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If you are someone that owns their own business, then you have a variety of people to be thinking about and to keep happy. From any staff to your accountant or clients, there are a lot of people that you need to keep happy, in order from them to keep working with you or so that they keep doing a good job for you. Clients can, of course, benefit you as they help you to bring in revenue for your business. However, there is a certain satisfaction when it comes to knowing that you did a good job for them and have contributed to their happiness. So what are some of the best ways to keep those people that you work with happy? Here are a few ideas for you to get you thinking.
Pay Close Attention
If you are able to anticipate your client’s needs, then it can make a massive difference. Being able to predict what they might want, as well as what they might need for their next project, for instance, can stand you in good stead. Plus, if you get regular work from a client, you can anticipate certain things through the ways that they prefer to communicate. If they keep emails quite brief but they give their phone number, then could it be that they’d rather talk in person? Arrange to call them or to go to their office, for example.
Send Thank Yous To Them
If you have worked with a client quite a lot, then it can be a good idea to send something over to them as a thank you. After a project is finished, having something sent to their office as a thank you can be really appreciated and will keep you in their good books. It could just be that you send over some treats or even give your clients a stubby holder, for example. It helps to keep you in their memory, which is more likely to lead to repeat work from them. So have a think about what might work, even if it is just sending them a holiday card.
Own Your Mistakes
From time to time, mistakes will happen with certain work or projects. But the best thing to do, to keep everyone happy, is to own up to something rather than blame others. Explain what has happened, and tell them quickly what you will be doing to rectify the situation. Some things may have been out of your control. But it looks bad to blame others or circumstances, instead of owning your mistakes and then putting in a lot of effort to put it right.
Stay On Top Of The Trends
If you have certain clients that require work that is more seasonal, then be prepared for work that comes up at certain points in the year. Try not to overbook yourself for work, so that you have space at certain times of year for loyal clients. This can also allow you to have time to creatively plan when you know they will need you at a certain time.
As a business owner, you probably don’t think too much about legal issues. After all, why do you need to? It’s not like you’re planning on breaking the law. But believe it or not, your aim to stay honest and above the board won’t stop your business from being hit by legal problems. They could come all the same. Rather than wishful thinking or hoping for the best, here are the actual ways you can avoid some of the most common business legal nightmares.
Excellent Standards Of Health And Safety
Do you want to know the most common lawsuit that affects a business? It’s probably an accidental injury lawsuit or a PI claim. These claims hit hundreds of businesses each year and cost thousands in damages. Some company owners should be more worried about this than others. For instance, if you run a construction team you should certainly make sure you have full insurance for any type of accident. However, there are issues that can occur in your typical working office as well. An employee could trip up over loose wires, slip on a wet floor or fall down a block of stairs. To avoid issues like this, you need to keep an eye out for hazards in your business. Make sure they are taken care of as quickly as possible, and you won’t need to worry.
Protect What You Own
There are two forms of protection here. The first is a legal document. If you are creating an original product or just designing a logo for your business, you need to get it trademarked. This will stop other people using it and selling under your name. You can use a trademark attorney to do this, and they are easy to find online. Experts in their field they can grant you all the protection you need. Don’t assume people will respect you had the idea first. If it’s not trademarked, it’s fair game.
Another completely different form of protection would be business security. If you have insurance, you will get any financial damages back from theft or robbery. But wouldn’t it be great if you could just stop the theft happening in the first place. Well, you can, just make sure you’re investing in the latest security tech and no one will be able to get in without your permission. ID scanners, alarms, motion sensors and lighting are all security features you want to invest in.
Hire Legal Assistance
Last but not least as a business owner you will undoubtedly be creating different contracts and agreements with various other companies. You’ll need to arrange supplies for your business and ensure that people are willing to make purchases from your business. This is particularly true for a B2B model, but this need will exist within any company. When these deals are created, it is important that both parties understand the terms. Otherwise, businesses can be left out of pocket and out of stock when they need it the most. That’s why you should have a legal advisor on call. They will be able to make sure any agreement is in your favour before you agree to sign.
If you are a business owner, you understand quite clearly the importance of a reliable, constant source of power. If you don’t, all it takes is one power outage to really magnify just how much most companies rely on power to run their business every day. It’s no secret, then, that power losses can be a serious detriment to a company. To avoid the inevitable pitfalls associated with power outages, it’s a good idea to invest in an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) from a specialist source such as UPS Rental.
Without getting too technical, basically a UPS will serve as a stop-gap power source in the event that the main power supply experiences a surge, a drop or – even worse – a blackout. If you’ve never purchased or rented a UPS before, you may find the idea daunting. The truth is, however, the process doesn’t have to be intimidating. All it takes is knowing which questions to ask to ensure you are getting the product you need.
Questions to ask
Do you back up your products with a service package? This is important in case something goes wrong with your product.
Do you offer 24-hour emergency service, support, and repairs? Just as with anything else, UPS systems can break down. Your company’s productivity and data are too important to have to wait to have issues with your UPS addressed and fixed. In situations like that, every second matters.
What are your prices? Although it’s always a good idea to try to find a good price when you purchase or rent something, never choose a UPS based solely on price. Be sure you understand exactly what you are getting for that price and choose the company that offers the best value, not just the best price. Prices should be competitive. Be wary of prices that are much lower or much higher than average. Something questionable could be behind the variance in the price.
UPS services are offered by a host of different companies, but those companies aren’t all the same. Do your research to understand not only what each company’s products are offering, but also what your company’s particular needs are. Only pay for those services you need – nothing more, nothing less. Otherwise, you run the risk of either your needs exceeding the capability of the UPS service or of paying for services that you don’t need.
Power surges or breaks can be very detrimental to any size business. Although there is not much that can be done to recover data once it is lost, there are things business owners can do to prevent problems in the first place. Having an uninterrupted power source in your corner means you can rest easy knowing that if there ever comes a day where the power source to your business is negatively affected, you will have the backup in place that you need. You won’t have to scramble to figure out what to do in the event of power surges; you’ll already have things covered.
The critical moment of transaction processing can either provide signal advantages or result in lost opportunities, and in many cases this depends on the hardware system a business owner has selected. Point of Sale (POS) systems permit sellers to manage customer purchases, returns, discounts, and other terms of sale. These devices and their related software can also keep taps on inventory, prices, taxes, individual transaction details, and, of course, payment.
A whole range of POS systems are now available, and a quick tour of the capabilities they offer will benefit business owners who are in the market for a system, as well as those who just want to know what the competition may be installing.
What to Look For in a POS System That Will Look Out for You
The “ye olde” cash register of days gone by has long since been succeeded by a few new generations of devices, and with every capping wave of new technology, new capabilities have been added. Certain of these devices will report transaction details to accounting software, rendering the inputs into that system automatic. Business owners in the market for a POS system may want to know if this feature is available, and if so, does it connect with accounting software that the business owner uses or would be willing to adopt.
Another issue that arises in selecting a POS system is whether it supports inventory management, and if so, does it permit integration of online and brick-and-mortar retail operations? The Shopify POS system is one that is particularly well-suited to this purpose. According to eMarketer.com, only a small fraction of current retailers are effective at monitoring their business across their in store and online channels. A competitive advantage awaits those retailers who are the first to achieve this critical integration of sales, supply and inventory management. This is essentially low-hanging fruit, and it will be plucked by those early adaptors who are the most strategic in incorporating systems that permit such cross-channel integration.
Turnkey Solution or Cut-and-Paste
Many of these systems are sold as a turnkey solution, containing all the hardware and software required to process sales. The list can be long; data entry touchscreens, printers, scanners, a credit card reader, and associated software. POS systems can also be integrated with credit card hardware, but they are not strictly needed for credit card transactions, as numerous alternatives exist for that function. The people at possoftwareguide.com warn that confirming software and hardware compatibility before any purchase is a must.
According to Idealware.org, some of the well-known tax software firms offer POS solutions that, of course, integrate smoothly with accounting systems, but that also offer inventory management and other additional functions.
POS systems are usually sold on a per-license basis, with additional charges for hardware, and several levels of functionality based on the complexity of the client’s business. Some solutions have been developed specifically for individual retail stores, with correspondingly lower price points, while others are designed to serve multiple retail locations that provide a window into operations for all-seeing management to peer into.
Specialized Systems for Specialized Operations
Even if you are operating a museum, a theater, a non-profit organization, or some other slightly out-of-the-ordinary concern, there are POS systems that have been designed with your specific needs in mind. Organizations that are not purely commercial will often require software and hardware solutions customized to handle transactions that do not perfectly fit the commercial template. There are even solutions that are cloud-based, and others that utilize open sourcing for clients who have the software development talent required to take advantage of such systems.
Matching Their Solutions to Your Goals
Savvy business operators, in encountering the varied landscape of POS solution, will benefit by formulating the questions that are relevant to their specific business. What are your goals and expectations concerning the software and hardware that you intend to incorporate into your operations as the electronic backbone to your business? What degree of reporting do you wish to maintain? Will this extend all the way to your supply chain, or will it focus primarily on sales transactions, purchase orders and inventory? Are you pursuing cross-channel integration in the manner that many businesses today are focused on? Will the system you choose provide inputs to, and be compatible with, your accounting software? Are you willing to shift your accounting software to permit such integration? Are you ready to install new hardware, or are you seeking a system that will work with the hardware you now have?
Once you have the answers to these questions, and others that no doubt are specific to your operation, the selection of a POS system that suits your needs will become that much clearer.
And once you have found the system that’s right for your business, the advantages of having an advanced POS solution, in increased visibility of operations, real-time inventory and sales management, and in simply being liberated by clear and complete information to go out and interact more with customers, will become clear. The right technology really will set you free.
Tax can be a minefield. As a small business owner, trying to get your head around the myriad of tax laws can be something of a minefield. Yes, it’s complicated. But, there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. What a sobering thought.
While it’s not our intention to put a dampener on things, getting to grips with taxation laws is imperative. After all, no one wants a visit from the tax man.
There are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to smaller ventures and taxation laws.
Running an SME and Taxation Matters: The Basics
When you set up as a business, you need to ensure that you are au fait with the many rules of HMRC. While the laws can be complex, you can understand taxation issues better. There is a wealth of support from both HMRC and Lexis Nexis on tax matters. This can help you save time when it comes to dealing with your tax.
One of the most important things that you can do is register, online, for Corporation Tax. You must ensure that you are registered, if your company is deemed as a limited venture. You need to make sure that your Corporation Tax is active. You have a three-month period to do this within.
In the main, corporation tax is paid via the HMRC website. This means that you don’t have to appoint an accountant to deal with your tax. You can do this yourself via the web portal. You must complete a tax return and so forth within the agreed time as stated by HMRC.
This photo has been supplied by Alan Cleaver
Once you have declared your company as active, you need to ensure that you are making the right people aware of this. You need to give HMRC a vast array of information. This means that if you have traded under a Companies House service, you need to declare this to them. But, you should also endeavour to make sure that your company is registered for VAT and PAYE. This should be done at the same time. VAT taxation differs to Corporation Tax. As a general rule of thumb, you can claim some of your VAT back at the end of the tax year. PAYE is ‘pay as you earn’ this means that pay tax at the end of the year. But, you must save the appropriate amount of tax ready to be paid within the end of the term.
Almost all UK businesses are liable for corporation tax. If you run a limited company, which your small venture is sure to be, then you are required to pay corporation tax. However, sole traders are not obliged to pay corporation tax. Only those who are set up as limited companies are. Ensure that you are aware of what legal structure your company operates within. All companies must pay VAT and PAYE taxes.
Paying NI is vital. You need to ensure that this done alongside PAYE, VAT and corporation taxes. This is done according to the thresholds. Your annual turnover will be dependent on what you earn. Completing the self-assessment will help you with this.
Being a business owner can be extremely rewarding, and it’s something that many people would like to accomplish at some point in their life. Some potential business owners want to do it for the freedom of being their own boss; others want to do it for the money; and some just want to do it to achieve a career goal.
No matter the reason you want to own a business, there are certain things you first need to know before buying a business.
Determine what type of business you want to own.
Some people want to desperately own a business that they jump right in and purchase the first one they see. This is not a good idea. In order to own a business and run it successfully, it’s important to consider buying a business that you have experience in. For example, if you have worked in the dental industry, then you’d be much more successful buying a dental practice than you would buying a restaurant, as you already know the ins and outs of what makes a dental practice successful. Do your research and determine the types of businesses that would make the most sense for you.
Find a business to buy.
Once you decide which type of business you want to buy, you then need to find a business that’s for sale. You can turn to newspaper advertisements, real estate agents, and even websites dedicated to selling businesses, such as BusinessBroker.com.
Another avenue to take would be to ask friends, family members and coworkers about businesses that they may know that are for sale. Sometimes business owners don’t want to hassle with the media or turn the selling of their business into a long process, so they try to sell the business quietly to avoid all the hassle.
Look into the business’s history and finances.
The last thing you want to do as a new business owner is to invest in a company that isn’t financially successful or stable. This is why it’s extremely important to look into the business’s history and finances. Hire a business auditor to valuate the business for you so that you know if the asking price is in line with the value of the company. Look into the finances of the company to see how the profits and losses have aligned throughout the years. Is the company constantly seeing a profit, or is it often struggling to make ends meet? If there are major financial issues, it may be best for you to walk away.
Make sure this is the right decision for you.
Before you sign any papers that make you the owner of a business, make sure this is the right decision for you. Being a business owner is not an easy task, and it will require you to put in lot of hard work. If you’re looking to just sit back and get paid for doing nothing, owning a business is not the best option.
Not only will you need to put in long hours to transition the company to the new ownership, but you’ll also have to keep putting money into the business to keep it updated and up to any codes. If you have any hesitation about owning a business, consider holding off on the purchase until you know for sure it’s exactly what you want to do.