Entrepreneurs and SMEs – Making the Most of Your Employees’ Individuality When Hiring New Staff

As an entrepreneur or SME owner you’ll want to ensure your business grows quickly, effectively and successfully. Part of this growth can often see the expansion of your enterprises through increased trade, physical expansion of your workplace and the investment in new staff.

That latter of these aspects is arguably one of the most important: your new staff are the future of your company and naturally you’ll want only the best. But how can you be sure whether a) you’ve got a decent candidate, and b) they can offer your business something positive in the long term?  This is where you need to turn to the expertise of the staff you already have.

Promoting Positive Values

As a small enterprise you may presently only have a small staff roster, but among them you’ll have a pool of qualifications, skills and abilities that you can proudly demonstrate to prospective applicants as part and parcel of working in your industry. Before you publish any advertisements for new roles, be sure you’ve referenced some of the skills your employees have as this could be appealing to potential candidates who share common interests.

A Thorough Interview Process

Depending on which role you have on offer, a way to help assess and properly consider interviewees is to have one of your existing staff on the panel. Get them to ask challenging questions about their shared specialist area to really put the applicant to the test. This way you can know for certain that this person really knows their field well and isn’t just trying to bluff their way through the interview.

Not only can this be a good way of vetting people, you can get an honest and more reliable opinion post-interview about whether your employee thinks they will be a good acquisition for the future. Equally you can decide whether they have the potential to develop further with extra training and support – which again your current staff can offer advice on.

Added Benefits

Another positive to consider is the effect such actions might have on the morale of your staff. They may feel flattered and proud for you to ask them to do this and be pleased that you acknowledge their hard work and skills, which in turn could see them working even harder and more productively.

So if you want to see your company head in the right direction, look to your current staff and what they have to offer to ensure you find the best fit for your business.

Does your Business Need its Own Mobile App?

Apple recently announced one of the biggest profit margins in history and according to the New York Times has a “93% share of the profit in the handset industry”. These figures have come predominately from Apple’s massive global sales of its latest iPhone model, with millions sold in China alone.

What’s perhaps more incredible about this, is that this is only one of the leading smartphone companies. Other tech giants like Samsung and HTC can also boast healthy sales figures of their devices and you only have to take a look around you on a busy street to see just how many people are using a smartphone.

But should we be surprised by this? Gone are the days where a mobile phone was just that, a phone, with the occasional luxury of being able to send a text. Today they are portable multimedia platforms allowing users to do pretty much anything tech-based from the touch of a button. Whether it’s taking a photo or organising a date, I’m sure you’ll have heard the expression ‘is there an app for that?’ being asked at some point.

The Answer

So, really the answer to the above titular question should be a resounding ‘yes’. The bottom line really is that if you want your business to connect to your clients, then going via their smartphones is a sure-fire way to do so.

Creating Apps?

The creation of an app may well exceed your computing capabilities but that’s where companies like Evolve. These specialist firms can create bespoke apps for businesses which can offer as much or as little as they want them to.

What Benefits?

So aside from being able to showcase your business, other benefits you can realise from an app include:

  • Being available 24/7 – apps aren’t limited to working hours and depending on the nature of your service you can provide for customers around the clock.
  • Improved Communication Services – businesses can go above the standard phone call or email communications that the average company offers. Apps can feature messaging services meaning you can directly answer, and ultimately deal, with any issues far quicker.
  • USP – at the moment, you can market your app as a unique selling point and it can make your business stand out from the competition.

These are just a few generic examples of what having a mobile app can bring to your business, again depending on your service you could offer much, much more. So if you are in a position to invest in such features, be sure to do so to tap into a huge global market.

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Top Tips for Asset Management Start Ups

For those looking to build an asset management business, there’s an awful lot to think about. The field is a complex one, and the knowledge, skills and financial backing you’ll need are not always easy to come by. That doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to failure, however; with the right business plan in place, and a firm understanding of how to get started, it’s fully possible to build a successful enterprise.

 

But where do you start? Read on to find out more…

 

Step One: Make Sure that You Meet Regulatory Compliance Standards

 

Given the potential for abuse, it’s no surprise that asset and investment management firms must meet a number of regulatory controls. The exact requirements that you’ll need to fulfil are dependent on the country that you live in. It’s best to seek professional advice to guide you through them and make sure that you tick all of the necessary boxes – some of them can be quite complex. You’ll find that there’s a wealth of information and useful contacts available online to get you started and put you in touch with the right people.

 

Step Two: Secure Investors for Your Enterprise

 

Asset management firms are not a cheap endeavour to embark upon. Your start up costs will be high, and in addition to typical start up expenses, you’ll also need a substantial amount for seed capital. This figure could be anything from tens of thousands of pounds to millions, depending on the scope of your envisaged business.

 

Unless you already possess a vast personal fortune, this means that you’re going to require investors or wealthy partners. To do so, you will be required to jump through hoops, so make sure that you have a solid business plan, detailed budget forecasts, a proven track record and a realistic exit strategy in order to attract the investors you need.

 

Step Three: Surround Yourself with Experience

 

Fully-fledged companies have the luxury of hiring brilliant graduates on a low wage and training them up themselves. As a start up, you’re going to need to pay your staff more in order to attract the necessary experience. The best will come with their own contacts, and their success, capability and skill set will help to put your business on the map. If you can surround yourself with the right staff, you can go in hard and fast and make a killing from the start. Your sales team will be particularly important, as you’re going to need their talent to draw in the clients who’ll fund your enterprise.

 

Once you have these three key assets in place, you’re ready to hit the ground running. What are you waiting for?

How Startups can Project A Professional Image

Creating a startup business is an important milestone, but expanding requires a professional image. Entrepreneurial drive, knowledge and talent is not enough to attract customers and the needed revenue to keep the business afloat. Transitioning from concept to a fully-fledged company requires employees, investment and a list of clients, all of which are hard to secure without a proven track record.

The key here is to make the business appear to be longer established and therefore project an image of reliability and trust.

Office Presentation

An office is an investment and important company asset. Renting, buying, renovating or designing an office space can be costly and require funds that are not readily available to a startup. Many businesses choose instead to use serviced offices or meeting rooms. Companies such as Landmark PLC provide meeting rooms that accommodate between two and seventy people, making serviced facilities ideal for a start up.

While the business may currently function from a spare room, having a professional space can be highly beneficial. It presents an image of a well established business and projects an atmosphere of trust when meeting prospective clients and investors or interviewing potential employees.

Branding

Good visual design and a memorable logo are important in order to make a startup business more memorable. For example, think about Coca Cola or Apple and one of the first things that come to mind is the branding. A logo should be used on the website, business cards, social media, advertising, correspondence and alongside the company name. Good branding can make a business appear more refined and professional.

Invest in a Website

A website is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to create a professional image for a business. No matter the type of product or business, a website is an important marketing tool that projects a company’s image. Creating a website is a surprisingly straightforward process. Simply register a domain name and use a website that offers templates, such as WordPress.

Use Social Media

Thousands of companies operate through social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With millions of online users across the globe, social media presents a quick way to grow and build company reputation.

Credibility is often centred around the number of likes or followers, both of which can be grown easily if you regularly create and share quality content. The larger the number of followers, the more trustworthy and legitimate and business appears.

How to Improve Your Company’s Finances

Finance is at the heart of every business, but it is also an area that can be problematic and hard to manage. The New Year has arrived and in a few short months, so will the new tax year. Therefore it is now the ideal time to get a handle on your cash flow and improve the financial future of your company.

Here are some important things to consider to help you better manage your financial accounts and thus, your business.

Negotiate with Suppliers

Depending on the nature of your business, you may require large quantities of stock or equipment. With many suppliers, you can opt to buy in bulk or if you make regular purchases, then they may offer structured payment plans. Make sure you work to create a good relationship with your suppliers, as a strong foundation will be important when attempting to negotiate a possible discount.

Deposits and Subscriptions

Many businesses request a deposit when when a customer places an order. Additionally, there are many products, such as magazines or mail order snacks that are purchased via monthly or annual subscriptions. This is highly beneficial as funds are provided upfront that can be used to take on another job or purchase more supplies, therefore allowing for a faster turnover.

Invoice Financing

Employ a third party to carry out invoice financing. A company such as Touch Financial Support will give you a great selection of quotes of companies that will purchase unpaid invoices for a fee, which can quickly provide your company with a percentage of any outstanding invoices, and then provide the remainder when it has been collected from the customer.

Grants and Funding

There are many grants and funding opportunities, especially for new ventures. Note that these will vary depending on the location, type and size of your business. There are grants for start up companies and even training, so it is worth taking the time to research possible grants. For UK businesses, look here for funding opportunities.

Analyse Your Cycles

Every business experiences high and low peaks throughout the year, with increased and decreased demand for services or products. This is particularly true in the retail industry, where a large majority of financial income rests upon the Christmas period. Take the time to analyse the cycle and patterns that your business follows. This will allow you to plot trends in expenditure verses capital and plan your cash flow accordingly, highlighting the times of the year where you can afford to reinvest or may require lending.

How to Launch a Real Estate Business

Real estate can be a profitable business if you possess the necessary knowledge and a solid financial plan. While the growth of the British housing market has waned somewhat during the past year, due in part to the restriction on mortgages in October, experts are predicting that house prices are set to rise in 2015. A potential increase in prices could equal larger profits for real estate businesses, so now could be the perfect time if you are considering a startup.

Here are some helpful suggestions on how to launch a real estate startup.

Knowledge

As stated in the Estate Agents Act 1979, unless a person has been declared bankrupt or has received a ban from the Office of Fair Trading, they can operate their own real estate business without needing a license in the UK (unlike America or Australia).

However, while an agent in the UK may not need to possess formal qualifications or a license to operate a real estate business, they will need expert industry knowledge.

Working in real estate requires excellent people, management and business skills. As well as thorough knowledge of the local market, planning laws, and legal issues for buying and selling property. In addition, a comprehensive understanding of tenant and landlord law is essential for an agent who intends to let. In this instance, the day-to-day running of business will also require liaising with tradespeople, landlords and solicitors.

Create a Business Plan

Before writing a plan, consider how the real estate business will function. The trend of online real estate companies – who market and sell properties in much the same way as traditional agents but with lower fees – is continuing to grow. These two formats require different business plans, staffing levels and premises.

However, to run a successful business, there must first be a solid business plan in place. This document should outline a plan of growth via business goals and a corresponding time period, how this can feasibly be achieved and the capital needed/available to finance this new business venture.

A well structured plan can help keep track of progress and spot any potential flaws, as well as secure finance. A business plan is particularly important for an entrepreneur requiring funds for a startup business that often needs the support of investors. There are books to help those unsure of how to tackle this document, or alternatively, search online for guidance on how to write a business plan.

BCECC’s Diplomatic Days on February 5, 2015

As the Chinese new year of the Goat is rapidly coming to us, I am pleased to invite you to BCECC’s Diplomatic Days on February 5, 2015 in Brussels as ourBelgian diplomats in China are heading back to Belgium for their annual meetings in Brussels.

During this lunch event you will have the chance to meet the Ambassador to Beijing, H.E. Michel Malherbe and the Consul Generals to Shanghai, H.E. Cathy Buggenhout, to Guangzhou, H.E. Christian de Lannoy, and to Hong Kong, H.E. Evert Marechal.

 

Subscription fee for BCECC members will be 75€/person (VAT excl.) and 115€/person (VAT excl.) for non-members. Please register online or by sending the filled out registration form by e-mail to events@bcecc.be or by fax to 02 649 04 39 before the 30th of January 2015.

CIM Bank Introduction

CIM Bank is a 22-year-old private bank based in Switzerland, with headquarters in Geneva. CIM Bank have a multilingual team, speaking more than 18 languages. Bank’s services include:

 

  • Free account opening
  • Personal or corporate accounts (for onshore and offshore companies)
  • Possibility to open accounts online only with a webcam (no visit requested)
  • Fast account opening (around 3-5 days)
  • Minimum deposit CHF/EUR/USD 5’000
  • Minimum remaining balance CHF/EUR/USD 1’000
  • Credit cards and debit cards
  • E-banking Mobile banking
  • Financial consulting & Investment advise
  • Savings account
  • Trading online (Futures, CFD’s, Options, Shares, Bonds, Funds)

Please contact us for further information: info@startupr.com

 

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Dear Valued Customer, As the Holiday season approaches,

Startupr wishes you a Merry Xmas & Happy Holidays! Hoping you enjoy time with family and friends during this joyful time.

yours Startupr Team