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4 Tips for Starting a Home Business

If you’re accustomed to a lifestyle of cubicles and fax machines, making the transition to a home-based business can be harder than you might think. You have to contend with all of the challenges of starting your own business, while also dealing with the personal and emotional stressors of bringing your work into your living space. However, from the many people who have taken the risky road to starting a home business, there are a few pointers that every new home business owner should note:

1. Figure out what it is you actually want to be doing. A new small business needs to satisfy a few requirements. It needs to be based on your personal interests and career goals. It needs to address a market niche that you believe is unfilled. It needs to be appropriate to the local area. Finally, it needs to be feasible for a home-based business. For example, you wouldn’t want to start a home business that was going to be dependent ultimately on major manufacturing operations. Unless you are planning from the beginning to begin operations out of the home and move them into an office space eventually, you should only start a business out of the home that can stay in the home.

2. Have a plan of attack before you start. It wouldn’t be wise to quit your current job and invest all of your time and money into launching your home business, only to realize that your business plan is off base or overly complicated. Have a fairly crystallized plan of where your business is coming from, who is supporting it, and when you can expect to see a return on investment. Understand your primary market, know what talent you will need to support your operations, and have a generalized growth plan in place. You should also be certain that you know how much money you need to start out and where that money is going to come from. If it’s going to put you under too much financial strain, you may want to retool. You will also need to make a careful evaluation of the amount of money you truly, honestly need to get by. Does your plan provide you with enough?

3. Take care of your basic necessities. Potential investors aren’t going to want to invest in your business if it doesn’t seem like you are a real operation. Make sure you’ve addressed all the basic things before trying to attract new business. This will include making sure you’ve done all the required paperwork to be considered a business in your state and that you’ve copyrighted your name and basic info. Come up with a marketing package which might include your branding, likea logo and slogan, business cards, printed materials, a website, and social media presence. If you don’t feel capable of handling all of these things yourself, you can hire someone through an outsourcing website or someone who advertises marketing and design in your local area. Different materials will be relevant for different company types, so choose as appropriate. For example, if you don’t focus on the local area, you might not need business cards right away. This can wait until you attend a professional event or until you get a bit more established. Make sure your branding is very strong so people will remember you.

Virtually every company needs robust web presence including, at the very least, a professional-looking website and a few social media accounts. It doesn’t have to have high functionality, but it should look nice and respectable, and it should be hosted somewhere secure. Make sure you know how to protect your website from hackers by applying web security software. This will ensure that your customers can 1) get to your website without any errors and 2) safely browse your site without their personal information being compromised.

5. Make your home space work-ready. There are a few common complaints that home-based workers share: that it is hard to keep from getting distracted, that you miss the social interaction, and that you sometimes feel left out of the professional loop. You can help prevent these problems by having a designated office space. Your brain will then be able to go into work mode when you are in your work space, which will help prevent distraction. You may also want to equip your office with a few things that will make it easier to promote interaction with partners and clients like teleconferencing software.

Other things to consider:

-Do you need any special licenses or permits? Make sure to double check on this and to keep copies on hand in case someone wants proof.
-Do you need to get a PO Box address? Many people prefer the security and anonymity that this provides, especially when doing business with remote clients outside of the local area.
-If you need to hire other employees, how will they work for you? Out of their own homes or out of your space?
-What capacities can you handle yourself? What do you need to outsource right away? Are you able to handle the books on your own or should you get an accountant? Small business owners are more likely to face an audit, so make sure you have a way to keep careful track of your paper trail.

Starting your own home business is a great way to be independent and to find your own way towards professional commitment. It certainly takes plenty of hard work and preparation, but with some time and care, you’ll soon be on the right path.



 
  


Employee Rights and Responsibilities in the Workplace

Before commencing employment, it is important to be aware not only of your personal rights and responsibilities, but also of the rights and responsibilities of your employer. Staying informed of these important considerations can help avoid legal disputes arising later in the course of your employment. All employees should be aware of important employment factors including work dismissal laws, discrimination in the workplace, occupational health and safety obligations and workers compensation.

General responsibilities and entitlements

There are general rules about what general entitlements employees receive at work. This may include what hours you work and how often you are able to have to have a break. These rules can be set out in different ways, such as through an award, registered agreement or an employment contract. It is important to understand your general entitlements and responsibilities under your specific contract or other agreement before commencing work. It may be useful to review employment contracts with a lawyer, in order to ensure that you fully understand both your responsibilities and entitlements and are happy to agree to the terms your employer has set.

Discrimination

You have the right to be protected against discrimination based on a disability, your gender or any other factor in the workplace. In turn, you have a responsibility to refrain from engaging in any act or form of discrimination in the workplace.

Examples of discrimination in the workplace may include

  • insulting or humiliating comments or action about disability
  • insulting or humiliating comments or action about gender
  • abusive behaviour toward employees with disability

If you have a disability, you also have the right to workplace modifications in order to minimise the impact of your disability in the workplace. Discrimination is a serious, prevalent and sadly often overlooked issue in the workplace. If you believe that you may be a victim of workplace discrimination, it is important to seek the advice of a lawyer.

Occupational health and safety

Every employee has the right to work in a safe and healthy workplace. Preventing work related injuries and illness is an important role held by both employers and employees.

Your employer has a duty of care to provide and maintain as far as practicable, a safe working environment. This duty of care involves;

  • protecting you from physical hazards and other workplace hazards (for example workplace bullying)
  • providing and maintaining workplaces to avoid exposure to hazards;
  • providing information about the hazards and risks from your job;
  • providing you with instruction, training and supervision so you are able to work safely;
  • consulting and cooperating with safety and health representatives
  • providing adequate personal protective clothing and equipment without any cost to you

In turn, all employees have a responsibility to;

  • ensure their own safety and health;
  • make sure their actions do not cause injury or harm to others
  • ask for assistance if they do not understand the information
  • follow your employer’s instructions on safety.

Workers compensation

Employers must take out workers compensation insurance for all employees by law, providing financial protection for you in the event of workplace-related injury or disease. In the event of workplace injury, your employer has specific obligations towards your ability to apply for and receive compensation and to help in the process involved in you returning to work. If you are injured at work, it is important to speak to a lawyer regarding all of your avenues for compensation and to ensure the protection of your rights.

Unreasonable dismissal

All employees have a right to be terminated from their employment, only upon reasonable grounds. When determining whether a dismissal was unreasonable, the following factors will be taken into account;

  • whether there was a valid reason for the dismissal
  • whether the person was given an opportunity to respond to the reason after being notified
  • whether the person had been warned, if the dismissal related to unsatisfactory performance
  • Whether the person could have been reasonably re-employed after being held redundant elsewhere within the company or an associated entity of the company.

A great deal of a person’s life is spent in the workforce, so it is important to have a firm understanding of your rights and responsibilities to your employee and fellow workers.

Bio: Laura Costello is in her third year of a Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex legal topics to readers across a variety of mediums in a way that is easy to understand.


To outsource or manage in-house

It’s amazing how many businesses are so adamant about managing everything in-house. It is a common modern-day business dilemma where the need to have someone in house isn’t as necessary as it was previously. This is because there is such a demand for skillsets and the ability to deliver rather than to have a large amount of staff in-house. An organisation can grow to a great size with strong scalability if managed well with an outsourced team. Ideally, the same type of structure should be manageable with an in-house team. There are TAFE courses that discuss the approach to managing both staffing methods in business modules. Below, we take a look at some of the benefits and considerations that business owners should have when they are deciding to outsource or to have in-house team members.

The human resource cost.

It is amazing how much it costs to hire a person into an organization. There are quite a lot of overheads that come into it, along with the salary that is provided to the employee. Businesses need to consider the cost of the equipment for their workstation, the cost of the office space and energy costs per person. Other considerations include loss of business associated with staff holidays and sick days. There is also the time allocated to staff meetings and the need to boost employee morale. Furthermore, should you need to get rid off an unproductive employee, it may prove to be costly with gardening leave wages or the threat of legal action! A good staff member will be valuable and profitable to your business. A bad one can do a lot of harm to your business.

The option to go with a freelancer.

There is a risk with going with a freelancer. However, the financial risk tends to be a lot lower than employing someone in-house. Generally, they are cheaper as they will charge lower rates. The good thing is that if the freelancer isn’t performing, all you need to do is stop your working arrangement with them. Furthermore, the freelancers tend to have higher skillsets from working hands on across projects in their careers. These skills can be leveraged at a fraction of the cost, compared to hiring someone in-house. Since they work for themselves, they set their own wages or fees, so you aren’t subject to meeting minimum award wages for labour in that particular industry. That responsibility is passed onto the freelancer. Another additional benefit is they do the invoicing, bookkeeping and accounting. This saves you managing this process with your own internal accountant.

The option to go with an agency.

Going with an agency can be beneficial, but it all comes down to the account managers and the execution team. Should the account manager do a great job, then you will essentially be gaining access to a productive workforce at the price of hiring and managing one person internally. Typically, the agency will have their own tools, software and hardware to manage and deliver the operations for their clients. If the agency isn’t performing well, you will have the option to dismiss the agency. However, the termination clauses will need to be agreed upon between both parties, prior to the commencement of the working engagement.

The option to go with a licensor or franchisee.

Do you need a working arrangement where another company can manufacture and deliver goods or services under a licensing or franchisee arrangement? This is a good way to expand your businesses services quickly. Furthermore, you can manage the amount of control that you will have with these types of arrangements, without being subject to hiring costs.

While hiring someone can be the optimal option if done well, there are plenty of other solutions that you can take advantage of. You can invest into a process that is already working with an outsourced solution.


gratitude

Article Contributed by Dr. Joey Faucette

You’re increasing your sales. Your team is more productive. You get out of the office earlier to do what you love with those you love…

…and yet there’s something missing. You struggle to keep all the business plates spinning simultaneously. It’s exhausting most days. Your family and friends ask, “Are you okay?”

The missing something is Gratitude.

Here are 3 Strategies to Grow Your Business with Gratitude:

Gratitude Focuses on the Positive

You see what you look for.

Is your default zoom set on what’s wrong with your business? That’s exhausting.

Of course all of our companies have room for improvement. Systems and strategies can be tweaked for greater efficiency. If that’s all you see when you look at your business, you completely miss what’s working positively.

Ask yourself, “What have we done that’s producing positive results?” and “What can we celebrate because it grew profits?”

Focus on this positive aspect. Be grateful. Experience happiness at your remarkable accomplishment. Write it down in your Gratitude Diary so you read and relive it later.

Gratitude that focuses on achievement instead of absence creates a Work Positive attitude that is your jet fuel to stratospheric future results.

Gratitude Finds Positive People

As you focus on the positive at work, you recall that people produced these most excellent outcomes. These people constitute your Work Positive Dream Team. Every extraordinary goal met involves ordinary people who went the extra mile.

Instead of worrying about how to please the negative people—Eeyore Vampires—at work, be grateful for these ordinary people. They could work anywhere. They could do business with your competitors. They chose you.

Go one step further. Express your gratitude to them in very specific ways, remarking on their positive qualities that contributed directly to the growth of the company.

Gratitude Finishes Positive Actions

Once your gratitude focuses you on positive results and finds positive people, you discover your energy level turbocharged, your attention riveted, and your time more productive.

Those unfinished to-do list items surrounded by road blocks get done, and you’re moving forward with ease.

How?

Gratitude redefined your reality.

You focus on positive results and know that if you did it then, you can do it now. What you have done and what you have are your default zoom settings.

You find positive people who contributed to those positive results. You discover that these ideal customers send their friends to do business with you, because they know you will appreciate them.

Instead of, “Are you okay?,” your family and friends say, “You look great! What’s going on?”

Your new-found gratitude propels your business upward on a profitability trajectory for which you say, “Thank you!” as you Work Positive and achieve your business dreams.

About the Author

Dr. Joey Faucette is the #1 best-selling author of Work Positive in a Negative World (Entrepreneur Press), Positive Success Coach, & speaker who helps business professionals increase sales with greater productivity so they get out of the office earlier to do what they love with those they love. Discover more at www.GetPositive.Today.


28Jul

The Elevation of Business in the Cloud

Posted by Marcel Sim in Operations

Cloud-Image

There’s a transformation going on in the world of business, and if yours hasn’t yet caught on you’re late for the revolution. It’s all based on the cloud – a term that refers to a new way of utilizing the enhanced connectivity brought about by the maturation of networked services.

The business model of a cloud-based software service utilizes the Software as a Service – or simply SaaS model. Offering centrally hosted software accessible from multiple clients in remote locations, it offers a number of advantages over traditional methods of software deployment.

Cutting Costs in the Cloud

You’re undoubtedly familiar with these traditional deployments. They require businesses to license pre-packaged enterprise solutions and rely upon the in-house IT department to deploy and maintain the software. There are a number of drawbacks to this model, virtually all of which are addressed by adopting a cloud-based service.

Traditional software licensing involves a lump sum paid for software that may include components your business doesn’t even need. Alternatively, cloud-based services typically employ demand-based subscription pricing models that ensure you only pay for what you need and use.

There’s tons of examples and Praktika is one of them. This cloud-based dental practice management suite, offers expandable storage and reporting on a month-to-month basis depending upon the needs of the practice. As such, a small practice with fewer clients will pay less than a larger client with more substantial storage needs. This flexibility is simply not possible in traditional software delivery models.

These subscription fees also include software updates and upgrades. This task traditionally fell upon a company’s in-house IT department, adding hours to the payroll as each instance of the software was individually maintained.

Safety and Security in the Cloud

The guaranteed security and integrity of a client’s data could be added to the list of cost-cutting benefits offered by cloud services, but the most significant advantages of shifting these responsibilities to a third-party provider outweigh even the substantial savings that come with them. Put simply, many cloud-based service providers offer better data security than all but the largest companies can afford to offer.

Protecting clients’ data is among the highest of priorities for any respectable cloud service. As such, the subscription fees typically include automated backups that protect against the damage or loss of your data. This alone is less costly and time-consuming than performing and storing your company’s data on local servers, but it’s just the beginning when it comes to cloud security.

Cloud services often employ hardened data centres that virtually guarantee your company won’t be the next headline associated with a data breach. These data centres utilize the latest encryption techniques, monitored firewalls and even armed guards, all of which provide a level of shared security that any one company would find it hard to match on a limited budget.

The Efficiency of the Cloud

While all of the advantages mentioned above offer ample encouragement for any company considering a move to the cloud, they all exist in the budget and behind the scenes. While the enhanced productivity offered by cloud services will find representation in your company’s performance metrics, it will also be the most tangible benefit from the first day forward.

Cloud-based services, by their very nature, allow multiple team members to simultaneously access the same information at the same time from any location (within their allowed access levels, of course). This not only allows employees to work remotely with ease, but also provides a platform for modes of real-time communication like instant messaging and VoIP – Voice over IP – calls and conferences.

Such accessibility and communicability creates a space for remote collaboration that eliminates the need for board rooms and conference tables. Real-time meetings can occur across time zones, and evolving projects can develop as information is acquired.

While the cloud may seem to be a relatively new concept, the principles and technologies upon which it is based have been in development since as far back as 1969. Indeed, the early adopter phase has long been over, and the explosion of successful cloud-based services is evidence that the cloud is here to stay.

More and more businesses are adapting their strategies to include the cloud, and your competitors are sure to be among them. The emergence of the cloud is more than just a trend – it is the beginning of a sweeping change in the way that businesses handle their software and networking needs. The advantages are clear, and there’s never been a better time to consider your company’s future in the cloud.



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