Thinking of Building the Right Office For Your Startup? Here’s What You Need to Know

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. The long hours, the work you need to pick up, hell, even the loneliness. But, there are certain landmarks, certain milestones that can really show you that you are on the right track. No matter how banal, or simple, or some would even call trite, you understand what they are and why they matter.

So, imagine just seeing your name on an office. The name of your company, something you prouder your heart and soul into, and there it is. A start-up’s office is a concrete, real evidence that you are moving in the right direction. Furthermore, it’s gonna be your home for quite some time. If you want to push through and achieve real success, well, expect a couple of sleepless nights at the desk. So why not make that desk, and the big concrete box surrounding it, as pleasant as possible?

But, you need to set things up right, and set them up soon. There are many ways you can do this, and while the final choice is up to you, below are some tips you can keep in mind. We of course know that this is something you have been dreaming for ages – what entrepreneur hasn’t already planned out the perfect office in his or her mind. But, of course, reality always sets in.

 

Baby steps

However, this ended up sounding grim, but it’s anything but. These are the great growing stages of your company. You get new employees, you have different sections, areas and departments. Change is coming, and you need to make room for it. You start with just a few members, but soon end up with who knows how many.

But, the grim factors here are money and rules. First, you will need to set up a proper plan. Then, budget everything up, contact good contractors, get good roofers, plumbers, electricians. Of course, you need to find the right location, figure out how to market everything, what to do, who to call… So, what to do first?
Furthermore, you need to get the proper licenses. All inspections, every inch of the place needs to be up to code. Are you renting or buying, or building? If you’re building, contact another entrepreneurial company, like Jonishan civil contractors in Sydney. Of course, if you’re nowhere near Sydney, you should still consider hiring “local talent”. Medium and small-sized companies and startups are in a realm of their own, and you’d be surprised by just how much better they are when compared to mega-corporations.

Space is everything

 

We understand that a startup setting up a new office doesn’t really have the funds to buy a renovated castle. However, the last thing you want is for your people to feel cramped, and for the workstations to start suffocating them.

So, in some areas you compromise, some you completely write off, and for some, well, either be laxer or get more money. Many architects advise that you have a dedicated meeting room, as well as a kitchen and dining area. However, try to set things up in such a manner that if there are any differing parents that they are close together. Don’t divide them with the break room, keep them close. This will facilitate better communication, and will nurture intercompany relations.

Remember that if you are working with clients, that you place the reception area away from the actual workroom. You don’t want your employees losing their concentration. A good layout would be something like this, from left to right: work area, break room and bathrooms, and then the reception area. You can reach the reception area either through a small hall, or directly through the break room, depending on your means.

You are free

A bit of a corny subheading, we know, but bear with us. You are a startup. Not MegaCorp TM. You have a lot of freedom and room to maneuver. You can choose to do what is the most efficient and, quite honestly, fun. As long as your people are doing their job, and doing it well, making them feel better is just a big perk. For example, you don’t need to have a robotic cubicle area. Why not have lazy bags, exercise ball chairs, specialized furniture… You can even invest in a self-serve kitchen in the break room

The point here is to do what is right for you, and your employees. Of course, the reception area should be as serious and as professional as your profession needs it to be. But on the other hand, quite honestly, why not have some extra freedom?

You are not supposed to impress your investors with your office. Sure, a clean, upscale building does signify that you are successful, that you know what you are doing. But what goes inside this building that is up to you and your team. They should be impressed by the products and services you provide, and the manner in which you provide them. Anything more is just being greedy.

 

 

 

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4 Reasons Your Business Startup Needs Storage Space

In 2014 over 450,000 businesses were started in the United States. The constant economic growth post the 2008 economic crisis has been showing its face for a while now. One of the costliest expenses in any industry is space. Whether it is for storage, office or a production line, enough space is required for our enterprise to function properly. The ever-increasing prices of real estate make this a problem. Even more so for small businesses that are just getting started. The typical square footage being rented for a new small business usually revolves around 1,000. With the introduction of desks, electronic equipment, cubicles, and other office necessities, we do not have a lot of room left to work with. And renting additional space is not an option, again, because of the expenses involved. Here are the key points on how renting proper, adequate storage space is beneficial to our bottom line.

 

1. Optimizing space

 

When we lease some space, we need enough of it to house everything and everyone we need for business to run properly. And these are just the skeleton crew and the infrastructure. Even then, at the end of the day, we are left with very little room for anything else. In our beginner stage at least, it would not be a financially sound idea to rent additional space. This is the point where we can consider renting dedicated storage units. These are typically characterized by lower monthly rent, which makes it perfect for pure storage. Here we can leave advertising materials, filing cabinets, supplies of any kind, raw materials, desks, chairs, you name it. It is a good solution if you have a lot of assets of any kind that are not going to be immediately used.

 

2. Safety first

 

Another advantage of storage units over our garage is the level security it provides. Most facilities have constant video surveillance, guard personnel, pin-locks, perimeter fencing, and much more. The site manager will be onsite most of the time for any questions or need we might have. Also, we can distribute different pin codes for the locks on our units. What this will do, is provide us with detailed logs on who, when, and why has entered the storage unit. Also, there are contracts where we can ensure the contents inside our storage unit. For an extra fee, of course.

 

3. Redundancy

 

In the event of a catastrophe, heavens forbid, our stored assets will be safe off-site. Fires, especially electrical ones, flooding, and various natural disasters all pose a serious threat to our business. No matter where we find ourselves in the world, there is always some specificity we have to pay attention to. Sometimes it is just some cosmic joke or very bad luck at play. The saying “Do not put all your eggs in one basket” really starts to sound smart right about now. If we store our inventory, valuable equipment, and other company assets in the same place, that is a disaster waiting to happen. By separating our stored assets to multiple locations, we sever the chances of losing everything if worst comes to pass. This way if something does happen, at least we have a base to rebuild on, as we have not lost everything.

 

4. Going vertical

 

Since space is so expensive these days, we can maximize what we already have by going up, instead of to the side. Finding storage space with a higher ceiling, sort of speak will pay in the long run, greatly. By storing our assets vertically, we avoid renting greater surface areas which, obviously, cost more money. Yes, we would need to invest in scaffolding to form our giant storage shelves. Also, finding reliable electric forklifts in Australia, such as NFM Forklifts will prove to be very beneficial. They will save a lot of time and work hours by helping with the storing of assets at higher elevations. These initial investments will cost a bit more at the start but will save you money greatly in the long run. Not being forced to rent a second or even a third storing site can mean the difference between profit and going under. This reigns especially true for smaller companies in their initial phase of doing business.

 

Today’s global market is very atomized and competitive. There is always someone wanting their piece of the industry. By having a competitive advantage, no matter how small, these companies are at an advantage financially. Every dollar counts, especially when starting a business. One of the best ways to save money is to be rational with our leased-out space. Renting the smallest adequate space, but making the most of it is the winning recipe for running a successful business. No matter if your enterprise is a product based one or not, take as much away from these lessons and apply them yourself, today.

Moving Forward After Funding Failure

One of the toughest things about starting or sustaining a business is finding funding. Whether for a startup effort, an expansion, product development, or more aggressive marketing, every business needs money, and many times that means outside funding. There are a few ways to get outside money for your business:

  • Traditional Business Loans: Available from banks, credit unions, or small business administration and government loans, these are traditional ways of funding. Essentially, a business takes out a secured or unsecured loan and pays it back in installments with interest.
  • Venture Capital/Angel Investors: This funding comes from individuals or groups who invest in businesses in exchange for a percentage of profits and a portion of the proceeds if the business is sold or stock options if it goes public.
  • Crowdfunding: A relatively new method for business, this is when you use platforms like Kickstarter to get funding from those who are interested in your product or service.
  • IPO: When a company sells stock that is publicly traded.

There are other methods of internal funding and less conventional funding like seeking loans from friends and family. Essentially, for all of these different methods, you must prove that your business has either made money in the past or has the potential to make enough money to be worth investors’ time and money.

None of these methods of funding are guaranteed. So what happens when you go after funding and you don’t get it? Here are some keys to moving forward after funding failure:

Evaluate What Went Wrong (If Anything)

Depending on the type of funding you were seeking, there could be a number of reasons you did not get it. It is a good idea at this point for you to see the same issues lenders saw so you can fix them if possible. If it is not possible to fix the issue, then you might have to reconsider your growth rate or even your business idea. Here are a few things that could have gone wrong:

  • Your Personal Credit Score Is Too Low: When your startup is new, your business has no credit rating of its own. Everything is tied to you as the business backer. If your credit score is not stellar, a lender might see your business as a credit risk.
  • Your Pitch Did Not Inspire Investors: Investors hear a lot of pitches, and you should simply be prepared to hear “no” a lot.
  • Your Business Model Needs Work: While your idea might be great, you also need a path to making money, and yours may need refining before you apply for funding. You also may be losing money in ways that are not obvious to you but that investors see. Look for funding holes and repair them.

In his book, Lost and Founder, Rand Fishkin, founder of MOZ, reminds readers that when it comes to business, 5 in 10 will fail. Three of those that succeed will only make a small amount of money for investors, and two will make up for all the rest. Venture capitalists and even banks are looking for those two.

Even LegalZoom failed in their initial IPO before raising $500 million in their latest round of funding, which was designed to give current investors liquidity and move on to investors with a longer term outlook. Even large, successful companies have failed to get funding from time to time. Sometimes, it’s nothing you did wrong at all; you may just have asked the wrong people or at the wrong time.

Evaluate Where You Are Without That Funding

Just because you did not get this round of funding does not mean things are over. It is likely you are not out of business, but you will have to evaluate where you are now, as disappointing as that might seem, and where you need to go from here.

The first thing to do is look at your earnings now. This can also help with the previous step and determining what went wrong. Good accounting practices let you see if you need to scale back growth, return leased equipment, or take other steps to keep your business going. One of the most important steps to this is looking at your current cash flow. What kind of money do you need to cover your daily operations? Do you have that money coming in?

Secondly, look at why you wanted or needed that money in the first place. Was the need immediate, or was it to finance future projects that can be put on hold? If the answer falls into the second category, you can take some time to evaluate those projects and look for alternate funding sources or even shift your company focus.

Seek Other Funding Sources

No matter how you tried to get funding, there are other sources. If venture capital failed, you may have to look at loans. If one or both of those failed, you may want to look more creatively at some crowdfunding options. You may even simply want to look at other investors or banking options.

In business, a “no” often simply means you are that much closer to a “yes,” and that is no different with funding than with anything else. If one thing did not work, try another one. If you heard no, ask someone else, or reset once you have determined what went wrong and fixed it, and then ask again. This means expanding your network and practicing your people skills and sales pitches at conferences and wherever you go.

Even after funding failure, business is about moving forward, even if that means stumbling forward for a bit until you can get on your feet again. There’s no time to stop and wrestle with regret. A business that is not moving forward is already moving backward. Determine what went wrong if possible, take stock of where you are now, and seek other funding sources. This “no” may simply be one more step on your way to a “yes” and a successful round of company funding.

7 Design Tips For Your Startup Office

Workspace is not merely the place where people work, but it is a microcosm of its own. The design of an office space is by all means not trivial, especially for startups. For them, every little detail can make or break the newly founded company. Office space design can be used not only to boost productivity but the much-needed creativity which guarantees that the product or service provided by the startup will be a hit in the market. We have compiled a list of 7 design tips that you can use for your startup.

Colors

Choosing the right overall color is interior design one-on-one. When it comes to office space, then mild colors are the way to go. You can choose a shade to your liking, even orange or yellow. However, don’t implement tacky colors as they will distract the employees from the work beforehand. The safest option would be the color grey and all of its numerous shades. This can be coupled with brown furniture or black and white wallpapers.

Plants

Although office space is usually located in an urban area, that does mean that nature is unwelcome here. There should be plants all around the office if nothing, then at least small potted ones. If you really wish to make the space verdant, then use climbers that can be placed near window areas. They will act are sculptural ornaments and help the employees relax by reducing stress levels. This increases productivity and has many more benefits for the workforce.

Plenty of light

Placing plants in the office will ensure there is enough air, but there should be plenty of light as well. If the office is way high up in a skyscraper, make use of this by keeping the window panes unobstructed. Dim spaces make the workers sleepy or moody which is not the effect you want to achieve. Also, try not to pile up stuff inside the office since the impression of spaciousness and airiness is lost.

Mats

Your office should be trendy and modern. Believe it or not, but floor mats are the latest trend, so make sure they are in front of every door. Their sole purpose is not only wiping feet, but there are anti-slip and anti-fatigue mats as well. If the workspace is dangerous in any way, you might consider placing these around the hazardous area. Also, you can order personalized mats that the best employees could choose the design for each month, for example.

Books

Walls can be perceived as canvases for artwork, but there is an even better way to cover them. Order customized shelves that will be stocked up with books, and a lot of them. This will add to the uniqueness of the space and individuality you wish to develop in your employees. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to peruse through the books they like during the pauses. If you have trouble acquiring the books in large quantities, go to the local library, books are written off all the time. Some of them are even vintage-bound, which is another design point to adhere to.

Vintage and modern

If the office is all vintage styled, then you are turning it into a lounge for hipsters and not much work will be done. On the other hand, if it’s all modern, then it becomes too sterile for any creative work to be carried out. The answer is not in the extremes but in the balance between vintage and modern elements that will add a touch of luxury to the space.

The meeting room

So far, we haven’t discussed particular rooms inside the office. The reception desk and lounge areas have their importance, but it is the meeting room that should receive the most attention. This is the places where important decisions are made and where productivity and creativity should reach their peak. Design this room separately by choosing different colors and furnishing it differently from the rest of the office. If possible, make it more luxurious as well.

From the color palette to wall decorations, a startup office should be all about balance. Interior design should reflect the work-life balance you wish to accomplish in your employees. This way they will have a chance to be creative and show their full potential. Properly decorating the office space should be an integral part of any startup’s business strategy.

5 Tools for Boosting Your Startup’s Launch

They say that every beginning is tough, however, the problem with this lies in the question: how does one define tough? Is it merely an effort to end result-wise or when observed from the standpoint of personal stress endured? Both of these aspects can’t be measured objectively, which means that the launch of your business is only as tough as you allow it to be. With that in mind, by utilizing proper tools, you can make your initial efforts much more effective, as well as reduce the amount of stress you’re supposed to suffer from in this pivotal stage. Here are five tools that could help you in this regard.

1.     Google Docs

Eventually, you’ll need a collaboration tool, yet, the choice of a collaboration tool might influence the structure of your projects. This is why it is not something you should pick straight away. Look at all the options out there and, most importantly, ask your team for their opinions. For the time being, most of the sharing, scheduling and collaboration can be done in a tool as standard and simple as Google Docs. Apart from this, Google Docs is a completely free tool, which is why there are virtually no downsides to using it. Even when you do embrace a collaboration platform, you can keep it as a side-tool.

2.     Google Analytics

The next challenge you’ll encounter is the one of your web presence and market research. Both of these things can be handled through Google Analytics. Sure, you can go to business blogs and read about experiences of businesses belonging to the niche you’re currently trying to penetrate, nonetheless, there’s no guarantee that the same will happen to you. With Google Analytics, you’ll be able to thoroughly study your own audience and get actionable first-hand data on their online behavior and habits.

3.     Dibz

As soon as you start, you’ll need to spearhead your digital marketing campaign and one of your first stops will be the issue of SEO. On-site optimization is just one part of the problem, but it is also something you can handle in a matter of hours. Off-site optimization in form of link building is something that takes a lot more time and active effort. This is also why you need adequate link building tools and Dibz is one of the amazing options for you to go for. Needless to say, this platform is great for both the process of link building and influencer opportunities research.

4.     Skype

If you’re running a remote team, you need a tool capable of hosting conference calls. Now, while some may argue that there are better tools for this than Skype, there are several perks of this software that simply shouldn’t be underestimated. First of all, it’s constantly updated, worked on and has an amazing customer service. Second, it’s compatible with various devices, which makes it even easier for you to stay connected with your team, your partners and even your clients at all times.

5.     Wave

Finally, when it comes to the issue of money, your overhead may not be that great but the sources they come through may be quite numerous. You might deal with a number of subscriptions, as well as invoices (both as account payables and receivables), which is why you need a tool that will allow you to monitor and manage this at all times. Due to the fact that money management is the most stressful part of your job as a fresh entrepreneur, this should take a huge burden off your back.

Conclusion

The perk of each of these tools lies in the fact that you don’t need to be an IT expert to use them. After all, Skype and Google Docs are probably the platforms you’re already using, while Google Analytics and Dibz have an incredibly beginner-friendly learning curve. This leaves you with Wave, which, although not familiar, is fairly easy to master and has a dashboard that will help you manage all your incomes and expenses quite effortlessly.

6 Most Common Ways Startups Are Leaking Money

In order to grow or even function, startups need to spend money, however, spending and leaking are not the same things. The greatest difference here lies in the efficiency of the investment. Every time you pay more for something that can be done with less, you are putting yourself further away from the break-even point and diminish the chance that your business will make it. In order to avoid this, you need to get familiar with six most common ways in which startups are leaking money.

Canceling your landline

Try to record every single time you receive a phone call and look at the report at the end of the month. One of the things you might notice is that, when compared to your website’s chat box, your email or even IM/DM service on your social networks, you receive relatively few calls via phone. In other words, having a landline is an option you can simply do without. Sure, if the majority of your customers belongs to the baby boomer generation, this might not be a sound idea. In any other situation, however, just outright canceling your landline might be a good idea.

Paying bills in person

Paying bills in person costs you somewhere around $12 per bill. Considering the number of bills you pay on a monthly and yearly basis this may amount to a small fortune. Most business owners, unfortunately, accept this as the inevitable expense of doing business without stopping to consider the possibility of paying these bills online. In this way, you could reduce the cost of paying for a single bill to $1,50 only, which makes this move incredibly frugal.

Inefficient marketing

The thing about marketing is that, in the past, it was nearly impossible to pinpoint its efficiency. Sure, you hire a marketing expert, let them work and experience a boost in sales, traffic and popularity. However, were you really able to tell which of the 10 techniques they used actually caused the increase? This is why John Wanamaker once said that although he knows that half of the money he spends on marketing gets wasted, he can never know which half.

Nowadays, in the era of digital marketing, such a thing is not necessarily true. For instance, when hiring SEO experts, you can insist on elaborate SEO reports on a regular basis, and thus be able to evaluate their efficiency. Even a complete digital marketing layman understands metrics like traffic, number of first-time visitors and conversion rate. In this way, you can stop spending money on areas that aren’t yielding you a decent ROI.

Not automating customer payments

In order to become reliable, customer payments need to be automated and organized into a subscription-like system. With present-day platforms and digital tools, this is fairly easy to achieve. In this way, if people forget to renew a subscription, even for a function they use every single day, you’ll automate this process so that it automatically renews. This will also mean that customers will need to cancel the subscription manually, which, on its own, might be enough to dissuade some people who are still on the fence when it comes to canceling.

Hiring unqualified people

Training people takes time and money and waiting until they acquire enough experience may cost you even more. In other words, hiring unqualified people is a clear money leak for your business, and one that can be avoided by setting just a bit harsher hiring criterion. Sure, this will diminish your talent pool or even cause more problems if you need to make an emergency hire, however, thinking about this in time is definitely a money-saving practice.

Web hosting

When it comes to web-hosting, you need to walk a thin line between free and too expensive. The first one may paint a bad image of your business, whereas high-end web hosting (although providing great ROI in the long run), may not be something you can afford. Luckily, the number of options out there is simply staggering, which should allow you to find a perfect choice, provided that you’re willing to invest a fair amount of research.

Conclusion

Apart from these six solutions, there are other ways to save money. Still, what makes the above-listed suggestion unique is the fact that it doesn’t diminish the efficiency of your research. Eliminating same-day delivery, lowering the quality of your products by skimming on supplies and laying people off directly affect your appeal and productivity. With the above-listed six examples, you get to save some money while not having to face a single significant downside.

Highly Effective Tips for Business Success for Startups

Highly Effective Tips for Business Success for Startups

“Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started.” – Lindsay Manseau, Photographer and Entrepreneur

According to Problemio, there are over 28 million small businesses in the U.S. However, the problem is almost 50% of startups fail during the first year. And the chances of reaching the end of the road only increase with each year on the market.

But why do so many companies face the risk of failure? The answer is not so simple although it all comes down to the issues entrepreneurs haven’t anticipated. So in order to get acquainted with corporate requirements and preventing possible business threats, we offer you a list of highly effective tips to help you secure the startup success and enhanced growth.

Know Your Goals

One of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail is because they didn’t research market demands. Before anything else, entrepreneurs need to be familiar with the industry, target audience, and competition. Who is your perfect customer? How are your products or services different from the rest? What is the ultimate business objective? And is the time for launching your business right?

Offer People a Deal They Can’t Refuse    

When first starting out, it’s important to offer quality. The business should be built around consumers because they are the backbone of every successful brand. Instead of focusing on sales, research what people need in the moment and then invest and promote deals customers will prefer.

Don’t be Afraid to Outsource     

Outsourcing has become the industry standard. Nowadays, those who wish to reduce costs, enhance customer experiences with the business, increase productivity and improve the quality of products and services in general, turn to outsourcing. Outsourcing back office operations, front office processes and marketing business processes are the main and highly rewarding options startups should definitely include in their business plan once the company begins to gain a broader awareness.

Keep a Close Eye on Cash Flow

The major liability that can ruin both a small business and a large enterprise is cash flow. As according to Nelson, a real estate business owner,  you need to have a clear idea of where the money goes and why. The business expenditure should be aligned with the main objectives while retaining a portion for unplanned situations. In other words, keep in touch with your accountant and have backup cash reserves as a safety cushion in case of shortfalls.   

Surround Yourself with a Motivated Team

The employee expertise is equally important as their motivation to complete tasks on time. Look at your staff as a well-oiled machine working towards a common goal which is, you guessed it, business successes. However, don’t forget that they are also people with hopes and dreams. Meaning you need to treat them with respect, include them in every step of the way, and provide opportunities for further occupational growth.

Share Your Success

It’s crucial to be transparent with your employees and customers. People feel more related and open to entrepreneurs who are not afraid to share their successes stories. Not only that transparency could help you raise productivity, but it can also build the necessary trust between a business and its audience. Plus, exchanging stories and listening to other ideas provides a chance to learn something new and to form loyal relationships along the way.

Leverage Technology into Your Advantage

Automation is the key to optimizing business processes. Digital technology and mighty software solutions can help to prevent human errors, enhance collaboration across departments, and better engage consumers. The good news is that you can take advantage of free online programs and affordable systems specifically designed to support SMBs. Just be sure you are picking the right tool for your business. Identify areas within your company that consume a lot of time and effort and use them as references.     

Learn to Move On

Taking care of every single thing and micromanaging projects can be stressful and damaging for the business. Some mistakes are bound to happen but if you want to overcome bumps on the road, learn to move on and trust your team to efficiently complete tasks. To put it simply, learn from mistakes but don’t fixate on problems.

Meet Your Investors

The majority of startups require investments to kick the business off. If you can relate, it’s recommended to find out what investors prefer and where can you find them. Doing online research is a good start, but still, work your way up in the entrepreneurial community and get involved on social media platforms. But before you contact investors, try finding or getting in touch with your mentors. They can tell you if your idea needs some touch-ups and prep you with the essentials investors expect to get from thriving entrepreneurs.  

 

Final Thoughts

“What I learned from Rockefeller that’s off-the-hook important is: You need to know exactly where you stand in a business at all times. Measure everything, because everything that is measured and watched improves.” – Bob Parson, GoDaddy Founder

All you need to succeed is a strategic head and a passionate heart. You need to be aware of everything that’s going on with your business at every moment. However, that doesn’t mean you should be too controlling and focused on every single detail.

Also, once the company experience successes, try not to become greedy. Remember, if you build your business on knowledge, respect, and a well-designed strategy, you will diminish the risk of becoming just one of the businesses who couldn’t keep up with evolving market requirements. Good luck!

Common HR Mistakes Startups Make

Regardless of how small or large your business is, the team that you assemble to work for you is an essential component to its success. As soon as you begin hiring staff members to join your startup, you must take on important human resources responsibilities. In many cases, hiring and developing talent as well as maintaining relationships with each team member can be stressful and challenging, and serious mistakes can be made.

Approaching the hiring and management tasks professionally from the start is essential for the success of your startup. It can reduce the number of issues that you run into and their severity. This means that you need to develop and follow effective human resources policies and processes immediately, and these should be scalable to accommodate growth in the years to come.

Identifying common human resources mistakes that startups make can help you to avoid making these same mistakes yourself. These are among the more common mistakes that startups make in the realm of human resources.

Not Seeking Professional Assistance

It may seem like hiring an employee to join your team is a relatively straightforward process and that you require little to no help with it. However, hiring a human resource professional as soon as possible to facilitate the hiring and management processes can help you to choose the right individuals to join the team. This step could also help you to retain the talent that you have worked so hard to recruit.

A good rule of thumb is to add one HR manager for every 50 employees on your team. This ensures that each individual on your team is properly managed. It also can help your HR team to identify potential issues that need to be addressed, answer their questions to promote happiness in the workplace and more. It is wise to have your HR professionals hired before adding even more individuals to join the team.

Hiring the Wrong Individuals

Entrepreneurs may be stressed with many responsibilities related to starting and growing a young business. With this in mind, it is understandable that you may take the approach of hiring any individual to join your team who has the right skillset and experience. However, there are many other factors to consider when making a hiring decision than simply the credentials on a resume. For example, a new-hire should have the right mentality to fit into corporate culture, solid personal skills to be an asset to the team and more. Your hiring process should successfully screen applicants in all relevant areas.

When you hire the wrong individuals for your positions, you may have operational issues. These individuals or others in the team could become discontent when new-hires are a poor fit, and your employee turnover rate may escalate. This type of employee experience could ultimately cost the company a substantial amount of money. To combat this, you need to have a solid financial plan for your business, and you need to stick to it. This plan should focus on standardizing the hiring process and creating clear, effective criteria to make a hiring decision by.

Not Having Strong Company Culture

Many of the largest and most successful corporations have a strong and identifiable company culture. For example, Apple is known for its outside-the-box thinking and for hiring creative individuals with fresh perspectives. You may assume that a company’s culture simply develops over time on its own, but the reality is that culture is created by the business owner though individualized decisions. For example, the interactions between team members and management can lay the foundation for culture. Without culture, your business may flounder.

Because of how important company culture is in even small companies, you need to understand how to create it. Choosing policies and processes that are aligned with the culture that you want to achieve is important. Your management team’s interactions with staff members also should represent culture. As you create corporate policies and business processes, the concept of corporate culture should also be in mind.

Failing to Develop the Team

While you may go to great lengths to hire new team members by focusing on their experience and skills, the business world is constantly changing. You need your existing team to be dynamic, and their ability to grow to meet changing needs is directly tied to the training opportunities that you provide to them. Keep in mind that your team members may also be personally interested in advancing within their career. They do not want to feel as though their skillset is outdated, and they may have a goal of climbing the corporate ladder within your company.

Developing your team begins during the onboarding process, which is a time when a new-hire learns about company culture and professional development programs available to him or year. These development programs could include in-house training and mentoring, assistance obtaining certifications, college tuition reimbursement and more. Development opportunities should be offered, encouraged and available to team members free of charge.

Final Word

While many aspects of your business operations require constant attention and thoughtful effort, hiring the right individuals to join your startup team is essential. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs make serious hiring and management mistakes, and these can ultimately be detrimental and costly to the business. If you are preparing to hire team members soon or if you are facing HR and management challenges, it may benefit your business to reassess your human resources efforts and strategies.

5 Tips for Running a Startup from Your Home

Starting a new business out of your home is a financially-savvy decision in many cases. Approximately 69 percent of entrepreneurs make the decision to base their startup out of their home, and for good reason. When you run a new business out of your house, you can save a tremendous amount of money on overhead. With substantial technology now available to facilitate a work-at-home environment, many entrepreneurs are not hindered in any way by running operations out of their house.

In fact, many of the most successful companies known around the world today were started at home. Just a few of these include Apple, Google, Amazon and Hewlett-Packard. As smart as it may be for you to launch a business from home, there may be some challenges to overcome. These helpful tips will guide you on a surer path towards success with your new home-based business.

Establish an Organized Work Area

Even through you are launching a business from home, you still need to have a professional, dedicated space to conduct your work activities. This should be a space that is free from distractions and that will not co-mingle with living activities for you and other occupants in the home. One idea is to remodel a spare room and to transform it into a functional home office space. This space ideally will hold all of your business equipment and furnishings. For example, you may need a computer, a printer, a copier, a landline phone, a desk, a work table, seating for clients, storage space, shelves and more.

Remember to also focus on the environment. For example, lighting and temperature can affect your productivity level and your ability to concentrate. As you remodel your space to create a home office, remember to focus on these important elements.

Create a Realistic and Practical Work Schedule

One of the many benefits associated with starting a business from home and being your own boss is the ability to have a flexible schedule. With a flexible schedule, you may be able to enjoy a better quality of life and better manage a work-life balance. However, this type of schedule may also lead to the likelihood of wasting time throughout the day. For example, you may be inclined to sit down in front of the TV for a quick break, but that break could easily extend for an hour or longer unintentionally.

To avoid wasting your valuable work time and to maximize productivity, it makes sense to create a schedule for your workday. Select a firm starting time as well as a finishing time. You can give yourself small breaks during the day, but most of your personal activities should be tackled outside of your work hours. There are some excellent time management and project management applications and programs that you can use to schedule your time as well as to monitor your breaks and non-work activities.

Find Support

Some entrepreneurs try to handle every task associated with running and growing their business. This requires them to wear many hats and to try to be an expert in everything that they do. This essentially can pull your attention away from the tasks that you are truly good at and that require your personal attention. Some tasks may easily and successfully be outsourced to professionals. Because of their expertise, you may enjoy better results and be able to use your time more effectively in the process.

When you search for independent contractors or freelancers, look for individuals who have expertise in an area that you are weak at and who charge affordable rates for their services. An outsourcing relationship should ideally add value and help you to work more efficiently.

Connect with Others

It is easy to feel isolated and closed off when you work from home, but it can be detrimental to your efforts to seal yourself off. Reach out to other home-based business owners in different ways. These may be individuals in a related field that you may be able to work with professionally. It may be people in unrelated fields who you simply socialize with to get support as needed, get recommendations for service providers and more.

While there are online groups that you can join, try to find live support groups or networking groups as well. These could be professional groups and clubs, or the y could be informal groups that you pull together on your own and that grow over time. You can even use these groups to casually promote your products and services.

Choose Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies

Regardless of whether you run a home-based business or your base of operations is in a more professional environment, marketing is essential. However, you likely decided to launch your business from home at least partially to conserve funds. Understandably, you also want to conserve money on marketing without negatively affecting business profits and growth.

There are many cost-effective marketing options to consider, such as through social media, email marketing, cold calls, networking events in your local area and more. Remember to use your professional network to get the word out as well. You could spend a fortune on marketing, but a cost-effective campaign that is based on thoughtful, focused effort may have just as large of a return.

In Conclusion

When you run your own business out of your home, you have the flexibility and freedom to manage your activities in any way you desire. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding most aspects of your operations, you can see that these tips can help you to remain as productive as possible while also bolstering your chances for success. As you move forward, keep these tips in mind.

Five Lessons Learned From 100 Years of Human Resources

Human resources departments are invaluable assets when it comes to protecting companies from potentially devastating losses or game-changing mistakes. All too often, career-ending mishaps could have been avoided with a quick trip to HR, but even the department has occasionally had to learn on-the-job, as it were. After 100 years of HR, you’d think that we’ve learned all there is to know about what companies can, can’t, and really shouldn’t do. Still, here are five lessons that always seem to be a surprise whenever the ball gets dropped.

The Trap of Ignoring Morale

Morale is crucial to working environments. Happy employees are productive employees, after all. When markets move against companies, however, the metrics-based focus of “crunch times” can cause severe loss of focus on this important consideration. As HR, it falls to us to remember to keep the “human” part of human resources in mind at all times. Amazon.com recently found itself under fire for warehouse and worker conditions after metrics-based performance incentives cut the legs out from under the company’s morale. Amazon’s perception in the media and public at large also shifted negatively when word got out about the conditions many workers face in the organization.

The Risks of a Politicizing Company Culture

Company culture can, and often should, change over time. Dramatic shifts, however, should be democratic and involve workers at all levels. When a company decides to make a move that brings it into the political spotlight, it can have repercussions well beyond its own halls. Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, learned this the hard way when he announced a $70,000 minimum salary for his employees. The move thrust him into the spotlight surrounding minimum wage arguments in the nation, clients cancelled their work because of differing political views and lawsuits were filed against the company. This came on the heels of the decision to raise wages for employees by slashing his own.

The Snare of Insider Trading

One of the great cautionary tales of HR comes at the expense of financier Ivan Boesky, who in 1986 made over $200 million investing in corporate takeovers. Unfortunately, his seemingly smart predictions landed him in jail as they turned out to be based on insider trading. HR departments around the world send regular updates to stockholders who may have insider knowledge to help them avoid this type of disaster. Boesky also paid over $100 million in fines for his illegal actions.

The Dangers of Old Buildings

When the real risks of asbestos and its link to mesothelioma were exposed to the public sector, companies poured millions into removing the material from walls, ceilings and other key infrastructure. Unfortunately, removal of the material often freed it into the air, causing workers to inhale the substance and suffer effects years, potentially even decades, down the line. It falls on human-resources personnel to make sure that the right persons are responsible for all disaster and cleanup operations, lest the company be found responsible for damages due to its well-intentioned policies of replacement and repair of worn-down structures.

The Pitfalls of Miscommunication

In the BYOD business world, communication moves at about the speed of light (over optical networks). This means that it’s nearly impossible to bury bad news, especially using press releases of good news. HR and PR departments must work shoulder-to-shoulder to make sure that the press doesn’t feel hoodwinked by a show of good news when bad is developing, as happened when Walmart made its grand announcement about its new $11 an hour minimum wage. Unfortunately, the same day, the closure of over 50 stores became public knowledge. The news about the closure spread quickly, as employees are rarely slow to share such information, and bad press followed closely on the heels of the closure news, offsetting any gains from the minimum wage announcement.
As companies strive to keep top talent and protect themselves against lawsuits and game-changing errors, HR departments are more critical than ever. Savvy human-resources professionals aren’t afraid to speak up against bad policy or advise on important matters, and the best are more than willing to go to bat for the future of their companies. With 100 years on the job, HR pros understand what is at risk and have the tools to keep businesses going strong in the decades to come.