Why Paper Shredding Matters For GDPR Compliance

General Data Protection Regulation, better known as GDPR, has brought many new data protection rules. The rules, which are considered the most significant data protection changes in 20 years, mean that data must be processed fairly and lawfully, kept secure, accurate, and up-to-date.

The emphasis on GDPR has so far been centered on cybersecurity and IT compliance. Yet, the regulations apply to all personal data regardless of the format. That inevitably leads to the need to consider information printed or written on paper.

Here is what you should know about these regulations and how they pertain to you and your business, and why letting a local paper shredding company do the work for you might be your wisest choice.

Why is GDPR necessary? 

The General Data Protection Regulation is a legal framework in the EU and the UK created to assist businesses and public entities in protecting personal information and citizens’ privacy.

The GDPR strengthens individuals’ rights to access and manage personal data they own, such as their biometric data or IP address. More importantly, individuals reserve the right to withdraw the use of their data from a business or public entity at any time.

Because of this, businesses with over 250 employees must have a Data Protection Officer, who will make sure that the company collects, uses, and disposes of sensitive data responsibly.

What type of data is protected by GDPR? 

By definition, personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (i.e., the data subject).

Personal data can include location data, a name, medical information, or social or economic information, which can help identify said natural person. Put simply; personal data is information that relates to an individual.

The GDPR covers the processing of this data in several ways, including wholly or partly automated processing or personal information being processed in a wholly non-automated manner, such as in the case of a paper recording being used as part of a filing system.

What to do with the paper records you still need? 

For GDPR, the same security concerns that affect the digital world also apply to the analog one. Printed information can be photocopied, removed, or destroyed, as can a digital record. One area where paper records are still required is the HR department. CVs, signatures on employment agreements, disciplinary notes – all these will take a while to digitize. 

The obvious thing here is that most offices will have a filing cabinet with a lock. All required for GDPR compliance is for someone to be held responsible and secure the key, and deputize one other person in their absence. 

If files are taken off-site, a register must be maintained to record the person taking the file and when it is due to be returned. For most cases, this set of procedures will be sufficient for GDPR.

Why should you shred? 

Shredding your paperwork is the single most secure way to dispose of it. Not only that, but it helps your business meet its GDPR requirements for data security by providing a practical and safe way of disposing of data, preventing access by third parties.

If you don’t have processes to protect the data you hold in hard copy, you are leaving yourself open to severe security risk and potential fines. This is because under GDPR you are liable if a data breach leads to an individual’s personal information being stolen.

One of the critical components of data security is proper disposal of data – in any format. Anyone can read unshredded documents, so simply putting them in a bin or recycling bin isn’t going to be enough. 

By shredding your documents once they have fulfilled their purpose, you are effectively destroying the information and preventing it from being read by third parties – fulfilling your obligations in one simple action.

Why your office shredder might not be good enough 

Even if you feed all the outdated paper documents to the office shredder, that might not be enough to secure their destruction. 

This is mainly because most office shredders are ‘strip cut,’ which still poses a risk of a breach through reconstruction. That is why it might be worth investing in a professional service with industrial-sized equipment that will handle the documents and shred them following standard rules and best practices.

This is a far preferable method than to waste your own employees’ time feeding individual records into a typical office paper shredder.

Conclusion 

The GDPR covers far more than the deletion of digital documentation. Its rules apply to the storage of any kind of personal data. However, physical documents are often overlooked when attempting to achieve GDPR compliance. That is why you must take the time to understand the processes that your business uses and to update them accordingly. 

Just because the world is moving into digital processing doesn’t mean that paper-based risk has gone away completely. Thinking so would be a costly mistake to make.

Why it’s Worth Hiring Local Web Design Companies

When it comes to building or redesigning a website for your business, you might think that all web building companies are equal. After all, we live in the global market age, and we are all connected via the Internet. 

But, this is simply not true. Read this article to understand better why it is smarter to hire a local web designer. Some of these benefits are apparent, while some are not that obvious. Get to know about them now. 

Better and more efficient communication 

Constant communication with your web designer is vital to ensure that they understand your website design. Working with overseas or national companies means you can only communicate your needs online, which can lead to miscommunication.

With a local web design company, you have the advantage of physical meetings with your designer in person to discuss your ideas and preferred design so they are fully customised to your needs. Face-to-face communication is more effective than virtual communication.

Don’t forget that if your web designer is in another time zone, you have more significant communication hurdles. You will find that it takes longer to get replies to your emails, and there will be other inevitable delays.

These things can be quite frustrating when you want to communicate new requirements or changes. With a local web designer, you will also avoid possible language barriers or cultural differences.

Local folks will understand your needs better

woman working on laptop

To add to what was stated above, a local web agency understands what makes the needs of local and small businesses so distinct from those of larger brands. Budgets tend to be more limited. The audiences are more strictly defined, at least some physical presence exists, and the products tend to be more niche. 

These needs, in turn, require very distinct marketing and website strategies. Various best practices exist specifically for this type of online presence, both in terms of your website design and SEO. A local agency will take the time to ensure these methods are being applied effectively to meet your business objectives.

The local agency staff will know what your competitors are doing and what your client base is looking for. Given their insider knowledge and experience, they will have excellent ideas and strategies to help your brand stand out to potential clients.

Risks are lower 

With a local web company, you can do a background check, look at their online reviews from other local business owners and establish their credibility far more quickly. The local business network can recommend expert designers at fair prices.

Similarly, local designers know that their clients can come in at any time and demand explanations for uncompleted projects. Hence, they keep their clients informed of their progress and ensure that they meet their requirements. The designers are also aware that local business owners will either build or damage their reputation based on their experience. 

Word-of-mouth reputation is usually more important to companies when they have to deal with other local businesses. You can also ask your web designer for local references with whom you can cross-check the quality of service.

Connections and local resources 

Another advantage of letting a local company do your web design is that they have more access to local businesses and resources, which international companies don’t have. With this knowledge, your web designer can have updated information on the market’s preferences near you. Use this to your advantage to create website content that works best in the local market.

An agency in your area will understand the importance of your web presence related to local events, potential clients in the area, and residents. Larger agencies will overlook these opportunities due to their inexperience with the area. 

People familiar with your area and community will understand better when you’re targeting a submarket that is specific to your location. This submarket could be people within a particular income bracket or living within a particular locality.

Networking possibilities 

Among the significant factors for the success of a business is networking. Different entities require others to work and serve their clients efficiently. No one can know your local business landscape better than your local web designers.

A web design company, on the other hand, designs websites for various entities. So, if you create a good relationship with your local web designer, the chances of them connecting you with other people in your business or others that could help your business are high. 

Hiring them could even serve as an opportunity to meet new clients or suppliers as you endeavour to create quality websites for your businesses.

Better long-term support 

Maintaining your online presence is an endeavour that is never complete. When going local, you can expect ongoing web support. Should something go wrong or you need a minor update, you already have an existing partnership with your local agency. 

Also, think of ongoing web support as an investment. Just as you would continue investing in your sales team with training and access to the latest resources, your website deserves just as much attention. The internet is continuously changing, and staying on top of current trends and updates through a web support team will help secure ROI, as well as ongoing success for your business.

You may also need training for using your content management system or your web hosting control panel. You’re likely to get better support and interactive training if you hire local designers.

Conclusion 

Outsourcing web design to a local web company involves lower risks, higher accountability, better communication, and reliable support. Local designers must maintain a good reputation and image in the market to stay in business. You can easily monitor the progress of your website and organize physical meetings with the designer where necessary.

Although it may seem easy to hire a web designer from a far-off location, it can prove more difficult and costly in the long run. Web designing is an ongoing process even though most of the work is done in the initial months.

New requirements and changes keep coming up, and you’re better off with a local web designer who is likely to have more commitment and a higher stake in your website’s success.

Is Hiring a Fleet Management Company Right for Your Business?

The transportation system is an integral part of every business since a lot of things depend on it. The management of fleet vehicles can be challenging. If you have a company fleet, there are many fleet service providers out there that can manage your company’s vehicles.

When considering whether hiring a fleet management company is right for your business, you need to keep a few things in mind.

Check the Company’s Experience

It is vital to opt for a company that has been in business for at least 5 to 10 years. This guarantees a fair amount of experience. Another precaution you can take is to contact their current or past clients and check the company’s service quality as well as the overall experience they provide.

A reputable service provider like Haines Fleet will have testimonials and references. Don’t hesitate to ask a vendor about either one of those. You can also check third-party review sites to get accurate assessments of their work.

Experienced companies will tailor unique fleet solutions that will help your business grow. 

Learn About the Costs That Are Involved

One of the most important things you’ll have to consider is the price of a service provider. Fleet service companies should provide you with different pricing options and plans, so you can decide which one fits your budget best. 

Getting quotations from multiple companies within the industry will help you choose the right service provider that suits both your needs and your resources.

Find Out More About the Company’s Services and Technology

When selecting the company you will do business with you must discuss in detail what you need. Most companies can do more than just manage your fleet. Reliable and knowledgeable companies will also help you with selection, maintenance, analyses, and leasing. 

They can handle the whole management process. If you want to check how your fleet and your drivers are doing, you can ask for daily, weekly, and monthly reports. 

And don’t forget about the technology and tools they use. Look for businesses that have the latest tools and software like driver behaviour technology and telematics systems that enable planning the most efficient routes for the drivers.

Fleet Services and Maintenance Must Be Timely 

Always check the maintenance schedules the transport management company offers. Look for comprehensive ones that will ensure the best possible working order for your vehicles. A vendor of your choice must conduct preventive maintenance as it can reduce your overall fleet expenses. 

Timely maintenance also guarantees better fleet safety. 

Companies that implement this kind of proactive approach are invaluable as it can prolong your vehicles’ lifespan. Vehicles lose their value over time, so the longer they can be up and running the more your business will save over the long term. 

When they are well-maintained, you can count on many more years on the road. 

Check the Turnaround Time for Maintenance Services 

When one or more of your vehicles are off the road, it will negatively affect your enterprise’s productivity and workflow, as well as your budget. So, an important factor when selecting a service vendor is their turnaround time for fixing issues your fleet may face.

Also, find out if the service provider has spare parts in their storage places. The ones that do have backup automotive parts will most probably complete repairs faster. 

Now, let’s explore the benefits of partnering with a knowledgeable fleet management company! 

You Will Get Professional Advice and Feedback

One of the most significant advantages of hiring a vendor to manage your company’s fleet is that you get to work with experts. Their valuable feedback can help you and your business. The professional advice and insights you receive can help your business expand during these uncertain times. 

For example, leased vehicles are usually newer and require less maintenance than owned cars. 

And of course, when your company’s fleet is in good hands, you’ll have more time to focus on meaningful work. 

Anticipate Potential Problems and Solve Them Quickly 

In today’s competitive market, businesses have to be strategic to survive and thrive. A proactive fleet management company will help you quickly anticipate potential problems and develop efficient solutions so your business operations don’t get interrupted. 

With a helping hand from an experienced fleet management company, you can make better business decisions. 

For instance, they can provide you with detailed data and helpful insight that will help you determine whether to buy or lease a new company vehicle. 

Increase Efficiency and Productivity of Your Business

FleetAnswers is an organization that publishes industry-specific data like best practices and educational resources about fleets. According to their data, companies can lose anywhere between $400 and $700 per day if one of their vehicles isn’t on the road. 

And repair costs aren’t even included in these expenses. The prices of downtime are relatively high. 

Partnering with a fleet management company can help your business increase its efficiency and productivity by reducing your vehicle’s downtime.

Reduce Your Repair Costs and Fuel Efficiency

Vehicle repairs can cost businesses a lot of money, especially if they own a large fleet of vehicles. By working with reliable and professional fleet management companies, you can lower your repair costs. 

The companies that employ proactive strategies will lead to lower repair expenses.  

Another way to cut your transport overhead is by utilizing new technology that enables monitoring driver behaviour. Fleet management companies can analyze the behaviour of each driver, like their driving speeds, idle times, and refuelling costs. 

With this data, they can apply and encourage good driving behaviour that will help reduce costs.

Smaller Businesses Can Outsource Some of Their Fleet Duties 

Businesses with a small fleet (one to five vehicles) can consider outsourcing some of their fleet duties. When it comes to small fleets, the maintenance of the vehicles is usually the one that gets outsourced. 

Waiting for vehicles to get serviced at a local repair shop can be expensive while hiring a mechanic isn’t cost-effective. 

Working with a reputable company will help your organization take things up a notch with round the clock fleet management. The best vendors will be proactive in modernizing your transport management processes and saving your business money with better routing and enhanced driver behaviour, among other things.

Financial Matters You Should Know About When Becoming a Landlord

People who are considering becoming landlords might find the idea of passive income a dream come true. However, being a landlord is not as simple as collecting rent money every month. Renting property is business, and a lot goes into it.

Finding the perfect tenants won’t be your biggest task. There are so many things to think about before you venture into this type of business.

There are many financial matters to consider. It’s important to know all about them so that you can manage your rental property well.

Know If It Makes Financial Sense to Buy and Rent the Property

If you’re yet to buy the property you would rent, you need to determine if the property you’re eyeing will make a good real estate investment. You need to do a thorough inspection of the place as well as of the local market and think about the taxes.

You also need to think about whether renting the place would pay off. You don’t want to end up with a negative balance. Consider the neighborhood where you’re renting, how high the rent would be, yearly maintenance costs, and if you can boost the property value for cheap.

Find a Realistic Rent Price Range

Ideally, you want your rent to cover all the expenses of owning your property while also earning you a substantial monthly income. You need to calculate your costs but also be mindful of the rental market in your area.

If there’s tough competition in the neighborhood where you’re renting, you need to adjust the price accordingly. Otherwise, you either won’t be able to find tenants at all, or they’ll leave as soon as they find a better offer (which will be soon).

You can always check local listings for a general idea. They will paint a pretty clear picture of what your price range should be. You can also ask other landlords in the area what they’re charging.

Consider the Costs of Owning and Maintaining the Property

You can’t rent a place and collect the money dutifully but abandon ship. You’ll be responsible for maintaining it, keeping everything in check, and making it safe and livable for your tenants. You need to take preventative maintenance seriously and have professionals check if everything works properly on a regular basis.

Having someone in to check the HVAC system, smoke detectors, plumbing, and many other things every few months is vital. You also need to account for unexpected costs, such as some of the appliances breaking down or surprise water leakage.

These things can be expensive, especially if you don’t check everything regularly.

Insurance

Make sure you don’t forget about getting insurance for your property. You need to have the right kind of insurance, and having multiple kinds in place is always a good idea. If you’ve lived in the house before, and you have homeowner insurance, it probably won’t cover you anymore.

So you’ll need to get landlord insurance, which will cover the costs of any property damage, loss of rental income, and more. This means you’ll have some more costs, but you’ll be covered in case your rental property suffers significant damage. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Know Your Taxes

First, you need to check how your rental income will be taxed. This might influence your decision to get and rent a property in the first place. It might also help you decide where you want to have rental property if you’re considering several different places.

One of the most important things to do as a landlord is maintain clean expense records. You should have a record of every cost related to your property. This could help you become eligible for some great tax benefits. These benefits might write off so many of your costs and fees. It will also allow you to be on top of your expenses and even lower them as much as you can.

Be Familiar With the Law

No matter where you decide to buy and rent property, you need to get thoroughly acquainted with the law. This includes the local law, which may impose further regulations when it comes to managing your business as a landlord.

These rules could affect how much you can charge and how much you’re allowed to increase your rent each year. It could include more expenses than you hoped for and influence tenant evictions and many other things.

You may even consult more experienced landlords in your area in order to avoid any legal issues that could cost you serious money.

Be Prepared for Vacancies

If you suffer with vacancies caused by serious damage to your property, your insurance might cover it. However, there may be other reasons for a general decline in demand, such as a bad season for the rental market or even high prices compared to other properties in the neighborhood.

As you know, you can’t always be sure that you’ll have tenants. When your current tenants leave, there might be a considerable break before you get new ones. So it’s essential that you set enough money aside for these kinds of situations.

You need to be able to cover any expenses, including mortgage payments and utilities, during the vacancy periods. These can cost a lot and set you back considerably if you’re not properly prepared.

Consider Hiring a Property Manager

If all of this is more work than you can handle, it might be a wise idea to hire a property management company. They will take a lot of the burden of being a landlord off your back. They’ll also take a cut of your profit, but it usually pays off in the long run.

A professional property manager can take care of the whole renting process, from start to finish. They can optimize your rental rates and find high-quality tenants through highly developed screening processes.

The best thing about hiring such a company is that you can get as involved in the management of your property as you’d like, and they’ll take care of the rest. It is the best option for landlords with multiple apartments or houses.

A Timber Cabin for Your Home Office?

More and more businesses are encouraging their employees to work from home. It makes sense – remote working introduces a number of benefits, particularly for families with young children. 

With flexible working hours, you will be saving quite a lot of time and money. You can also organize your own work schedule since commuting is out of the picture. And the best thing of all is that you’ll have more time for yourself and your family. 

However, remote workers need a suitable working environment in their homes. By converting an existing space into a home office, you’ll be losing a piece of your house. And, as you won’t be properly separating your job from your home life, you’ll have to deal with constant distractions. 

The best solution to this problem is a purpose-built home office in your garden. A personalized work haven inside a comfortable timber cabin removes disruptions and boosts productivity. And that’s just one advantage – here are the others: 

A Cost-Effective Solution 

In most cases, building a timber cabin is cheaper than converting a loft or the basement. What’s more, constructing one costs less than constructing almost any kind of extension to your home. If you’re looking to save money while moving your workplace away from home, a timber cabin is a way to go. 

Another thing that will save you some money is that most timber cabins fall under permitted development. Without needing planning permission, things move faster and don’t cost as much. 

It Adds Value to Your Property 

A well-maintained timber cabin can add up to 7% to your property’s value. With this mind, building one in your backyard becomes a sensible investment. The more substantially constructed your timber cabin is, the more value it will add to your property. 

You should also consider the fact that by using a timber cabin for an office, you’ll be giving that space back to your house. 

It Separates Your Job from Your Home Life 

Having a home office inside your house has its benefits. However, working in the same space where you relax can take its toll. In addition, those sharing the house with noisy children and pets can find it hard to stay focused and concentrated. 

A home office inside a timber cabin can provide uninterrupted hours of work. It’s a dedicated workspace that offers insulation against all kinds of distractions. 

In addition, having to physically walk to and from your garden home office is incredibly important for your mental health. You still have to travel to work, but you don’t have to deal with hour-long traffic jams. 

It’s a Personalized Work Haven 

As your own little business headquarters, a home office inside a timber cabin can be personalized to your liking. Not even career men and professionals have a chance to bring in the furniture of their choice or paint the walls with their favorite colors. 

What’s more, you’ll be able to adjust and organize everything in a way that puts you in the working mood. Decorations have their role, but functionality should always be the priority. 

Let Nature Inspire You 

If you’re someone who keeps the backyard inviting and beautiful, moving your home office there would be a great idea. By positioning your desk towards the cabin’s window, you’ll get a natural productivity booster. 

Another important point to mention here is that nature relieves stress. Working from your backyard can reduce stress even further. Besides the relaxing view, you’ll also be able to tend to your garden during breaks, freeing your mind from the work. 

It Provides Flexible Use

Your timber cabin doesn’t have to be used solely for working. You’ll be able to use it whenever you want to detach from the hustle and bustle of home life. 

A timber cabin also has the additional advantage of being a space with multiple uses. If you ever stop working from home, it can become a leisure room or a workshop. Designing one with multiple rooms is even better. Besides being a home office, it can also be a shed area, a garage, a summerhouse, or a gym. 

It’s a Healthier Choice 

Even homeworkers need to stay healthy while they’re working. Timber cabins are much better for one’s physical and mental health. This is particularly true when we compare them to plasterboard and brick buildings, as well as to air-conditioned offices in the city. 

A well-maintained timber cabin keeps the temperature and humidity levels even. It also discourages the spread of mold spores. When it comes to mental health, wooden surroundings can be extremely beneficial in keeping you stress-free while working. 

Better Light for Better Productivity 

Over the course of an 8-hour day, the natural light you’ll be getting in your timber cabin home office can greatly affect your state of mind. This is especially true if you’re someone who suffers from seasonal affective disorder during cold months. 

If you decide to go for a timber cabin, have it designed with large windows. These will let in plenty of natural light, which is guaranteed to keep you motivated and focused. Keep the windows open during warm months – your backyard’s sights and smells will bring you peace and tranquility. 

Go Solar to Save Even More Money 

Having a timber cabin built in your backyard to use as a home office saves money in the long run. For further savings, consider installing a solar panel system to its roof. 

By doing this, you will be saving on your home’s electricity bill. What’s more, your brand new backyard office will be powered in an environmentally-friendly way. The average cost of installing such a system depends on a number of factors, but you’ll undoubtedly get that money back through future savings. 

By moving your home office to a comfortable timber cabin, you will be less stressed and more productive while working. More importantly, your home life will be separated from your job. With no distractions, you’ll be able to better concentrate and focus on your work. 

7 Tips to Stay Healthy While Working from Home

While working from home was once only a dream, as technology evolved, it has become a reality for many.

For some people, their home is the only office space they know. Others have a chance to work from home occasionally, as their employers are becoming increasingly aware of all the benefits remote works bring.

However, all the work from home advantages come with possible risks attached, most commonly related to the physical and mental wellbeing of remote employees.

To prevent the dream from turning into a nightmare, follow these seven tips to stay healthy while working from home.

1.   Create Your Office Space

Working on your sofa or your bed is never a good idea and can have adverse effects both on your health and your workplace productivity. Furthermore, these kinds of ergonomically unsound “working spaces” can harm your physical health while also making you sleepy, sluggish, and easily distracted.

Your bed should be reserved for sleeping and trying to finish work tasks on your sofa can bring too many business-related associations later on when you’re trying to relax.

The best thing you can do is create a separate office space in your home that you will use only for business purposes, and that will be free of any distractions.

You must equip your office space with the right kind of chair. The chair needs to support the proper alignment of your back so that your spine doesn’t make any particular efforts to support your natural curve.

2.   Avoid Sitting Long Hours

However, lower back pain is one of the most common health issues those who work from home face. Even with an ergonomically sound chair, sitting for too long puts stress on your back, causing pain, which can become chronic.

You should try to correct your sitting posture and avoid sitting long hours. During your work, take frequent and regular breaks.

Having a standing desk can be beneficial as it will reduce other risks associated with prolonged sitting hours such as weight gain, obesity, heart disease, high sugar levels. It may also improve your mood and boost your productivity.

3.   Stock Your Fridge With Real Food

When you’re home, you can be tempted to check out your fridge every once in a while, and not only when it’s mealtime.

Make sure you stock your fridge with some real, nutritious food instead of snacks and treats. You should always have fresh fruits and veggies available, as well as nuts and seeds when you need a quick energy boost. It’s best if you can keep the sweets and treats out of your home completely, or try to limit their intake.

This way, you fuel your body with all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, preventing many nutrition-related health issues.

And if you’re spending a lot of time indoors, the chances are high that your vitamin D levels are low. Vitamin D plays an important role in the nervous, immune and muscle systems, and maximizes calcium uptake, keeping our bones strong. Its deficiency can result in many health problems, such as stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, dementia, etc.

Most people get the required daily amounts of vitamin D through sun exposure, but if you’re not able to get enough sunlight, consider taking vitamin D supplements.

4.   Maintain Healthy Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be quite challenging when you’re working from home, and can lead to stress and burnout.

Hold yourself accountable for not overlapping your working and personal hours. Dedicate the time of the day that you’ll commit to your business tasks, and stick to it.

If you face difficulties when organizing your day, track your time to recognize the distractions that keep you away from finishing your tasks. That’s when mastering common time management techniques can make all the difference.

5.   Schedule Workouts

home workout equipment

Your physical condition should always be your priority, so do your best to stay active. General recommendations for adults are at least 150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity during a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.

Schedule your workouts to at least meet these general requirements, and use your flexible working hours at your advantage.

Choose an outdoors activity you find enjoyable, or simply start working out at home. There are many options online, with or without basic equipment.

6.   Dress Up For Work

If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon of enclothed cognition let’s try to sum it up as simple as possible – what we wear, we become.

So, if you want to be confident and efficient, don’t work in your pajamas. It will make you feel lazy and sloppy. Take a morning shower and dress up, just like you would do for work.

7.   Interact With Your Colleagues

Working from home may add up to the feeling of social isolation, and if it lasts for a while, it may even lead to depression and anxiety.

Stave off some of the negative effects working from home can have on your mental health by keeping in regular touch with your colleagues. If you’re working as a freelancer, try to create a professional, supportive network you can be in contact with.

Talking about ideas or challenges will promote satisfaction and help us be more efficient at work. At the same time, meaningful relationships we form will create a sense of belonging, vital for our wellbeing.

Use these tips above to stay healthy and, at the same time, be more productive while working from home.

5 Things Coaching Can Do for Your Business

When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re the one to whom your employees turn when they need advice and mentorship. Leaders are used to offering guidance; not receiving it.

But even leaders need someone who can help them see things more clearly.

Every business owner can use someone who knows what they are going through, someone who has been in their shoes, and, more importantly, someone who can help them clarify their vision for their business.

That’s where business coaching comes in. By bringing in a business coach who has years of experience, you can lead your business where you want it to be.

Help You Build Actionable Plans

You are the one who determines how fast you will meet your personal and business goals. You’re the one who decides how much passion you will pour into achieving them.

But dedication isn’t the only factor here. You also must consider how your personal and business goals relate.

You need to understand what impact your business goals will have on your life and why they are important to you personally.

Lynn Berger, an award-winning career counsellor and coach, recommends asking yourself if your work is in line with your values, personality style, motivated skills, and interests to determine whether you need to make some changes.

A trusted professional can help you answer these questions and figure out how to bridge the gaps between your personal life and your work life.

If a business goal is not connected to your personal plans, goals, and dreams, getting to that business goal may not be as critical. A business coach will help you clarify this and put things in perspective.

Once they help you determine where you want to take your business, a business coach will help you with crafting strategies and plans needed to bring your business closer to its goals.

Typically, business owners meet with their coaches every week or every month to keep track of the progress of their previous commitments.

By helping you prioritize goals, a coach will help you create a clear road map for your business. They can help you see the difference between business tasks and long term objectives more clearly.

Create Accountability

Accountability is a vital part of business & marketing coaching. Your business coach isn’t your consultant. You’ll never see a tennis coach going to the gym for their player.

Business coaching works the same. Your coach won’t build your business for you. What they will do is keep you focused on the end result.

A business coach can help you grow your business by constantly motivating you to keep your commitments and reminding you why it is important.

They can highlight business blind spots. In fact, 26% of coaches are hired to act as a sounding board. Every business owner can use someone who will hold a mirror in front of them when needed.

Business coaches create KPIs (key performance metrics) to track their clients’ goals. This way, the road to your business goals is much more transparent.

A business owner is very accountable when their journey is transparent. Creating business plans is one thing; sticking to them is another.

Your business coach won’t work in your business, but they will work on your business. They will make sure regular reviews take place in order to make you accountable.

Fill in Knowledge Gaps

Entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates. HR, accounting, marketing, sales, and business developments are just some of the things business owners often struggle to cope with.

It’s unreasonable to expect from a business owner to carry out all of these functions exceptionally well, all at once, even if they are an expert in all of them.

Many business owners hire a coach because they are having difficulties with some facets of running a business.

Most business owners launch a startup focusing just on one thing—the core function of the company. Because of that, they have to learn about other functions of running a business as they are developing it.

This is where a business coach provides great value. They can make sure you take care of all the key functions of your business. And, every company can use someone who can step in with an objective overview.

Again, your coach won’t do the work for you. But, when the need arises, they will fill in the gaps. Moreover, they can help you find the experts you need by using their network of contacts.

Define Your Growth Strategy

For every entrepreneur, growth can be an overwhelming stage. The need for new employees is a great sign that your products or services are good, but it also means that you will need to take on much more responsibility.

Being responsible for someone else’s livelihood can bring mixed emotions. Your coach can help you determine when to start hiring by examining your business forecast together with you. They can provide you with reassurance and advice throughout the recruitment process.

Enhance Your Time Management

Busy people always wish there was an extra hour in the day. The way we manage our time can often be a big cause of stress. The worse your time management gets, the harder it is to find a way out.

In a situation like that, you can benefit from someone who has an objective view of the situation. A coach can help you better see which areas of your business deserve more of your time and which don’t.

To ensure the most important work gets done, your coach will help with the time management of your personal life, as well as your working life. Your coach will help you find ways to better manage your workload if it becomes clear that it’s too big for the time you have available.

Conclusion

As an entrepreneur, you are the most important component in your business. To be a good business owner, you need to take a holistic approach to the way you run your company.

Having an objective ally by your side who knows what it takes to run a business can bring great value to your company.

Customisation and How It Can Help Your Business Grow

As a business owner, you have two options – standardisation and customisation. If you want a one-size-fits-all solution, go with standardisation of your business process.

On the other hand, if you want to leave an impression on your customers, create an exceptional user experience, send a personalised message to your clients, or have a unique software developed just for you – start customising your products, services, and communications as soon as possible.

If you are constantly hearing about the importance of personalisation and customisation, but still wondering how that might help your business go sky-high, read on. You’ll find out what types of customisation can help your company grow.

Customise Your Offer

two man doing shake hands

You could say that you want everyone to be your customer, but pointing out to „everyone“ as your target audience is not such a good idea. As Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb says, you should „build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like”.

So, define your audience more profoundly. Be specific. Get into details. Imagine your ideal client and create a buyer persona out of it. Is it a teenager thinking about their college education? Or a manager who needs a masterful project management tool? Or, perhaps, a senior who is thinking about settling in a retirement home?

Once you define a target group of people, go out there and talk to them. What are their needs? What kind of problems do they face? Can your product or service solve them? Yes? Great! Customise your offers accordingly.

Customise the Client Onboarding Process

Starting a new project with a client you have never worked before can be a challenging experience for both of you. What is this client like? Should you sign a non-disclosure agreement? Will they pay you on time? Will you be able to develop a long-term relationship with them?

The best way to stop playing the guessing game and start nurturing a trustworthy relationship right from the start is to have a customised onboarding pack.

You can prepare templates upfront and fill in the blanks when a new project arises. Make sure to include your work process, approximate timeline, cost estimate, payment requirements, NDA outline, project documentation, and your terms of use, all packed up and ready to be customised for every new customer you acquire.

Customise Your Business Relationships

Building a strong relationship with your customers will help you gain loyal clients in the long run. It will drive sales, bring growth, and make your business sustainable.

In order to develop such a strong partnership with your clients, you need to have a personalised approach to sales. What does that mean? It means you need to handle your customers with great care. Because “the best marketing strategy ever is CARE“, as a renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say.

Every one of your customers is unique. So, treat them with respect and make them feel special. Nurture the relationship with your audience through social media profiles.

Answer every given question, share your knowledge, create giveaway contests, start a meaningful discussion, and try to personalise posts as much as you can.

Having Custom Software Designed For You

Custom Software

Let’s say you have a specific requirement for your business which is not solvable by any existing app.

Perhaps you want to create an innovative booking system, or you need a special kind of scheduling software that will create team shifts automatically, or you may want specifically tailored content management system to help you run your news portal.

Hiring software engineers and having a custom application designed and developed for you can easily solve the problem you are facing. If done right, such technology could level up your business and help it stand out among competitors.

Customise Your Brand’s Style

Your brand has its own personality. It can be bold and dramatic, calm and sensitive, fun and playful, elegant and sophisticated… Capture the uniqueness of your brand and have a tailor-made style guide written for your organisation.

Develop and nurture the unique voice and tone, and make your brand become instantly recognisable.

That said, you should start customising everything written for your website, sales pages, landing pages, portfolio, brochures, catalogues, apps, social media profiles, business cards, letterheads, greeting cards, and everything in between.

Customise Your Email Newsletters

Nowadays, having an email newsletter as part of a digital marketing strategy is almost imperative for all kinds of businesses. But, what kind of newsletter should you make?

Should it be with plain text, or should you go with a specific template? Our advice: go for a custom design and keep it consistent from volume to volume.

By using simple design tools like Canva, for instance, you can easily create a newsletter from template or use custom images, fonts, colours, and background. Either way, you can take a look at Really Good Emails to find inspiration in the curated list of best-designed newsletters from around the world.

Conclusion

No matter if you own a beauty salon, restaurant, travel agency, or a FinTech start-up, you get to work with people, for people. So, always try to put your users/clients/buyers in the centre of everything you do.

Listen to your customers carefully, try to empathise with them and understand their problems. Then craft your brand guidelines, personalise your communications, and tailor the offers to suit your clients’ needs.

Surviving Home Renovation When Working from Home

It is often said that moving is one of the most stressful events in somebody’s life, and I couldn’t argue with that. That is until I began the project of renovating my home. Considering I work as a marketing executive and have a home office, the balance between the ongoing project and my regular job was a very daunting task.

Before beginning my renovations, I was sure that I had everything under control. Unfortunately, throughout the course of the renovation and the impact it had on my business, finances, health, and relationships, I realised that I was wrong. I came to realise that a little more preparation beforehand would’ve definitely helped, which is why I decided to share my bits of wisdom with others, struggling the same fate.

Although every project is different, there are some common denominators you should look out for. And also bear in mind that, as someone working from home, you need to think about your business as much as you do about the house, if not more. Maintaining a balanced relationship is the only way to make sure your little project doesn’t have a long-lasting impact on everything else in your life.

Plan and be Ready to Adjust Accordingly

Notebook on the table

No home renovation project, no matter how small, should start with a plan. Detailing the course of renovations, delegating responsibilities and coming up with a budget should be your very first step.

If you don’t live alone, make sure to include everyone in the planning process in order to avoid any possible conflicts in the future and exhausting family drama over tile colours. Once everyone is on board with the plan, you can start the renovations, hoping to avoid any serious falling out.

Even if you create the most detailed, thought-out plan, chances are that some unpredictable event is going to set you off track. The worst thing you can do at that moment is to panic. If the shipment is late, a contractor cancels, a wall comes crumbling down… All of that is fixable, and you will manage it in due time. Focus on the highest priority first, and go from there.

Make a Rainy Day Fund

As we mentioned, the unexpected happens, even with the best plans. The biggest impact will surely be on the budget. Either you will need to replace something, pay for the overtime, or buy something new, that wasn’t in the original budget.

You might discover you can’t fit the fire ducts you have chosen in the desired space and need to shift things around. You might need longer wires to hook up the TV. There might be a broken tile behind the washing machine.

Although your budget might be tight, always spend less than you have, so you will have some extra space should a disaster happen. And if you defy all the odds and don’t have to dip into that cookie jar, you will have some extra money on the side to invest in renovations, or something else.

However, if you don’t leave yourself some room for sudden expenses, your renovations will surely turn into a nightmare.

Count on Interruptions while Working

Noise, workers in your private space, accidents, tools everywhere, and the inability to use most of your house are completely normal, typical, everyday occurrences when your home is being renovated. The first step is understanding that you can’t change that. So, what can you do? Adjust accordingly, and take long, deep breaths.

First thing you should do is try to work your schedule around your construction and carpenters. Schedule your conference calls early in the morning or late in the afternoon when your house is empty. Second, during the renovation period, delay everything that could get disrupted by the events in your home.

And finally, make sure that you have a backup plan. Your friends’ place, garage, or any other room that isn’t vibrating with power drills. Your clients, and ultimately your business, will thank you for it.

Embrace the Stress and Don’t Run from It

When it comes to home renovations, there is no such thing as smooth sailing. If you add the fact that you work from home in the mix, you know you are in a world of trouble. And, surprisingly, the best way to handle it is to accept it.

Don’t let the stress surprise you. You know it’s coming, so just come up with good strategies on how to handle it. Figure out something that works best for you and try not to get too disrupted.

No issue that comes up, related to renovations or your work will be made better by the stress. In fact, your decision-making skills will be severely impaired, since you won’t be able to think clearly. You might even do more damage than if you simply did nothing.

Apply that way of thinking to your colleagues, partners, and contractors, and this entire endeavour could be much easier than it was for me.

5 Small Investments That Generate Massive ROI

If you are a business owner, every resource is a valuable one. You surely have no money to waste, but the same goes for every other resource, especially time. Having that in mind, you need to spend in order to gain, and investments are a necessary part of any business. Unfortunately, not all investments pay off. So, since fortune tellers aren’t of much help, we have come up with a useful list. In order to make sure your business has a good, solid foundation, and all the means for sustainable growth, consider some of these investments, if not all.

Organise Your Business and Watch Your Productivity Sky-Rocket

The reasons why businesses fail are endless, but not having a good plan is surely at top of most lists. Having a good plan is the necessary step, but there is the other side of the coin most owners tend to forget – the delivery. Once the first day begins, employees tend to run around completely lost, and unsure of what they are supposed to do. The best way to ensure that your meticulously laid plan doesn’t fail is to invest in a good organisation tool.

Depending on the size of your business, you could use anything from an Excel spreadsheet to complex software. What is important is that it fits your needs and that your employees know how to use it. You will probably need to invest a smaller amount of money and some time into it, but once it is up and running, no innovation will wreak havoc amongst your workers. If everyone knows what they are supposed to do, you are already a huge step closer to success.

computer paper black and white flatlay

Treat Your Employees Better Than You Treat Your Clients

A customer-centric approach is a thing of the past. Even the smallest business owners nowadays know that all of your first investments should be for your employees. The royal treatment you offer your potential clients needs to be a direct result of even better treatment of employees.

One of the most famous anecdotes has CFOs asking – what happens if I invest in my people and they leave? Then, an HR representative responds – what if you don’t, and they stay? This illustrates the directions businesses are headed based on their two options. Use your resources to make sure that you are not losing good employees because you didn’t invest, or maintaining unmotivated, under-performing ones.

When it comes to what you do for your employees, start with providing them with solid education and training, good facilities and a team-building event at least once a year. Try to think outside the box, and instead of a worn-out company retreat in the woods, opt for an adventure in an exciting foreign capital, such as Prague. Find a DMC company like Prague Eventery that can help you out on the ground and put everything together for you. The appreciation your employees will feel will be rewarded.

Don’t Let Your Business Play Catch-Up with Technology

One thing that can seriously damage a company’s reputation amongst its current and potential clients is hiccups with new technology. Using outdated software often results in issues with the service, recurring bugs… Figure out where you should place your investment when it comes to technology and go from there. Don’t hesitate to spend even bigger parts of your budget in order to keep up with the latest developments. If your clients see that you are struggling to maintain the same level of service in the face of ever-changing technology growth, they will surely look for a better option.

Build a Strong Online Presence

Social media ads are one of the marketing techniques that offer the biggest ROI. You can very easily learn what the newest trends in the market are when it comes to online presence, and use them to your advantage. Don’t pop out of every possible app, but make sure that your brand is recognised, and that your image has positive associations. The world of digital media is increasing every day, and it offers way more possibilities that all of the other marketing techniques combined.

Never Stop Learning – Every Way You Can

One of the characteristics of modern companies is a culture that promotes the “always learning” attitude. The value of knowledge has increased significantly, and nowadays, you can have access to all sorts of sources easily. Use that in order to better your company and your employees. Not only is there a ton of free materials, the ones that you do have to pay for come at very reasonable prices. Sometimes, a simple Excel course can significantly decrease the amount of time your administration employees spend on a single task. Not to mention the ROI when an employee learns about the newest trends and best-case practices in the industry. Most importantly, gathered knowledge is something you need to invest in once, but can use countless times in every possible situation.