3 Reasons to Be Careful about the Companies You Do Business With

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | 3 Reasons to Be Careful about the Companies You Do Business With | Entrepreneurship | Risk ManagementIn business, there are all kinds of different things that you need to be mindful of, and cautious about. It’s certainly the case that you need to invest your money wisely, and if you’re operating in the wrong niche, that in and of itself can be lethal.

Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls that a new entrepreneur can fall into, however, is getting in bed with the wrong business partners, or becoming a bit too embroiled in shady dealings, alongside unscrupulous companies.

Certain businesses are likely to be a boon to you, if you work with them. A company that is focused on protecting the rights of maritime workers, and that is run ethically by an upright and reputable individual, is unlikely to cause you trouble if you happen to be in partnership with them.

Other companies, on the other hand, can ruin you by association.

Here are a few reasons to be careful about the company you keep in business.

You may get exploited and dragged down directly

The first risk that you face when doing business with an unscrupulous company, is that they exploit and drag you down directly.

It’s not unheard of for devious business partners to use fairly naïve entrepreneurs as “fall guys” for schemes that are fundamentally based on misrepresentation, and exploitation of the customer. In such cases as these, you might find yourself being contractually listed as the responsible party when things go wrong.

Other forms of exploitation are even more blatant – and involve things like the direct theft of your unsecured intellectual property.

Your reputation can be permanently tarnished by working with an unscrupulous company

In business, reputation is a big deal, and if you sink yours by associating yourself with deeply disreputable companies, it’s entirely possible – if not even likely – that you will never be able to recover, professionally.

Plenty of people find their reputations completely destroyed, not necessarily because of something they did, but because they got too close to assorted sketchy companies, and were painted with the same brush when things eventually came to a head.

Avoid this situation altogether, because trying to do damage control can be a real pain.

By being inattentive, and complacent, you may end up in a position where you compromise your own moral code

This is actually the most important point in the list, although it comes last in the article.

Plenty of companies act in ways that will violate various people’s moral codes and standards. Of course, living by a moral code, and being forthright and accountable to your own values, is perhaps the most important thing in life.

Without character, you have nothing.

Just by being inattentive, and complacent, you may end up in a position where you absentmindedly or unknowingly compromise your own moral code, by your choice of collaborator.

It’s very hard to regain self-respect if you come to find that a company you are closely working with has ruined the lives of your joint customers or clients through their immoral or reckless actions.

Ideas For Keeping Your Small Business Protected Online

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Entrepreneurship | Cybersecurity | Risk Management | Ideas For Keeping Your Small Business Protected Online These days you’re likely doing a lot of business and performing your tasks online. While the Internet can be an extremely beneficial way to run your company, it also comes with its downsides.

One cause for concern is being vulnerable to hackers and those who wish to sabotage your files and business. The following ideas are going to help you learn and understand what you can be doing better at your workplace to protect your small business online. This is one subject matter you want to take seriously and attend to if you wish to keep your company free from any unfortunate situations that will be difficult to clean up later on.

Educate Yourself and Be Current

One idea for keeping your small business protected online is to educate yourself on the topic. Be current about knowing what anti-virus programs to use, what backups to perform and when and getting to know your computers better so you can make sure they’re consistently running smoothly. The more you know about IT maintenance, the less of a chance there will be that your business will fall victim to hackers and wrongdoers. You put yourself at risk for negative consequences when you choose not to learn more about online security and what you can be doing better to improve it at your workplace.

Hire Help

Another great idea is to hire help and pay for the professionals to assist you on the matter such as using a Managed IT service. The reality is there’s a lot of information in this area you’re not going to know and will need assistance with if you want to make sure your business is protected online. You likely have other pressing matters and initiatives to attend to and can’t always be in the know about what’s new in the IT world. Invest in using a third party to help you make sure you’re doing all you can to keep yourselves safe on the Internet.

Use Strong Passwords

Never underestimate the advantages of using strong passwords to protect your computers and files. Keep your small business protected online by committing to using passwords that would make it difficult for someone else to hack into your information. Create ones that are challenging and complex, but also update your current passwords often so that it makes it harder for someone else to guess it or compromise your data.

Provide Best Practices to Your Employees

It’s not only your job to make sure your business is protected online, but also that of your employees. However, they may not be aware of how important this matter is or how to go about doing so unless you inform them. Provide best practices your employees can use to make sure their laptops and files are secure. For example, educate them about not clicking suspicious looking links, following through and complying with computer updates and who to ask or turn to should they have online security questions.

How to Start a Team Building Events Company

StrategyDriven Business Startup Article | How to Start a Team Building Events CompanyWhile most business owners are aware of the fact that their employees play a huge part in the company’s overall success, it has really only been in the past decade or so that business owners have come to appreciate that to its fullest. Not only do you need a staff of properly trained, experienced, and knowledgeable employees, but they also need to work well as a team. If there is a lack of communication or conflict between staff and departments, the entire company suffers, as does the bottom line.

This is where team building activities and events have really taken center stage, as they are the perfect way to bring everyone together and start to open up lines of communication and build trust with one another. This has also sparked the creation of team building events companies, who are the ones that put these events together and host them.

If you’ve been watching this trend and feel like now is the time to get in the ring and open your own team building events company, then here are some tips that can help you get started.

Create a Business Plan

Just like with any business the best place to start is with a plan. Within this plan, you want to outline the basic concept of your company, outline the business’s goals, describe what actions and plans you will take in order to reach your goals, who your target market is, what services and products you will offer, the financials, and how many employees you’ll need.

Invest in Engaging Games, Activities, and Rides

In order to be successful with your team building events company, you’re going to need to stand out from the competition, as this is an industry that is growing fast. One of the best ways to stand out is to offer your clients the best of the best when it comes to engaging games, activities, and rides. Clients need to be able to take a look at your offerings and feel as though you’ll knock it out of the park where employee engagement is concerned.

Take a look at the options available through Galaxy Multi Rides via https://galaxymultirides.com/ as great examples. You can invest in any one of these games and rides and know that displaying them on your company website will draw attention.

Ensure You Have a Digital Presence

This leads us to the next tip which is to ensure you have a robust and engaging digital presence right from the start. This means a professional looking website that operates smoothly and a presence on all the top social networks. Digital platforms will provide you with a way to interact and engage with the public, fill them in on new and exciting offerings and promotions, share useful information, and start to build name recognition.

Remember Any Business Takes Time to Grow

Even with following each of these tips, it’s important to remind yourself that your team building events company will take time to build and grow. This is natural and just part of being an entrepreneur.

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Business Attorney

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Business Attorney|7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Business AttorneyAt one point or another, every business needs to represent itself legally or handle some sort of court proceeding. When that time comes, you don’t want to be scrambling to choose an attorney at the last minute, as your selection will probably be rushed for the sake of getting the issue resolved as quickly as possible.

When you’re operating based on a panicked need instead of patiently and thoroughly comparing prospective attorneys, that’s when you’re prone to making rash decisions. Ultimately, you’ll be more likely to choose an attorney that is an optimal match for your company when you’re more informed about what to look for in a business attorney. With that said, here are seven factors to consider when choosing a go-to attorney for your business:

1. Achievements and Credentials

Any attorney can tell you that they’re the best person for the job, but their portfolio is what you really want to look at. A strong history of successful cases and a long list of achievements are usually good signs that you’re dealing with a prestigious expert. Beyond the accolades that are readily apparent on the attorney’s website or social media profiles, you can also find press releases related to their accomplishments by typing the attorney’s name followed by the terms, “achievement” or “award.” Alternatively, you can check out curated lists from organizations like America’s Top 100 Attorneys – you can learn more here about them and their lifetime achievement awards.

2. Determine Which Type of Attorney You Need

Having a one-size-fits-all attorney on standby is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when you need someone with a certain set of skills and experience to represent your business during litigation procedures, you’ll want a specialist who is familiar with industry-specific processes and requirements. Thus, other than keeping an eye out for awards and other accolades, determining which type of attorney you should have on-call will be the second most important factor to consider.

3. Look for an Attorney that Specializes in Your Niche

Once you know what kind of attorney you need, try to get even more specific about the work experience of your prospective attorneys. Have they represented clients in your exact niche before? Can they help you prepare and interpret documentation that revolves around an uncommon lexicon specific to your niche? In essence, you shouldn’t have to explain your business model and what you might need to your attorney. In fact, a competent attorney should already be somewhat familiar with how your business works and what you may require as soon as you tell them what kind of business you operate.

4. Choose an Appropriately Sized Firm

Choosing the largest law firm isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes, small or medium-sized firms can provide a more personalized approach at a more budget-friendly cost. Larger firms are typically busy with many clients and some would even say that high business volume makes a firm less likely to value each client individually. In other words, a major firm may not even care if you decide not to utilize their services any more, whereas a smaller firm or independent attorney will be more likely to accommodate your needs without hesitation in order to keep you as a client. Still, if budget and responsiveness aren’t your highest priorities, larger firms can be ideal for companies that need reliable guidance or on-call legal services.

5. Additional Social Perks and Skills

Let’s face it: legal services aren’t necessarily cheap. Thus, it makes sense that you should take steps to get the most for your money. Look for attorneys that are members of trade groups or other associations. Also look for an attorney who has an extensive social network that they might be able to leverage in times of legal need. Some law firms will even provide webinars, live networking events, and other online resources to keep clients informed and in touch.

6. Fee Structure and Billing

Sooner or later, price has to come into play during any comparison of a professional service. Most attorneys will bill you by the hour for their services, but some have begun to charge set amounts for predefined service packages. If they charge an hourly rate, you may need to deal with them for a little while to get a feel for how they bill for their time. Some attorneys are more generous than others in terms of the minimum time they will bill you for. One lawyer might nickel and dime you and charge a minimum of an hour for every single consultation or inquiry, while another may charge as little as 10% of an hour’s rate for short discussions.

7. Friendliness and Support Quality

Finally, don’t forget to take the attorney’s personality into consideration. After all, you don’t want to be dealing with someone who is hard to get along with, as you’ll be entrusting the fate of your business with this individual. Likewise, the firm that the attorney works with should have solid customer support and you should always be able to easily reach someone.

Choosing a Lawyer That Will Do the Job Right

There are plenty of lawyers who will come running to assist you with any business problem you may have, but not all of them will provide the same level of service and expertise. In fact, many attorneys rely on the fact that most clients don’t take the time to do their own due diligence in order to do the least amount of work possible per case. Look for a lawyer who has the “win or nothing” mentality.
You’ll often see law firms promising that they take no compensation unless your case is successful, and some will even take cases pro bono – with no money upfront – if you have a worthwhile case that will probably go in your favor. Regardless of which attorney you decide to hire, it’s always best to participate in an initial consultation as soon as you feel you might be facing court proceedings of any kind.

Can Anyone Become Competent At Business With The Right Resources?

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |The Art of Business|Can Anyone Become Competent At Business With The Right Resources?We often think that running a business is something that must always be struggled for. We consider it to be a privilege, and something that can easily fail if the correct attention is not placed in the right areas. Of course, both points are true to an extent, but does that mean that only the most accomplished of people could ever hope of dipping their toes into the business pool? How does experience and education develop in the modern day? Is business still a hidden art that must be learned through great risk and peril, akin to a martial arts novice training on a mountain top, or can anyone learn essential business skills with the right access to resources?

We would like to think that providing the wisdom to succeed can help you not only enjoy your business life more, but give you more to think about and potentially avoid mistakes that others seem to walk in to. In other words, yes, we believe that with the right resources, most people can learn valuable business skills. After all, talent and privilege is different to skill and hard work.

Consider our advice below:

Business Blogs

Business blogs offer some of the best curated opinion-pieces, statistical analysis and news that you can find. Of course, perhaps there are some that are the most popular, such as the business journal of your most favorite news source, or something dedicated such as the Financial Times or Forbes. But if you only view these sources, you’re missing out on a lot of grass-roots understanding and inspiration, featured by people who have a true understanding of their industry and wish to express it. It’s true that business journalists often have a great understanding and research deeply into their output before publication, but would you rather only listen to journalists, or those who have current experience in the business landscape? The correct answer should be ‘a mix of both.’

Business blogs are essential to a digestible daily understanding of business. An understanding of an idea can be boiled down to its grassroots and most essential point, helping you learn the idea without having to defer them yourself from elongated business case studies. However, those are essential to consider too. You can be almost certain that there’s rarely anything new under the sun, and that if your business is in a unique-feeling position, there have often been at least hundreds of businesses that have found themselves in a similar one worth paying attention to.

Podcasts

Business podcasts are essential to listen to. Give a few of them a try! With topics as serious and interesting as these, it’s essential to find hosts that you could listen to for hours without a sense of exhaustion. Playing these during your commuting hours or downtime could help you continually learn when you’re otherwise mindlessly occupied. There are many excellent podcasts out there. Look through the iTunes store business or financial categories, or perhaps browse through Spotify to see what could be streamed. You might be surprised.

But of course, you needn’t only listen to business podcasts. There are many excellent audiobooks out there to help you gain the digest of a full book in your car, or when working out at the gym. These might include topics that aren’t directly business manuals, but still hold some water. For example, perhaps listening to the memoirs or autobiographies of a major business figurehead in retirement can help you gain some insight only gleaned from a lifetime of work and understanding. Perhaps listening to industry-led podcasts can help you gain a perspective on the industry. For example, if you’re joining a marketing team for a video-game developer, it might be worth listening to the IGN podcast, or the Giant Bombcast, both are regularly in the top 100 podcasts of any indexed listing.

There’s a wealth of audible information you can download for free, and it’s best not to take this for granted. You never know just what insights you might be given.

News Feeds

It’s essential to keep up to date. You might decide that a Twitter aggregate of accounts can be worthwhile to follow, but this just leads to an overtly busy timeline. Signing up to many RSS feeds from an RSS reader can help you assess when new articles go online, perhaps by certain writers from a publication that you enjoy, or perhaps when a new issue of your online newsstand is released. Many publications are offering digital conditions of their work, and this can also be worthwhile to read.

But these methods might be considered somewhat outdated. If you wish to get your internet marketing news in the most reliable manner, using resources such as the Amazon news services can bring. This can prevent you from having to collect everything yourself, because no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to truly collect all the worth around you and run a business at the same time, or fight to get your start. Sometimes help from the professionals can allow you to collate the most important news, and this can help you gain an advantage over those who do not use these services. Whatever you choose to do, it’s best to have it localized in one place, to prevent having to collect your information from way too many sources at one time. It can save you plenty of stress.

Consultants

Of course, despite our previous words, finding the right consultant can often help you avoid plenty of problems from the offset. They are perhaps the most valid and unique tool you can use to help you out of your personal situation, be that a PR nightmare you’re experiencing as a small firm or when struggling with how best to structure your departments. These fees are often higher than other solutions, but none are as customized, as dedicated to results, and as personally responsible as these. For that, they are worth their weight in gold, and that can be incredibly important to keep in mind. A little consultation goes a long way, it seems.

Past Employment & Operational Results

Sometimes, the best place to look for advice and future insight is to reflect on your past. Have you worked in industries before, at a senior level? Did you see many of the moves made by those who managed you? Did you have somewhat of a broad view of the various roles and how they functioned? While this might not give you a complete view, do not discard your experience in the past. It could potentially help you consider things you wish to emulate and discard in your effort to help yourself as an employee.

It might be reading your past business journals or project plans that help you see where mistakes were made, or where your successes lay. The more experience you gain, the further context you will be able to apply to that situation. Consider how you might have conducted the same events or tasks if you were given them to deal with now. It might be that the result could have looked much different. This will only work for some industries of course. But those it does work for will likely be incredibly supported by this view of the past. For example, events and people management, financial handling, marketing outreach and a range of other possibilities will likely be helped by this viewpoint, and that can be a truly powerful thing.

Attend Events

You would be surprised just how many business lectures, events, expos and other forms of attendable organized functions are either free or very cheap to enter. This way you can gain contact with the businesses operating today, or hear experts speak about their previous experience or current operational efforts in the industry. It’s not hard to see how this can give you a sense of participation, and potentially help you learn more than beforehand. With an online presence and the ability to network both digitally and in person, you might find yourself making friends with those who are having real effects on the industry, or at least becoming somewhat familiar with them.

Network, network, networking can often not only help you boost your presence, but learn from others. There’s something about the integrated social functions of the online space and reaching out at events that helps curate content and bring people together. Who knows? You might gain insight that you would struggle to find elsewhere through this effort alone, and that can be quite an important thing to celebrate. It only takes a moment to look for events that you could attend, also. A simple browse online should bring up many in your city this year, be that for disparate celebrations. The annual women in business conference might be held near you, or perhaps industry-specific offerings. They can all have a positive effect.

With these tips, you’re sure to find the right resources to help you gain and retain your business confidence.