What They Don’t Tell You About Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a perfectly viable option for many businesses around the globe. It is a method which businesses often turn to, as it offers a number of distinct benefits. These are benefits which all businesses can benefit from in some way or another, from saving time and money to improving the quality of the work and saving office space and the use of equipment. However, that is not all. There is plenty about outsourcing that many new business owners in particular are not aware of. In this article, we are going to take a look at those unseen qualities, in order to better gain a fuller understanding of outsourcing as an aid to business growth. Let’s see what they’re not telling you about outsourcing.

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Every Business Does It

It is possible that you first heard about outsourcing because you were researching methods for how to save time and money. These are two of its biggest benefits, of course, but you might have made the very common mistake of thinking that you were the only one to look for it. The truth is, it is not just small and upcoming businesses which use outsourcing – all businesses do. Even larger corporations are known to use outsourcing from time to time, although their underlying motivations might differ slightly from yours. It is important to bear this in mind, simply because a lot of people worry that using outsourcing is like admitting defeat, admitting that their business can’t do something and needs help. It isn’t – actually, it is something all businesses need to do from time to time.

You Can Outsource Pretty Much Anything

Certain areas of business tend to lend themselves particularly well to outsourcing – and you have probably already noticed this. However, you might not have been aware that you can outsource almost anything that you could do in-house. Whatever it is that you want help with, chances are there is a firm out there offering it. Whether it’s using Raffingers Accountants for your financial needs, or a marketing firm, or even someone to do your admin off-site – there is always a solution to be found. This is worth knowing, as often people fail to realise that you can always find help when you need it. It could be that this helps you get out of a sticky patch in the future, so bear it in mind.

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The Main Reason For Outsourcing Is Not To Save Time

This is another claim that you hear bandied around all the time. Often, business owners assume that the main benefit of outsourcing is to save time. While it’s true that outsourcing does tend to have that effect, that is not most businesses’ reason for doing it. Above all, the statistics show, the main reason people turn to outsourcing is as a way of reducing the cost of production. It goes without saying that keeping costs down is hugely important, so perhaps this is not too surprising. Either way, remember that outsourcing is your best friend when it comes to keeping costs down.

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Making Your Business Stand Out Can Be Easier Than You Think

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All business owners know that a business needs to have something unique to say if it is to be noticed. Ultimately, marketing is just a means to an end – and that end is ensuring that as many people recognise the business’ name as possible. It is vital to ensure that any business has a way of standing out – otherwise that aim will not be achieved. But how can you go about ensuring that that happens? In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the things you can do to ensure that your business stands out as much as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the key methods available.

Building A Strong Online Presence

Marketing today needs to have a strong focus on the digital if it is to succeed. This is something which everyone knows, and yet it can be surprisingly difficult to make it happen in any lasting way. If you are unsure how to make your business stand out online, you are not alone – and that is kind of the problem. There is so much competition online, more so than in the real world, and standing out from the crowd is harder than ever before. More than anything, you need to make sure your business has a strong and unique website. A good start is to buy web hosting which accurately reflects your branding. As long as you have a domain which does the job, you will be much more likely to stand out online.

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Engaging With A Wider Group Of People

Networking has to play a central role in your business’ marketing plans. Put simply, networking is just the act of connecting with as many people as possible with a view to improving relations so that your business can prosper from them. Of course, the more people you connect with, the more likely it is that you can make a better impression on the world at large. So clearly networking with more people is always going to be a good step forward for your business. If you are unsure as to how to do this, you could start by attending events such as trade shows and the like, and make sure you have your business cards on you.

Developing A Market Niche

Having a strong grasp on a certain area of the industry you are in is another great way of standing out from the crowd. If you are working within a particular niche, one of your clearest goals should be to try and fill that niche as well as possible, to dominate it with your own brand. Doing so is not just great for sales, but great for the reputation that your business has with the wider community it operates within. Developing a market niche also sets your business up to operate much more strongly in the future. This is something you definitely shouldn’t overlook in a hurry. To work on developing your own niche, try to look for those areas which no other business has successfully integrated. If you can answer an unanswered question, people will be very impressed indeed.

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The Real Reasons You’re Not Making The Sales You Want, And How To Fix It

Since my own experience with bad sales, I’ve learned a lot, both from a strategy point of view, and from a mindset point, so I’m going to share with you exactly how you can deal with, and, ultimately overcome this situation.

Now, before we get into the steps involved, I want you to know that I get your frustration – trust me, there were days during this period when I totally lost my cool. I wanted to give up, I thought I was destined to fail.

1. Let people know you have something to sell: Okay, this sounds insanely obvious, right? You’re probably thinking, “I run a business, of course they know I want to sell them something.”

Honestly, I wouldn’t be too sure about that. When I was in this situation, it took me a while to click on to the fact that I was basically training people to ONLY expect free from me. I had the word “FREE” plastered all over my website. About 8 times just on my opt-in page alone.

Now, I know that the purpose of this page is to give a good freebie, and usually the word “free” – or, at least a reference to it is going to be pretty helpful in conveying the message here, but don’t go overboard with it like I did.

You can also try words and phrases like: “exclusive” or “free for a limited time” to mix it up a bit.

Trust me: it makes a difference.

After someone signs up for your freebie, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to make an actual paid offer. Not something massive – the amount is not really the focus, it’s simply about planting the seed and letting people know from the beginning that you do have things for sale should they choose to purchase.

2. Get your head in the game:  whether you like to hear it or not – if you’re in this position right now, your mindset probably sucks. I know mine did.

The funny thing is, I was actually working on my mindset, and thought I was doing quite well – but I wasn’t working on it hard enough.

I wasn’t working on it daily, and I wasn’t putting it as a priority. Mindset is everything, and you’ll have to acknowledge it at some point unless you want to stay right where you are – which is also cool if that’s your thing.

Nobody likes desperation. Get honest with yourself about why you feel this way – maybe you journal, get in the shower, go for a walk, whatever you need to get into that space of truly reflecting. Own your feelings, and deal with them.

3. Give before you get: Are you so desperate to make a sale that you’re jumping right in and offering them something before they even know who you are? Would you ask someone to marry you on the first date and expect them to say yes?

4. Be patient: Realize that not everyone who joins your community will buy from you – in fact, most won’t. That’s okay because they might tell 10 other people how great you are who DO buy from you.

Also realize that not everyone will buy right away. Again, focus on giving good value, and make your offers, but let go of the need for them to buy right away, and know that they will do when the time is right for THEM.

5. Invest in yourself: The amount of people I speak to who claim not to have money-blocks is equal parts astounding, but also not surprising.

Though, let me ask you this: when was the last time you actually invested in your own business? Have you taken any sales training, or made other investments in your development? Maybe consider searching for some Sales Training for best results and see what you can find.

It doesn’t have to be a massive investment – the amount is actually pretty irrelevant compared to what the act symbolizes.

I never fail to be baffled by the amount of people I speak to who are struggling with things like getting clients, selling their products, or just otherwise growing their business, but who also don’t see that they’re causing this themselves by not investing in their own business.

If you’re not practicing what you preach, and won’t invest in things to help you, then how can you reasonably expect others to invest in you? You’re essentially saying that you’re not worth investing in, so is it any surprise that the people you attract may also feel this way about you?

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Why Your Small Business Needs To Enter The Digital Age

It’s easy to look at your small business and shrug off the need for certain aspects of technology or the internet. If you’ve already achieved success without digital means, and perhaps this is due to your influence over the local area, you might think you’re sitting comfortably and there’s nothing more which needs to be done.

Of course, no matter the size of your business, there’s always more you could be doing to improve your success. The internet is a symbol of connectivity, and it’s just as useful for communication within and without your business as it is for you to communicate with friends on a personal level outside of work.

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Perhaps you already use the internet within your business, but you might be missing a few tricks.

You might have a website and you might even have social media, but how do you use them? Do you apply online marketing techniques using your brand name and image? Are you pulling in new clients from surrounding areas using the power of technology?

It’s time to enter the digital age, because every other company already has done. You may think it’s not for you because you’re only operating on a small scale, but it’s time to stop thinking about the internet on a global scale and think about the individuals who use it.

The majority of people search for services and shops online.

No matter how small or how localised your business is, there’s a chance you could be missing out on a whole heap of potential customers, within the local area, who only use the internet to search for new services related to your industry. Customers are using social media and other online browsing platforms every single day, meaning that you might not be fully tapped into potential brand-building opportunities.

Monopolise the internet by spreading word of your services through social media and ensuring you target people within your local area. You’d be surprised how many more customers you might find that had previously overlooked your business, or simply never heard of it. You’ve got to build your online image and promote it through the internet, as well as the ‘real’ world.

It might be time to consider Cloud computing.

Cloud computing is another example of modern technology designed for businesses operating in all sorts of capacities on all manner of scales. Experts at places like Yorkshire Cloud could help you set up an efficient system if you’re unsure as to how Cloud technology could improve your business.

The key thing to note is that remote working can improve your business’ image in terms of modernity, but it can add a layer of security to company files and save on travel costs for certain employees who could potentially work from home if they don’t live too near to the company premises. This could be cost effective for the company too, because you may not need to pay employees so much if they’re cutting down on their own costs.

Perhaps now you’ve got an idea of why it’s so important to always push your business further and observe what your competitors are doing in the marketplace. Every other business is using digital mediums to your advantage, so why don’t you? Make the most of your social media profiles and spread your brand as far as possible to ensure you’re not missing out on any potential clients in the local area.

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What Are the Very Best Office Productivity Boosters?

When you run a business, productivity should be near the top of your list of priorities. If your business is not productive, it won’t ever fulfill its potential, which would be a real shame. So, what are the best office productivity boosters out there? There are plenty of ideas and tips that you can take advantage of, but some are more worthwhile and have a bigger impact than others. Here are the very best of them.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is one of the most important things in the workplace. If your employees and managers are not communicating in a way that is adequate, productivity levels will start to slide. Once those lines of communication begin to breakdown, a rift will start to develop, and this can frustrate people on both sides of the divide. Rather than letting this become an issue in your workplace, you should try to put communication systems and practices in place that make it easier for everyone to get messages from A to B. It’s simple to do, but it will have a big impact.

Use Better and Faster Office Appliances

They say that a good workman doesn’t blame his tools. But this is a pretty simplistic and reductive saying. Sometimes, your employees can only do their best work and be more productive if they’re given the right tools and office appliances to help them. How are they going to get more work done if they’re expected to work with hardware or software that is slow or frustrating to use? You should invest in better and faster software that everyone can use to get the job done. Things like managed print services might also help out. This will speed up processes and tasks that have to be taken care of repeatedly in your office.

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Clear Motivation

For employees to be productive, they need to have clear motivation. But motivating your workforce is not always easy. Some of the work they do will be dull and repetitive. And who would excited about that? So, you could set some goals to give them something to focus on and aim for. These goals should not be strict, and they certainly shouldn’t be unrealistic. Unrealistic goals act as drains on motivation. People won’t be motivated if they think that they are being asked to do the impossible. Instead, they will just switch off and ignore the targets altogether.

Skills Development

When people can develop their skills in the workplace, they will be more likely to work hard and improve. This should lead to greater productivity levels. Whereas, if people are not given a chance to improve themselves, there is no hope of them improving their work. So, you should give people in your office every opportunity to improve themselves and the work they do. If you can do that, it won’t be long before you start to see the productivity benefits. You could offer extra training on the job, or you could pay for external courses and training opportunities.

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Going it Alone: Simple Ways to Improve Your Sole Trader Business

When you’re a sole trader, you have a lot of pressure on your shoulders. You’re the one in charge of running the company, and no one else is going to do it for you. That can be daunting, but it can also be freeing. You’re the one making all the important decisions, and you don’t have to listen to other people trying to tell you what to do. If you want to improve your overall business, it might be best to try out some of the ideas discussed below.

Make Some Changes to Your Van

For many sole traders, their van is their livelihood. You have to look after it and make the most of it if you are going to keep making money and stay afloat. Luckily, there are all kinds of ways to improve your van and what it can do for you. There are van storage systems that can help you to make the most of the space you have in your van. This can be useful for any sole trader that needs to take tools and parts on jobs. You could also make upgrades to the suspension to make the vehicle drive better and last longer.

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Use Modern Technology to Advertise Better

These days, you can’t afford to ignore the significance of advertising when running a sole trader business. It’s not enough to set up an advert in the local director or put up some signs, though. Those kinds of advertising techniques are alright, but they’re not adequate. To reach more people, your business needs to have its own website, a Facebook page, and maybe even a Twitter account. Then you can use these platforms to spread the word and advertise your services. On top of that, you might want to place some online adverts on various relevant websites. They can help you get the message across to more people.

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Link Up with Other Sole Traders

It can be a great idea to link up with other sole traders that do different things to you in your local area. For example, if you’re a plasterer, you could find a painter and decorator and link up with them. That way, you can get increased exposure and more clients, and so can they. By helping other traders in a similar situation to you, everyone can benefit, so it’s worth trying out. As long as you remember not to build links with your competitors, you should be able to find success by doing this.

Use Credit Card Processing

This is one of those simple changes to your business that really does have an impact. If you want to take your business to the next level, it’s vital to accept cards. You don’t want to force people to pay in cash when you do a job for them because people are using cash less and less. It’s up to you to move with the times and meet the precise needs of your customers. That’s what it’s all about when it comes to pleasing your customers and offering them the very best service possible.

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Failing To Fund A Business Is More Common Than You Think!

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You might think that it’s easy to arrange and organise funding for your business, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s true to say that a lot of companies struggle to get the funds they want when they need them. There are a wide variety of reasons why this might be the case. By looking at them in more detail we can better understand the situation and work to find effective solutions.

Commercial Viability

If your business idea or concept isn’t commercially viable, you’re going to struggle to fund it from day one. The reason for this is quite simple. No one’s going to want to invest in your idea because there won’t be enough people who are interesting in buying your product. You will even struggle to get a business loan that can often be used to jump start a problematic company. So commercial viability is crucial and if your business doesn’t have it, you need to find it. You can do this by focusing more funds on marketing and promotion. This should help you reach a wider audience that might be interested in your company.

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Risks And Gambles

Investors hate businesses that are risky. They hate them so much that they will avoid providing even the most basic services to high risk companies. If your business is classified as high risk, you might even struggle to get the most basic financial support for your business. For instance, you will no doubt want customers to be able to pay for products in as many secure ways as possible. Particularly if you are providing products that are expensive and difficult to pay for straight up. However, if your business is high risk, you might struggle to find a service suitable for your company. Luckily high risk merchant accounts are available online to fit this need. Therefore, as long as you invest in the services of one of these companies you won’t need to worry.

Payback

Many business owners struggle to get the money for their company because their customers fail to pay on time. Rather than paying straight away they hand the business the equivalent of an IOU. Now, you might think the best way to deal with this is to not accept purchases from any companies that refuse to pay up front. There are two issues here. First, they might not announce their intention to pay later upfront. Second if you don’t let them handle the transaction this way you could lose the sale completely. That’s the last thing you want. There’s an easy fix though and that’s to sell on the unpaid invoices to quickly gain the money you need.

No Charisma

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Lastly, to ensure you get investments in your business, you’ll find you need charm and tact. Without this you can almost guarantee that investors are going to look the other way. Don’t forget, it’s not just your business that needs to be marketable. You do as well and if you’re not you need to find someone who can fill this void.

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Elevate Employee Morale With These Simple Changes

Since starting your business, you’ve probably discovered that it’s not quite what it’s cracked up to be. While you may have a lot more freedom compared to your last day job, there’s far more responsibility and varying factors to worry about, and you’ve probably had to work a lot harder than ever before. Remember, working at a start-up isn’t just stressful for you; your employees are going to feel the sting too! If you’re not seeing as many smiles in your office as you’d like to, here’s a few ways to elevate employee morale.

Be A Nicer Boss

I thought I’d start this post off with the simplest tip I can offer: be nice! Okay, you’re here to make sure the business continues to turn a profit, and grows according to the plan you’ve set out, not to be popular. However, working under a boss who goes out of their way to make your work more enjoyable can be a huge morale booster. As rushed and hectic as things may be, remember to use those magic words you were taught as a child whenever you’re interacting with your staff. When you do have some time spare, instead of just reclining in your office, have a walk around and chat to someone. Ask them how things are going outside of work, and what their plans are for the weekend. Little touches of courtesy can go a long way!

Clean Up

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Like many business owners, you might have started the company all by yourself, setting yourself up online, working late nights, and living on a diet of takeaways and energy drinks. While I admire anyone who can dedicate themselves to any kind of project like this, it may have made you a little too comfortable around dirt and clutter. Now that you’ve grown your operation enough to have an actual commercial premises, those dark days should be well behind you! Consider hiring a full-time cleaner, or outsourcing some professional office cleaning, and upping cleanliness standards throughout your office. First of all, this will reduce the chances of your employees getting sick, which is never good for a person’s mood. Furthermore, a clean and tidy office is more welcoming and attractive, and will encourage your employees to take more pride in the business they work for.

Recognise and Broadcast Achievements

One of the biggest things which will diminish a person’s morale is pushing themselves as hard as they can at work, and feeling that their work goes unappreciated or unrecognised. One way of giving your workforce a great morale boost is by recognising achievements, and broadcasting these throughout the entire workforce. As long as they’re not prone to get embarrassed, this will be a great ego boost to any of your workers, and will push them to try even harder at their next piece of work. It may also motivate other employees to get stuck into their work when their attention is waning. Every couple of weeks, think of things people have done that have really benefited the business, and send out a group email about it. Just make sure you’re not playing favourites!

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Malware – How To Tell If Your Computer Is Infected

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Computers are unpredictable creatures at the best of times. However, if your PC is continuously playing up with seemingly no rhyme or reason, malware could be to blame for its sudden bout of madness. Here are some of the top signs that could indicate that your computer is infected.

Pop-up ads

Ads are already annoyingly common as it is on most websites – something you may have noticed unless you’re smart enough to have employed Adblock. However, if almost every internet page and tab that you open is leading you to a pop-up ad, malware could well be behind it. Take note of what kind of ads are popping up. If they’re all links to suspicious looking sites, low-quality ads and pages demanding you to pay money – then it’s probably malware. Most malware will use these ads to try and ransom you into buying some fake anti-virus software. Other ads will deliberately load your computer with more viruses. Avoid clicking on any of them.

Your Browsing Keeps Getting Redirected

Almost every time you Google something you’re taken to a completely different site or browsing engine that you’ve never heard of. If this is happening, it’s not because your computer is lost, it’s because some malicious programme is redirecting you there. Try using another browser and see if you’re getting the same results.

Messages You Didn’t Write Keep Appearing

If Facebook is posting strange statuses that you didn’t write, if emails you didn’t create are appearing in your outbox, if friends are reporting getting sent strange links from you, you’ve most probably got malware (or you need to stop drinking so hard!). Many modern forms of malware will try to hack your social media to spread the virus. If you realise you have malware, log out of every account that you can and only use your phone for social media to prevent your personal details being hacked.

A Rogue Security Programme Has Installed Itself On Your Computer

One of the most common malware tactics is to install a fake anti-virus programme on your desktop, constantly coming up with alerts like ‘Warning! You have over 9000 viruses on your computer’. Most of these will link you to site demanding you to pay to upgrade your software. Do not pay anything! Take your computer into IT support and they will be able to tell you if the warning is legitimate enough (most likely it isn’t).

Programmes and Tools Won’t Work

Some malware will sneakily block programmes like Task Manager and Registry Editor to prevent you from trying to locate the problem. If your trusty Ctrl + alt + del method isn’t having any effect, then you’ll know something is up.

How to Prevent Malware

Buying anti-virus software should protect against most malware. Make sure you’re keeping your anti-virus software constantly renewed. If your antivirus software warns you to stay away from a certain site, follow its advice. You’re better off not taking the risk and staying to sites with a safety tick beside them.

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Stop Drowning in Paper Waste With This Essential Office Organisation Guide

Take a look around your office. What do see? Stacks and stacks of papers, forms, letters. And on the shelves? Archive boxes filled with invoices and notes. And what’s in that bin by your feet? More waste paper, scrunched up doodles and failed ideas.

No one likes to see paper waste taking over the office. In fact, just the sight of a large stack of papers is enough to make someone’s stomach churn and persuade them to turn around and run for the hills. Getting rid of the paper waste will help your business run more efficiently and cheaply.

Get Some Proper Storage

Buy a simple filing cabinet and you’ll have an easy to organise box where you can stuff whatever papers you want. Buy a couple of labels, slap them onto the folders, and it’ll be almost impossible to run out of organised space to store all your documents.

Using lots of shelves? Then at least get some archival boxes and use them properly. They have labels for a reason, so get a nice thick pen and write in big letters what you’ll be putting into it. Bills, invoices, ideas, drafts—whatever it is, make sure it’s clear what’s inside so you don’t end up make several boxes with only a few sheets of paper in each.

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Every table in your office needs a paper tray. They’re usually cheap and made of plastic, so it’s light and easy to buy in a bulk. Get stackable ones so that your employees can organise whatever incoming and outgoing papers land on their desk. It makes it easy for them to sort, and it makes it easy for you to pick up whatever you need from their tables.

Hire a Helping Hand

Sometimes the amount of paper and documents we have are just too much to handle. There are times where document management is best left to professionals if you’re in too deep. Sure, you might need to pay a little extra than hiring a couple of your employees to do some overtime, but what makes you think they are capable of sorting thousands of paper documents without it affecting their regular work? It just doesn’t work.

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Don’t Be a Technophobe—Go Digital

Ask yourself how you got into the position of being swarmed with paper documents, and chances are you’ll realise it was because you were stubborn and didn’t want to switch to electronic alternatives. Invoices and other billing services can be done completely online on the cloud with software. Why waste time, effort and money on physical media? It eats into your company budget, and it’s actually more convenient for your clients and customers when you give them online options.

The same can be said for note taking, sketches, and drafts. They can all be done on a computer and it saves money on pens, ink, pencils, and of course paper. An investment into a tablet device is worthwhile if you find yourself spending hundreds on physical media. Digital alternatives are also easier to send around the office and give to people over the internet.

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