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4 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know to Survive During and Post COVID-19

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Survive During Covid|4 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know to Survive During and Post COVID-19Regardless of what kind of business you operate, there are very few industries that haven’t been affected by COVID-19. Since the start of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the UK and beyond, resulting in over one million deaths across the world (and counting). For entrepreneurs, running and operating a healthy business can be challenging during these unprecedented times. So, to keep your operation afloat, here are some useful tips on how to survive the pandemic and keep revenue up.

Encourage Remote Working

If you’re able to do so, you should encourage your team to work remotely. If you operate in an office, many employees will have concerns and fears about being in close proximity to others. The last thing you want is for your team to fall ill with the virus and have to isolate. So, you should encourage working remotely, meaning your staff can operate from their homes which will reduce the risk of them contracting COVID-19.

Keep in Touch with Employees and Customers

No matter what kind of business you run, regularly communicating with your employees and customers is key to success. If you have had to shut your physical premises for the time being and your team are working remotely, you need to head online and use video conferencing software like Skype or Zoom to hold meetings and training. Your customers may feel out of the loop during these strange times, so make sure you have social media business pages that can be used to keep your audience in the know.

Coronavirus-Proof Your Premises

If your business has been allowed to reopen, you need to take precautionary action to keep staff and customers safe. You can use screens to reduce the spread of covid which can be useful in all kinds of environments, including offices, restaurants, and retail stores. As well as covid screens you can use queue barriers and face masks which are key measures that you can use to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Encourage Hand Washing

If you employ others in your business and they’re back at work, you must encourage hand washing. While we should all wash our hands regularly with soap and water, you will be surprised at how many people forget to do so. In the unprecedented times we are currently living in, it’s more important than ever to wash your hands. There are hand sanitiser stations that can be installed in your business which will serve as a constant reminder for employees to clean their hands.

Whether you hire office space, run your own restaurant, or operate a retail store, your employees and customers are at the heart of your company. To keep your business thriving and on track, all the tips above will ensure you have all bases covered, helping to boost morale, productivity and ensure staff and customers are kept safe and protected during and post COVID-19.

The Best Ways to Modernize Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Modernize your Business|The Best Ways to Modernize Your BusinessStaying modern is something that every business needs to do, but many struggle with. Those that are able to stay current will be able to satisfy the fast-changing needs and expectations of today’s consumer, streamline their business and stay ahead of the curve. Meanwhile, those that struggle to keep up will get left behind and could find it hard to compete. It is clear that staying modern is im-portant, but how can you go about doing this? It is hard to know in today’s day and age as there are so many different ways to do this – read on to find out a few of the most effective areas that are worth focusing on.

Remote Working

Remote working has been on the rise years, but in 2020 it has become widespread due to the pan-demic. In most cases, this has shown to be a success for companies with many reporting an increase in productivity as well as a boost in morale. Having the right tools and learning how to manage re-mote teams is important if you want to find success and you may want to have some flexibility as some people will prefer working in the office at least part time.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is becoming increasingly more common in today’s day and age and made much easier through the rise of remote working. It makes sense from a business perspective because outsourc-ing allows you to use experts to handle certain aspects of the business operation without the need to pay a full salary and other employee costs. This makes it a cost-effective option and could allow you to scale up with ease, and there are many areas that you can outsource, such as:

  • Digital marketing
  • IT
  • HR
  • Accounting
  • Social media management

Use Video Marketing

Video marketing is a highly popular and effective ways to promote your business and can be much more engaging than other formats. Video marketing will capture the attention of your target cus-tomer; it allows you to use both audio and video as it can make it easier to communicate your mes-sage and it is a chance to impress and show your expertise. The key is to have any videos made by an experienced professional as amateurish videos can have the reverse effect in a time where peo-ple are used to seeing so many videos every day.

Influencer Marketing

Another popular form of digital marketing to use right now which could have a huge impact on the success of your business is influencer marketing. This involves getting someone with credibility in your field to promote your products/services on social media which will help to boost your reputa-tion, advertise your company and allowing you to reach a much larger audience.

Automation

Automation is a word that can create some strong reactions in the business world, as some argue that it leads to job losses. While this is the case in some circumstances, you can actually use automa-tion alongside employees which can be a great way to boost efficacy, reduce workload for staff and speed processes up. Using automation to handle simple, repetitive tasks will allow your team to fo-cus on other areas. They could help you to work at a much higher capacity than before so it should certainly be looked into.

Artificial Intelligence

Another type of technology that was once seen as futuristic but is now becoming common in a range of industries is artificial intelligence. AI can be used in all kinds of creative and innovative ways, such as:

  • Process automation
  • Collecting data
  • Chatbots
  • Optimizing logistics
  • Predicting performance

Update The Company Website

If you have not updated the company website for a few years, then this is a smart way to modern-ize. It is amazing just how quickly web design trends can change, and a dated website will quickly deter any visitor. Therefore, it is a great idea to use an experiment web design agency that will know the latest trends to deliver a modern, attractive and easy-to-use website which will impress any visitor.

Cloud-Based Training

Cloud computing can bring many benefits to a business and is a great way to modernize. Despite this, many people are struggling to get to grips with cloud computing which is understandable as a relatively new type of technology. This is why you should look into cloud-based training for enter-prise teams which will help get your team up to speed about using the cloud. This will help you to get the most out of cloud computing and modernize your workforce so that everyone can excel in their role and work with confidence each day.

Upgrade Cybersecurity

Understandably, business owners are focused on the threat of the pandemic in 2020, but one area which you must not overlook is cybercrime. Cybercrime is a massive problem that affects business-es of all sizes and in all industries, and there are constantly new threats being developed. This means that this needs to be a priority, and you need to invest in high-quality cybersecurity products in addition to learning about the latest threats and how you can stay safe.

Be Environmentally Friendly

Every business should be looking at how they operate and find ways to be more environmentally friendly. This is important in terms of doing your part to reduce impact, but also because consumers are becoming increasingly eco-aware and selective of the brands that they use, so it is important for your reputation. Not only this but often you will find that being more environmentally friendly can help to lower your operating costs too.

If you are wanting to modernize your business, then these are a few of the best ways that you can do this. Businesses need to stay current and ahead of the curve so that they can find success, appeal to their target customer and stay ahead of the competition but it is also an area that many struggle with so hopefully this post will help.

13 Apps & Ideas To Improve Your Company Culture

StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article |Company Culture|13 Apps & Ideas To Improve Your Company CultureWhat is company culture?

Company culture essentially means the personality of a company; it includes all of the values, behaviors, and interactions of both management and staff. The company culture is reflected by how staff engage with their organization and how they relate to the business goals. The company culture is evident in many aspects of the business operations, including the office arrangements, the hiring decisions and the staff perks.

With a strong company culture staff will feel both valued and engaged. Companies with high levels of staff engagement are more productive and more profitable. By developing a strong company culture, you’ll also improve your branding and your reputation.

According to a study by Smarp, ‘companies that had the best corporate cultures, that encouraged all-around leadership initiatives and that highly appreciated their employees, customers, and owners grew 682 percent in revenue.’ There are many ways that you can seek to improve your company culture, so let’s take a look.

Tips to improve your company culture

1 . Offer Flexibility

When you offer your staff flexibility, you will boost productivity levels. Flexibility allows employees to feel free and creative, and this has a positive impact on engagement. There are several ways that you can offer flexibility, including:

  • Flexible shifts: Instead of insisting on a strict 9-5 work regime, try offering your staff a little more flexibility with their working patterns.
  • Remote options: Working from home has become the norm lately and many businesses are making changes to operate fully remotely. According to a survey on FlexJobs, ‘65% of respondents are more productive in their home office than at a traditional workplace.’
  • Special days off: You can offer flexibility by allowing your staff to take special days off. It might be birthdays off work or a certain religious holiday that they celebrate.

2. Staff perks

According to Employee Benefits research, ‘75% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer because of their employee benefits package.’ By offering staff benefits, you can improve staff loyalty, engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Staff benefits you could considering offering include:

  • Staff discounts: There are plenty of staff discounts you can offer your employees, whether it’s retail discounts, dining discounts, or fitness discounts. Staff discounts are an excellent way to ensure that your staff feel valued.
  • Healthcare plans: To look out for your staff’s health and well-being, try offering an attractive health care plan. When you offer a great healthcare plan, you’re more likely to attract and hold onto talented staff.
  • Wellness programs: Burnout and mental health problems are increasingly common, which is why it’s a great idea to offer a wellness program. Apps such as ‘wellspace’ can support you to offer a wellness program that prioritizes the mental health of your staff.

3. Regular one-on-ones

Get into the habit of having regular one-on-ones with your staff, use these opportunities to ask your staff for feedback, and give them any feedback that you may have. One-on-one catch-ups can be helpful to:

  • Ask your staff if there is any extra training they feel they might benefit from.
  • Discuss their goals within their role and within the company as a whole.
  • Create a roadmap to achieve their goals within their role.
  • Provide them with feedback on their progress and projects.

4. Social side

To improve your company culture, it can be a great idea to encourage a social aspect to your business. You can do this easily by hosting social events for your staff and management. Whether it’s team-retreats, dinners out, or drinks on Zoom, give your staff the chance to become friends and opposed to just colleagues. Building healthy relationships with colleagues can improve the morale and atmosphere at your workplace. During 2020, many businesses have no choice but to work remotely. Due to the coronavirus, many staff members may now feel more comfortable attending online social events.

5. Mentoring

To nurture the progress of your employees, it can be useful to offer a mentoring program. All you need to do is pair up your less experienced staff members with those employees who have a little more experience behind them. There are many benefits to offering a mentoring program, including:

  • Staff can learn from one another and exchange advice and tips.
  • Improve the relationships between your staff members.
  • Improve your in-house training regimes.
  • Peer-to-peer feedback can often be more well-received than traditional feedback.
  • Mentoring programs can help you to build a supportive community within your company.

6. Diversity & inclusion

To improve your company culture, it’s essential to think about diversity and inclusion. To build a diverse workplace, you must create a team that’s representative across different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and genders. Your team should also be representative of individuals with disabilities. To create an inclusive workplace, you must include that everyone is treated equally and included, without any level of discrimination or bias. To ensure that your business is diverse and inclusive, there are several things that you can do:

  • Unconscious bias training: This type of training focuses on helping individuals understand their unconscious biases and help them avoid accidentally discriminatory behavior. When we challenge underlying prejudices and seek to correct this behavior, we are better equipped to build an inclusive workplace.
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: WCAG provides instructions and advice on ensuring that your content is accessible. By following WCAG guidelines, you can make sure that your content is easily accessible for people with a wide range of disabilities. Such disabilities might include hearing loss, blindness, or learning difficulties. If you’d like to get your website up to WCA standards, then check out digital accessibility with AudioEye.

Diversity apps

Besides these ideas, you could also take a look at applications such as Blendoor. It’s a people analytics app that can help you to prioritize diversity as part of your recruitment processes. The software hides photos and candidate names in the primary stages, to ensure that recruiters cannot be accidentally biased.

Apps to improve your company culture

8. Jostle

This application is a type of ‘people engagement’ platform and employee intranet. The app was created to improve staff engagement by encouraging excellent communication and a positive culture. Jostle helps everyone to celebrate the successes of their colleagues and share workplace stories. Jostle’s best features include events planning, surveys and polls, collaboration, and employee recognition. With Jostle, you’ll improve the communication between your employees. It’s simple to target the info you need using employee type, location, or division. Further features of Jostle include matrix reporting, employee targeting, and workplace structures.

9. Quantum Workplace

Quantum Workplace is a type of employee engagement and performance management software. Using QW, you can access surveys, set goals, and take advantage of employee recognition features. The platform was designed to seamlessly fit management processes, and you can scale it to whatever your requirements are. Quantum workplace also has coaching features, so that you can make the most of the software. Other features of QW include analytics and feedback.

10. Lattice

Lattice is a people management platform which can support your company to encourage high performing and engaged teams. Using the software, you can carry out one-to-ones, set goals, use engagement surveys, and access insightful analytics. There are so many ways that you can customize Lattice, meaning that you can tailor this solution to your company culture. When teams are disengaged, it’s unlikely that they’ll reach their full potential or produce truly creative work.

11. Kudos

Kudos is a type of employee recognition platform, helping you to appreciate and value your staff. The tool has plenty of great solutions for employee recognition. The tool allows teammates to recognize one another’s achievements, which helps to boost engagement levels. It’s essentially a private social network that enhances communication between your teams. Kudos is also useful to represent your brand and to reinforce your core values.

12. Motivosity

The Motivosity application was developed to create a more fulfilling workplace experience. Using the platform, company owners can encourage higher productivity levels and help staff to each their true potential. Motivosity helps businesses to assign the right tasks to the right workers while boosting engagement. The platform allows staff and managers to show appreciation and recognition for workplace efforts. Further features of Motivosity include digital gifts, awards, organization charts, personality assessment, and milestone section.

13. Peakon

Peakon is a great employee engagement platform that can support you to improve your company culture. The app automates the collection of feedback, delivery, and analysis. Using Peakon, it’s simple for companies to be able to identify issues and deal with them appropriately. You can take a look at the highest performing teams, analyze their productivity, and use these insights elsewhere. When you increase your engagement, you’ll improve your company culture and see a greater ROI. Other great features of Peakon include trending dashboard, flexible scheduling, continuous monitoring, and personalized insights.

Improving your company culture means happier employees, improved branding, and, ultimately, higher profits for your business. Developing a strong company culture is a process that can take a little time. Most importantly, when you are recruiting new staff you should ensure that you are choosing individuals who are a good fit for your culture and company values.

A Business That Never Sleeps: Running A 24 Hour Business

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |24 hour business|A Business That Never Sleeps: Running A 24 Hour BusinessBeing open 24 hours is necessary for some businesses such as hotels and security companies. For others it can be convenient (such as businesses that deal with international clients in different time zones). Running an around-the-clock business can be very different from running a nine to five business. Here are just some of the measures you may want to consider when going 24 hours.

Find the right staff

If you’re open all hours, you need to be able to have staff on duty 24/7. You may want to hire set staff to work night shifts rather than encouraging everyone to work flexible patterns. Alternatively, if you’re struggling to find candidates willing to work night shifts in your area, you may find it easier to create a system in which employees work one night shift per week. In certain lines of work there may be creative ways of sourcing night staff. For instance, if you’re looking for a task that can be carried out remotely, you could consider hiring staff from another country that operates in a different time zone.

Train them to deal with emergencies

When operating 24/7, it’s impossible for you to always be on shift. As a result, you need to enable your business to run without you. On top of carrying out essential tasks, your night time needs to be ready to deal with emergencies and they need to be able to carry out response plans without having to wake you up for support. You can train your employees to deal with various emergencies by conducting drills and by setting up handbooks that they can easily refer to if necessary.

Take advantage of outsourcing

Outsourcing could be a low-cost way of handling certain roles. For instance, if you need to keep your network monitored 24/7 and maintain a constant defence against cyberattacks you could consider outsourcing a managed service provider. This could be a lot cheaper than having to hire several IT specialists to work shifts around the clock (outsourcing may cost as much – or even less – than hiring one employee, while giving you the manpower of several employees). Other tasks you may want to outsource in such a fashion could include phone answering or email support. Not all tasks can be outsourced so bear this in mind.

Schedule maintenance tasks during your least busy times

Some businesses like to carry out tasks like cleaning, repairs and servicing outside of opening hours, so that day-to-day work is not interrupted. If your business is always open, you cannot do this, so you have to consider the next best alternative – which is to carry out these tasks at your least busy periods. The quietest time may not always be the best time. For instance, 3AM may not be the best time to carry out noisy cleaning tasks in a hotel – you might be better off doing these tasks during the day when customers aren’t likely to be disturbed. Make sure that maintenance tasks are carried out, otherwise you’ll run into numerous problems in the long run.

How to Handle Working from Home Stress

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Work from Home Stress| How to Handle Working from Home StressWere you one of the 49% of British workers who worked from home during lockdown? If so, you might not be heading back into the office just yet.

For some workers, moving to home turf to do the day job has been a largely positive experience. However, for others, this shift has had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, causing stress levels to rise and an increase in feelings of isolation – and these feelings are nothing new.

According to a 2017 study by the United Nations, which looked at 15 countries including the UK, US, and India, 41% of employees who mostly worked from home said they were highly stressed. And in his 2014 report, ‘Wat als we Nieuw gaan Werken?’ (What if we Start Working New?’), Belgium-based academic, Henrik Delagrange found that there is a higher risk of burnout for those who work longer hours remotely.

While the stats are negative here, there are ways to find the balance. If we’re feeling overwhelmed while working from home, here are some ways to handle those stressful feelings.

Have something to look forward to

When did you last book a holiday? Lockdown has meant that many of us aren’t taking the holidays we usually would, but it’s important to have a break, even if you’ve not got anything planned.

Also, there are some big events coming up that can help to restore some sense of normality. Halloween and Christmas are just a few months away so why not start shopping for these? Have a look at sweet treats, such as Christmas chocolate hampers, to really get into the festive spirit.

Take a time out

It can be easy to not take any breaks while you’re getting through your daily to-do list. But walking away from your computer and doing something unconnected for 10 minutes can help you switch off for a while. By doing this, you are resetting your mind and you may find that you’re able to focus on what you’re working on in a more productive way.

Set a schedule

We’re connected to work 24/7, thanks to technology. This makes it increasingly difficult to switch off our computer when the working day is over.

However, if you’re finding that your work life is creeping into your downtime, it might be worth setting yourself a schedule – and sticking to it. Decide on what you’ll be doing at 9am, 11am, and after lunch so that you have tasks to do and a rough time to complete them by and this will allow you to methodically get through your to-do list and give you the chance to plan ahead for the rest of the week.

Download an app

There are lots of mindfulness apps that are available right now, and, while they’re all slightly different, their common aim is to help you feel calmer and less stressed. Calm, Headspace, and Aura are just some of the apps that are available on iOS and Android devices, and as they’re designed for your phone, you can take them with you and access them when you need a break or are starting to feel overwhelmed.

Speak to someone

If you’re finding things tough, speak to colleagues or, if you feel you need to let your manager know, arrange a meeting with them. Your manager should be able to offer some advice or point you in the direction of support services.

Should you feel that you need professional support, there are lots of services to help. Mind has a lot of resources online that can help you take the steps to manage stress.

Working from home doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your wellbeing. It’s important to know that you’re not alone.