A business can be well on its way to success, until a freak accident ruins the entire operation. Here’s how to protect your business and avoid that mess.
In some instances, that accident happens because the individual doesn’t know how to protect their company.
There are so many threats these days that everyone should take the time to read this post and consider the advice to protect their business.
With a bit of luck, those who do that will stand a much better chance of realizing their ambitions and making a fortune.
The tips below are written in the most straightforward manner possible to ensure all readers grasp the strategy. All entrepreneurs should put these ideas into action if they want to succeed.
Apply for patents and trademarks
Anyone who comes up with original product ideas will need to contact legal experts who can apply for patents and trademarks.
The last thing anyone wants is for a large company to get wind of the innovation and replicate the item for a fraction of the cost. That could push the inventor out of the market before they’ve even managed to build a prototype.
The issue is that there is nothing the individual can do about that if they don’t have registered patents in place. In most situations, it takes around twelve months to get approval from the patent authority.
However, it can sometimes take much longer if the entrepreneur wants international protection. Thankfully, the concept is secure from the moment the application gets filed. A patent will:
- Prevent others from copying and selling the products
- Enable entrepreneurs to licence the design for money
Invest in antivirus and malware tools
Most entrepreneurs will create a website to showcase and market their products or services. That means they have to use computers all the time, and so they need to take some security measures.
There are hundreds of thousands of different viruses and malicious programs that could infect a network and cause many costly problems.
For that reason, it makes sense for individuals to invest in the best computer security they can afford. Don’t make the mistake of downloading free software off the internet because it will never perform as expected.
Business owners will require a professional suite designed for the corporate marketplace for the best results. Some of the best business antivirus programs include:
- Avast Endpoint Protection Advanced
- Symantec Endpoint Protection
- Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security
- Avira Antivirus for Endpoint
There are plenty of alternatives too, and so entrepreneurs just need to conduct some research and read reviews by other commercial users to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Keep a close eye on your smartphone
The average person seems to believe their smartphone is immune to viruses and malware.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s just that individuals don’t always notice when an infection takes place.
That is a major issue because it’s possible for criminals to steal information and even gain access to the office WiFi network in some instances.
Smartphone data security has become a hot topic in recent times, with many brands spending a fortune to get the best protection available. In most situations, it makes sense to get in touch with a reputable IT support company and ask them to perform a security assessment.
If there are any problems with smartphones or other devices, the professionals should highlight them and offer advice.
Purchase the right insurance packages
No entrepreneur should attempt to navigate the business world without the correct insurance. There are hundreds of different providers that all offer different deals and policies.
So, the process of identifying the most suitable brand could take a while. And it doesn’t make sense to opt for the first specialist that provides a quote. There is always room for negotiation when it comes to services of that nature.
Individuals should use the figures they receive from one team to drive down the asking price of another. Depending on the nature of the venture, most business owners will need to buy:
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Property insurance
- Worker’s compensation insurance
- Home-based business insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Vehicle insurance
- Business interruption insurance
People who don’t have the right policies in place could see their ambitions crumble before their eyes.
If anyone tries to take the company to court and they don’t have the backing of an insurer, the costs could bankrupt the operation.
Store all important files in the cloud
One of the best ways to keep vital documents and records safe involves storing them online using cloud services.
There are various providers out there at the moment, but entrepreneurs will benefit from choosing a brand they recognize.
For example, firms like Google have a lot to lose if hackers managed to penetrate their systems. That is why they use some of the most advanced security measures known to humankind.
All new business owners should select a cloud provider with an excellent track record, and then upload everything they need to keep safe.
There are many benefits to using cloud storage, but the most important one is that the chances of becoming a victim of hacking will decrease. Other advantages include:
- Accessing the files from anywhere in the world
- Making cooperation easier
- No need to email large documents
- Drag and drop capabilities
Develop a disaster recovery plan
Nobody knows when a disaster might strike and cause a storm of problems for their operation.
Perhaps the weather takes a turn for the worse, and the office becomes flooded? Maybe a world-class hacker manages to take control of the entire system and use it to commit a crime?
When something like that occurs, entrepreneurs will have to work around the clock to find a remedy and get the business back on track.
Planning for those eventualities in advance is always a sensible move, and that’s why many IT support specialists offer that service.
Creating backups of central databases and files is a fantastic first step. All disaster recovery plans should contain:
- Information on the roles and responsibilities of each employee
- An in-depth guide to security processes
- Contact details for IT support professionals
- Incident response rules
- Disaster recovery procedures
Don’t put all the eggs in one basket
If entrepreneurs take nothing else away from this article, they should remember that putting all the eggs in one basket is a recipe for disaster.
That applies to almost everything the individual might have to do when turning their idea into a profitable business. With that in mind, remember these tips moving forward:
- Select more than one IT support partner
- Store copies of files on external hard drives as well as in the cloud
- Keep money aside from the budget for unexpected problems
- Find a couple of different legal representatives
- Constantly research new antivirus programs and software
- Try to come up with more than one original product idea
- Avoid using single marketing methods
Potential High Reward Investments For The Budding Entrepreneur
Running a business can be hard and difficult. This is so self-evident as a phrase that it might be considered the fundamental dictum of opening a firm.
For the budding entrepreneur willing to take the risk, this challenge is what makes it all worthwhile. However, at the same time, some people feel that there must be better ways around investing their money without risking it all on a startup.
If you have money to spend either personally or through a firm that you have already been a part of, and are looking to invest that money wisely, you may not know where to turn.
Financial risk is a large part of the decision making process you will have, and making unwise choices will put you in a difficult position which you’d do well to avoid.
Luckily, there are so many ‘rising star’ industries available to nest your money into nowadays that you may feel like a child in a candy shop just waiting to begin.
Here are some of the best, most innovative and most stable places you’d be wise to invest your money as a firm or personal financier.
We must top the list with property, as it is always the most reliable place to invest money. People will always need shelter, and people will always want better shelter. As a result, foreign investment in properties and property development is at an all time high.
Catering to the luxury holiday crowd abroad could be one of the most lucrative investments to make, as popular locations are always bringing in visitors and their money year-round, and the demand will remain constant.
Investing in penthouse properties abroad will give you the luxurious room for renting, subletting or even renovating and selling foreign accommodation.
In foreign countries, the price of admission will be much more competitive than pursuing the same endeavour in the area you are domestically.
This means it can serve as a wonderful first investment on the property ladder, giving you a solid range of experience as to how best operate in those circumstances if you do decide to continue and expand in the future.
3D Printing has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. Provided the ingredients for construction are there, developing any product is looking more and more reasonable.
And it seems every month there is a new innovative revolution in 3D Printing.
For some industries, such as home furnishings, it offers to completely revolutionize the way their manufacturing process works. It also provides the potential ability to completely rewrite factory product lines.
Getting in early and investing in the most promising 3D printing firm is likely to reward you big in future, as well as giving you a head start on arguably one of the most exciting technologies to rear its head in recent years.
Virtual reality is one of the most interesting new developments in the technological and gaming markets.
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are both competing for the top spot in the VR world, but even Sony are expanding in the industry well with their very own PlaystationVR.
However, it’s not only the big boys that you should be interested in. A huge amount of small indie development teams are bringing VR experiences to the mainstream, with software packages that aren’t solely dedicated to people who enjoy video games.
Art gallery replicants, social spaces and even painting utilities all exist to make Virtual Reality a real contender which will likely revolutionize the way we all interact with our home entertainment systems, and even computing communications for years to come.
Getting in now to support the most promising software studios will help you surely ride the most exciting crest of the innovative wave here.
It is clearer than ever in recent years that many pharmaceutical drugs are leading to an addiction epidemic, particularly among the opiate painkillers prescribed universally after surgeries or any form of injury repair.
This has gained a large amount of controversy, and is the largest challenge to the pharmaceutical industry right now. The market is crying out for alternate means of pain removal.
Some states which have legalised marijuana are benefiting hugely from purpose bred concoctions which are less to help people get ‘high,’ and more to help people overcome the most insidious addictions they feel. These include products such as CBD oil or vapour rubs.
Other new and less researched substances such as Kratom are getting widespread popularity, to the point where medical research is being officially sanctioned and is starting to look promising.
If looking to invest in the healthcare industry, these could be the most promising places to start, as they potentially offer millions in untapped revenue.
You probably expected to see this on this list, and for good reason. Renewable energy is set to become one of the most exciting ways in which investing in positive world change can be beneficial to your wallet.
The renewable energy workforce is already larger than those working in methods of fossil fuel acquisition, and this is only set to increase.
Harvesting energy from the wind and solar farms is becoming more and more viable, and now even full nations are finding themselves more able to run off of pure, clean energy alone.
Luckily, the energy market does not need to be limited to simply one subset of that industry. It can crop up in many places, such as Tesla’s automotive interests in making solar powered, driverless cars.
Finding the most important and hottest avenues to invest regarding solar energy is easier than ever, and this is where some of the most exciting methods of innovation lie.
Artificial intelligence is something that people often shudder when they think of, but it’s becoming less of a sci-fi fantasy and more of a practical, daily reality the further we move into it.
It’s likely your smartphone has a rudimentary voice chat option such as Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa in the new devices they sell, which learn your vocal, usage and purchasing habits and help tailor the experience you get based on those parameters.
As AI gets more refined, and it is becoming more refined, you should expect to see this cropping up in even the most unexpected of areas in the future.
The days aren’t far off from where smart homes speak to you as they used to in the movies.
AI is going to revolutionize the way we think, act and behave around the products we use on a daily basis, and as a result investing in the right avenues may net you untold fortunes.
For those interested in investing in media platforms, look no further than YouTube Live, Mixer or Twitch.
These used to be more encouraging to those who play video games, but the audience has exploded in recent months and now massive creative communities have spawned.
If you’re looking for solid marketing investment, sponsoring those with large followings and social media gatherings can be the perfect way to invest in what could be considered an outsourced brand, bringing your operation to the eyes of many who are entertained and willing to listen to the endorsements of their favorite content creators.
The rise of influencers is real.
You may be able to craft a good supporting relationship which is much more likely to gain you the favor of their fans and potentially secure purchases or direct affiliate traffic where you deem fit.
This is a burgeoning and new industry which is just waiting to be taken advantage of.
These tips can help you experience a boom in your investment opportunity. Good luck!
Running A New Business? Don’t Overcomplicate Things
It’s likely that there’s nothing more stressful in the world than running a new startup business.
Not only are you attempting to build a business from scratch with limited resources (budget, staff, and marketing exposure), but you have to balance all of these considerations yourself.
Building a product line, marketing your offerings, and reliably fulfilling these product or services is difficult enough. Add to that installing the infrastructure for your business to expand while balancing your growth and you’re in a sticky situation if you’re inexperienced in managing a startup.
Many people who run startups are new to the world of business or are simply trying the ‘what if this works’ attitude towards creating something interesting.
Odds are you’re a beginner entrepreneur, not a 67-year-old veteran CEO with decades of executive positions or you wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place. And if you are, starting a new business is still a giant challenge.
Though that previous paragraph about the difficulties shouldn’t dissuade you from starting a business.
In fact, if you have a solid idea and enough capital to begin your operation then don’t worry too much worry about the beginning days.
You’ll be saving cash up front by being a team of one while you do market research and ensure you’re offering something people are willing to hand over their hard-earned dollars to receive.
And when all you have is yourself to rely on, you have a great degree of freedom to run the business as your heart pleases.
However, the following tips will help you make life easier on yourself so that you can get to the most important duties of your new business.
Cofounder Isn’t A Dirty Word
Many people feel that because they have taken the risk to break from the world of business, they have a right to run the operation all by themselves.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that feeling, but it can leave you a little out in the cold and isolated, especially when you have no one to rely on but yourself and things start going wrong.
Why not consider opening your startup with a cofounder? Two heads are usually better than one, and more importantly for business, two wallets are better than one.
A cofounder is the only person in your startup who will understand your humble beginnings as profoundly as you do, and in that case they will be much different to a standard employee, intern or subcontractor.
They will be more than happy, as you are, to potentially not take a salary or work an excessive amount of hours a week to get the project on the right track because they understand to a surgical level the sacrifices, investments and difficulties you have made to begin your pet project.
Just make sure your cofounders skills complement your own, and don’t simply open a business with someone because you guys are friends.
That can lead to some real issues long-term.
If you’re struggling with a highly specific duty and have limited funds to hire a new staff member and give them a salary, it might be worth checking out what contractual workers you can get your hands on.
Hiring a full-time staff member is a big commitment since you’re responsible to look after them well, pay them a decent wage, as well as having to navigate all of the contractual and dismissal working rights if they come up.
While the goal for the future should be having a full team all working at making your dream come to reality, it’s likely that you’re not quite there yet.
So in the meantime checking out the local talent might be worthwhile.
In an effort to save money, many startup hosts refuse to hire anyone, and this can be damaging in itself.
Sometimes, you simply need more bodies next to you to help you through a tough period, like going through your finances for the end of the tax year, or helping you design your website to make yourself truly accessible and integrated with the modern age.
Contractual workers will all have a list of requirements to be hired, especially if they work through an agency, so be sure to pour through any obligations you have with a close eye.
If you are looking for content generation, you may be able to find freelancers online scouring the internet for the job you are currently offering.
Give them a fair payment package and contractual terms, clearly explain that they are responsible for their own task, and you have on your hands one of the most convenient employment relationships for both your firm and the subcontractor at the same time.
Not everyone is adept at keeping budgets and balancing financial commitments such as where to invest, where to hire, and where to save for the taxman.
It’s important to get this right however, because capital resource management is by far the most terrible thing to get wrong in a business.
It’s likely that you’re working double roles this entire time, so adding another in the form of accountancy, which is also a full-time job, can lead to costly mistakes you really shouldn’t be making.
Hire an accountant, even if only a few times a year to go through your tax contributions and keep things in order. You’ll be surprised at the peace of mind this provides.
These tips can help you make running your startup much less difficult than it has to be.
If you can’t communicate well with other businesses reliably using your business to business connections, you may need to address the communication infrastructure of the space you use as an office.
While many online solutions exist to help you communicate with a plethora of contacts, online instant messaging voice calls and video chat can seem an unprofessional way to conduct business.
Most larger businesses will expect you to call a direct number, and not call them on their Google Hangouts profile. Luckily, there exists a meeting of these two worlds in the form of your business phone systems, namely a VoIP installation.
Voice Over Internet Protocol telephones allow you to save money on analog calling costs by making the telephone call through the Internet.
Luckily, they can also be used as a regular phone if needed, so you needn’t go without or waste time messing between systems.
Even more conveniently, these telephone systems are available to continue using your previous landline number, meaning that you don’t have to migrate to new numbers and the confusion that usually provides.
Good luck in business. Enjoy riding the wave as a new company!
This article was written by an outside contributor.
A Gap In Marketing: Using Old Methods To Make Your Business Stand Apart
Marketing has changed in a major way since internet use became widespread. We live in a world where fast access and home delivery are keywords to any business’s success.
Methods entrepreneurs used as little as five or six years ago now seem like ideas from the dark ages.
It may seem like madness, but it’s amazing when you think about it. Making business digital ensures startups stand a better chance of success, and existing businesses can aim for worldwide acclaim.
And, from a consumer point of view, everything is so much easier now. Finding your favorite brands doesn’t mean walking through endless shops anymore. All you have to do is click a few buttons to find that thing your heart so desires. Even better, the browsing capabilities of the internet ensure that we can all find the exact thing we’re looking for, every time we search.
But, is there a downside to this emphasis on digital marketing? We’re not here to tell you that an online presence isn’t necessary. It’s the most important method any business in the modern age has access to. The problem is that, with so much focus online, other aspects of businesses are neglected.
How often do you now walk into a shop and leave disappointed? How many times, in recent years, has a company’s branding stuck with you? When you think about it, this shift in marketing has done a lot of damage to the things we used to look out for.
On the one hand, businesses can’t be blamed. They’re trying their best to keep up, and something has to give. It’s a difficult challenge to develop social media campaigns and still focus on making their shop front look fantastic. Besides, all advice and evidence suggests that storefronts will be all but obsolete soon anyway. Some companies are even choosing to operate solely online, to save costs and get ahead of the game.
But the fact that others have taken their eyes off the old marketing ball gives your enterprise an in point. You do, of course, need to focus on developing a solid online marketing campaign. Though it might be worth entrusting this to your employees. That leaves you to tackle the marketing everyone forgot. When starting out, standing apart from the crowd is what you need, and this method could well do it.
How can you get your business back in touch with marketing methods no one uses now? This guide should give you some idea.
Understand How Old Marketing Worked
There are countless guides out there about digital marketing. Just about every business post you come across will mention it in some form.
But old marketing methods are harder to find out about. There’s barely any advice out there about creating a shop front with wow factor or developing an advertising campaign for billboards and such. Is it any wonder, then, that few new business owners focus on these aspects? You can’t master what you don’t understand.
Which is why you owe it to your business to take the time to understand. There may not be easy guides out there, but there is help if you know where to look for it.
If you’re old enough to start a business, you’re old enough to remember how things were before. And, a blast from the past may be the best starting point.
Nothing beats looking to successful marketing campaigns of old. So, that’s where you should start.
Brands like Coca-Cola were creating marketing hype with their ads way before the web. And, they did it better than any of the new brands we see today.
Take some time to think about adverts you remember from your childhood. Write the memorable ones down, and search for them on YouTube. As you watch, take note of what worked. Simple methods, like taglines, are neglected far too often in the modern age. And, they are most often the thing that made old adverts stick in our minds.
It’s also worth focusing on alternative advertising outlets, like newspapers and magazines. Once upon a time, a double page spread in a top tabloid was a sure way of catching attention and shouting about your brand. Only the most successful businesses could afford the privilege.
The good news for you is that online advertising means physical spaces like these have seen a major reduction in price. So, a full-page spread is much cheaper now than in the past. And, if you put effort into making it look good, it’ll still have that touch of luxury.
As you can see, the more creative you get, the better chance you have of re-engaging old methods. But, this is also a make or break situation. There’s a reason these methods have gone out of fashion, and if you don’t get them right, you could be out of pocket.
To ensure that doesn’t happen, it might be worth embarking on something like this masters of marketing. That way, you’ll develop a good idea of how effective marketing strategies work. As such, you’ll stand a better chance of making your alternative route a fruitful one.
Understand Your New Audience
When companies focus on digital marketing, they concentrate on a particular group of people. Young, technically savvy individuals are sure to head online above all. But, that’s still a relatively small amount of the population.
Your other forms of marketing could lead you to a whole new audience. It’s important to know what that audience wants, so you can ensure your efforts hit the mark. To work out who they are, consider the types of people who don’t rely on technology. These examples should give you some idea.
The older generation often shy away from online activity. Unlike youngsters, they haven’t grown up with extensive use of the internet. The old advertising methods you’ve been considering are sure to work well for this audience. As online shopping isn’t an option for many, they’re also much more liable to visit a physical space. Politeness will also take you far, with many older people valuing excellent service above all. So, a return to good old face to face customer service is sure to go down well.
The extrovert may spend less time online, and more time out and about. Online activity is introverted, after all, and it doesn’t suit everyone. Extroverted individuals love to chat and thrive in social situations. So, it’s worth thinking about customer service here, too. Encourage your staff to make conversation. A small conversation could be enough to see a client returning at a later date. If appropriate, you could also offer hot drinks. That way, extroverts will feel at home straight away.
Community spirited individuals may also stay offline when it comes to their shopping. These are people who opt, instead, to support local businesses. Despite the digital climate, there are more people like this than you’d expect. But, don’t assume you can automatically earn their custom by focusing on your shop space. Community spirit doesn’t support lifeless brands which fail to reflect the needs of the town. So, make sure to fit your image to the shop units around you. It may also be worth taking part in local fundraisers to show that you have a community spirit of your own.
These aren’t the only customers you stand to gain, but they give an accurate idea of the values your marketing should focus on. A look at even this short list highlights the importance of an appealing shop space and friendly brand. Neither of which you’ll get online!
Apply What You’ve Learned
Once you’ve got an idea of what it takes to get traditional with marketing, it’s time to install your methods. This is where you’re going to take everything you’ve learned and make it work for you. So, where do you start?
Get going by organizing the physical space you’ll be working in. Until you find a space, you’ll find it difficult to envision the image you want to develop. So, don’t hesitate to take care of this aspect.
Once you have a space, remember to consider the audience you’re catering for. You need to make this a fun and appealing place, which feels like a home away from home. Personality is essential in setting yourself apart from the online world. To ensure you cram plenty in there, talk to your staff about what home means to them. This needs to be a place that appeals to everyone, so the more opinions you get, the better.
Once your physical space is underway, you can focus on your advertising. Remember the original, memorable adverts you looked at during the start of your journey? Do your best to recreate them. Pretend you’re living in a time when that was the only chance you had to catch your customer’s eyes.
What would have the most impact? What tagline would best represent your brand? You never know; if you get this right, your brand may be as memorable as all the ones you remember from childhood!
This article was written by an outside contributor.