4 Tips for Moving from a Corporate Career to Start a Business

Jul 23, 2017 by

4 Tips for Moving from a Corporate Career to Start a Business

A career in the corporate world is a great way to be a productive member of the society – you earn a salary in exchange for your time and skills. A corporate career can also be a great way to improve your skills, pick up more skills, and test your capabilities – on someone else’s dime. However, a time will eventually come when you’ll start feeling like you are just another employee turning the wheel without making much of an impact on the greater good.

If you are already contemplating early retirement or you can see the signs of a forced retirement on the horizon, you’ll most likely be thinking about firing your boss and becoming a boss in your own business. Here are 4 tips to help you along before you make the jump from the corporate world into the world of entrepreneurship.

1. Sound out other entrepreneurs

Your corporate career will prepare you for the challenges of being a business owner in some areas—but your experience in corporate America can be a liability for you in other areas when you start a business. One of the easiest ways to ensure a smooth transition from corporate America to starting your own business is to pick the brains of those who have taken a similar path in the past.

Talking with other entrepreneurs who made the switch from the corporate world will help you know how to spot and avoid potential pitfalls. They might also offer you insights on how to make a gradual switch or help you to decide if an abrupt switch is in your best interest.

2. Know your support system

You’ll need a strong support system made up of many essential parts to succeed in your move from being an employee to calling the shots in your business. The SBA provides small-business mentorship through its SCORE program and you’ll be doing yourself great favor by taking advantage of the mentorship in order to refine your business strategy.

You’ll also need to identify a support system for your core business operations, financing your business activities, and taking care of legal and regulatory requirements. For your core business, you’ll need to create a production strategy, marketing process, and a management system. For your financing, you’ll need to build up startup capital, know where to go for expansion capital, and have a ready funding source for ad-hoc capital needs.

3. Start expanding your network

Your experience in the corporate world might not give you the best preparation to build a business but it sure can provide you with a great opportunity to build a strong network. Building a strong network makes it easier for you to get your business up and running because you can always leverage your connections to find professionals that could help you with startup activities.

In addition, the people in your network are folks who know and trust you and they’ll be more readily inclined to patronize or recommend your goods and services. More so, having a strong network helps you to keep a social circle that might be otherwise lost when you leave your colleagues at work behind.

4. Uncertainty is a certainty

Corporate America is mostly predictable – you show up, do the work required of you, punch in the clock, and you get paid at the end of the month. However, when you are running a business, the only certainty is that you are living in a world of uncertainties. You’ll need to be grounded mentally in order to maintain your sanity and make smart decisions when the uncertain nature of business rears its ugly head.

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A Startup for Startups: The Big Opportunity in Support Services

Jul 19, 2017 by

A Startup for Startups: The Big Opportunity in Support Services

The startup scene in Portugal keeps getting more and more interesting. Startups are entering new and exciting industries and markets at a rapid rate. The recent launch of Sports Accelerator is a good example of how the startup approach can be applied to a wide range of fields.

The rapid growth of startups in Portugal is sparking a new trend: startups whose products and services are geared towards helping other startups succeed. We have a number of these startups already operating on the market, with more scheduled to be released soon. Is the business support services industry the next big thing?

A Revamped Industry

The business support services industry is not an entirely new industry. This is an industry that has been around for years. However, service providers used to focus their offers and efforts on larger corporations with big demands to meet. Large clients were where most of the business came from, so it is not surprising that the entire industry chooses to focus on that market.

The rise of smaller, leaner startups that also need support services changed that. The lively startup scene in cities such as Lisbon attracted more service providers to the market. Instead of offering expensive support services geared towards larger corporations, service providers now cater to small companies that are trying to lower their overhead costs by outsourcing parts of their operations.

Planning and Management

What’s interesting about the growth of business support services in Portugal is how comprehensive the available services are. Startup founders can now rely on third-party service providers for anything from planning to bookkeeping and management.

We’re not talking about basic services either. An upcoming service provider is recruiting people with an advanced project and program management degree – graduates from reputable universities such as Brandeis University nonetheless –to better provide project management services to new startups. Having a team of experts witha masters in project and program management degree will help startups overcome common challenges in the product development process.

After all, overcoming challenges is what the support services industry all about. Instead of having to invest in recruiting experts, startups can remain lean and efficient thanks to third-party services. The overall costs of outsourcing parts of the business operations will also remain low.

The Next Big Thing

The business support services industry is filled with large players, particularly those with years of experience. That, however, is about to change. Smaller, more independent agencies and firms are starting to offer services in various fields. Larger organizations with experiences in offering their services to international startups such as Spark and Incubator are also starting to see the startup landscape in Portugal as a potential target market.

As more players enter the industry, more services will be made available at lower costs. The whole shift will further support startups in this country, offering valuable services at low costs and allowing startups to remain competitive for longer. There is a big opportunity in the business support services industry nonetheless, and it is a development that you wouldn’t want to miss.

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4 Great Ways To Improve Office Productivity

Jul 12, 2017 by

4 Great Ways To Improve Office Productivity

What is productivity? It’s how much and how well you get things done within the time you’re provided. It’s also a measure of the quality and quantity of work you do when at the office.

Employee productivity is critical to every office. In any business, productivity is the main driver of growth and survival amidst radical shifts in the market and the economy. The more productive a company’s employees, the more work gets put out and the faster the company grows.

The recent interest in measuring productivity has created a niche for businesses like JJ Bender that provide efficient office equipment to help employees stay productive. By improving office equipment, you’ll be able to give your employees the tools they need in order to succeed.

Looking for ways to improve your business? Here are 4 great ways to help you boost productivity in the office.

1. Encourage Your Employees To Take Mini Breaks

It’s been proven that taking breaks boosts productivity. Studies show that employees who take a break once every hour perform better than those who don’t. Taking breaks will allow your employees to refresh their minds and avoid hitting a mental wall.

Studies show that creative ideas often come during downtime when your mind is able to roam and think freely. So, instead of allowing your employees to take only one break in a day, encourage them to take a short break every one or two hours to give them time to relax and recuperate.

2. Invest in Smart Equipment and Furniture

Your office equipment, furniture, and fixtures play a big role in influencing your employees’ productivity. Office equipment, as simple as a commercial printer, when not functioning properly, will end up frustrating the employees – making them more unproductive. At JJ Bender, you can browse through multi-purpose smart printers that you can purchase or lease. Equipping your office with smart equipment will not only reduce time spent in operating the machine, but also the time spent on manual work done by employees.

3. Promote Collaboration And Social Interaction

Weekly brainstorming sessions or open forums will foster collaboration and social interaction in the office. This does not only nurture free flowing of fresh ideas but also improves the wellbeing of your employees. Moreover, this practice also promotes inclusiveness in the organization. Encourage your employees to contribute to the team and reiterate that all ideas are correct. With this, productivity will increase alongside your employees’ morale and well-being.

4. Be Open And Ask For Feedback

There will always be something that you might not notice. With this, open office setup and fostering feedback sessions are important in any organization. This will help both sides air any concerns or suggestions to make working in your office more efficient and convenient. This can be done through the monthly town hall sessions or a brown bag lunch with the team. You can also consider adding a box where employees can drop a note anonymously. With this, you get to boost your employees morale and you will also know exactly what your employees need to make them more productive with their work.

Jumpstarting high productivity in the office can easily be done through simple tweaks in the office and consistent encouragements to your employees. Don’t wait until low productivity levels put you behind your competition.

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What To Consider Before Starting A Small Business

Jul 10, 2017 by

What To Consider Before Starting A Small Business

Starting your company is exciting, but it’s also nerve-wracking. There are lots of moving parts and critical decisions to make throughout the process. It’s important to have an idea of what you’re doing so you come to the right conclusions. Give yourself some room to falter, but don’t stay in one place for too long.

Think about your vision and where you picture your business down the road. Prepare yourself for struggles and successes that you’re bound to encounter. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable with the right attitude and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way. See what to consider before starting a small business.

Business Plan

Design a business plan that plays out your business goals and growth strategy. Have your vision on paper and not just in your head. Document the details and what your future looks like with the company. You’ll want to share it with your leadership team or business partner. Use it as your roadmap that helps you see the different roles and departments in your company.

Product or Service

Make sure you have a solid product or service to offer. Anyone can go into business, but only those with a special creation succeed. Perfect your ideas before going to market and have an idea of how you’re going to make it even better in the future. Think about ways you’re going to innovate and improve your product or service.

Financing

Be realistic about your financing requirements. There are business loans to apply for that’ll help you continue your business vision. Map out a realistic budget and what type of funding you’ll need from the lender. It’s better to be honest about your numbers, rather than to continue in business in denial about how much money you have, and how much each milestone is going to cost. The process is made simple to help you grow your business, but know there are requirements you’ll need to meet to secure the financing.

Staffing

Consider if you’ll need to hire staff to help you build your business. Employees are great for helping with the workload and brainstorming ideas, but remember they come with a price. Figure out how many people you need to help you, the pay structure and where they’ll be sitting and working. Bring them in slowly if that’s what your situation requires at the time.

Location

Put energy into thinking about where you want your business to be located. Ask yourself if you’re going to be working out of your home to start, or renting part of an office building. These are decisions and costs you need to weigh-up as you plan your business’s future: your product or service may require you to be in a specific location to help you sell. Also, consider access to public transportation or the downtown area.

Conclusion

There’s no easy answer for how to start a company. It’s a journey each individual must make on their own time. This is what to consider before starting a small business.

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3 Essential Data Recovery Tips for Small Businesses

Apr 1, 2017 by

3 Essential Data Recovery Tips for Small Businesses

Most small businesses rely on their important data and files to be stored and accessed on the company’s computers whether they be desktop or laptop devices. We all know that such technology devices have a life span and most will eventually fail for any number of reasons including power failures, cyber attacks or even natural disasters.

It’s vitally important for any small business to have a data recovery plan so important customer and financial data is not lost. Here are three data recovery tips for your business:

1. Always Back Up Your Data

Most data recovery and security companies will tell you that you essentially need three copies of your important data and files. One copy is obviously on your computer’s hard drive and is most likely accessed on a daily basis.

Make sure that you use up-to-date software programs to ensure your data’s security such as virus protection and firewalls as most cyber attacks happen while your computer is connected to the internet. Even when you have excellent security protection you still need to be vigilant, especially when opening attachments on emails, as some of these can contain quite malicious viruses.

You should also have a second backup copy of your data on a separate hard drive which is stored off site. Set up a regular backup schedule, at least once a week, to back up your data onto this hard drive and store it somewhere which is secure and protected.

Thirdly you should have another copy of your data stored on an online cloud based storage facility. There are many options available here and you will find some good cloud based server facilities by doing a little research. Once again set up a schedule to automatically back up your data which can easily be done once a day.

2. Use a Professional Data Recovery Company

Never try to recover your data yourself if you’re not a professional in this field as this may cause further damage or even permanent data loss. Always contact a company to perform flash drive data recovery on your system if you believe that your files have been compromised or you believe that you have lost some data.

Make sure that you research professional data recovery companies to ensure they have proof of industry certifications and also security protocols. You want to ensure that you’re dealing with a reputable company to avoid your critical information being stolen.

3. Watch for Signs of Hardware Failure

Quite often, your computer will give warning signs that a failure is apparent. Listen for clicking, whirring or grinding noises and if these occur, immediately shut down your computer. Make sure your computer is unplugged before you remove the hard drive to take it to your data recovery company.

Better still, give them a call as they may offer onsite visits and could you have you back up and running the same day.

Conclusion

Remember, as a small businesses it’s vitally important that you protect your valuable data and files from loss. Make sure you always have adequate back ups and enlist the services of a professional data recovery company in the event that you suffer a hardware failure and need to have your data recovered.

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Easy Ways to Save on Ownership Costs of Your Company Car

Mar 30, 2017 by

Easy Ways to Save on Ownership Costs of Your Company Car

Company cars offer tax breaks for employers. Plus, they help employees get to work more easily because they benefit from reliable sources of transportation whether your company owns a car or an employee does. There are several things you can do to slash ownership costs for the respective party.

Take the Car for Scheduled Maintenance

 

If you check the owner’s manual for your company car, it’ll spell out specifics about when you should take the car for maintenance checkups. You might prefer to skip those, especially if the car seems to be functioning well. However, it’s smarter to make sure the car gets regular professional assessments. Then, it’s more likely you’ll be made aware of problems that could become costly if not fixed promptly.

Coach People About Good Driving Habits

 

In some cases, the people driving your company cars may not have received any sort of drivers’ education for decades. Many individuals are under the impression that they are responsible, safe drivers, but are actually engaging in habits that could increase the cost of ownership for a company car and shorten its lifespan.

 

Some of them may not have even been covered in educational classes that people took years ago. For example, running a car until it’s almost out of gas causes the vehicle to use fuel that’s at the very bottom of the tank and may contain sediment. It’s possible for that junk to get into the car’s fuel line and cause major problems.

 

Before allowing a person to drive a company car, you may want to take them out on the road, watch what they do, and provide feedback when necessary. It’s also a good idea to have a bulleted list of good driving habits displayed prominently inside the car. When people have visual reminders not to accelerate too fast, slam on the brakes, or take the corners too sharply, they may be less likely to do those things while behind the wheel.

Have a Standard Procedure for Reporting Problems

 

Maybe a person was driving a company car and noticed the car started pulling to one side when the brakes were applied or heard a strange noise after reaching a certain speed. These kinds of symptoms could be telltale signs of larger problems, which is why it’s not a good idea for people to just assume that the issues will go away on their own and do not require further evaluation.

 

If your company has a uniform and well-publicized procedure in place that people can use to report suspicious car problems, it’ll be much easier for the responsible department or individual at the workplace to schedule appointments with a mechanic to determine what’s going on.

This tip is similar to the one about keeping up with maintenance. Although you may not be looking forward to potentially having to pay more than expected to keep company cars running well, this approach is better than the alternative of potentially having to get rid of vehicles prematurely because they’ve developed such severe problems.

Practice Comparison Shopping When Getting Insurance Coverage

 

Car insurance is mandatory in most states and if you don’t have it, you may have to pay a hefty fine and deal with how your company’s reputation got damaged as a result of the lack of insurance. If you’re serious about saving as much money as possible when buying insurance, make sure to use a website that allows you to do comparison shopping and study what’s offered from different providers.

 

By using a website such as carinsurancecheap.net, you can easily see what’s available and request quotes based on your circumstances. The information you gather could make it much easier for your business to budget for the overall cost of company cars. Keep in mind, the associated expenses are not just related to purchasing the vehicle, but the fuel that goes into it, the upkeep, and yes, the insurance coverage.

 

Shopping for car insurance online is also advantageous if you are one of the main people running a small or recently launched business and find yourself having to handle many duties. You may not have time to look for car insurance at work but can easily get informed from home.

 

Hopefully, it’s now clear there are several things you can do to reduce ownership costs for company cars. Start putting the tips above into practice for noticeable results.

 

 

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