8 Tips for Finding the Best Outsourcing Solution for your Business

During these times of great uncertainty and the persistence of unstable global economic conditions, outsourcing remains the best solution for your business. As a process, it will help you streamline costs and maintain a degree of profitability even if business activity is slow.

But not all outsourcing partners can get the job done. It’s not just because there are unqualified service providers out there. You must also do your part to ensure the success of the outsourcing arrangement.

Here are 8 tips for finding the best outsourcing solution for your business:

  1. Research on Outsourcing

Some businesses make the mistake of jumping on the outsourcing bandwagon without doing research. They believe its benefits are automatic and immediate.

Unfortunately, they realize that like all processes, outsourcing takes time. It faces challenges and not all service providers are effective. Research opens your mind to all the possibilities. It helps you anticipate the challenges that lie ahead and develop an understanding of what to expect during the process.

In addition to online research, interview businesses that have outsourced and learn from their experiences. The more you know, the better you will be prepared to move forward with outsourcing.

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4 Simple Tactics to Motivate Your Employees Effectively

Being a business owner or someone in charge of a team of people is work which requires a great deal of responsibility, patience and fast thinking. Your job, among other things, is to make sure that your employees are motivated to perform their duties properly. Motivation is a tricky thing as it affects people’s productivity levels, the effectiveness and efficiency of their work, but also their overall work performance. So how to keep your employees motivated at all times? Surely, most people believe that the most effective way is to give them more money. While it seems quite logical, contrary to this popular opinion, there are a lot of other, more effective solutions for increasing the motivation in the workplace. These four simple, but smart tactics will surely help keep the employees’ spirits up and motivate them to do their jobs more productively.

Learn To Appreciate Their Work

While there’s a steady opinion that a successful and good leader should be strict, unforgiving and somewhat cruel, it has been proven that this tactic can actually undermine employees’ motivation and productivity levels, rather than increase them. A dictator-like behaviour might work in some cultures, but it’s much more effective to be loved rather than feared as a leader. After all, you’ll want to establish a sincere, friendly relationship with your workers where you’ll support their work, appreciate their performance but also give clear guidance. The key is to have integrity, but with style and to know when and how to draw the line between friendship and business.

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Managing Employees in the Workplace – A Guide for Entrepreneurs

The employees in your company play the most important role in the success of your company. If your employees aren’t motivated enough to work to meet their daily objectives, your company’s profitability will suffer. That is why it’s so important to maintain a chain of command in the workplace; managers are there to instruct the employees to ensure that there are checks and balances. Motivation levels vary depending upon the compensation they receive, the workload they have to deal with, and the general atmosphere in the workplace.

A good business owner not only knows how to spot opportunities and make deals; he or she also know how to manage their employees. Promoting leadership and engagement in the workplace are very important. Rumours can also have a major impact on employee performance. For instance, if there’s a rumour around the office of job cuts, your employees will obviously be more fearful. The following guide will help aspiring entrepreneurs to manage better their employees, which will ultimately improve the company’s profitability and performance.

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Tips For Running a Business With Your Loved One

Running a business with someone you love can be tricky at times but the many benefits that come with it far outweigh the challenges. My partner and I started our business together about 3 years ago and I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Having said that, there have been plenty of obstacles along the way and 3 years in, we’ve got a few tips that might help other couples who are starting out in business together.

We started our ecommerce business as a side project while we both had full time jobs. Over the years we gradually reduced our time at our jobs as the business grew. Now we are both about to make the leap into full time entrepreneurship and we are more than a little excited! Not only will we get to choose what we do when we wake up everyday, we’ll also get to spend the majority of our time together, instead of with work colleagues.

Here are some tips we’ve learned along that way that have really helped us to succeed in our business:

1)    Plan your life and business goals together. When your income and life are so intertwined, having life goals that are fuelled by your business success can be the best motivator there is! Location independence is one of the most motivating incentives for us and has helped drive us through the tough times. Connect something you want in your life to the success of your business and you’ll have all the motivation you’ll need to make it work.

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How to Maintain Business Continuity in Uncertain Times

Business continuity planning should be an essential priority for any business including small and medium sized companies just as it is for large companies. Every year, around 20% of all businesses face an event that is unplanned and unwanted that may just challenge their survival. The threats may come from fire, flood, theft, illness or something much worse, but regardless of the problem, businesses that successfully recover are those that have planned their response in advance.

All businesses are unique and there is no generic template that can be applied to every business. However, the following areas of consideration when it comes to continuity planning can act as a start point to prepare your own plan:

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Why Working With Your Loved One is a Great Idea

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.

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Keeping Computer and Network Safe for SMEs

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.

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Working with Family Members

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.

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Top Tips when Working with Family Members

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.

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Mother-daughter Businesses Share Their Secrets to Success

The relationship between a mother and daughter is often complicated. But some women choose to add a further dynamic to the mix, by starting a business together.

Jillian Intini and her daughter Casey Bryden began working together four years ago designing and manufacturing modern sun parasols for their business Sunbella.

“For us, it was a natural progression,” Says Jillian.

“As a nurse I was seeing skin cancers on a lot of women and I had the idea to design a sun parasol. At the same time Casey left her marketing job to have a baby, so we started brainstorming together and bouncing ideas around.”

“Our little family business is now bigger than we could have imagined a few years ago. We sell online, through retailers, we wholesale, hire and offer corporate branding options.”

“We’ve landed some large corporate deals with Peroni and the One & Only resort and there are some exciting opportunities coming up for us this year. I would not be doing this without my buddy by my side, plain and simple.”

The recently launched Willa In Spades brand are another mother daughter duo, with Amanda Wearn designing and her mum Beth King sewing each piece in the collection.

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