Some people wildly overprice their products. The more common mistake though by those just starting out in businesses is to be too cheap. As a freelance copywriter and web marketing guy who’s been around a few years, I’ve seen the effects of this both in my own business dealings and in those of clients.
My Early Mistakes
My first venture into selling web marketing services was selling cheap and cheerful search engine optimisation plans to local businesses. Years of experience writing and promoting web content on my own websites meant I knew the work backwards, but that didn’t mean I was totally new to dealing with clients.
By 2017, one in two firms will no longer provide devices for use by their employees. Under deliberate or default “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies, an increasing number of employees are using their own phones and computers in the workplace rather than hardware owned by their employer.In a 2013 study conducted by Dell, 59% of IT Decision makers said they would be at a competitive disadvantage if they didn’t embrace a BYOD policy. And the companies at the forefront of the movement? Startups of course.
But is BYOD as great as it sounds? Start up companies are among the most financially savvy businesses, always looking for ways to stretch a small budget. At first glance, asking employees to purchase their own devices seems like an easy way to save company funds, while improving staff morale (19% of firms believe BYOD improves employee satisfaction) and offering other benefits.
My partner and I registered our business name not long after we went on our first date. We’d been close friends for a while and connected through our shared interest in travelling and a yearning to escape the 9-5 grind.
Luckily, we found entrepreneurship at the same time that we found each other, and since then our business and life partnerships have developed very closely alongside each other. For us, our business opportunity presented itself in the form of ecommerce. Now, three years into our business journey together, we have established a small empire of stores that provide us with income and more importantly, the freedom and time to spend more of our days with each other.
So what exactly are the benefits of building a business with your loved one? I think there are many and I’ve compiled a simple list of some of the best ones below:
● Shared values and beliefs – Being on the same page as your business partner is essential and given the amount of time that couples spend together means that it is highly likely that you share some very similar core values and beliefs. These will make all the difference if (and when) the going gets tough and will help you to make better decisions when moving your business forward.
We’ve all heard of the most recent cyber attacks; Ashley Madison, David Jones and K-mart to name a few. What many people haven’t heard is that in 2014, 60% of targeted attacks hit small and medium businesses1.
So why don’t we hear about the smaller scale incidents? In Australia, it’s not mandatory to report cyber attacks. To avoid reputational tarnish, customer dissatisfaction and the chance of repeat attack, it’s no surprise that most businesses choose to stay quiet.
Not only does being a small or medium business make you a greater target, the consequence is also greater than that of a large enterprise. According to research from the Ponemon Institute2, the cost of a cyber attack costs SMEs $755 per capita, more than double the $282 per capita that larger organisations get struck with. And according to a different study3, 60% of small organisations go out of business within 6 months of a data breach.
The quality that best characterizes business owners is passion; it sets the engines of entrepreneurship rolling with the proprietor behind the wheel. It’s the same passion with fuels the drive to attain his purpose and achieve his vision. But every business venture starts out as an idea. Entrepreneurs will always believe they have stumbled across the “next big thing”. Passion turns to excitement until reality puts the entrepreneurial dream in its proper perspective.
Statistically, entrepreneurs who start a new business are already at a disadvantage. As you’re reading this article; in the United States, 1,569 new businesses are starting out. Of those 1,569 new businesses, 1,520 will close down by the end of its first fiscal year. The failure rate of start- ups is universal; in Canada for every 397 new businesses that start every day, 375 will declare bankruptcy by the end of the year. According to Small Business Association, more than 50% of all small businesses will shut down five (5) years from the start of operation.
If your business is a start up with unprofitable operations, you should not be discouraged because failure is part of the process.
My husband and I purchased our company, River City Trees, when our youngest son was only 1 year old and have been working together ever since. When we first started working for ourselves Bart was in the truck full time and I looked after the office. Since then we have managed to grow our business, starting with Bart getting out of the truck in 2012, to now where we only go into the office three days a week.
The first family member we employed was our daughter. We have been fortunate to have her work with us while she is going through university, which has greatly benefited both of us as it has given her a great insight into how businesses run (she is studying Marketing at QUT) whilst she is helping us. She also recently converted our Operations Manager into a son-in-law who has now been working for us for 5 years. Our son who is completing grade 12 in 3 weeks time has been doing a School Based Apprenticeship throughout years 11 and 12 in Arboriculture, which has given him the opportunity to work 1 day a week within our company and grow his skill set. As of next year, he will start working with us full time.
Identity theft is increasing on a global scale, with financial information and client records considered foundational data for cyber criminals that indulge in this practice, whether for strict financial gain or use in fraudulent transactions. The normal practice is that harvested data is used to create other accounts (such as bank, email or other) or indeed continue using existing accounts but changing passwords to prevent legitimate access.
Small to medium enterprises obviously store both financial and health information and are prime targets for hackers. In August 2014. These criminals do not care about your business information but focus more on your personal details such as date of birth, address, etc., using them for services or credit applications.
Australia has had its fair share of data breaches. In 2012, ransomware (software that locks down a computer until a ‘ransom’ is paid using an untraceable digital currency such as Bitcoin) was used to compromise the operations of a Gold Coast medical centre.
Luckily, with a little knowledge and some forward planning, you can protect your medical practice from most of these data breaches. I say most, as even large enterprises are successfully breached by highly skilled hackers on occasion and few servers can continue operation if thousands of hackers launch a simultaneous attack.
A number of business owners employ family members in their business. It is great to have a business where you can give work to family but is this a good idea and how do we ensure it doesn’t hurt our relationship?
Family can be our greatest strength while at times our worst nightmare. When we are in business what is the best way to ensure our relationships remain healthy while family is employed?
If you have other employees it is important you do not show preferential treatment to your family member undertaking the same job as staff. If the family member is not pulling their weight then staff duties are escalated due to your family member and this may cause animosity with other staff.
Ever seen your hipster mate on Facebook gush about how talented Justin Bieber is? We’ve often laughed at friends who’ve had their social account hacked as part of a harmless prank. But is this a symptom of a wider problem? Perhaps there are many of us who are leaving our social media accounts vulnerable to much more sinister attacks on our privacy and security.
Melbourne based SEO agency Optimising conducted a recent survey to attempt to find out how educated Aussies are when it comes to protecting their online social profiles. The team surveyed 853 adults across the country earlier in 2015 and asked respondents whether their profiles were public or private, if they’d had their data or personal information shared against their will, as well as their knowledge of some common privacy related technologies.
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