Small Business Can http://www.smallbusinesscan.com Share ideas, get advice and promote your business today. Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:14:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Five Lessons Learnt From 12 months of Running Content Marketing Campaigns http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/five-lessons-learnt-12-months-running-content-marketing-campaigns/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/five-lessons-learnt-12-months-running-content-marketing-campaigns/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:00:36 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=26982 The content marketing industry is constantly changing. Contrary to popular belief there is no magic formula that will guarantee success. I often read bold statements from Internet marketers on blogs and forums such as, “You need X amount of 500-word articles produced on a bi-weekly basis,” however, this is simply not the case. In this post we look at a few lessons learned from content marketing campaigns. As a content […]

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The content marketing industry is constantly changing. Contrary to popular belief there is no magic formula that will guarantee success. I often read bold statements from Internet marketers on blogs and forums such as, “You need X amount of 500-word articles produced on a bi-weekly basis,” however, this is simply not the case. In this post we look at a few lessons learned from content marketing campaigns.

As a content marketing strategist I have made many mistakes, but over the years I have come to realize that there is only thing that works; quality information.

Low quality content has a short lifespan

Many years ago the whole methodological approach to online marketing worked, and now many people are stubborn about letting go of the past. While old content plans can sometimes work for a short amount of time, they will not develop a sustainable business and eventually Google and Bing will find ways to filter them down or out of their rankings.

Content on ecommerce websites must benefit readers

Many of my clients are ecommerce businesses and I almost always find a lack of informative content on their websites. One of my previous clients – Strictly Tables and Chairs – had this very problem. After discovering that other blog and website owners refused to link to them because they are a commercial website, I recommended that they write a piece of content that would benefit a reader and not ‘promote’ their services in the traditional sense. With this piece of content developed bloggers were happier to provide a link to their page as it benefited their readers and offered some worth.

Content length doesn’t matter

Content farms such as Ezine Articles once provided the fastest way to acquire backlinks. The rules they set were often followed by other similar sites – which included a minimum word count. Each year Google has updated their algorithm content farms have tried to combat the changes by increasing their word counts. People often see this as gospel; however, in my experience word count simply doesn’t matter.

You don’t need to blog every other day

It’s no secret that blogging is an important and relevant part of content marketing; however, people will often substitute quality for quantity. When I developed a plan for The Pink Group our focus was to write only one or two blog posts every few months, but ensure they provided something that no other website had. The Pink Group went on to create the Social Media Cheat Sheet, which went viral and acquired thousands of social likes and shares in a very short space of time. Had the content already been published on other websites it would have never had so much success.

Curation is okay if it’s done properly

Content curation is often frowned upon; however, providing it’s not abused it can add real value to a blog. Contrary to popular belief there’s a difference between curation and plagiarism. Content curators credit the original author and simply amend the title and introduction to suit their publication. While developing a marketing plan for Lucy Bee, we curated articles once per month to add a different perspective to her blog – see the reference list at the bottom of her post. The result was a significant increase in organic traffic.

Content Marketing Campaigns

Although my experience as a content marketer has been short lived, I’ve seen the industry completely change direction twice during the past three years – Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Both of these updates have reinforced one thing; quality websites with informative information will survive and benefit, while low-quality sites with poor content will fail.

If you’re developing a content marketing plan for your business keep these lessons in mind and focus only on quality. Fundamentally, if you fail to stick to the rules you’ll never build a long-term online presence.

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Proper PR Strategy – 6 Marketing Moves You Should Invest In http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/proper-pr-strategy-6-marketing-moves-invest/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/proper-pr-strategy-6-marketing-moves-invest/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 07:00:54 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=27009 When organizations think about marketing, far too often, public relations (PR) is far down the list of priorities. There are numerous, more measurable activities that marketers tend to focus on. But, when done right, proper PR is one of the very best marketing strategies to build awareness with potential customers, partners and stakeholders. Here are six key ways that a PR Strategy can help fuel your marketing efforts: 1. Turn […]

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When organizations think about marketing, far too often, public relations (PR) is far down the list of priorities. There are numerous, more measurable activities that marketers tend to focus on. But, when done right, proper PR is one of the very best marketing strategies to build awareness with potential customers, partners and stakeholders. Here are six key ways that a PR Strategy can help fuel your marketing efforts:

1. Turn Influencers Into Brand Advocates

Influencers, which can include traditional media, bloggers, analysts and anyone else who moves the needle of public opinion, are incredibly important to have on your side. If nobody is getting the word out about your products or services, potential customers will never hear about you. Turning these top-influencers into actual advocates helps you get your story in front of the people you want to reach in a positive way.

2. Build Third-party Validation to Support Sales Efforts

As a result of influencer outreach, you will generate positive pieces of earned media coverage that will be useful in all of your marketing efforts. For example, you can share a positive review with leads to convince them of the quality of your product, or you can include it on your site so that everyone can see a credible, neutral expert has a high opinion of your company. Third party support can be a huge beacon to turn customers’ attention towards for increased sales.

3. Reach Customers Directly

Proper PR lets you reach all of your external audiences with your message. Now, your organization can tell its own story, while being in full control of your message, by creating content to post on your blog, social media sites, etc. Making sure that you are active on these forms of communication, in a positive way, can have immense impact on your company.

4. Tell your Customers’ Stories

There is perhaps no better way to convince potential customers to buy from you than to tell the story of happy customers. You can create posts about customer stories that can be used in your sales process. Sharing these reviews is essential to quality marketing.

5. Show your Thought Leadership

From speaking at events to contributing content to external outlets, marketing can help you showcase your expertise on topics that relate to your business, which will create a more positive view of your company. Customers respond to people they view as experts in the field they are researching. Make yourself an expert or hire one that can help inspire others to take notice of your business.

6. Fuel Social Media Channels

Many of the points mentioned above will help you create a steady stream of interesting updates that will grow your audience and keep them engaged. Make sure you are using social media in a way that can both engage customers and incentivizes the purchase of your products. Don’t just socialize just to socialize, always have a way that customers can be directed to your services.

By including PR as part of your broader marketing strategy, you will be able to ensure your business’ future success by building awareness for your company and its products, sharing your stories with the world, and generating trusted relationships with all of your external audiences. Getting special training in proper PR strategies can be a bit daunting but getting a masters in pr from Kent University can make a significant difference to your marketing department.

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6 Ways to Improve Comfort at Workplace http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/6-ways-improve-comfort-workplace/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/6-ways-improve-comfort-workplace/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 07:00:33 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=26991 Could comfortable surroundings help you improve your productivity? Of course! When found in a pleasant surrounding with just enough comfort and positive people around you, you can actually do miracles. This is why it is so important to make your workplace the best place for doing business. There are so many things that can influence the way you are handling all your tasks and responsibilities at work. Your attitude The […]

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Could comfortable surroundings help you improve your productivity? Of course! When found in a pleasant surrounding with just enough comfort and positive people around you, you can actually do miracles. This is why it is so important to make your workplace the best place for doing business. There are so many things that can influence the way you are handling all your tasks and responsibilities at work.

Your attitude

The key to a perfect workplace is your own mind. If you are satisfied with your job, colleagues and employer, you are probably going to have a much better life. On the other hand, this is easier to say them accomplish. Not all of us can have perfect jobs with big salaries and excellent working conditions, but if we put just a little bit of effort ourselves, we can always find something positive in any kind of job.

Walls

Boring white walls might remind you that you came to work, not to have fun. But, various studies show that white and dull walls don’t affect our psyche good. Instead of having a plain wall, any business owner can try to make the workplace for their employees a bit more vivid by adding some color. Some interesting colorful design on a wall or even some inspirational and motivational posters and messages are a great way to cheer up once the things at work get really hard. This could turn out to be an investment that can help you gain way more.

Personal space

Some people are comfortable working only if they have their own personal space. This is precisely why some offices have cubicle systems. Separate personal spaces for each of your employee provide them to fully concentrate on anything they are doing. Building separate offices for each employee can be quite costly and it can also influence the productivity, while cubicle formations enhance team work but at the same time, people will be able to stay focused.

Comfortable Chairs

If we want to describe an average workplace, we would imagine a person working nine to five sitting in a chair for eight hours. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair for that long, five days a week for who knows how many years can severely damage your health. Your spine and legs will suffer the consequences over time and eventually, you will end up with a deformity or discus hernia. Add to that the lack of physical activity in your spare time and you are a perfect candidate for chronic back pain. Having a comfortable chair and learning how to sit properly in order to lower the stress put on your spine will make your working days durable and your life longer and healthier.

Always tend to sit up with your shoulders put a bit backwards. Don’t bend your back at lower, lumbar part because these are the parts of your spine where you will first notice some pain. Remember, once you feel any back pain, it is highly probable that you will have problems with your spine for the rest of your life. So, prevent this from happening by thinking about your health, starting today.

Air Conditions

Weather conditions can also lower comfort at any workplace. No matter if you are cold or hot, the point is the same – your mood will be affected. This is why it so important that each office has proper heating/air-conditioning systems that will make a perfect working atmosphere for everyone there. Find out which is the optimal temperature that most people consider normal (this also depends on the season).

Illuminate it

Not only that working in dimmed and dark places will affect your eyesight over time, but it can also affect your productivity and psyche. Our mind will always relate such conditions to a nap time and you will probably feel tired and drowsy. This is why illumination is so crucial. Big windows letting enough daylight inside are always a plus, but if this is impossible then artificial lighting will suffice.

All in all, one needs to feel comfortable at work in order to perform his/her task with complete devotion. Good working conditions and harmony among coworkers is what any employer, and employee, should strive for.

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5 Effective Ways To Reduce Business Costs http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/5-effective-ways-reduce-business-costs/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/5-effective-ways-reduce-business-costs/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=27029 We live in hard times that favor lean and mean organizations. Naturally that means that even if you do not have a crisis just yet, your very future survival may hinge on how good you are at constantly reducing business costs and keeping them as low as possible. 1.Time is always the biggest culprit Most folks already know that it costs you big every time you have to repeat a […]

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We live in hard times that favor lean and mean organizations. Naturally that means that even if you do not have a crisis just yet, your very future survival may hinge on how good you are at constantly reducing business costs and keeping them as low as possible.

1.Time is always the biggest culprit

Most folks already know that it costs you big every time you have to repeat a shoddily done job. This tends to attract attention quickly and gets fixed right away. But what about your written-in-stone delivery time? It is unlikely that you will be able to cut it down by a day but have you ever tried to reduce it by a couple of minutes or even an hour? Mere minutes cut down from every single job will always end up giving you huge savings. This is the reason why the much maligned Chinese seem to be taking over the world. They are constantly looking for ways to get things done much faster.

2.Look in the least obvious places

The mistake most entrepreneurs make is to stop when they have made huge cuts in the most obvious places. That includes your payroll and those costs you are not quite sure how you got yourself into in the first place. However effective cost cutting goes much further than that. It will call for you to look at many small daily costs that ultimately accumulate into a big number.

Do you really need all that ink and paper?

Some documents have to be printed out besides you are so used to it that looking at the pennies per unit may at first appear to be a waste of time. But hold on a minute. Pennies do tend to add up rather quickly. What is your monthly cost? And what is your annual cost? What would happen if you were to find a way of cutting back a mere 10 per cent from that number? Print only what really needs to be printed and do it the right way. You can find a lot of great tips how to reduce printing costs on various blogs.

Change the way you advertise

Advertising isn’t as effective as it used to be and the truth is that this is costing you much more money than you think. Take another look at how best you can reach your prospects and customers more cheaply. Social media sites like Facebook provide amazing new opportunities that never existed before and you can even go for PPC ads and get to easily monitor precisely what kind of returns you are getting for each dollar spent.

Stop buying in bulk

Everybody screams out that buying in bulk saves cash. But does it? Chances are that you will find the huge purchases you make just to get to the discount threshold will usually force you to order much more than you will ever need or use. Organizations like Toyota that have made the just in time manufacturing process famous have proven that creating a process where you order only what you need for the day can save tons of cash.

Conclusion

The devil as they say is always in the small details. You are bound to surprise yourself by simply taking your business apart one small detail at a time. There are countless ways that you can bring down your costs even if you are already sure that waste in most departments is limited. Yes it may take time and effort but it will definitely be worth your while.

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5 Reasons Your Business Strategy Might Fail http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/5-reasons-business-strategy-might-fail/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/5-reasons-business-strategy-might-fail/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:30:03 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=27026 Starting your own business is a very exciting prospect but before you get carried away and take the plunge, consider the following 5 reasons why your business strategy might fail and ensure you do not make the same mistakes. 5 Reasons Your Business Strategy Might Fail 1. No concrete plans You may have plenty of capital and all the knowledge required to make a success of your venture but if […]

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Starting your own business is a very exciting prospect but before you get carried away and take the plunge, consider the following 5 reasons why your business strategy might fail and ensure you do not make the same mistakes.

5 Reasons Your Business Strategy Might Fail

1. No concrete plans

You may have plenty of capital and all the knowledge required to make a success of your venture but if you have no clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, you are almost certain to fail. To use an allegory, if you were given the use of a luxury yacht and crew for a week, it would be of absolutely no use to you unless you were able to tell the skipper where you wanted to go.

2. The wrong location

Where you set up your new business is just as important as what goods or services you plan to provide. If for example you are a knowledgeable financial consultant who wishes to have wealthy individuals as clients, you will need to find well-appointed office space in a central location where they will feel comfortable visiting, and not in a rundown industrial park in a distant suburb.

3. A lack of focus

If you try to be all things to all people, you will more than likely end up confusing your target audience and driving them away. Focus on what you do best and do not try to broaden your range of products and services until you have established a solid client base who will remain loyal in the future. Diversifying too quickly can also be very costly and has been the downfall of many a small business.

4. Inefficient marketing techniques

Even if you have the necessary skills and capital to succeed, have chosen the right location, are clear about your business goals and are offering a unique product or service, you could still fail if your prospective clients are unaware of your existence. It is important to make full use of everything the internet has to offer, by marketing your company via social media platforms, creating a well-optimised website and encouraging visitors to subscribe to a regular newsletter. The more you are able to engage with people online, the easier you will find it to establish a positive brand image and attract new customers.

5. A lack of determination

Being your own boss sounds like an easy life to some but the reality is that you will be working harder than you have ever worked in your life if you want to succeed. Be honest with yourself and make sure that you have the determination to put your business strategy into action before you risk any capital on a new venture.

Running a small business is not for everybody but if you are sure that it is what you want and you take steps to avoid the common mistakes above, there is no reason why you should not give it your best shot and I hope that if you do, you enjoy success beyond your wildest dreams.

Author Bio:
Lauren Downey is writing in a freelance basis for Regus, a company that specialises in providing meeting rooms, work pods, and business lounges across the globe.

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Social Entrepreneurs at The Summit http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/social-entrepreneurs-summit/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/social-entrepreneurs-summit/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:54:08 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=27032 The Summit Dublin is partnering with the US Embassy in Dublin to offer Irish social enterprise organisations and charities the chance to tell their story and speak to the 20,000 tech leaders assembled this year at The Summit Dublin, the biggest event of its kind in Europe, taking place November 4th – 6th, 2014. If your registration is successful, you will be asked to attend a two day workshop and […]

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The Summit Dublin is partnering with the US Embassy in Dublin to offer Irish social enterprise organisations and charities the chance to tell their story and speak to the 20,000 tech leaders assembled this year at The Summit Dublin, the biggest event of its kind in Europe, taking place November 4th – 6th, 2014. If your registration is successful, you will be asked to attend a two day workshop and pitching session on October 2nd and 3rd in Dublin.

Register here http://dublin.usembassy.gov/news/events-outreach/good-ideas-social-entrepreneurs-at-the-summit.html

 

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Attend our START Network Sept 16th with Small Business Can http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/attend-start-network-oct-16th-small-business-can/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/attend-start-network-oct-16th-small-business-can/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 11:08:57 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=26971 Starting and running your own business can be a lonely experience. Networking is a proven way for you to extend your business reach, enabling you to build professional relationships, foster contacts and market your business to others. Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown operates a very active network for small business owners called START. We are inviting Small Business Can to present at next Tuesday’s meeting (September 16th) and outline the […]

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Starting and running your own business can be a lonely experience. Networking is a proven way for you to extend your business reach, enabling you to build professional relationships, foster contacts and market your business to others.

Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown operates a very active network for small business owners called START.

We are inviting Small Business Can to present at next Tuesday’s meeting (September 16th) and outline the many supports and resources available through this excellent initiative.  Please join us as a guest to hear more.

Event: START Network
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: Radisson Blu St Helens, Stillorgan
Cost: Free
Book: Send email to atynan@leo.dlrcoco.ie or phone 01 4948400
Flyer: http://dlrceb.newsweaver.com/Flyer/11o89ki5yi0

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/STARTNetwork

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4 Tips on How to Expand Your Business With Clever Space http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/4-tips-on-how-to-expand-your-business-with-clever-space/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/4-tips-on-how-to-expand-your-business-with-clever-space/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 07:00:09 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=26773 If you’re a small or medium sized business, expansion isn’t always about getting bigger, it can also mean a more effective use of the resources you already have. Take storage for example. Whether you sell products and need space to keep merchandise, or run a business working out of a spare room at home, the right storage can not only remove hassle, but can streamline your business to help it […]

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If you’re a small or medium sized business, expansion isn’t always about getting bigger, it can also mean a more effective use of the resources you already have. Take storage for example. Whether you sell products and need space to keep merchandise, or run a business working out of a spare room at home, the right storage can not only remove hassle, but can streamline your business to help it move forward. Here are our top tips:

 1. Re-evaluate your office space

For anyone whose business has grown overnight can testify, space comes at a premium. If you’re moving offices, expanding or downsizing, a short-term storage solution can be a life raft. But storage can also help your business make money too. Most businesses have unused space in their office, or space that’s not being used well (often filled with filing cabinets or extra furniture). As shared office spaces are getting more popular, by putting the items you don’t need into storage, you could sublet the space to another company or a freelancer, helping keep your overheads as low as possible.

2. Plan for overspill

Whether you’re an eBay seller or a traditional retailer, planning for the unplanned is vital. Most businesses don’t consider overspill until its too late, but by future-proofing your storage needs, you can make sure you have a cost effective solution. Consider access, security, and location and of course – cost. Making partnerships with other local businesses ahead of time can ensure you always have a next-door area if your stock room is full (and offering extra space for their overspill can mitigate extra costs).

 3. Don’t get tied into long contracts

No one knows what the future holds, but making sure your business isn’t locked into long contracts will help you stay flexible. With warehouses you’ll need to consider the necessary evils of business rates, service charges and utilities – plus upfront deposits. This outlay can make it unappealing, especially for start-ups wanting less overheads. One solution might be to look at space sharing with other smaller companies, finding partners that will contribute to hiring a room in a warehouse, a floor or the whole building. Consider how you would segment the space to make sure stock isn’t mixed up, and think of the security ramifications if you’re sharing an open space.

 4. Go virtual but take precautions

Cloud based, or virtual storage for businesses, is very topical right now. Using online storage is a great way to save physical space – scanning documents and uploading them to a safe repository, for example – and many businesses are making the shift. A vital thing to consider first however is support (is there someone available to answer questions if you have them?) and back up (is there any chance you can lose your online data?). Google offers limited support for its free suite (gmail, google docs) and so it might be worth upgrading to a more comprehensive service that can guarantee your stored information will be secure. Apple, Dropbox, Amazon, Microsoft all have online storage solutions.

 

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Guide to Bespoke Training for Your Workforce http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/guide-bespoke-training-workforce/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/guide-bespoke-training-workforce/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:00:34 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=26644 If your business is looking to invest in bespoke training, you will need to consider a number of different factors. Firstly, look at how to grow your business and reflect this in staff development. As companies evolve, you will need to increasingly focus on this aspect. At the end of the day, it is only through an efficient, professional workforce that your company can really take off. But what do […]

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If your business is looking to invest in bespoke training, you will need to consider a number of different factors. Firstly, look at how to grow your business and reflect this in staff development. As companies evolve, you will need to increasingly focus on this aspect. At the end of the day, it is only through an efficient, professional workforce that your company can really take off. But what do you need to look in order to make arrangements for employee training?

Potential

Look at your workforce and ask yourself if you want to maximise their potential. This will ultimately lead to a much more effective workforce. In this way training could be the ideal solution for;

  • A more productive employee in the long term.
  • Ringing in a host of modern changes into your bespoke organisation.
  • Improving the skills of your workforce.

Type of course

You also need to consider which kind of course you want your employees to take. But with too many choices, you need to concentrate on which training scheme may benefit your business such as;

  • Marketing.
  • Sales.
  • Business.
  • Personal assistant training courses.
  • Business skills.
  • Office support.

Results

At the end of the day a successful business is ultimately driven by its success. Therefore investing in a training course for your employees will benefit your;

  • Potential turnover.
  • Ability to engage and interact with new and existing clients.
  • Converting new business as well as sales leads.

Practicality

By undertaking a training course, you will have the ability to see your employees flourish in a very practical way. Methodology is also important where employees will be able to;

  • Undertake successful performance in a business related environment.
  • Concentrate on the things that really do count such as effective customer based training.
  • Have a very positive effect as far as their performance is concerned.
  • Keep up to date with the latest training methods not to mention techniques.

Tailored

Whether you have a large enterprise of more than a thousand employees or something a little more intimate, there are several courses available. This will in effect;

  • Match your specific needs accordingly.
  • Give you the bespoke training and practices that your company requires.
  • Offer individually designed training to your workforce across a few or many sessions.

Experts

Before you even commit to organising a training course, you will also need to consider the level of teaching. Make sure you find out;

  • The experience of the experts who are undertaking the courses.
  • From the tutors what your workforce is likely to expect on the course.
  • What type of support materials the tutors will actually be utilising for the duration of the programme.

Cost

You will need to work out a budget and find out just what it will mean in terms of finance. Consider striking a deal with the right company or doing several workshops instead of a longer drawn out programme. In the end the decision is yours and yours alone to make.

When looking at bespoke training for your employees, there are several choices to make. If you want an effective workforce who will be able to develop your company and be at the forefront of successful leadership then training is an essential tool.

Author Bio

Alice Harrison is a writer who works on a freelance basis for Spearhead Training, a leading provider of quality training courses in management, sales and marketing, pa and office support, business skills and specialist FMCG training since 1981.

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Staff Management: Don’t Let Employees Commit Fraud http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/staff-management-dont-let-employees-commit-fraud/ http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/staff-management-dont-let-employees-commit-fraud/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 07:00:39 +0000 http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/?p=26572 Your business will be susceptible to threats from all directions—a bad economy, government regulations, fickle clients and more. Sadly, one of the most dangerous threats comes from within your own organization—your employees. It’s been said that the typical business loses more than 5% of its annual revenue because of employee fraud. Don’t let your company—and your profits—be victimized. Three Types of Fraud Before you can detect fraud schemes, you need […]

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Your business will be susceptible to threats from all directions—a bad economy, government regulations, fickle clients and more. Sadly, one of the most dangerous threats comes from within your own organization—your employees.

It’s been said that the typical business loses more than 5% of its annual revenue because of employee fraud.

Don’t let your company—and your profits—be victimized.

Three Types of Fraud

Before you can detect fraud schemes, you need to know the most common practices. They are usually divided into three categories:

  • Asset Misappropriation—This can be something straightforward like stealing cash. However, it also includes the theft of non-cash items—like staplers and color copies (don’t laugh…those things can cut profits too!). Asset misappropriation also includes making fictitious reimbursement claims.
  • Financial Statement Fraud—This type of fraud includes omitting or altering information in financial reports. An employee might also attempt to hide liabilities.
  • Corruption—While less common than the other two types of fraud, corruption is still dangerous. It includes the acts of bribery and extortion.

It doesn’t matter what size business you operate, the type of products you sell, or the country you live in; every business is susceptible to fraud.

Fraud specialists estimate that criminal activity usually lasts an average of 18 months before being discovered. Imaging how much that prolonged activity could damage your business!

Since recovering losses is so difficult—and sometimes impossible—it is best to detect and prevent fraud from the very beginning.

1. Get to Know Your Employees

The better you know your staff, the more likely you are to detect suspicious behavior.

One of the biggest indicators of potential fraudulent activity is the change in an employee’s attitude. For example, an employee who feels underappreciate might be showing outward signs of anger and resentment. And fraud—as an act of revenge—is often the outcome.

2. Let Everyone Know

Your employees need to know you have a fraud detection and prevention system in place. This will help in two ways.

First, potential criminals will know you are keeping an eye out for potentially fraudulent activity. This might act as a deterrent.

Second, employee tip-offs are the most common form of fraud discovery. Let employees know you encourage their input if coworkers are acting suspiciously. Consider implementing an anonymous reporting system.

3. Document and Segregate

Keep track of who does what. The more you segregate a task, the less the risk of fraud. For example, one person might be in charge of collecting payment, but another should handle the deposit.

Also, make sure you keep accurate records of your finances. Checks and invoices need to be written in successive order. Numbering gaps need to be explained.

Toss out the signature stamp. Also, for checks over a certain amount, it’s best to have two signatures for deposit.

Lastly, be on the lookout for new vendors. Syphoning off funds to a new (non-existent) vendor is an easy way to lose profits.

4. Note the Workaholics

Many employers are tempted to pat an employee on the back who hasn’t missed a day of work during the past decade. But to those in the know, such activity is suspicious.

Perhaps that employee has been engaging in fraudulent activity and is afraid someone will notice if they are away from their desk for a few days.

5. Be a Good Boss

There are several common sense activities that go a long way toward fraud prevention.

  • Encourage communication at all levels
  • Let employees know what is expected for promotions and advancements
  • Have fair employee policies (and enforce them universally)

6. Hire Professionals

There are lots of professionals who can help you keep things on the straight and narrow. They range from general services—like those that offer fraud protection—to more specific. For example, you might want to hire a tax professional to review your payroll accounts.

If you don’t want to outsource your fraud protection services, hire an in-house specialist—someone to keep an eye out for all types of scams.

Small business owners fight hard for every profit dollar earned. Don’t let your naïveté make you an easy mark for unscrupulous employees. Stay on guard and prevent unnecessary profit losses from happening.

The post Staff Management: Don’t Let Employees Commit Fraud appeared first on Small Business Can.

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