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Achieving Time-Efficiency And Cost-Efficiency To Ensure Steady Business Expansion

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Business Strategy|Achieving Time-Efficiency And Cost-Efficiency To Ensure Steady Business ExpansionBuilding a successful business requires a well-planned and efficient strategy. You need to consider the way in which you use your time and resources on a daily basis if you want to maximize the growth of your company and its profits. Having an innovative idea for your products and services, of course, will help you to succeed. And having motivated workers will help you, too. But if your company operates inefficiently, then you’ll be squandering your opportunities for growth in the future. Or, at the very least, you’ll be slowing the rate at which you grow. In this article, we’ll look at some ways in which you could achieve time-efficiency and cost-efficiency to ensure steady business expansion.

Help your team to work productively.

The first way in which you could make your business more time-efficient and cost-efficient is by helping your team to work productively. Firstly, of course, you need to ensure that every single employee is engaged with their specific job role. Hiring professional candidates will help, but they need to be passionate about their careers. If you feel that your members of staff have become apathetic towards their jobs, then you might want to help your team by offering incentives for hard work. Recognition in the form of an “employee of the month” award and perhaps even a bonus could encourage staff members to work hard in the hope of being noticed and rewarded. You have to give workers a reason to do more than the bare minimum.

Of course, even motivated employees need a bit of help from time to time. Even if your workers are pushing themselves to be highly-productive, you might not be maximizing efficiency. After all, there’s only so much that people can achieve on their own. So, you might want to use technology to improve your operations. Make sure every employee is connected to the company’s central network through their devices, so as to make communication easier. You might want to do some research on mobile malware. It’s important that workers know how to keep their devices secure and prevent infiltration of the main company network. You might also want to get automated software to handle administrative tasks. That way, your employees will have more time to focus on important aspects of their job roles. This will help to make your business more productive on a daily basis.

Reduce wasteful overhead costs.

If you want to ensure steady business expansion, then you should also reduce wasteful overhead costs. You might be pulling in plenty of sales from happy customers, and that’s great. However, if your expenses are excessively high, then this will erode your profit margins. In turn, that will give you less money to invest in your company. Your growth will be slower. So, pay attention to wastefulness in your budget. You could reduce your office’s energy bills, for starters. Thicker window glazing and even wall or roof insulation could help to trap heat and reduce energy consumption. You could also stop buying paper and start creating documents entirely digitally. In 2019, going paper-free is easier than ever. Everything’s done digitally in the modern age, after all.

Industry Insights: What are the Top 4 Obstacles That Prevent Business Growth?

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Business Growth|Industry Insights: What are the Top 4 Obstacles That Prevent Business Growth?You can never stand still in business or you risk being left behind by your competitors, but there can often be some obstacles that are blocking your path to future prosperity, all of which are often negotiable if you know how to get around them.

Being able to get what your business needs in terms of new equipment is just one challenge that you have to find a way to face up to and if you can learn from others that have been there before you it could give you the vision to succeed.

Here are some pointers on how to clear some common hurdles that might be stunting your business growth.

Coping with change

As your business evolves and attempts to grow it will become abundantly clear that you can’t always rely on the same format that has got you to this point so far.

Businesses tend to become more complex as they grow and that means you will have to implement strategies that deal with challenges such as communication problems when there are more people in your team.

Innovation can be harder to implement when you have a rigid system that hasn’t changed from how it used to be in the beginning and this is why you need to consider ways to pull everyone in the same direction if you want to enjoy a smoother path to growth.

Not keeping an eye on cash flow

A growing business is always going to be hungry for cash and if you don’t plan for the financial strain that you might be under as the company expands it could easily derail your plans in a very short space of time.

Cash flow issues are a primary cause of business failure and it doesn’t have to be a lack of turnover that causes your cash crisis, as growth spurts are equally challenging to your survival if you don’t manage them properly.

Make sure you have an accurate cash flow forecasting system and use it to predict exactly how much cash you will need at any time to fund your growth.

When you need more equipment

Whether you are running a manufacturing business or operating in the service industry it is likely that you will need to acquire more equipment in order to cope with increasing demand and a growing payroll.

Look at efficient ways to get your hands on these new items and to upgrade your old stock. This could be achieved by browsing auction sites to see if you get the equipment you need for less, and sell what you no longer need.

You might also want to look at arrange equipment finance to help fund your growth plans.

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail

There is a lot of truth in this old business adage and the bottom line is that you can’t expect to overcome any obstacles in your way if you don’t create a viable business plan that shows you how to navigate your way through these stormy waters.

If you set some realistic goals and produce a credible blueprint for success you should find that your path to achieving business growth has a few fewer bumps in the road.

Must-have business services every start-up should consider

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Start-up|Must-have business services every start-up should considerBritain is, according to a report in The Telegraph, “a booming nation of start-ups.” In fact, around 660,000 new companies are registered in the UK every year.

Starting a new company is hugely exciting. It is also a risk. The fact is, as many as 60 per cent of new businesses go to the wall in the first three years, and 20 per cent fail within just 12 months.

Making a success of a start-up and growing your idea into a viable business can be achieved if you embrace two rules.

Firstly, learning from mistakes is key (including learning from the mistakes of other start-ups) – there will be blunders and you’ll have to learn how to be agile and recover from them. The second and equally important part of any successful start-up journey is knowing when to invest in help.

Here I’ll be focusing on the five must-have business services every start-up should consider.

  • Funding and business planning
  • HR advice
  • Digital marketing and SEO
  • Intellectual Property rights
  • Business coaching

Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.

Funding and business planning for start-ups

Researching possible funding avenues and finding an investor isn’t easy, especially when you are starting out and have a huge number of tasks to complete in order to set up your venture. Seeking the advice of a business adviser could be worth the investment. A business adviser can help you with your business plan, and give invaluable advice on possible funding avenues.

Business advisors and chartered accountants, Wellden Turnbull, say that it is astonishing how many start-ups set out without a well-thought out plan. They say that 1.5 million SMEs do not have a business plan and that it is often the lack of a plan that catches small businesses out.

HR Advice

As soon as you take on your first employee, you will need to ramp up your understanding of HR – that’s human resources. You’ll need to know which HR regulations you’ll need to adhere to and how to deal with all sorts of employee-related issues, such as absenteeism and sick pay, paying a fair wage, calculating holidays, overtime, dealing with staff complaints and much more.

Your employees are a precious resource – get the management of them wrong and you could lose them or worse find yourself at a tribunal. Every start-up needs a minimum level of HR knowledge – if you don’t have clue, you’ll need to learn fast or seek some professional HR advice.

Digital marketing and SEO

Getting noticed online is now more important to business success than ever before. Why? Nowadays everything happens online. Digital marketing is a cost-effective way to promote your business and can put you in a position to compete with established businesses which are much larger than yours.

While setting up a website, email marketing and social media are perfectly do-able in-house, optimising your website to move up the Google rankings is quite involved and requires a certain amount of technical skill.
Seeking help from an SEO professional to ensure your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, fast-loading, and has backlinks from authoritative sources is worth the investment.

Intellectual Property rights

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) defines Intellectual Property rights as “the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds.” Also known as IP rights, Intellectual Property rights give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a set period of time.

IP is protected by extensive laws and disputes are common – in fact, there are specialist lawyers who only work on IP cases. There are two main categories for IP protection – Copyright, and Industrial Property (which includes things like trademarks and patents).

Why is IP important for start-ups? When you have a unique idea for a business, there will always be people who will want to steal your idea, so it is important to protect them. In order to prevent your IP being exploited by others it would be prudent to seek specialist advice. For a checklist on protecting your Intellectual Property, see here.

Business coaching

One-to-one coaching or mentoring when you are setting up a business may seem like an extravagance, but it could actually be the best investment you ever make. Research suggests that working with a business coach can increase your profit margin by an average of 46 per cent.

While there is plenty of information out there to help you get your business started, there’s nothing quite like personalised custom advice. Business coaches are usually expert entrepreneurs who know what it takes to make a start-up succeed.

A business coach will train you in the skills you need and teach you how to set goals and grow your brand.
Choosing the right business coach to work with is obviously important. Get this right and your start-up could be catapulted to success.

Ensuring Your Business Starts On Stable Footing

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Starting Your Business|Ensuring Your Business Starts On Stable FootingWe can often see businesses as stable institutions, perhaps absolutely secure on the platform upon which they stand. But most of us who have experience in the industry know better. For example, industry titans can easily lose plenty of their stock if rocked by deep controversy, if failing to live up to their obligations, or if investing in a bad route without caring for the sunk cost to make that work.

But all of that is in the future. For a business just starting out, ensuring your firm begins on stable footing can allow you to move forward to the future and develop a more cohesive output, potentially allowing you to sidestep issues before they occur and staying optimistic about meeting challenges.

After all, a tree with deeper, more secure roots will take much more effort to become uprooted in winds of chaos. This means that no matter what your business weathers, these essential preliminary tips can help you start in the best possible sense, and for the best possible reasons:

Plan Effectively

Planning effectively is not just a nicety, it’s a requirement. You need to be able to list, to the letter, exactly how you hope to proceed in a certain capacity. This means knowing how you will commit to a certain task, how much it will cost, who will be assigned to it, when your deadline is, and potential variables that can go wrong. Time is money in a small business trying to establish itself, and so as far as that is concerned you need to be as careful as possible. Chart each step as delicately as you can. When you follow this process, you can treat your clients with the care they might require, offsetting the risk they have taken by using your services despite the lack of testimonials.

Dot The I’s, Cross The T’s

Ensure that your paperwork is perfectly considered. For example, a fein application can help you immediately find an ID number that allows you to curate your best taxes planning and payment schedule. Additionally, taking an accurate view to your paperwork can help you more appropriately catalog it, even if you then offset that to a professional accountant or tax management lawyer.

Hire A Consultant

Many firms feel as though there’s something shameful in hiring a consultant, but of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a consultant can help you inject the experience that you may have never been able to curate on your own, and this can be a real problem. Additionally, you might find that hiring a consultant can help you dispel your own foolish or inexperienced notions, allowing you to refine your own skillset and embark upon your own necessary training. Business leaders who are unafraid to admit this need can only come out stronger and more capable in the end – and that’s never a negative thing to consider or promote.

With this advice, you’re certain to ensure your business begins on stable footing. We wish you the best to that end.

The most common financial mistakes graduate entrepreneurs make

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Graduate Entrepreneurs|The most common financial mistakes graduate entrepreneurs makeAmongst the world’s ambitious graduates are some of the next generation’s entrepreneurs and innovators. Some will have a carefully defined business plan. Others will have little more than a dream and bundles of enthusiasm.

Starting out in business straight after Uni isn’t easy. For the bright-eyed grad, a lack of life experience and industry expertise, along with a mountain of student debt can make the business journey a particularly tricky one. A recent report by CNBC warns that with graduate debt at around $30,000 for many students, starting a business is a huge challenge. It really is no wonder graduate entrepreneurship is declining.

As well as student debt, there is also the issue of financial know-how. Let’s take a look at some of the most common financial blunders graduate entrepreneurs make.

1. Not having a business plan

Accounting firm, OS Accounting, say “One of the mistakes a lot of entrepreneurs make when launching a start-up, including graduates, is to forge ahead with an idea without proper planning. Starting a business without a business plan is risky. It’s the fundamental starting point for testing whether or not a business idea is feasible.”

A business plan sets out the financial and operational objectives. With a well-developed business plan, entrepreneurs are also much more likely to attract angel investors or secure funding from venture capitalists.

2. Overestimating revenue

Brimming with optimism, entrepreneurs are renowned for overestimating revenue. In fact, for many eager graduates launching a start-up, revenue expectations are unrealistic. David Cummings, an Atlanta-based tech entrepreneur who has founded 10 companies, understands all too well the pitfalls of overestimating revenue.

3. Overspending on set up

A whopping 29 per cent of start-ups fail because they run out of cash. Early-stage entrepreneurs face specific challenges as they often lack business skills. Many entrepreneurs overspend on office space and tech tools.
With remote working becoming the norm, the virtual office, where possible, can save a lot during set up. Taking time to properly research tech tools can also save money. Various pieces of tech often overlap – as they are charged per user, spend can easily go up if this isn’t given attention.

4. Misunderstanding the difference between profit and cashflow

Things can look good on paper, but if a business runs out of cash it is in trouble. Poor cashflow planning and running out of cash is, according to Forbes, in the top 10 reasons why entrepreneurs fail.

Not all entrepreneurs have savvy accounting skills when they set out in business. Some basic accounting knowledge can prove invaluable. Most businesses record revenue and expenditure when it is incurred (rather than when invoices are paid). This means it is possible for a business to be profitable on paper, but not have any cash in the bank.
Business coach, Stever Robbins says the difference between profit and cashflow is often the difference between success and bankruptcy. Being able to read the accounts and understand the cash position in a business is vital.

5. Mixing personal and business accounts

Running a business through a personal bank account is never a good idea. Business banking should be kept separate and the importance of this is all too often ignored by eager graduates who want to avoid the expense of a business bank account.

Mixing personal and business bank accounts can also turn out to be a nightmare when it comes to tax reporting. It makes it easier to miss expenses and could be an issue if the business is investigated by the Inland Revenue.
In an article for Inc., Levi King, entrepreneur, CEO and Co-Founder of Nav, advises never to mix personal and business finances for the following reasons:

• Separating business and personal finances helps you look legit
• It helps to achieve a stronger business credit score
• It helps with tax reporting

6. Not budgeting or planning for tax

All businesses have tax obligations to the state and locally, and tax bills can hit fast and hard. Ignoring taxes is one of the top business budgeting mistakes. Seeking tax advice prior to starting a business is also something many entrepreneurs fail to do, but with the right tax strategy, tax liability could be considerably lower.

7. Not having an emergency fund

Cashflow is king when it comes to business. Many graduates finish their education in debt, not with an emergency fund they can fall back on during hard times. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately one-third of all businesses fail within the first two years because of cashflow issues.

Summary

In spite of the pitfalls, there are many advantages of launching a start-up as a new graduate. New grads actually make great entrepreneurs. Many graduates are both innovative and more financially-savvy than they get credit for. The student mentality of surviving on a pittance can also bring business benefits.

There are lots of financial considerations for graduates, including how to repay student loans and finding a deposit for somewhere to live. That doesn’t mean graduates can’t start their own business. Here are 8 reasons why as a graduate you might want to give entrepreneurship a go. Remember, business planning is key!