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Is It Time to Upgrade Your Office Setup?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Is It Time to Upgrade Your Office Setup?

Whether it’s a home office or the top floor of the tallest building downtown, upgrading your office space can transform your business’ productivity more than you might expect. While you might have a sleek and stylish office already, it can always be better. Upgrading your office could spark increased creativity, satisfaction, and a feeling that you and your employees can get this done, whatever this might be.

But where do you fall behind when trying to upgrade your office? There are so many things to consider, from the equipment you use to your surroundings. Here are some tips on what to consider upgrading your office setup and reaping the benefits.

The Equipment

Whether it’s your computer, office chair, desk, printer, or even desk toys, upgrading the equipment in your office can make everything run smoothly. If you’re looking for increased comfort, investing in better ergonomic chairs for you and your employees will prevent the back stains and complaints. Likewise, company-provided laptops will make it easier for everyone to complete work from home.

There are too many businesses that rely on old equipment because they don’t feel it’s worth upgrading it. But outdated equipment can ruin productivity and lead to nothing but frustration for your staff. If you’re looking for a happy office with top morale, the best place to start by investing in shiny new toys for them to play with.

The Systems

Network systems are something you must keep up to date, as this ensures that you can keep your data and information safe from hackers and similar security threats. Investing in robust Network Cabling Services will make this a reality and also mean that you have a system you can rely on.

It might also be worth thinking about upgrading the operating systems that your company uses. While most people will use Windows 10 or macOS 10.15, company computers seem, curiously, stuck in the past, with some machines still running Vista. While this could be considered more secure than others, it also cannot handle the programs that could be beneficial for your business, so even jumping up to the next generation would make a huge difference.

The Energy

Being energy efficient is a significant thing in the modern business world, and it doesn’t matter if you work from home or run a large office, you want to do everything you can to save money on your energy bills.

Upgrading from your existing, migraine-inducing fluorescent lights for something more comfortable on the eyes is the first step. Still, you can also consider looking for a way to bring more natural light into the office. It is, however, unlikely that you’ll be able to replace windows outright. Even so, you can think about rearranging the office layout to make the most of the light and space available.

The Surroundings

No one wants to sit in a dull and study office, but while you don’t want to fill it with too many distractions, such as a ping pong table or something similar, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with the overall design of the office.

Everything from employee artwork to house plants dotted around will create an atmosphere that you and your employees will be glad to work in. It will provide a sense of personality to the office’s overall style and design, and make it a place where you and your staff will feel comfortable, relaxed, and ready to get on with the day.

The Policies

If you’ve not already noticed, the professional world is changing. Companies are embracing the opportunities of working remotely, allowing flexible hours, as well as outsourcing tasks that will help others free up their time so they can perform better.

It could be that it’s time for your office to update its policies and see the benefits that doing so can bring. Studies show that flexible working can increase employee productivity, despite some believing the contrary. This will only prove beneficial to your business and the morale of everyone in the office.

Space to Breathe

Not every office needs to be a painfully minimalist adventure in subtlety. You can use it to reflect your company and your employees. The days of the stuffy office are long, long gone, now it’s all about personality and oomph to motivate and drive employees, even if the only employee is yourself. Whether you are upgrading your office systems or its surroundings, there is always something that you can explore to boost your satisfaction, security, and quality of service.

How to Boost Your Profits

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances ArticleAmerica is built on the spirit of entrepreneurship. There are over 28 million small businesses nationwide, and a further 22 million that are solely operated. That’s a large number of businesses that contribute to the country’s economy. However, the number of businesses that fail within the first four years is a significant 50%, and out of the survivors, only a third will reach a decade.

Running your own business is a challenge no matter what industry you are in or the products and services that you provide, and there is no singular reason for these failure rates.

Common Reasons for Business Failure

Failing to plan

For your business to be a success, you need to make both short and long-term plans. You need to identify your goals and define objectives that will help you reach them, from the next few months through to the following years. Your goals will shape every business decision you make and give you direction. They need to be quantifiable so that you can assess how successful the actions that you take are. This is important; how will you know what is working and what isn’t if you have nothing to measure?

Ignoring customer needs

The customer is always right. That’s a correct statement, surely. Not always, but it has you relate to your customers that will affect the success of your business. In the digital age that we live in, there has never been a better time to truly understand your customers’ and clients’ needs and wants. Always keep an eye on what your customers want and tell you about your business; their perception of your business may be very different from what you intend. They are fickle, and your business needs to be able to respond to emerging trends, feedback and correspondence. It requires flexibility and patience, but if you not only listen but hear to what your customers say, you will reap the rewards.

Lack of profit

Lack of profit is very different to lack of revenue. Your business turnover may be high, but that does not mean that it is a profitable business. For your business to grow, the profit needs to flow. There are several reasons for a lack of profit: poor management decisions, cash flow problems and premature scaling; all can be related back to a failure for adequate planning. Only 40% of small businesses are profitable – the others either break even or lose money. If your business is not making a profit, you need to assess every aspect of your business so that you can identify why you are not.

How to Boost Your Business Profits

The quandary you have is how to generate more sales while reducing your expenditure. While your current efforts have been successful to some extent, you must maximize the opportunity to turn a profit.

Modify your strategy

You need to implement a new strategy to do this. Research online about how other successful businesses in your niche have succeeded. The chances are high that they have switched to a more relationship-based model that uses technology to improve their customer experience and loyalty. Here is an example of how this change in strategy has been used to grow a law form, check it out.

Increase the product selection

To increase sales, identify which products you can cross-sell to existing clients and customers. You already know that they are interested in your niche, but are there other relating products that your customers will buy from elsewhere? An example of this is for a yoga clothing company to sell yoga mats. The key to making this cross-selling strategy work is to comprehensively understand who your current and target customers are. Know what they want and what they need. You can incentivize your customers to buy more from you by offering bundles and discounts.

Review operational procedures

There will always be aspects of your operational functions that can be improved upon. The Japanese word ‘kaizen’ translates as improvement, and is the name given to a strategy that works on the principle that all employees work together to improve process incrementally. Kaizen is a valuable mindset to adopt and can dramatically reduce waste and improve a business’s profitability. It is imperative that you get all staff members on board and seek their feedback on how to improve your business’s function.

For example, a sub-total column on an invoice can help speed up the efficiency of your accounts department; introducing cloud-based technology so that your teams can collaborate easier, or even something as simple as moving the printer’s location to be nearer to the receptionist can help to make working more efficient. Kaizen is not a one-off experience, consistently aim to improve efficiency. Ask your employees for their recommendations and act upon the information that they give you.

Regularly review expenditure

You may just have been focusing on the income and profit columns of your account reports; however, you need to pay equal attention to your costs. Businesses evolve over time, and so you need to make sure that your regular outgoings are still relevant to your business today, and not based on historical data.

Review your running costs and identify areas that you could save money. Rolling contracts are a great way of controlling cash flow as you know how much money is leaving your account and when, but they can also make you complacent to other deals that are currently up for grabs and can save you money.

Are there routine tasks that you can outsource? Or, would it be more cost-effective to hire someone on a part-time or freelance basis to complete jobs that you currently pay for a full-time member of staff or do yourself? Outsourcing can be a great solution to boosting efficiency and profits; you only pay for the project that you need completing.

You should also review your suppliers. There may be better market deals that you can access that may not have been available when you started out. It can be risky, as there is potential to damage the relationship you have with your current supplier, but it is worth opening the conversation up, just tread carefully.

While it can seem daunting to undertake such a thorough review of your business, it is critical for your business to be a success. You need to adjust your business to the changing times and embrace technology to help your customer’s user experience and increase the efficiency of your organization.

Cloud Computing for Dummies

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Cloud Computing for DummiesMost everyone these days has heard of the computer cloud, but many don’t really understand what it is or what it does. Let’s take a look at how the cloud got its name and then discuss the basics of how it works.

How Did the Computer Cloud Get Its Name?

There are several different stories surrounding the origins of the name, among them:

  1. The cloud has long been a symbol of the Internet. Essentially, “in the cloud” for many years has referred to the software or other platforms on the Internet.
  2. For decades, engineers have drawn networking diagrams that pictured the cloud to represent the internal structure of a large network of computers and storage devices “out there”.
  3. A cloud was also used in diagrams to represent a network with endpoints connected by a data path.

So How Does Cloud Computing Work?

The cloud is not one entity, but rather it’s a huge system of servers, all around the world, that are connected to work together as one networked ecosystem. The servers can be designed to do a number of different things. Some of the main applications include:

  • Storing data – Businesses use the cloud to safely store data. The information can then be accessed with a password from any computer that has an Internet connection.
  • Delivering content – The content can include streaming services, software and social media platforms. Any computer or other Internet-accessible device can stream or download this content, provided proper password codes are entered.

What Are the Advantages of the Cloud For Businesses?

Businesses see many advantages of using the cloud to store data. Instead of bogging down the servers on location, the data is stored off-site, freeing up valuable storage on the company’s servers. This can save a lot of money in the long run. IUVO Technology states that the Federal government’s departments have saved upwards of 25-50% on the IT budget by moving data to the cloud.

Your company’s data is also much safer in the cloud. Because it is backed up, the chances of losing your data are very low. The information is usually encrypted as well, which makes it secure against cyber attacks. IT Services Boston are available to help you migrate your data to the cloud in the safest way possible.

Working with a trained professional to move your business data to the cloud will ensure that you find the right services at the right cost to keep your company safe and working at maximum capacity.

4 Ways Vehicles Drive Businesses That You Don’t Know

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Entrepreneurship | Business Vehicles | 4 Ways Vehicles Drive Businesses That You Don't Know

Cars may be a standard part of life, but businesses don’t utilize them as much. Some do, and they are seen as influential, thriving companies that can afford to provide vehicles for their staff. You would love to do the same, yet don’t have the money or resources. At least, that’s what you assume.

Of course, the truth is that company cars raise brand awareness and generate leads without being overly expensive in terms of upfront costs. The majority of them are leased and paid in installments every month. And that’s one thing you didn’t know about vehicles and how they drive businesses.

In this post, you’ll find four more impacts that cars can have on your organization. However, be warned that they aren’t always healthy. Cars come with lots of positives, yet you’ve got to plan carefully for them to help the firm be successful.

Employee Perks

As far as employee perks are concerned, a vehicle is usually at the top of the list of benefits that workers desire. It’s not hard to see why when it eliminates the average costs that are included with owning a car outside of the office. The average sale price for a new engine in the US is around $35,000, and used cars aren’t much cheaper. Then, there is the rising costs of insurance and gas to consider, as well as repairs and maintenance fees.

Looking at from a financial point of view, it’s no wonder employees want a company car. The direct knock-on effect of this is that you’ll be able to attract a high standard of applicants when looking to recruit. Organizations that provide quality bonuses tend to secure fantastic candidates because modern workers require more from a job than a strong salary.

Hidden Costs

What people don’t understand is the expense of opting for a company vehicle. In some ways, it can result in their wage being smaller at the end of each month. As soon as staff realize this, morale may drop, and that can affect output and productivity, too. There’s also employee turnover to consider.

A high rate of people leaving the business will cost you a fortune in the short, medium, and long-term. You must find a way to make employees who drive happier, and a utility vehicle is an option. They are believed to make drivers more content, limiting the high rates of turnover. Alternatively, you can be transparent about the fees from the outset. That way, you or the business isn’t to blame if the situation goes south.

21st Century Practices

The changes in the automotive industry are massive. Today, pretty much all the major manufacturers are creating hybrid or electric cars, and some are pushing the envelope further by removing drivers. Automated cars may be experiencing a few snags right now, but there’s no doubt the technology will be on the market in the future.

How does this help your business? By partnering with manufacturers such as these, you can piggyback off their innovation. Your brand is seen as creative and new-age as a result of implementing the technology into your business plan. The right vehicles are more than marketing tools with gaudy exteriors – they are signs of intent.

Also, these cars connect consumers with companies. Shoppers are more moralistic than ever, and it impacts buying decisions. Using an EV may be the symbol that proves you respect the planet, encouraging more people to adopt the brand.

Enhanced Customer Service

The importance of customer service will never cease. How customers expect to interact with business may evolve, but they will always judge you on your ability to deliver. Cars are the missing piece of this puzzle, especially vehicles that drive autonomously.

Similar to a drone, AV will be able to deliver products with fewer glitches in the future. However, unlike a drone, customers will be able to track it mid-journey to check up on their package. Plus, removing the human element means that delivery times will be shorter than usual. Then, there is the virtual assistant support that you can implement for holistic consumer experience.

Affordable self-driving cars are some way off the market, so it may be a while before they’re used in to drive businesses forward. Still, when the price drops and the tech is more stable, your customers will receive an enhanced service that will catapult you to the top of the market.

From helping customers to advertising the company to potential employees, cars have their pros and cons. Do you think one outweighs the other?

Are there Benefits of Cloud Computing for Businesses?

If you’re fairly new to business, then there is a lot to learn. Of course, it will vary what you need to know, depending on the kind of business that you have. But one aspect that can universally benefit businesses is cloud computing. This is where data is stored and managed, as well as processed, and it is all done using a network of servers that are hosted remotely. This kind of computing and storage for business data is popular with business users for a number of reasons. It offers some savings, as well as a large capacity of storage. So if you’re still not sure, here are some of the reasons why cloud computing could be just what your business needs.

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Save money

There is one thing that a lot of business owners have in common, and that is that they will always be on the lookout for different ways to save money. And for any business that is looking to use technology, and see if it offers any value, won’t have to look too far from cloud computing in terms of getting a good return on their investment. Cloud computing means that you don’t need your own hardware as everything is hosted elsewhere, which can be a good saving. Plus, if you look for a cheap VPS (virtual private server), then you will be able to save even more. Cloud computing means that you won’t have to cover the costs of security, power, and insurance for this kind of thing, as it is all taken care of remotely.

Strategic competitive advantage

The time in cloud computing is low, and any applications that are needed for growth and success can be found online nearly instantly. This helps to give you a strategic competitive advantage over any competitors, especially those that have not yet got on board with those kinds of cloud technology. It also means that as a smaller business, you’re not at a disadvantage compared to large businesses. You can all be on the same playing field when it comes to data and storage.

Lightning fast performance

If you want to stay competitive, then you need to have cloud service providers that will help to update technology to then meet the demands of the business customers. This can mean that cloud computing gives great performance which can be a huge benefit for business. Cloud computing also uses load balancing to make sure that no server suffers with any performance problems.

Flexible working

Cloud computing is something that will provide much greater flexibility in the way that employees work. It can mean that no matter where people are working from, they will be able to access the same information, as it is all internet based. Flexible working, especially in recent weeks, has improved so much, and more and more businesses are seeing that it can help their business, so it is definitely something that is here to stay. Using cloud computing can help your business as people work more flexibly, as it will keep everyone up to date.

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