How to Grow Your Small Businesses

Once you have established your business, the next step is to think of how you can grow it. Growth may not happen overnight, but it will surely happen if you take the right steps and are consistent with your efforts. Consider the following tips for growing a small business. Work On a Strong Online Presence […] The post How to Grow Your Small Businesses appeared first on Wall Street Survivor.

How to Grow Your Small Businesses

Once you have established your business, the next step is to think of how you can grow it. Growth may not happen overnight, but it will surely happen if you take the right steps and are consistent with your efforts. Consider the following tips for growing a small business.

Work On a Strong Online Presence

Most searches for both goods and service providers are done online. Thus, as a small business owner, it will work to your advantage if you establish a strong online presence. Make sure you are listed on search directories, write about your products so people can easily find them, and consider setting up an online store. You don’t have to open an e-commerce store if you don’t have many products. You can just use some e-commerce plugins on your website. As you are doing all these, remember to do some keyword research so as to find the exact words customers are using to search for your goods and services. If you don’t have the expertise, consider hiring someone who is an expert in areas such as social media, copywriting, and SEO services.

Think of New Business

Introducing new products and services, or expanding your market, are two more steps you can take to grow your business. Be on the lookout for new customer needs that you can solve. Check if there is a new market you haven’t explored and find ways to tap into it. When you sell more products and make sales to more people, your profits will grow. However, make sure you test the viability of every new venture before investing your money to avoid losses.

Get the Right Services

As a small business owner, you need to purchase a number of services. Examples include utilities, insurance, software, marketing, and accounting. The key is to get the right services from a reputable service provider. For instance, for something like business insurance, you need a package that will cover your risks from a provider who will not let you down when you submit your claims. As outlined on The Hartford, some key examples of business insurance you can take to cover risks include commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, commercial auto insurance, and data breach insurance. The Hartford is a company that provides a wide range of insurance solutions for small businesses.

When it comes to software, choose affordable solutions that are effective and efficient. Reputation is an important consideration when making a decision. With the right solutions, your operations will run smoothly, and growth will not be hampered.

Offer Exceptional Customer Service

Great customer service can give you two key benefits; one, customer retention, and two referrals. When your customers are satisfied, their chances of going elsewhere reduce. They can also share their satisfaction with others, and this leads to more business. Thus, as you work on other business processes, don’t forget to work on your customer service.

Keep reviewing everything you are doing and make changes if you don’t get the desired results. And, when you start to see some significant growth, don’t stop. Make the efforts continual if you want the results to be continual.

The post How to Grow Your Small Businesses appeared first on Wall Street Survivor.

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What are my legal responsibilities for homeworkers?

Originally written by Chris Salmon on Small Business An unprecedented number of employees are continuing to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Small businesses new to managing remote staff are often unfamiliar with their legal health and safety responsibilities for homeworkers. The migration to working from home (WFH) has presented many challenges for employers and employees. As companies have been forced to focus What are my legal responsibilities for homeworkers?

What are my legal responsibilities for homeworkers?

Originally written by Chris Salmon on Small Business

An unprecedented number of employees are continuing to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Small businesses new to managing remote staff are often unfamiliar with their legal health and safety responsibilities for homeworkers.

The migration to working from home (WFH) has presented many challenges for employers and employees. As companies have been forced to focus on business continuity, it is possible that remote workers’ health and safety will have been overlooked.

Legal responsibilities for homeworkers

Employers have the same legal duty of care for remote working employees.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary workplace safety legislation. The act makes no distinction between home and in-office workers.

The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 specifically states that “employers are responsible for the health and safety of homeworkers, as far as is reasonably practicable”.

The regulations require employers to carry out a risk assessment of their employees’ workplace.

The assessment should identify any potential risks so the employer can then seek to remove or mitigate the risk.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the home is the most common location for an accident to happen.

Although most homeworkers will be working at home at a desk with a PC or laptop, health and safety risks must be considered more broadly. Risk assessments should also consider areas like electrical hazards, obstructed access and manual handling.

>See also:

How to conduct an ‘at-home risk assessment’

Employers should adopt the same approach to the assessment of home workers as they do to in-office workers.

It is not necessary to visit the employee’s home to carry out a risk assessment – especially during the lockdown.

HR managers can provide the employee with a detailed self-assessment questionnaire as part of a firm’s legal responsibilities for homeworkers.

If your company does not have one already, there are many free templates available online. The HSE’s display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist is a good starting point.

Employers should make every effort to support and guide the risk assessment. The exercise could be supported over the phone, but a video call will enable the HR representative to see the workers environment and give constructive input.

What needs to be assessed?

The employee’s work area should be well lit and ventilated and provide enough space to work comfortably.

Computer workstations should enable continuous use without discomfort or fatigue. The monitor should be placed at a suitable height, and the display clearly legible and free from glare or reflection.

Ergonomic peripherals (such as keyboards) and office chairs can also greatly improve comfort and prevent strain.

The risk assessment should also seek to identify:

  • Trip hazards: the workstation vicinity should be clear of obstructions such as trailing cables
  • Electrical hazards: ensure that electrical equipment and fittings are in a working condition free from damage such as frayed cables. The employee should understand the safe usage guidelines for any equipment you supply
  • Fire hazards: overloaded extension cords and dust-clogged heat vents are a common fire risk. Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers should be provided if necessary. A fire escape should be identified and kept free of obstruction
  • Manual handling: if the employee needs to move work equipment, it’s imperative that they undergo proper training to minimise the risk of injury
  • First-aid: the employee should have easy access to a suitable first aid kit and contact details of who to call in the event of an accident
  • Training needs: For example, if the employee will need to lift heavy boxes or move equipment, manual handling training will be necessary
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): such as wrist rests and eye strain glasses
  • Special needs: is any assistive equipment needed for disabled employees?
  • Other home-specific risks: such as the presence of children

>See also:

Employee mental health

Employers also owe a duty of care to identify and minimise the risk of harm to an employee’s mental health.

Some workers flourish when working from home. For others, the psychological impact of isolated work can be insidious.

It is more difficult for employers to recognise stress, anxiety and mental health problems in remote workers.

Developing active communication channels and a means of maintaining virtual contact – such as through regular video calls and messaging platforms – can improve mental health in addition to productivity. Encouraging colleagues to leave video or audio channels open throughout the day can help emulate an office environment.

 Employees should be informed about healthy work patterns. For example, research by the World Health Organization found that taking regular breaks and incorporating exercise in between work sessions was beneficial for both physical and mental health.

Employer’s Liability (EL) insurance

The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires all employers to have EL insurance to cover the cost of any compensation paid out to employees in the event of an accident.

However, if a company fails to carry out an adequate risk assessment, it could invalidate the company’s policy if the employee suffers an injury or illness.

Revise your health and safety policy

Whether COVID-19 will usher in a new WFH world remains to be seen. At the time of writing the conversation has moved on to “getting back to work”. It seems likely that the number of people wanting, or needing, to carry on working from home on an ongoing basis will increase.

For some businesses, the logistical success of the unscheduled experiment may even prompt them to embrace WFH.

Making WFH work will require HR teams to approach the remote management of health and safety as an ongoing task. Adopting a more consultative approach will help to secure employee buy-in.

Risk assessments should be seen as more than an audit trail exercise. The process should consider the needs of the individual. A template risk assessment may be sufficient in the short term, but HR managers should consider a subsequent, more bespoke assessment for specific employees as part of their legal responsibilities for homeworkers once the dust settles.

Now may also be a good time to revise your health and safety policy to incorporate homeworking more fully.

Chris Salmon is a co-founder and director of Quittance Legal Services, a panel of occupational injury solicitors

Further reading

 

What are my legal responsibilities for homeworkers?

Source : UK Small Businesses More   

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