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StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

So You Think Your Boss Is Breaking The Law

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

In the movies, if someone suspects their boss is breaking the law, the conclusion to the story is pretty standard. The employee – sometimes after a crisis of confidence – reports their boss and ultimately triumphs. They stand at the end credits, a paragon of virtue and Doing The Right Thing.

The real world is very different.

If you suspect that your boss is breaking the law, handling the problem is not quite as simple as you might think. Your career is on the line; the personal finances of your family are on the line. Those facts alone are enough to make someone hesitate and wonder what they should do.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think your boss, or the larger company, is doing something illegal, you have a number of options before you.

1 Ignore It

Upside: If you ignore the issue, you’re not going to get into any trouble — or potentially lose your job — due to reporting it. Ignorance is bliss, so you might decide it’s easier to just pretend you’re still ignorant of what’s happening. The choice to ignore the issue is a powerful one, but it might be the one that works best for you and your personal situation.

Downside: You could be affected by what they are doing. Let’s say you are a taxi driver and you learn that risks are being taken with the vehicle fleet maintenance, documents forged, cars that aren’t safe to drive being let out onto the road. Your silence could ultimately result in you having to seek out an attorney that has experience in treating auto and work-related injuries because you become a direct victim of their negligence. This kind of situation can happen in all fields; with white collar crime, you could even be implicated as an accessory, for example. If you think the idea of whistleblowing could damage your career, then you need to think through the potential consequences of suffering for their malpractice.

2 Report Them Anonymously

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Upside: Though we know many famous whistleblowers, there are plenty of anonymous whistleblowers who still managed to make a change to company practices. This helps you to feel safe in the job without fear of reprisals, while still ensuring that changes are made due to your report. You can be completely honest with anonymous complaints because they can’t be traced to you, allowing you to be sure all the right areas are investigated.

Downside: You do have to consider what will happen if your complaint is followed up on by law enforcement or local government. If the entire company is engaged in illegal acts, you could easily find yourself without a job. Before you report, it’s wise to examine your career options and ensure you have a plan B if the company should close. It’s also worth remembering that no anonymity is one hundred percent complete all the time; there’s always a chance – however improbable – that your boss will find out it was you who made the report. You have to be certain of your facts before you make any report to an authority, so don’t make a guess: you have to be sure.

3 Confront Them

Upside: This is the most direct approach and thus can herald the best results. There is always a chance there is an innocent explanation for what you think you have witnessed. This option gives you the chance to find out the full story before rushing to any judgement. There is also the fact that your observations could serve as a wakeup call. Illegal or other nefarious activity is meant to be secret; if you have noticed, it might be a sign to your boss or the company that they are losing control of their secrecy. This, in turn, could make them examine their motives, and potentially change their ways.

Downside: It might end badly; you could be fired, or even pressed into being complicit in the illegal activity on pain of losing your job. This could put you in an extremely difficult situation, meaning you have to choose between what’s “right” and what is best for you and your family. It’s a good idea to make sure you have another option for employment, just in case your intervention is not welcomed.

There’s no doubt that discovering your boss or company is engaged in illegal or negligent business practices is troubling. Ultimately, you have to make a decision that is best for you; hopefully the options above will have given you something to ponder.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article

Career Development: Climb That Ladder in 8 Steps

It used to be that there were certain industries you could rely upon to be easy to break into. But, with the need for jobs right now, that just isn’t true any longer. You need to be the best at what you do to get the job you want. Not only that, you need to stay ahead of innovative ways of working. As technology advances, so do the ways that many industries operate. So, how do you stay ahead of the curve and climb the career ladder?

What Are You Bad At?

It may seem like you should figure out the opposite and plug your best skills to your employers or potential employers. However, the skills you lack will soon be noticed in any job you take on. Once you’ve identified the skills you need to work on, you can begin to practice perfecting them. It takes commitment if you want to reach the top of the ladder, so working on your flaws is the best place to start. If you try to hide what you don’t know, it won’t be long before you’re discovered as a fraud.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Keep Learning

Business changes every day, so it’s important to keep up with what’s going on. If you aren’t getting the information you need from your colleagues or boss, go and find it yourself. Sometimes, you have to look outside the workplace to advance yourself. For example, someone wanting to progress in the social work industry could do an LCSW online program in their spare time to advance their knowledge and get better career prospects. When it comes to improving the work you do on a day to day basis, it’s important to get the inside scoop from the client. So, if there’s any kind of barrier between you and your client, try and remove it so you can clarify your client’s needs.

Be Valuable

As your business industry advances, so should you. There may come a time when your boss is looking for something specific. For example, if you work in technology, your boss may want to build a team in order to implement a new facial recognition service. The more you know and the more experience you have, the more useful you’ll be. If your boss recognizes your contribution to the advancement of the company, you could become indispensable to the business. The more time you take to research possible changes in your industry in the future, the more valuable you become.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Make Connections

Making good connections is so important to career advancement. It’s not just about knowing the boss’s son in case a new position opens up a year from now; it’s about personal advancement too. Getting to know the people around you could mean you learn new and better ways of working, making your days at work much easier and more convenient. Talking to people who do the same job is a way of getting new ideas and thinking outside the box. When you start to think differently, suddenly new doors open and you become more creative with your work.

Read A Lot

I know, who has time for reading with a career, right? But, reading can open your eyes in the same way relationships can. Whether you’re reading the autobiography of an industry leader, or a few pages of an article you found online, it all contributes to what you know. However, it doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to reading only about business. Picking up your favorite author’s new novel at the bookstore will do you just as good. Reading opens the mind and allows new ideas in. It also helps to relax the mind. So, if you’ve been struggling with a problem at work recently, you could have your voila moment in the middle of a crime thriller chapter.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Take a Break

Building up a successful career is hard, and although it’s tempting to go full steam ahead, that’s not going to be good for your health. You can’t take the business world by storm if you’re constantly feeling tired and run down. There has to be a balance between your work life and your personal life. Too many people make the mistake of believing that getting work done way ahead of deadlines will get them noticed. Take the time and spend it with family and friends instead. The better rested you are, the more likely you are to take the world by storm.

Travel

You know what they say – travel broadens the mind. But, it isn’t just a broader mind you can gain from travel. Many students who go on gap years end up staying abroad because the develop careers in different countries. Travelling can do two things when it comes to your career: increase your passion for your chosen career path or change it completely. You’ll sometimes meet the connections you need to branch into something you’ve never thought of before. Similarly, businesses are now trading on the global market, thanks to the use of the internet and it’s many platforms. So, taking that next step on the career ladder could be just about learning more about your customers and the different cultures and backgrounds they come from.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Be Confident

It’s easier said than done sometimes. But, being confident is one of the major keys to career success. A client isn’t going to want to bank on someone who fumbles through a presentation and isn’t sure on how to answer questions. It’s also important to be confident in who you will be. For example, it’s okay to say you’re unsure of how something works, as long as you can say you’re willing to learn and will become confident in it in the future.

When you’re trying to climb the career ladder, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Being yourself is the only way you’ll find out if you’re truly cut out for the career you’ve chosen and whether you have the passion to continue with it. After all, this ladder isn’t for the faint of heart.

How to Pick the Best Web Hosting Company

Because a lot of thought, planning, and money goes into creating the perfect website for your business, you want to be sure it gets the traffic you are aiming for and that the website can handle everything that is thrown at it. This is where the web hosting company comes into play. The web host is the service that publishes your website so others will see it. It provides a company with the actual server space to store all its content and looks after the file maintenance involved in the site. It is easily the most important component in building your site.

So, before you just go ahead and randomly select the first web host that you find, you may want to take some time and use these tips that will help you pick the best web hosting company for your specific needs.

Keep the Three S’s in Mind

A simple way to go about picking a web host is to always keep the three S’s in mind. These S’s are security, support, and speed. Each of these plays an important role, and if even one of these is lagging, the entire site and the user experience will suffer. Each time you investigate a web host, you need to ask about the three S’s and get detailed specifics.

Of course, there is more to it than just the three S’s, these just happen to be the most important criteria to watch for.

Be Aware of Your Specific Needs

It’s also very important that you are aware of your specific needs. It’s hard to shop for a host when you don’t even know what you need. Give thought to the website you are building. If you want to use something simple like WordPress, how much web traffic you are expecting? If you need any sort of special software for the site, do you know what this is and how to get it?Certain hosts will cater to specific criteria, which will help you to narrow down your options and find that perfect fit.

How Reliable is the Server?

Web traffic is fickle in that it will only stick around and stay strong if the website performs smoothly and as it is intended. What this means is that you need a reliable server that can handle your traffic without needing to “time out”.

When speaking to a potential web host you want to ask about their “uptime”, this is the time the website will be up and running, and is reliable. When a website crashes, it’s not unusual to lose more than just traffic, you can also lose out on a large number of potential sales.

What Kind of Pricing is Offered

Budget should always be on your mind when shopping for a web host. You want to find a package that offers everything you need, doesn’t have any surprise costs built in, and fits your budget.

Picking a web hosting company isn’t something you want to rush through. It’s important to do your research, take a good look at your options, and make sure you weigh all the pros and cons before making a final decision.

How to make a business plan and actually stick to it

Whether you are a long-term small business owner or just starting in a complex market, then there’s no time like the present to start penning your latest business plan. However, writing a plan and sticking to it are two very different elements. No matter the size or nature of your business, it’s always good to get something down on paper to help drive your business decisions and check that you have all bases covered. From generating more sales, to getting those ideas off the ground, read on to find out why you should be making a business plan, and more importantly, how simple it is to stick to it.

Check out the competition

Whether you are opening a coffee shop, a new bookstore or even a consultancy, be sure to undertake a full and in-depth market analysis. Now, this doesn’t have to cost you too much – you can do the groundwork yourself if you know what you are looking for. Café owners will want to scope out competitors’ prices, unique selling points and even range of snacks and goodies on offer. Whereas if you are offering higher-end services or products, then you will want to make sure that your range has a serious wow factor. Be sure to include this step in your business plan to ensure that you are fully aware of how you want to direct the future of your company and roll with it – remember, it’s best to do your homework rather than blindly entering an established market.

Get your finances in order

Drawing up a business plan, no matter the size of your business, and actually sticking to it, is going to require having a solid financial base. Getting your application papers in order and lengthy approval times can spell disaster in today’s fast-paced market. However, times are changing. Companies such as Betterfunds offer a range of loans to meet your business requirements. Not to mention, you could be the happy recipient of some much-needed funding in a matter of hours. Having a solid cash income is key to getting your business plan off the ground – don’t cut any corners.

Marketing and sales

Be sure to include marketing and sales as key priorities for your business plan – after all, generating new leads and acquiring new clients is essential to you, and your business, to succeed. If you haven’t already considered it, then make sure to explore how digital marketing can help propel your company into the future. Social media is increasingly becoming essential to the success of companies worldwide, so don’t get left behind and do go digital. Secondly, you will want to check that your marketing and sales teams are working effectively together – just like two spokes in a wheel, these departments are key to helping you gain and keep new business opportunities. Finally, have another look at your business plan. If you’ve stuck to it – congratulations! You are well on the way to business success.

Freedom Financial Gives Five Financial Management Tips Every Successful Entrepreneur Follows

To achieve and sustain success, entrepreneurs must be skilled in a variety of areas. One of the most important of these is financial management. The lack of proper financial management is one of the primary causes of early failure for entrepreneurs. Freedom Financial provides five key areas of finance that are critical for entrepreneurs to have a greater chance at success.

Proper preparation for lean months.

Entrepreneurial income typically fluctuates from month to month and even from year to year. Income can swing from high to low in a matter of weeks, without warning. It’s important for entrepreneurs to prepare for the lean months by setting aside money during higher earning months, according to Freedom Financial. While, it’s tempting to spend money to reap the benefits of your hard work, it’s wiser to put money away while it’s plentiful. Without a reserve of cash set aside, some business cannot survive.

Keep business and personal finances separate.

Many entrepreneurs fund their startups using money from personal savings or a personal credit card to get the business going. In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s often simpler to conduct all your transactions from a single account. Once your business starts growing, Freedom Financial recommends separating business and personal finances, is essential. Keeping funds separate funds simplifies accounting and gives your business credibility. Keep business funds in a business account and pay yourself as though you were an employee of the company.

Diversify your assets and your efforts.

Entrepreneurs have to maintain a delicate balance between focusing on their entrepreneurship efforts and diversifying their income and time. Statistically speaking, entrepreneurship has a high risk of failing. Freedom Financial recommends entrepreneurs to hedge against that risk by putting time into other ventures, putting money into other investments, or sometimes even maintaining full-time employment.

Get professional financial advice.

You may be able to do many things on your own, but you cannot do everything on your own. When it comes to matters of finance, it’s better to seek professional council. Getting professional advice from an accountant and tax professional can ensure your business is both operating legally and taking advantage of the possible tax deductions. It’s wise to shop around for the best fit for your business, but this isn’t an area where you should cut costs.

Minimize business expenses.

As your business begins to generate more revenue, owners may increase their business spending, justifying these expenses as necessary for business growth. Remember that the more you spend, the less profit your business makes. Always aim to minimize business expenses by negotiating lower prices, seeking lower-cost alternatives, and forgoing unnecessary expenses. Freedom Financial suggests having another person who has to sign off on business spending, to help keep the owner’s spending impulses in check.

To achieve and maintain success, entrepreneurs must always plan for the financial future and be careful not to take the present circumstances for granted. Spending time reviewing the business finances and constantly seeking ways to improve are two steps entrepreneurs can take for better financial management.