Keeping Your Staff Safe Within The Workplace

Keeping Your Staff Safe Within The Workplace

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Safety within the workplace is key, and as a business owner, there’s a responsibility to ensure that the workplace is free of any dangers and that there are processes in place to keep the staff protected as best as possible. So if it’s staff safety that’s of concern, here are some tips for keeping your staff safe within the workplace.

Give Staff Detailed Building Inductions

Whenever a staff member starts at the business, they should be receiving a detailed building induction. This is to make them aware of how the building operates and the basics of the building in regards to their safety. This should ideally be given by the operations or buildings manager who can run through the procedures so that anyone in the building, knows what they’re doing in an emergency or when something bad happens. These detailed inductions are worth making available in document form too so that the staff member can look back on it if needed. If your employees are getting these building inductions, then they could be posing a risk to themselves and to others by not knowing about the building in full.

Legal Aid On Hand When Needed

Getting legal aid is very important to a business to ensure everything is being done by the book. A personal injury lawyer is something that staff members will look to get when they’ve been injured within the workplace. You should have your own insurances in place that helps protect you and if you’re not sure, then they definitely need to be a legal department. If you’ve not got the finances or resources to have a legal department in-house, then outsourcing those services is useful.

Have Plenty Of First Aiders On-Site

With injuries, a lot of them will tend to happen at home, rather than in the workplace. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all. From small cuts to collapsing, a company needs to prepare for when one of their members of staff is in danger or needs urgent assistance. There should be an emergency phone to hand or at least a phone that’s close to communal areas. Not only that, but you’ll need plenty of First Aiders on hand to assist with some temporary help until emergency services would arrive. Training your staff in first aid is a choice that’s made by the person, and you can’t force someone to do it. Once you are trained in First Aid, it’s your duty to help anyone who is in need.

There are plenty of local courses that emergency services will run, and you should have plenty of first aiders trained. Depending on the number in your building, one first aider for every five to ten people should be enough. However, it’s never an issue to have more than you need.

Safety Procedures Should Be Displayed

When it comes to safety procedures and practices, not everyone will adhere to them all the time, and therefore, when accidents do happen, it’s worth having physical evidence for your business. This can be in the form of safety procedures that are displayed around the workplace. By having a list of rules and safety practices in areas like the kitchen and in regard to the basic safety of electricity etc. you protect yourself as a business from anyone who chooses to ignore the advice given. It would help your business, should you ever find yourself in a battle between you and the employee. Having procedures displayed and well documented are essential. So stick up safety procedures in the kitchens and in the general areas of where your staff are working.

Do Regular Fire Drills

Just like First Aiders, Fire Wardens are important to have in the building. Even more so, there should be regular fire drills taking place throughout the year to time, how quickly your staff are able to get out of a building. Everyone should know where their meeting point is, and the Fire Wardens should be doing their duty by checking in rooms and areas on their floor for anyone who may be injured or who not heard the alarm going off. In terms of the number of fire drills, once a month is ideal, but one every three months is still good if the office is too busy to do them too often.

Keeping your staff safe is always going to be a priority, so protect yourself as a business and then look at the ways you can help improve the safety of your workplace.

Consultants – Great For The Smallest Of Businesses

Consultants – Great For The Smallest Of Businesses

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Many small business owners think that what they do is too small fry for many consultants. Actually, it is better to get information, advice, and guidance as early in your business building as possible. Consultants aren’t just a voice at the end of a phone, they can really pitch in and take on some of the work too – which makes them worth a lot more than the price tag. 

Here are some of the benefits:

Experts

As mentioned above, they are experts in what they do. Almost all businesses will need an extra set of eyes, but many will simply ask someone they know. Biased answers aren’t helpful. And, you can get an expert in pretty much all areas of your business. IT consultants will be able to get all your tech in order – including your help desk – which many people don’t love to handle. A business coach will be able to help you clarify what direction you want to take and how you want to do it. And, if you believe in the power of asking for what you want and making it happen, you can even get a manifestation coach. 

Growth

Small businesses are typically focused on growth. It should be an aim (not just a dream), to grow the company into new markets, create new products, double/triple/x100 their current profit. This requires some real direction and a concrete plan to get there. It can be challenging to plan your own journey because you don’t always see all of the opportunities until they pass you by. A business growth consultant has a finely tuned opportunities radar and will be able to craft you a growth plan that will meet your goals. Very often, it is the small goals that you forget to set yourself, and motivation can run dry pretty quickly if you don’t have little achievements along the way. 

Money

This is a big sticking point for many. They don’t see the benefit in paying out hundreds or thousands of pounds/dollars/euros. But seriously, the value that a consultant brings is a lot more than they charge. Imagine you invest somewhere around 500 in a few sessions. And those sessions give you 6 new products and processes. And those 6 products sell thousands of units, and the processes make it twice as fast. That 500 was a drop in the ocean. 

Time

Probably worth more than money. If you have someone who can help you speed up your processes, who can see where the time-suckers are, and clean them up or at least give you the information and help you set up the tools (or hire the right person). You can’t create more time, but you can be more focused and implement tools to help things run better. That, in turn, will give you more time to work on your business rather than in the trenches of it. 

A critical point is that they are consultants (typically) because they have many years of experience in the field and are well versed in spotting pain points, implementation, hiring, and firing, then wrapping it all in a bow for a hand-off. These are just a few benefits of hiring a consultant. 

What are the Threats To Your Business?

What are the Threats To Your Business?

When it comes to our business, we don’t tend to focus all that much on the downsides, especially in the early days. You have to go into any new venture with positivity and optimism, and that will be difficult if you’re all too aware of the potential pitfalls. Or is that wrong? Wisdom says that a business owner that is aware of the common mistakes and threats that a business faces can do more to prevent them than a business owner who only sees the good things. Below, we take a look at some of the common threats, as well as offer advice on how to best keep them at bay. 

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Lack of Direction

If you’re trying to get to the top of the mountain, then it’s important that you know how you’re going to get there. You need to know the right way to hike. The same can be applied to your business. If you’re trying to find success, then you can’t just wing it and make it up as you go along, and hope that it all eventually clicks. You need to have direction. One mistake that business owners make in this area is that they create a clear step by step path. While this might sound like a sensible option, the truth is that it’s too limiting — it can lead owners to ignore other, better opportunities that come their way. Instead, look at creating a company mission statement. This will make sure you’re steered along the right path, while also keeping you open.

Poor Hiring

Oh, the costs that a bad hire can bring. Business owners usually realize once it’s too late, by which point, the money has been lost. It costs a significant amount of money to bring an employee on board, but it’s nothing to the costs that a bad hire can bring. The threats of a poor employee stretch beyond just the money factor, too. They can also damage your reputation with your customers, and create friction with your other employees, which can cause a dip in morale and productivity. Make sure you’re developing a robust hiring policy that ensures that only the best candidates make it into your company. 

External Crime

It’s always healthy to have a normal dose of realism in your life. And realism will tell you that crime exists, and that if you’ve got something that a criminal would want, then there’s no reason to suggest that your business would be spared. Why would it be? As such, it’s important that you’re taking steps to reduce the chances of being a victim of crime. Keep in mind that crime is committed in increasingly sophisticated ways. It’s not just physical crime, such as when a criminal breaks into your office (though you do need also to be mindful of this); cybercrime is increasingly common, too, and especially against small to medium sized businesses. You can help to keep this threat at a distance by working with an IT company that specializes in cyber security. 

Internal Crime

It’s unpleasant to think about, but you also need to be wary of internal crime. You’ll have hoped that you could trust the people that you bring into your business, but the stats show that companies are ripped off to the tune of some $50 billion each year. So it’s worthwhile taking steps to protect yourself. You can set up systems within the workplace that monitor your employees and so on, but the easiest way to prevent workplace crime is to be sure of who you’re bringing onto the team in the first place. Make sure you’re checking up on the references that they provide during the application process, and also consider conducting a criminal background check, especially if the job involves handling your sensitive data and documents. 

Lack of Safety Measures

There are some companies that have had to call it a day all because of something that happened in the blink of an eye. An accident at your workplace can have a damaging effect on your operations, your team morale, and, ultimately, your business. If the accident is serious enough, it can spell the end of your company — it’ll never recover. As such, it’s important that you’re taking the time to ensure that your safety measures are on point and up to date. It’s not the most exciting thing you’ll do during your time in business, but it is important. 

Your Energy

It’s often overlooked, but if a business is going to be hitting the heights that it’s capable of reaching, then it’s crucial that you — the business owner — are working at your best. While you’ll naturally want your business to be a success, there is a correct and an incorrect way to go about achieving the goal. You might think that working twelve hours a day, six days a week is going to help your venture. And it will, but only a short-term basis. After a while, you’ll find that your energy has been drained and that you’re no longer able to deliver your best work for your company. For this reason, it’s important that you’re looking after yourself. IT’s much easier to put your awesome ideas into practice if you have bags of energy to spare. 

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Natural Disasters

You might think that the success of your business depends on the strength of your ideas and how well you’re able to engage with your customers. And it is, for the most part. But there are other external threats that you need to be aware of. Take natural disasters, for example. In the space of a night, your worksite could suffer damage that seriously damages your ability to provide your customers with the best experience. There are some things you can do to keep the threat of weather damage at bay, but there are never any guarantees. One smart way to protect yourself is to get covered with the help of Krywolt commercial insurance brokers. That way, you’ll have a level of coverage even if the worst case scenario occurs. 

Poor Economy

Your business faces existential threats, too. For example, the state of the economy. If things are going well, then you’ll find that it’s easier to win customers and generate profits. If it’s not, then you could be in trouble. The economic crash of 2008 put an end to many businesses. Of course, some industries — such as construction — are more vulnerable than others. If you’re in an industry that is commonly affected, then make sure you’re keeping an eye on projections. There may be steps you can take to put a buffer between your business and economic collapse. 

New Threats

We live in a competitive age. Indeed, this is the nature of running a business: you’re in competition with other businesses. While you might be at the top of the food chain right now, there’s always the chance that a new outfit will come along and blow you out of the water. It has happened before, to giant companies. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid resting on your laurels. There will always be ways that you can improve your company, so do it. You want to make it as difficult as possible for a newcomer to knock you off your perch. 

As well as new companies, you’ll also want to keep AI in mind. The rise of the machines is projected to take as many as 40% of jobs, and it’s not unthinkable that entire businesses (such as say, trucking companies) will go out of business. You can innovate, and go along with the change, or be ready to fall. 

Lack of Productivity

It doesn’t matter how many hours you’re working in the office, it really doesn’t. What counts is how productive you are when you’re working. A lack of productivity can kill your business, so it’s important that you find the best way for you and your employees to work effectively. Taking some time to identify what might be holding you back, and which changes need to be made, can seriously increase your output. 

Your Commitment 

If you take a look at the successful companies, you’ll find a common thread that links them. And that is, while they didn’t have success initially, and suffered hard times, they didn’t stop when the going got tough. They kept going. Your business will have all the potential in the world to become successful (providing you’ve done your market research correctly), but it will take time. The difference between a failed venture and a profitable, long-term successful venture is sometimes something as simple as endurance. If you can ride out the tough periods, you might just find that success comes your way.

Conclusion

You can never be totally sure of what threat to your business is going to strike. All you can do is try your best to be ready for whatever comes your way. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to repel any potential harmful aspects as and when they arrive. 

Do You Need In-House Talent?

Do You Need In-House Talent?

As an ambitious entrepreneur, you need to face many challenges before you’re ready to launch your first company. The most difficult of all is to define your business activities. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for new business owners to dedicate a lot of time and resources in understanding the market before they’re ready to start their company. As a result, things can move fast once entrepreneurs have gathered sufficient market insights. In reality, understanding your market is only the beginning of your business journey. There are still many questions left to answer before you can create your first company. One of those refers to your business structure, namely whether you need in-house skills to grow. Indeed, while common sense says yes, the matter is a little more complex than it seems. There are excellent reasons for solo entrepreneurs to launch a company with an empty workplace. Here is why you may not need to recruit any talent yet: 

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You can outsource what you can’t find

First of all, finding the right skillsets for your company can take time. Ultimately, specific expertise can be tricky to find, especially if you’re in the process of building a small startup. Indeed, some applicants are reluctant to work with startups and small companies during the first years of existence, as about 30% of businesses fail during their first two years. As a result, you might resort to outsourcing talent until applicants feel more confident about your business. It’s also good practice to establish your outsourced IT support from the start as you can guarantee that your business has got the backup required to provide undisrupted and secure services. You can then grow your outsourced services, adding marketing and financial toolkits as you go. Your IT solution is the first step in your growth journey. 

Nobody works in the office anymore

Employees value their work/life balance. As a result, many professionals are looking for remote working options, such as virtual office opportunities that let them work from home and coordinate their activities with remote coworkers. From a business perspective, remote workplaces have the advantage of keeping your maintenance costs low! Additionally, it allows you to bring new skills on board, regardless of your location. For innovative businesses, it’s the perfect opportunity to combine creative mindsets and technical expertise from all around the world! More importantly, it means that you don’t need to worry about in-house talent. Remote workers can be employed or contracted, depending on your needs and budget. 

You can’t afford to hire someone new

The recruitment process is not just long. It can also get pretty expensive for small companies. In the manufacturing industry, the cops of hiring a new employee could reach $5,000, while the service-based industry ranks at around $1,000. When you’re in the process of growing your activities and profits, you may not be able to afford the hiring costs. Additionally, the time to fill the role can be over one month, depending on the industry sector. In other words, many new companies need to build a stable base before they can grow their team. 

As you are building the strategy for your company, you need to consider the possibility of using external talents to save costs and time. While the solution isn’t suitable for all business structures, it is worth considering a healthy mix of outsourced and in-house skill sets. 

7 Common Security Mistakes That Businesses Make

7 Common Security Mistakes That Businesses Make

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Many companies get side tracked with all the other tasks of running a business that they end up overlooking security. However, such security mistakes could have huge negative consequences. Here are just 7 common security mistakes that you should avoid.

Using simple passwords

Simple passwords may be easier to remember, but they’re also easier to hack. Make your passwords complex by making them longer and by using random combinations of number and letters. Use sites like Passwords Generator to create these strong passwords. You can always use password manager apps to refer to these passwords when you need them.

Never changing passwords

Changing passwords regularly is also good practice. This makes them harder to crack, plus it can stop password leaks from bitter older employees (this has been known to happen).

Failing to backup data

Backing up data is essential in case data is lost. Many companies rely on cloud storage to back up their data. If computers are burgled or there’s a ransomware attack, this can allow you to continue work using your backup files on the cloud from any location and any device.

Using outdated software

Software needs to be constantly updated so that it’s always secure against the latest threats. Most software automatically updates when you restart your machines – so make sure that you’re restarting them regularly. Be wary of using old software that is no longer receiving updates as it could mean that it is at risk to newer threats.

Not using a VPN on the go

Using a VPN can help to hide your IP address and encrypt your data. This can be particularly important when using public internet connections while working from coffee bars or other public places – it is here that many criminals will try to steal your data. This Avast Secureline VPN review offers more information on VPNs and what they can be used for. There are lots of different VPN services on the market.

Disposing sensitive paper documents incorrectly

Paper documents can also be a security threat if not disposed of correctly. It’s wise to always shred paper documents that could contain sensitive information so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Alternatively, convert to digital forms of paperwork where possible (e.g. digital bank statements, digital bills, emailed invoices).

Failing to give employees security training

There’s no use having security measures in place if your employees aren’t trained up in how to implement these measures. Make sure to offer training when it comes to things such as password practice and dealing with suspicious emails and phone calls. You could even try looking into digital security courses and workshops that you and your whole team can go on to learn more ways of keeping your business secure.

Helpful Logistics Tips In Small Business

Helpful Logistics Tips In Small Business

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Logistics is a huge part of business. In the supply chain of a business, logistics deals with the shipment and delivery of goods to and from the business premises. It is important to nail this aspect of your business in order to find success, and this is why we want to discuss the ins and outs of logistics that new business owners need to know. 

Understand the objective

Logistics from the outside seems simple. The objective is to get a product from location A to location B. However, when we explore this a little further there is more to the story. As well as ensuring the safe transport of a product, you may also want to provide fast delivery or provide the most cost effective solution. Depending on your stance, you’ll need to make different changes in order to better service your goal. Make sure to set a clear objective and ensure that every decision you make from this point is to service this goal. 

Know what people want 

There’s no point in setting out some amazing plan for your logistics department that focuses on one key aspect, if that aspect will not give customers what they want. Make sure that when you research your target audience that you also think about their needs and wants. Most customers may prefer fast delivery rather than secure delivery so you may want to change your supply chain process accordingly. 

Focus on communication 

There is no way you can ever run and effective logistics department without solid communication. Communication is without a doubt the most important factor when running a business and you need to ensure that you make efforts to improve it. Not only does the customer need to be able to contact customer service, but drivers need to contact the team, warehouses need to contact warehouses, and ports or airports need to communicate with the team. Logistics can be complex and this is why you need to take steps to ensure smooth communication from every member of the team. 

Keep a cost log 

Logistics is a part of business that can be unpredictable. There are many elements that can get in the way of smooth transit such as fuel, traffic, tools, import issues, regulations and more. There are often secret and additional costs involved in the transport of goods and as such tracking costs is imperative. Track every single cost on a journey in detail to ensure that an accurate expenditure record is kept. 

Work with another company 

Handling logistics alone is daunting. Logistics can seem simple from the outside however when you delve into every aspect of the job it can be hard to handle without experience or knowledge. This is why it is important for you to think about outsourcing or collaborating with a third party. You can gain help with every step of the logistics process such as with this service https://www.naturafeed.com/production-distribution/ and gaining the help of experts will make all the difference to your business. 

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