photos. You can find this stock photography online which you can use for a small price. And as you are buying it with the rights from the original photographer, you don’t have to worry about being sued anytime soon. If you have some money aside, you could always hire a photographer to take photos specifically for your branding!

 

Not Meeting Potential Clients Face To Face

It’s common now for a lot of communication to be done over the net with potential clients. After all, it’s easier to chat via email rather than having to travel to meet the client. But a lot of entrepreneurs regret not speaking face to face with the customer. After all, if they are not a real company, you could end up doing a ton of work without any financial return. And then the supplies and time you used could send you under, especially if it was a big job. Therefore, it’s a must you meet the person face to face before agreeing to any work. Or at least do some research about the client such as looking on their Linkedin to make sure they are legitimate!

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And remember to always send an invoice in advance. That way, you can have no disputes with clients about the cost of the work!

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| Business Protection: Is You Company Fully Covered?

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

When stepping out into the world of business, the odds of achieving success are slim. In fact, it’s believed that up to 90% of all new ventures crash and burn. The fact that your business is still going strong is amazing. However, you cannot afford to let things slide now. Unfortunately, if you fail to take the necessary steps to protect your company, it will be left in a very vulnerable position.

Protecting the business is a task that should not be taken lightly. You might not appreciate the benefits, but you’d certainly regret not getting things right if you ever fell victim. Here’s all you need to know.

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Protecting Physical Assets

When discussing business protection, most people immediately think about the commercial properties. Let’s face it; burglaries are more common than ever while thieves know that most companies possess expensive equipment and goods. Protecting your premises against those dangers is key.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a shop, office, or factory. Installing the latest and greatest CCTV cameras should be top of the agenda. Combine this with alarms, motion detectors and automated gates for an even greater sense of protection. Whether it’s protecting stock, equipment, or documents isn’t important. The key is to stop unwanted access.

Using visitor lanyards can be another great measure for maintaining a greater sense of control. Of course, this won’t be applicable in all environments, especially shops. However, security guards can aid the cause too.

 

Preventing Intellectual Damage

Thieves don’t only steal physical assets, though. In truth, the loss of a few products shouldn’t cause too much of an impact. After all, you will have probably factored in that some goods won’t be sold anyway. The far greater damage occurs when other companies or fraudsters try to make money off the back of your ideas.

Your company should be the only beneficiary of those efforts. Therefore, taking out the right copyrights on products and innovations is key. If someone does try to steal your intellectual property with illegal replications, a dmca takedown service can help you fight for justice. Given that those fakes can harm your reputations as well as your direct sales, it’s imperative that you do.

 

Maintaining Online Security

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Internet technologies play a greater role in the world of business than ever before. In addition to those internal interactions, many companies use those systems to connect with customers. Whether your company sells items online or simply uses the internet for promotion, security is vital.

Malware, Ransomware and other threats need to be taken seriously. Because if a client feels that their privacy is in jeopardy, they will simply use another company. For similar reasons, you must ensure that all ecommerce platforms are supported with the right encryptions. Losing potential sales for such simple mistakes would be nothing short of a nightmare.  Teaching staff members to set better passwords will certainly help while working in the cloud bring benefits. Essentially, as long as you give your digital tasks the same appreciation as offline ones, you’ll be just fine.

 

Screening Clients

Strong sales figures will direct your business to success, but it’s only possible when you actively see the money. You may think that accepting all transactions is the way forward. Unfortunately, there are times where this simply isn’t true.

A fair and clear returns policy will protect all parties involved. For you, it should stop clients abusing the system to essentially borrow items free of charge. Meanwhile, you need to consider the possibility of bad debts being written off. If you run store cards or repayment plans, taking steps to reduce the number of defaulted payments is a necessity.

 

Upholding Staff Motivation

When hiring new members of staff, you invest time and money into getting it right. That’s because their input is the most important factor for high productivity. Ensuring that the operations run smoothly is crucial for sustained success, and must be included in your protection plans.

 

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Providing staff perks can go a long way to boosting morale. Furthermore, great communication links should be encouraged throughout the business. You also need to know that staff members are committed to the job. Ensuring that they don’t keep taking days off is pivotal. Even if you have agency staff on hold, they’ll never produce the same level of work as permanent employees.

A team that works together succeeds together. Get those motivational elements perfected by showing that there is a clear route to promotions, and you should see great results. With the best possible team at your disposal, the future will look more secure than ever.

 

Know Your Financial Status

You may think that the business is performing well. Those perceptions count for nothing without financial clarification, though. For both the immediate and long-term future of the company, you must take greater responsibility.

 

Cell phone Apps and computer packages can help monitor daily and weekly spending. However, it’s important to speak to a financial advisor too. They can often provide tips to put your finances on a better platform. This could be through finding tax reliefs or trimming unnecessary overspend. Either way, those savings will give the entire business a better chance of reaching its goals and maximizing profits.

 

Getting Insured

Regardless of the steps taken above, you cannot avoid all possible damage. Things can get missed while accidents are part and parcel of running a business operation. Therefore, finding a suitable insurance package for your business is as important as the precautions. If nothing else, it provides that emotional security that will serve you very well in an emergency.

 

Without insurance, one single mistake could potentially ruin the business. In an ideal world, you’ll never need to rely on those packages. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and this should be the final accompaniment to those tasks mentioned above.

 

Building a successful business is tough enough without worrying about potential threats. Prepare for the worst, and there’s nothing to stop you being the best.

 

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| How To Protect Your Brand

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

When you’re trying to launch your own business, one of the most important things you can do to ensure its future is to protect it. Whether you are craft beer brewery or a bespoke software solutions provider, your brand will be one of your most valuable assets once your business gets off the ground. It represents your reputation, all the goodwill you have built with your clients, and it’s your company’s entire identity. Here are a few things you can do to legally protect your brand.

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Use IP Protections

Before you even get started, you’ll have an idea for a business, which might include a name, logo, tagline, and even some business guidelines. Unfortunately, having an idea doesn’t mean you own it; at least, not until you acquire some Intellectual Property (IP) protections. These protections can include trademarks, copyrights, and patents. The right IP protection depends on the kind of business you’d like to start. If you’re just looking to start a small website business that is similar to hundred of other businesses out there, then you might not need IP protection. However, if you’re hoping to establish a brand, then you need to take the necessary steps to protect it.

Register Your Trademark

Once you’ve taken the first steps towards launching your business, registering your trademark should be on the top of your list. A trademark gives you the right to exclude others from using similar marks in the marketplace that might confuse consumers. The purpose is to make sure consumers know where the goods and services with specific brand names on them are coming from. Doing this before you fully start can help you avoid infringement if your business name, logo or slogan has already been taken. A licensed trademark attorney like Xavier Morales can conduct a Comprehensive Trademark Search for you to make sure that your chosen company name is not infringing on an existing brand, file a trademark application to register your business, and help you protect your brand and ideas by giving you copyright protection.

Monitor New Trademark Applications

However, even if you’ve registered your trademark, you still have to protect it, or you still risk losing everything you’ve worked towards. If you don’t monitor for potentially infringing trademark applications and fail to oppose the publication of a conflicting business, then it becomes much more difficult and expensive for you to stop them from hitting the marketplace.

Set Up Google Alerts

Google Alerts can help you monitor mentions of your company, track your marketing, and keep up with industry developments. Most importantly, they can help you identify plagiarism. Nowadays, a lot of companies have blogs as a way of engaging their customers with their business and services. Even if you don’t blog, the content on your website is your intellectual property and you have a right to protect it. While you can pay a fee for companies like Copyscape to alert you to thieves, it’s cheaper to type key phrases into Google Alerts.

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