These Simple Tips and Tricks will Help you to Work from Home Much More Efficiently

If you want to work from home more efficiently than ever before, then this is the guide for you. Take a look below to find out more.

Set a Schedule

The first thing that you need to do is set a schedule and then stick to it. If you can, try and establish clear guidelines for when to work and when to stop. This is how a lot of remote workers are able to maintain a much healthier work-life balance. If you work erratic hours, then you may need to adjust your schedule accordingly.

Image Credit

Create a Good Routine

Deciding that you are going to sit down at your desk and start work at a set time is one thing, but creating a routine that helps to get you to your desk is another. If you want to really help yourself, then you need to have the same routine every morning. This may include returning home after you have been out on a jog or even getting dressed properly when you wake up. Some people who work from home like to lounge in their PJ’s because it is much more comfortable, but at the end of the day, it won’t help you to be creative.

Set Ground Rules

Set ground rules with others in your home, or those who share the space. If you have kids, then make sure that they do some of the chores around the house and also make sure that they give you your space when you are trying to get your head down. If you are able to do this then you will soon find that you are far more productive and that you are also able to have a much more efficient business schedule. If you have a family then you may find that you struggle with your internet connection as soon as the kids get home so look into some business internet packages if you can.

Schedule Breaks

Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a break from time to time. You need to take regular breaks because if you don’t then you may never end up relaxing as much as you could. If you are not careful then you may also end up overworking and this is the last thing that you want. It’s also important that you don’t short-change yourself when taking breaks too. If you plan to have an hour but only end up having 20 minutes then this will make it harder for you to get your head down and concentrate, so give yourself time and don’t feel guilty about it.

Leave the House

You should try and leave the home on a regular basis. If you don’t then you may find that work ends up being too much and that you struggle with motivation. When leaving the house, try and make the effort to meet up with friends or even try and give yourself a break from work in general. Working from home can be isolating, and if you aren’t careful it is very easy for things to mount up quickly. If you want to stop this from being the case, then socialising is key.

Continue Reading

Essential Considerations For Employers: How To Keep Your Staff Safe

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or you run an established business, it is critical to look after your employees. As an employer, health and safety should always be a priority. If you have a team of people working for you, here are some steps you can take to keep your staff safe.

Image Credit

Understanding legal requirements and regulations

Running a business isn’t just about generating profits and providing an excellent service for your customers. You also have to be aware of the legalities involved in company ownership and ensure you comply with rules and regulations. One essential consideration is workplace safety. If you are the boss, you are responsible for making sure that your staff members are safe. Depending on the type of business you run, and the occupational hazards and risks involved, you may need to cross boxes such as supplying PPE (personal protective equipment) and ensuring employees have the relevant training to operate machinery. It’s crucial to understand that if you flout the rules, or you display negligence, your employees have the right to seek legal advice for work-related accidents and injuries from a law firm like Bey & Associates. You can lower the risk of injuries by carrying out regular risk assessments, reporting accidents and ensuring employees have access to the equipment and guidance they need to work safely.

Providing training

Training is incredibly beneficial for employees, as it provides opportunities to learn new skills and develop a broader knowledge base. In many practical roles, for example, construction, training also plays a vital role in promoting safety. Employees can learn how to use equipment and operate machinery to lower the risk of accidents. Training courses, for example, lifting and handling, are also important for those working in healthcare. Match the type of training you offer your employees with the roles they undertake, and ensure you’re up to date with requirements stipulated by local and national bodies. In some cases, individuals will need to have a minimum level of training to undertake certain jobs and tasks.

Detecting and addressing hazards

Prevention is always better than cure. While it’s not possible to avoid every single accident in the workplace, there are steps you can take to try and eliminate injuries. Try and identify risk factors, and address problems as soon as they are detected. Slips and falls are among the most common types of work-related accidents. You can minimize the risk by checking the condition of flooring, keeping pathways and stairwells clear of obstructions and ensuring workspaces are well-lit. It’s also a good idea to use warning signs to make people aware of hazards, for example, hidden steps or wet floors.

As an employer, it is essential to ensure that you do everything you can to keep your staff safe. Make sure you are aware of laws and health and safety regulations related to your workplace, take steps to prevent accidents and provide access to the relevant training and protective equipment. Report accidents, take note of potential hazards and be proactive in introducing measures and policies to minimize risks.

Continue Reading

Expanding Your Business From Online to Offline

Having an online business is one of the best ways to get your business out there, as there are so many people looking for things online. But if you want to expand your business, is taking the business offline a good thing to do? Bringing your online business based offline, can be a great way of expanding different revenues, and can be a great way to get in touch with customers that still prefer the traditional method of sales. There are some businesses that will really benefit from having an offline presence, as well as an online presence.

Image Credit

Change is necessary

These days, and for modern businesses, you need to think about change, and really, it is more of a matter of need, rather than a choice. For many businesses, change is necessary. Changing the way that you run a business from online to offline, and using some modern technologies, like those from Total Merchant Services to help you, can be a big change, but a necessary one. No matter how successful your online business currently is, you can expand and go offline to better meet your customer’s needs.

World of competitors

There is a lot of competition in the online business world. As many businesses are solely based online, it means you are likely to have many competitors. They just need to look up on a search engine something relating to your business, and then competitors can keep coming up in sidebar ads and so on, if you’re not on top of your digital marketing game. So in order to cope with competitors, and be able to compete, updating what you do, and offering other products or services can be a great thing. You may be able to offer online personal training, for example. But if you can expand to offer it in person to local people, then it can help you to step things up a little, and expand your offering and ability to compete in a busy market. It will help you to attract the customers that you want.

Smart work is important

You need to understand the need to work smart, as well as working hard. Smart work and hard work are both things that go hand in hand, in order for success in business. Being able to transform your business from online to offline, is to work smart and find what works for you. Of course, there is a lot of work that goes into a store with staff, for example. But having it alongside your online business can be a way of working smarter, as you can let the online side of things tick along, and the offline side be where you put a lot of investment.

Customer Service

There are some businesses that are always going to work better online, and some that will always work better offline. If you are selling high ticket items, delicate items, or selling services, often people will want to see the items in person first, or see the person first to get to know a little bit about them, if they were to become their cleaner, for example. So think about your business and your customer base, and then you can go from there.

Continue Reading

Vital Skills You Need to Learn as an Entrepreneur

Image Credit

Whether you’re wanting to start a business, or are already a budding entrepreneur, learning powerful new skills is essential in underpinning your success in your industry. In the competitive contemporary world of business, it’s always worth considering areas that you think are in need of improvement for maximum productivity within your business, and to individualise yourself from others.

Creating connections with professional people that last can open new doors for you and can help you to achieve your entrepreneurial goals. While intimidating for some, networking with others through conversation and establishing real connections can offer you a support system you need throughout your career. When connecting with others, remember to discuss your achievements, whether that’s your website or portfolio, as well as demonstrating your shared values with others.

Technology Skills
Among the basic technology skills such as digital marketing, social media and outsourcing, learning Cryptocurrency can be beneficial for entrepreneurs who are wishing to expand their business and attract new customers. Without a central authority, cryptocurrency has become an increasingly popular and dynamic platform enabling businesses to distinguish themselves from their competitors at a lower cost and with less risk of fraud. Platforms such as Swiftx are ideal if you are looking to buy, sell, or trade, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Alt Coin.

Decision Making
In the world of business, people are expected to efficiently solve any problems that may emerge and make important choices quickly without delay. For example, when presented with a business risk, you can make the decision-making process easier through thinking rationally and objectively, and in considering any possible outcomes or long-term consequences.

Asking for Advice and Accepting Criticism
Many entrepreneurs find it challenging to ask for business advice, as they don’t want to appear incompetent. It’s important to remember that asking for help or advice is well-received and can ultimately highlight your determination and entrepreneurial capabilities. Equally, learning to view criticism as feedback, especially when it is valid, can serve you and your business well.

Professional Writing
Even when you’re not speaking face to face, learning to write professionally, from your cover letter to a customer email, will allow your message to be clear and for your voice to be respected by others.

Public Speaking
Communication and the ability to speak clearly and persuasively in front of large audiences is one of the most important business skills that entrepreneurs should aim to develop in order to sell their values effectively. Regularly practicing your public speaking skills can be highly rewarding in greatly improving your communication skills and boosting your personal confidence.

People often stop working hard when they reach the top, however, to maintain the position, you need to work smarter and remain consistent. Having confidence in your ideas and persevering will allow you to achieve your goals. Despite the hurdles you may face, you will be given opportunities to learn from your mistakes and to carry on your journey with endless possibilities for growth and further insight into the business world.

Continue Reading

Honing Entrepreneurship Skills: Employee Scheduling

Image Source

Entrepreneurs are not born; they are made through hard work and determination. Anyone can learn the skills to become a great entrepreneur, and there are endless software options to help you on your journey. Things like learning to be more efficient, delegating tasks, and updating software platforms are all things anyone can do to improve their business sense.

One major area of running or managing a business is scheduling work hours for employees. Most companies have various employees working different jobs at different pay rates. This can make budgeting and planning a nightmare. Each employee has a different availability schedule, as well as a different designation between part-time and full-time. You may even have to deal with one worker who takes on multiple jobs at the same establishment, so double booking becomes an issue. On top of all that, requests for time off and shift changes are constantly changing and need to be accounted for when the schedule is created.

Work Hours

One of the first things you need to learn about when managing a business is how to handle all the work hours. First of all, what are work hours? Work hours refers to the amount of time that an employee must be on duty at their place of employment. One thing to remember is that the time card for an employee is a legal document, whether it be a physical card or online, that can be used to ensure compliance with labor laws on the local, state, and federal levels, so things must be done in order. Not having a clear record or having an incorrect record can cause you legal problems.

Work hours can fall into three categories: full-time, part-time, and overtime. Full-time work hours were instituted in 1940 by the Fair Labor Standards Act to set limits on the maximum number of hours an employer could demand employees work each week. Before this law was passed, employees could require their employees to work as many hours as they wanted with no regulations. Now, this number is set at 40 hours each week. There is no minimum for full-time work, only a maximum, so some companies have opted to have a shorter workweek, some going as low as 30 hours per week.

Because there is no minimum number of hours required to constitute full-time work, there are no regulations for how many hours make up a part-time work schedule. That number depends on how many hours you designate as a full-time workday. Once you decide how many hours constitute a full-time schedule, then anything less than that is part-time. Generally, part-time workers are set at half as many hours as full-time employees.

This makes sense because setting part-time hours just under full-time hours usually leads to disgruntled employees. Full-time employees often have access to healthcare and retirement plans that are not available to part-time employees. If the part-time employees are only working a few hours less than the full-time employees, they may wonder what the point is and start looking for other work.

Anything over the limit of 40 hours for full-time now becomes overtime work. Once an employee enters into overtime, their pay increases to 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for those hours. This is sometimes referred to as “time and a half.” Overtime hours should be limited when possible because the expense to pay them adds up over time. This expense will affect your labor budget, overhead expenses, profit margins, and taxes. Instead of having a full-time employee work a lot of overtime, it may make sense to hire a lower wage part-time employee to pick up the slack. This can come out to less money spent on employee paychecks, and it also gives the full-time employee more time off of work.

Recording Hours

When calculating the work hours for an employee, you will first need to determine how you will record the hours, so they are accurate. You can either use a written sign-in sheet, a clock that will print the time on a piece of paper, or a computer-based tracking system. Some systems use a combination of a couple of these methods, but it basically boils down to those options.

Next, you will need to choose a format to track time. You can either choose to use standard time or military time. Standard time is what is usually shown on a clock with numbers from 1-12 for morning hours and then repeating again for the afternoon hours. Military time uses a 24-hour time frame, so there are no repeating numbers. Military time often works better because instead of counting the hours worked, a simple subtraction problem will give the total to you.

It may also be important to set up a rounding policy to account for some people getting to work a little early and some arriving a little late. It can be very hard to calculate the correct number of hours worked when the numbers are uneven. Keeping track of the time in 15-minute increments so that anything under seven minutes worked is rounded down while anything over seven is rounded up. This makes keeping track of time much more straightforward.

It may be necessary to sort your work hours into categories so you can track them better. Tracking time in categories is helpful when employees may be working different jobs at different pay rates. Separating the work into categories means that the pay is all allotted for the correct amount and you avoid legal issues later.

Calculating Pay

Once you have done these steps, then you can tabulate the hours worked for the week. This is just a matter of figuring up the number of hours worked that week and then multiplying by the hourly rate. Don’t forget that if anything above 40 hours was worked, overtime will need to be calculated. You may also need to figure this twice if the employee was working two separate jobs at different rates. If there are multiple categories for one employee, you may want to cut two different checks to keep better records.

Sometimes there may be errors in the timesheets that will need to be corrected. Employees may forget to clock in or out, or there may be technical issues. If this happens, you will need to talk to your employee and have them initial the change, so it is on record that it was discussed.

Scheduling Ahead

It makes sense that you will need to get an idea of the number of hours an employee is going to work before they actually do the work in order to budget and plan for the whole company. Keeping track of all this can be challenging to do, but there are apps or software programs that can make it easier.

Streamlining this process can make it less of a headache for you and can open up more of your time to spend on other areas of managing the business. You can avoid conflicts in the schedule by using features that offer guidance, suggestions, time-off requests, availability, and notifications for overlapping shifts or double-bookings.

You can even find programs that help you to distribute the work evenly, keep it up to date, find substitutes for shifts, and communicate with the employees. Having all these things in one app will significantly reduce the errors and mix-ups that always seem to happen. Having these open lines of communication with employees also allows everyone to feel like a part of the process which alleviates some of the contentions over who works different shifts.

Continue Reading

Bringing A Product To Life Is Never Straightforward

For some entrepreneurs, bringing a “product” to market is easy: they just sell their skills. The accountant, tutor, and SEO professional can all sit down at a computer and begin making money immediately, so long as they have customers.

Life, however, isn’t so straightforward for entrepreneurs who want to bring a new product to life. He or she has to go through multiple steps before they can satisfy the needs of the market. And the process can last months.

The Ideation Phase

The first step of the process probably doesn’t seem like much of a “step” at all – at least not in the traditional sense. Often it isn’t something that an entrepreneur deliberately sets out to do. Instead, it is something that happens. An idea hits you like a bolt of lightning, and all of a sudden, you know that your life is going to change considerably.

The ideation phase, however, is essential. It’s where you find out whether your idea has legs and if there’s a real market for it.

The Research Phase

Image Source

At the research phase, you’re not so much thinking about the concept, but whether you can practically implement it. You might have a great idea, but if the technology isn’t sufficiently advanced to make it a reality at a reasonable cost, you’re stuck. You need a plan.

The research phase is also about collecting feedback from the people who might wind up buying whatever widget you eventually make. You want to know things like how much they’re willing to pay, the features that they want, and the types of materials you should use.

The Prototyping Phase

For many entrepreneurs, prototyping is the critical phase. It’s at this point that you discover whether your design makes sense or not and if you need to go back to the drawing board.

It’s also the stage where you need to start thinking not just about development but risks too. As McMath Woods P.A. points out, product liability lawsuits are a significant issue for startups. Just like everyone else, they have a duty to ensure that their products fall safely within the law. The prototyping phase is where you discover whether you need to make significant revisions to your ideas or not for safety reasons.

The Sourcing Phase

If you want to sell your products to a lot of people, you’re going to need a factory and supply chain to make it happen. You could try and set all this up yourself, but it’ll cost you. Most entrepreneurs, therefore, go to third-party manufacturers who have the skills and tools to create your design.

For many, this is the trickiest part. If you decide to manufacture abroad, you not only have to deal with technical difficulties but language barriers too.

The Costing Phase

The final step in the process is figuring out how much your operation is costing you so that you can set an MSRP. You’ll want to consider factor costs, shipping costs, and the number of units you expect to sell in a year.

Continue Reading

How To Diversify Your Entrepreneurial Skillset

Image Credit

Every new business feels like a new start. When you are on an entrepreneurial kick you can feel that tangible excitement of starting up a company and watching it grow. But there comes a time when the skills you have won’t be enough. This is when you’ve got to start diversifying your efforts as an entrepreneur you may feel that there are plenty of skills that you specialize in, but there could also be some areas that can do with some improvement. What are the best ways for you to diversify your entrepreneurial skillset?

Go Back To School

You might not feel you’ve got the time but one of the most obvious and substantial ways of diversifying your skillset is to go back to school. One of the most fantastic things about your own self-education these days is that you don’t have to set foot into a class! You can go online to acquire a Master of Science in Predictive Analytics or another niche business-related topic. As an entrepreneur, there are so many different areas that we can access that we could self educate ourselves forever. Going back to school is not for everybody but if you feel that there are areas that could do with improvement, you would be hard pushed to find something better.

Get A Mentor

A mentor can provide a very unique education. When you find someone on your wavelength and can give you the time you need, you have to bleed them dry! Getting a mentor isn’t just about little tidbits on how to run the business but it’s about getting real information from someone who has been there way before you! It’s not just about the professional dealings but it’s also about learning how to cope with the emotional repercussions as well. A mentor can provide such an insight into each process that you will come away feeling ready to tackle everything!

Reach Out

Getting a mentor is one way to reach out for help but don’t forget that you’ve got plenty of resources on your front door! The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides so many resources, from business plan templates to personal support, that they can see you through any difficult patches. When you feel that there are so many different skills you could improve on, if you get in contact with the local SBA they can point you towards various government programs and non-profit organizations.

Don’t Just Look At It In Terms Of Business

If you want to learn something new you don’t just have to acquire skills in business administration or predictive analytics. There’s a lot more that we can take advantage of that will fuel our enthusiasm. Look at it from the perspective of a child and try and find a different angle. We can get boxed in and this means that we become so regimented with our way of thinking that we struggle to break out of it. But if you change your mindset, either by diversifying your skillset just by implementing a new way of thinking, you will benefit the company and yourself.

Continue Reading