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Are Good Ethics Good Business Too?

The popular perception of the business community is that it’s a “dog-eat-dog” world in which only the ruthless survive. When you manage a company, you need to leave your ethics at the door and do whatever is pragmatic. Virtue and enterprise don’t mix.

But is that true? The data seem to suggest otherwise.

Companies that misbehave almost always lose in the long-run: just look at what happened to VW after the emissions scandal. Not only did the company have to pay out billions in fines, but it also lost vast swathes of customers too. People didn’t want to buy cars from a company which lied about diesel emissions to make extra buck or two.

Good ethics are good business. Firms that apply high ethical standards avoid fines and create healthy workplace cultures. When people know the rules, then it empowers them to perform their work to a high standard, without feeling as if they have to make compromises.

The problem is that the leadership in many firms doesn’t communicate the importance of ethics. Managers are told to be productive and to “get the job done,” but not that they should do it in a way that is consistent with the moral standards of the firm. All too often, managers believe that they need to flaunt the rules to get the job done quicker. It creates problems.

The following infographic makes the case that sound ethics are, in fact, good business. Do you think your business would benefit from an ethical upgrade?


Infographic by Norwich University

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What To Do When Disaster Strikes Your Business

If you think you can run a successful business without anything going wrong ever, you are in for a shock. In fact, problems are par for the course when you have your own company. There is a difference between an issue and a true disaster though, and more often than not, it’s how you choose to handle and deescalate the situation before it reaches boiling point. Something you can get some sage advice on, in my post below. 

Don’t panic 

The first thing that you need to do when dealing with a business disaster is to stay as calm as possible. In fact, by panicking, you can end up being swayed by your emotions, making bad decisions, and generally causing everything to be much worse. 

Respond and manage 

Once you have reminded yourself to stay calm, it’s time to respond to the issue that is presenting itself. Of course, the critical thing here is to manage whatever is going on so that it minimizes the damage caused. 

Obviously, your response will differ depending on the problem that has arisen, and that is why it can be so helpful to have pathways that deescalate the issue pre-planned out to help you navigate this. Something that it is well worth your time considering and formalizing in writing as you set up your business. 

Deal with the fallout 

Once the initial crisis has passed, it will be time to deal with any fallout. In fact, this stage is almost as critical as the one above, because it can make all of the difference when it comes to managing your business’s reputation and ensuring that you don’t alienate current and potential customers. 

One way of dealing with the fallout is to ensure that any press releases and public comments are handled by a professional PR agent. Someone that can help you not only avoid further crises, but also help minimize any negative opinion such a situation will create. 

You will also often need to deal with the legal consequences of a business crisis as well, something that engaging an expert in the area it relates to can really help you will. 

In fact, if your business has been involved with a logistics accident finding a trucking crash expert to help you with your claim can be invaluable. While if your business is struggling with an issue of employment law, a legal team versed in this will be the ones to consult. 

Try to avoid next time 

Lastly, when it comes to business disasters, there is nearly always a silver lining, even if it doesn’t feel like that at the time. Of course, this silver lining is that you can learn from the mistakes made and ensure that they do happen again. 

In fact, by putting practice measures in place that will head off any issue before it develops into a full-blown crisis, you can actually help to avoid getting to a place of disaster next time, and so significantly improve your business’s productivity, efficiency, and reputation. All things that are pretty important if you want to maintain long term success.  

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Follow The 3 R’s To Become A Zero-Waste Business

Thinking about your business, what steps have you taken to reduce waste? And by waste, we are referring to anything you might casually throw away, such as scraps of paper, plastic bottles, pieces of cardboard, and old computers. 

You don’t need us to tell you why you should stop being so wasteful. There are the effects to the environment, for starters. The more waste that is being thrown onto our landfills, the greater the damage to the world around us. You can find out more at sciencing.com

Then there’s your business image to consider. If your customers and clients get to know about your unethical ways, then two things will happen. Firstly, they might stop using your business. And secondly, they might broadcast news of your behavior online. Say goodbye to your profits then! You need to protect your image, so as well as adhering to the advice we gave you here at troylambertwrites.com, you should also take steps to go green, and this includes being less wasteful.

To become a zero-waste business, there are a number of steps you can take.

Step #1: Reduce

Thinking about paper, do you need to print and file all of your documents? Wouldn’t it be more cost and eco-efficient to store your files on the cloud instead? Thinking about your packaging materials, do you need to stuff your boxes with polystyrene, plastic, etc.? Do you need to use oversized cardboard boxes for the products you are delivering? And thinking about the materials you might use for the manufacturing process, could you do more with less? Thinking about all facets of your business then, consider how you might reduce the materials you use on a regular basis.

Step #2: Reuse 

Don’t just throw things away! If something can be repurposed, consider reusing them. So, thinking about any plastic bottles your employees might use for drinking purposes, could you not encourage them to refill their bottles from a tap or drinking fountain? If you have leftover materials from your manufacturing processes, could they be refashioned into something new? You could use the briquette technologies provided by cfnielsen.com, for example, to repurpose any raw materials your business uses. And thinking about your office furniture and technologies, you could save money and the environment by repairing and reusing them when they become old and worn. So, consider what you regularly throw away, and consider putting them to better use before discarding them completely.

Step #3: Recycle

There are all kinds of items that can be recycled, as you can see by looking at this extensive list (200+) at personalcreations.com. Therefore, purchase recycling bins for your property, or get them for free if your local council office provides them, and label them, so you, your employees, and your customers know where to dispose of the relevant items. If you don’t have space for recycling bins, then manually deliver your business waste to your local recycling center, or ask them if they do collections. Some companies will pay you for your recyclable goods too, so do your research online when looking for a recycling business to take your waste goods off your hands.

Finally

Reduce, reuse, and recycle; 3 steps towards becoming a zero-waste business. By taking these steps, not only will you benefit the world around you, but you will also benefit your business because of the cost-saving and profit-making advantages. What’s not to love? Let us know what you think, and if you have any further ideas for our readers, please share them with us.

 

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Learning How To Target Potential Customers Effectively

You should already understand the importance of pinpointing your target market if you want to create a profitable company. Of course, this is only the first step to creating a strong business strategy. You might know which portion of the marketplace you’re trying to target, but your competitors might still beat you to the mark every single time. What does it take to win over consumers? These suggestions might help you to start learning how to target potential customers effectively.

Carry out extensive research.

The important thing to remember is that your business could target a very broad portion of the market if it wanted to do so. But it’ll probably have its sights set on a very particular group of people if it wants to grow successfully. This is the target market, and it might grow over time as your company expands and becomes more ambitious. For now, however, you need to have a very specific and narrow idea of who you’re trying to reach. Are you marketing your services to particular demographics (e.g. younger people, people in a certain location, and so on)? It’s important to know the distinction between demographics and target markets, even if the two are linked. Your target market is comprised of many different demographics, and you might have to target them all in different ways.

Once you know which portion of the market you’re trying to reach, you need to carry out extensive research to start understanding your target market. Paying attention to your competitors is important too, of course, but your goal is to become a trend-setter rather than a copycat. If you can get to know your target market, then you can start to deliver services which are new and exciting. You can get ahead of the competition by delivering services that fill gaps in the market. You have to figure out which problems face the marketplace so you can differentiate yourself from your rivals. If you want to learn how to target potential customers effectively, then you have to figure out exactly what they need. Talking to them will usually give you the answers you want.

Develop an honest and reliable brand.

A great way to target potential customers effectively is to develop an honest and relatable brand. This will show your target market that your business is reliable, and that’s a key part of winning them over. Loyal customer bases only form when they feel they can trust a company in the long run. That can be achieved by pushing the human sides of your brand. For instance, you should own up to mistakes. Everybody makes them, and businesses make plenty of them. But the best way to maintain a good reputation is to be honest about the things you get wrong. Otherwise, you’ll inadvertently end up damaging your reputation because people will feel as if you’re trying to cover up your wrongdoings.

You need to define your brand. You might deliver high-quality products and services to your customers, and that’ll certainly make them happy, but how do you stand out from the competition? What’s going to stop your customers from jumping ship and buying high-quality goods from one of your competitors? Your identity needs to be unique. You need to offer something more. Perhaps you could donate some of your profits to charity; you could even ask your customers to recommend certain charities which mean something to them. That would show your intended demographic how much you value them. You might also want to run your company sustainably. This would show the target market that you care about the planet.

Picture Source

Create an ad campaign across all social networks.

Social media is a powerful tool in the modern world of marketing, but so many businesses misunderstand how social networks can benefit them. Don’t plaster adverts all over your Twitter or Instagrams pages. That isn’t the way to engage with people. You need to make an impact on your target market. If you want to be relevant, then pay attention to trending topics. Talk to your customers on social media too. As we mentioned earlier, this can be a very beneficial research strategy, but it can also help to create stronger relationships with your clients. Make sure you answer questions instantly and link to relevant articles. Don’t just spout out adverts incessantly. If you create good online content, then you’ll be advertising your entire brand well.

Create a better team.

If you want to target potential customers effectively, then you should also create a better team. After all, the better the customer service, the better your reputation will be. And that’ll help to attract new customers in the future. But a better team starts with a better leader. You have to guide your employees well. Give rewards to hard workers so the entire team is encouraged to be more productive. You might also want to consider studying for Aston’s MBA degree. This would give you business and management skills which could help you to lead your team more effectively. Don’t underestimate the importance of leadership when it comes to creating a better team and, as a result, a better reputation for your company. That’s how you’ll target potential customers effectively.

Develop a loyal customer base.

Treating your customers well is one of the simplest ways to develop loyal relationships with them. They say loyalty can’t be bought, but it depends on how you define that statement. You could email your customers with discounts and other deals as a way of thanking them for sticking by you. This will make a big impact on them because it’ll show that you truly appreciate their custom. Obviously, delivering a fantastic level of customer service will help too. Consumers appreciate businesses that appreciate them.

If you really want to give customers an incentive to keep returning to your company for its products and services, then you might want to start a loyalty points scheme. You could give clients points for every single purchase they make. Those points could then be used as currency to purchase things in your store. In a sense, you’d be offering freebies to your loyal customers. They might consider choosing one of your competitors in the future, but the promise of points and gifts in the future will keep them coming back to your store.

 

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The Business You Want The Public To See

The business you want the public to see, and the business that’s actually behind closed doors, is usually a totally different image. Businesses are so desperate to make their image perfect to the public, so that they look like this happy and exciting business, that’s ready for action. But behind closed doors, we all know that the madness of business is a far cry from what the public see. But there has never been a more crucial time to show your business off to the public, and get your image absolutely perfect. There’s just so much competition going around at the minute, and if you’re not at the forefront of the public eye, then it’s just going to be so hard to actually get your business noticed. So, this article is going to be all about getting that public image perfect, and hopefully giving you a few ideas that will help you to stand out above everyone else. So sit back and relax, and keep on reading for some amazing tips!

The Bit Nobody Focuses On

So there are some things that absolutely nobody focuses on, and it really does reflect on a business more than you would think. So, if you’re a business who has customers coming into your office everyday, then this one is going to apply to you. What your office looks like is going to play a huge part in the success of your business, and it starts from the moment they see the building. So take some extra care to make it look perfect, and think about commercial lawn maintenance to make the grass and exterior look super fresh. Even things like getting the windows cleaned every two weeks or so can protect your image. As for the inside, you want to make it look as fresh and as modern as you possibly can. Focus on light and bright colours, funky furniture, and plenty of facilities for your customers to relax in! Even just a room filled with comfy chairs, a TV, and food for them to eat will make the difference, yet it will hardly cost you anything!

That Perfect Business Image

There definitely is a perfect business image that you want to try and live up to. The best way of doing it, we believe, is to actually get yourself out in the public. Even if it’s just putting up a stand in the middle of a busy town, and giving out freebies, you’re showing the public who you really are. But if you want to make yourself look good, as well as bringing in the custom, you need to think about trade events. They’re the perfect place to make a connection with potential customers and the general public, and you can make them so much fun. As long as your stand is interactive and you look the part, people will come flocking!

Giving Back To The Public

As a final note, you really can’t go wrong with giving back to the public. Attending and running charity events, food banks, and anything like that that helps the public out is what you should be thinking about!

 

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The Four Services Every Successful Business Needs

Running a new business can be a challenge for even the most experienced entrepreneurs. Every time you start up a new business, you take a new direction, and you need new strategies and ideas.  You need to make sure that your business is effective, productive, and efficient all at the same time, at the same time as adding value and giving your customers a great experience.

A successful business works with and uses a range of services. Of course, you can try to do it all yourself, but realistically, it can be very difficult to be a master of it all and do it well. You have your own strengths, and part of that is knowing when and where you should get help from other people.

There are some core services that you should ensure that you are using for your business, and here are some of them:

  1. Accountants

Making sure that the financial side of your business is all above board and organized is imperative. Not only can it stop you from getting in a sticky financial situation, but it can also avoid you getting into trouble with the tax man. An accountant can also help you to find legal loopholes to save you money, for example, finding out what you can claim back as expenses, and help you to run your payroll system, if you have one, more effectively.

  1. Managed IT Services

Pretty much every business relies on some sort of IT system, whether it is one at home laptop or a whole network of computers and devices. However big or small your system is, IT Management for businesses can make it run a lot more smoothly. From disaster recovery to cloud service and security software, they can advise and manage it on your behalf.

  1. Marketing Services

Everything from PR to business advertising can be covered by your marketing services. The success of your business rides on how well you can market your product or service, and for that, you need the right team of people supporting you, from collecting data to understanding precisely what your customers want. You can have the very best customer service, but without the proper marketing team, you can’t execute the best strategy to keep those customers coming.

  1. Website Design

Designing a basic website is something you can do yourself, but if you want one that is all-singing and all-dancing, and ranks highly on search engines, you will probably want to employ the services of a specialist website designer. Take the time to get this right because your customers are relying on you to have an excellent website to get the information that they want. Without a superior online experience, they are unlikely to come back.

Having a budget set aside for these services is vital for your business if you want to be successful, no matter what industry you are in.

Take the time to search the best services for your budget; just make sure that these are included!

 

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Time to Scale Your Business? Yes, But Now What?

Business growth must be carefully planned to be successful. While you might think that blind optimism and reactive decision-making will work just fine, the reality is that you need to know where you are going and which steps are required to get there before you start. Try to grow without planning and you will end up with an unbalanced business that causes far more stress than it should.

Scaling any business up usually comes down to three major concerns: your IT capabilities, your workforce, and your efficiency. Each of these areas is essential to the way you do business and no two can hold things together without the third. And when you are scaling up, you need to be thinking of ways to make running your business easier, if only to make time for more complex ideas!

Scalable IT

Every company is now reliant on IT in some way or other which means that you need to make sure that your IT can keep up with your demands. Cloud services are ideal for this as you can gradually grow the service to suit your needs so you don’t need to over-invest early on.

You should also think about the infrastructure you may require to run your business smoothly. At the point your small business begins to grow, it may not be sensible to house your IT infrastructure in your office. Again, outsourcing is often the best option here as it can also offer improved security.

Staffing and Freelancers

Hiring staff for the first time is a daunting task. If you are new to being a manager, it can feel quite strange to delegate tasks to someone new, especially when you have invested so much time, energy and money into your business. However, bringing new people onboard also opens the door to new talent. If you can keep an open mind, focus on creating a diverse team and let other ideas in, your business will be infinitely better off for it.

If you aren’t quite ready to hire someone full or even part-time, creating a network of freelancers is a good halfway house. Indeed, some businesses rely on freelancers almost exclusively, even when they could hire permanent staff. Freelancers are great for scaling up your business because they bring specialized talents, are project focused and are usually more affordable in the short term. Plus, if you aren’t really sure what you are looking for, a freelancer could guide you in the right direction.

Processes and Efficiency

Finally, you must look at your processes and work out where you can be more efficient in business. Efficiency is about maximizing your output with minimal input whether that means time, money, energy or materials. Often this comes down to working out which processes simply aren’t working, which can be modified and improved and which are okay now but may need revisiting in the future.

As you are scaling up your business, your efficiency will usually dictate how far you can go. However, you must always prepare for improved efficiency. There’s no point in being able to produce significantly more if you can’t get your product or service to the market straight away.

 

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Golf Club Management Components

Club Advisory Services

Managing a golf club can be a big job. A lot of people forget that it’s not simply a sports venue. A golf club can include a restaurant (if not two), gift shop, hotel and spa. Golf courses can provide classes, tournaments and several different kinds of special events – from tournaments to fundraisers. Golf clubs are also notorious wedding venues, which opens up a whole new arena of managerial concerns and liabilities. Needless to say, managing a golf course can be a little overwhelming.

If you’re thinking about getting into the golf club management business don’t worry. There are a plethora of golf club advisory services that can assist you with all components of your club. You can get one time advice or you can hire a company to manage entire golf course components, it’s up to you. Just be mindful of the many different golf club components before you make a decision about going into a new business.

Club Sales and Marketing

The majority of golf clubs in the country are membership based so you need to have someone who’s dedicated to making sure the marketing is constantly happening. Most golf courses benefit from having an annual marketing and sales plan with established quarterly goals so you can determine where you need to focus your efforts.

Business Operations and Financial Management

Golf club are businesses, therefore you will need to have a business manager. Several people go into the golf club business thinking that they will serve as the owner and business manager, and that can work for some people. However, managing the entire business operations of a club can be cumbersome. Managing the finances alone is a full time job, so you might want to consider securing a strong business administration team to ensure your business is successful.

Retail Store Operations

Most mid to large sized golf clubs have a retail store, which means they need to have a store manager. A significant portion of your revenue can come from a retail store, so this isn’t something you’ll want to take lightly.

Communications

From member emails and newsletters to special event flyers and social media content, golf course communications are constantly needed.

Human Resources

Golf courses can employ a handful of people or hundreds of people. Whatever the case, you’re going to need someone to handle recruitment, hiring, training and disciplinary matters.

Restaurant

Because restaurants are a business all on their own, you’ll want to make sure you have an experienced restaurant manager.

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What Do You Do If You Have No Choice But To Make Everyone Work Remotely?

As a concept, remote working certainly appears to be great on the surface. After all, it’s cheap, and it allows you to work in the comfort of your own home. But time and again, there have been difficulties in harnessing our employees’ talents by remote working alone. But if you’ve got no other option, and you need to make it work, what are the fundamentals that need addressing?

Set The Template

One method of working is what needs developing. Everybody works in their own specific way, but because communication is a major barrier, if there are members of the team that works in their own way and on individual projects, they can feel like they are the exception to the rule. You don’t want to discourage people from working their own way, but you still need to set a certain template, because remote working is such a different beast. Having a morning meeting via Skype, even just for fifteen minutes gives everybody the opportunity to check in with each other, and see if there are any pressing problems, so everyone is able to get on with their day. The other added benefit of having a meeting via Skype is that it’s a lot quicker than sending an email! Sending an email means that you’ve got to wait for a reply, but if they add something extra that you need to answer, this back-and-forth will waste so much time.

Get The Right Tools For The Job

It all depends on what you do. If you are sending large files, the Jetdrop file transfer program can help, but also if collaboration is a crucial component, finding ways to make it feel like everyone is in the same room is as important. Tools like Evernote have been shown to be more than useful in this respect. And while there are plenty of tools out there, it’s not about getting the most expensive, but it’s about the ones that will really suit you and the team.

Share

It’s in the name, remote working. People can feel on their own, which may be good in terms of focusing on the job, but if everybody is working in an isolated fashion, certain self-absorbed habits can creep in. This is why it’s important, not just to have a meeting at the very beginning of the day, but to give people the opportunity to share information as and when is necessary. If you run the team, giving others that opportunity to open up if they have any misgivings will always benefit. But by giving them the chance to do it in a more personal manner, rather than in an email, will help to build bridges.

Remote working is one of those essential components now, but there can be a lot of mistakes made. Sometimes people go into it for the wrong reasons, thinking that it will just save money, when in fact, remote working is most definitely a cheap approach, but you can still use it to bring out the best in people.

 

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Don’t Turn A Blind Eye To These Office Blunders

Office blunders are happening all over the world right now, and both the business owner and employee are completely turning a blind eye to them. Why? Because telling the people at the top that there’s something wrong, is actually so scary. It makes it so much worse if the people that you’re dealing with are super hard to communicate with as well.

So whether you’re a business owner, or reading this from an employees point of view, we’ve got a few tips for you. There are some businesses who are really leading the way with what they’re doing, especially when it comes to the care and attention that employees receive. So what we’re going to try and show you, is some of the biggest office blunders that a business owner will make, and that an employee will too. Hopefully, this will give you an insight into what needs to be changed in the future! So keep on reading, and don’t be afraid to speak up after reading this!

Business Owner Blunders

The stress you feel as a business owner is so huge. Every single day you’re faced with a new challenge, and your employees definitely fuel a few of those. Managing a team of people as well as your business is hard, but there are some blunders that you might be making, that could make it so much worse. One of them is opening yourself up to a bit of trouble in terms of office safety. All it takes is for someone to fall the wrong way, because of the organization of your office, or perhaps there are some wires out, and workers compensation lawyers will come knocking at your door. You wouldn’t believe the number of businesses who are facing lawsuits, simply because they don’t know how to make the working environment safer. So take some time to review yours, and make it a far more positive environment by making it safer!

Employee Blunders

Being an employee is just hard work. You will usually take the brunt so much because business owners can just be so tough to deal with, especially when they’re having a hard day. So, you might want to think about how you can work a bit more efficiently, because one of the biggest employee blunders that can be made, is not paying enough attention to your role. There is most likely a lot of room for progression within the company you work in, you’re just not actively looking for it. But with more responsibility comes a better job role, and more money. So put some time and energy into your job, and see if being a little more motivated pushes you towards a promotion. If you simply can’t because the career doesn’t excite you, don’t make the second blunder of staying in a job that will get you nowhere, just because you don’t want to find a new one.

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