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Photography Advice For The Small Business Owner

When it comes to selling products and services to public photography and videography is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Technology is so advanced now that you’re even able to track fleets of vehicles via gps fleet tracking companies, with video and photography.

So, what ways can a small business owner utilize this technology?

Well, professional photography can be costly, especially if you expect high quality. So many people are turning to their own cameras and even camera phones now, to provide their customers with visual representations of their work.

It’s important to note that a professional will be able to provide the best results, but you can, with a little help, produce photography that will get you noticed.

The first thing you need to do is research your tools, a DSLR is, of course, preferable. But with the right light, then any camera you have will work.

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Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Light

Cameras are designed to capture light and color when you know a little bit about how to best light your subject, then you will be well on your way to mastering photography.

Of course, there is a lot more to it than just working out where the light lands, and it’s not as simple as having a bright sunny day to place your products.

But once you realize that you need to consider the shadows and the highlights of the subject that you are photographing, it all falls into place. Photography is ultimately as simple as this.

Photographing products is quite simple, and purchasing some basic lighting equipment will help you no end. With a simple white background, a camera, and some light, you will end up with some half-decent product photography in no time.

There are online resources that show you exactly how to light your subject. And even courses you can take too.

Position

It’s quite essential to make sure that you have all of your products in the frame when taking photographs. You really do need to consider if your customer will be interested in your pictures, all you need to do is think about the items you have bought yourself, and how they were presented to you.

Doing your market research at this point is something that will help you on your way. If you’re looking for more than basic product photography, then getting creative is essential.

Think about the working environment, any natural backdrops you may have, and also maybe consider having some work in action photos for people to see.

Potential customers left behind the scene photos, and this is something you may want to consider when arranging your photography session.

Editing

This will depend on what tool you have chosen to use to take your photographs with. However, software such as Light-room is quite simple to use with a little reading and research.

As with anything, it may seem daunting to start with, but many small business owners have mastered these tools to produce their own shots to share with the world.

Now we have Instagram and Instagram stories as well, so it is essential to note that the speed in which people share photography and their business is breakneck now.

So don’t get left behind.

3 “Assumed Truths” Of Business Which Can Really Hurt Your Enterprise

Entrepreneurship is a wonderful path to pursue. It’s a fantastic way to liberate yourself from the limitations and restrictions of the traditional career path. It can not only help you to transcend a career that was allowing your skills to go to waste, it can even inspire others to do the same and take a chance on themselves.

What’s more, small businesses are great for the economy. They pay their taxes proportionately unlike some of their corporate counterparts and they keep wealth in the local community where it belongs.

Yet, although running your own business is wonderful for many reasons, it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. There is no definitively correct way to run a business (if there were everyone would be doing it).

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In lieu of an established game plan, entrepreneurs must navigate the perilous path of running a small business must get by on a combination of their own experience, advice of peers and mentors, gut instinct and “common sense”.

The latter can be extremely problematic. There are many “assumed truths” of business that nascent entrepreneurs accept as Holy writ that can actually do your enterprise way more harm than good. For example…

1. Overheads need to be cut down

Overhead costs need to be managed, there’s no question about it. It’s an important way of keeping a healthy cash flow and ensuring that you can keep your vendors and employees paid on time.

But that doesn’t mean that you should always be on the lookout to scythe down overhead costs across the board. Some overheads will represent a greater return on your investment than others.

While you should make efforts to ensure healthy cash flow, you should also keep a pot free to invest into your business. Invest in new equipment, new employees or new digital tools like ELMO Performance Management Software.

This will facilitate growth, boost productivity, enhance your workplace organization and ensure the long term health of your business.

2. It’s better to have casual employees

Speaking of overheads, a new employee represents a sizable investment on your part. You have to pay their wages, give them benefits and invest in their training. Depending on where you trade, you may also be legally obliged to provide them with a pension.

You may feel that it’s best to sidestep this and employ people on a more casual basis. However, this may not necessarily be the best option for your business. The more you invest in your employees, the more they will reward you with their loyalty and hard work.

Casual employees have high turnover rates which can result in expense and diminished productivity. Moreover, casual employees may be less ready to embody your brand in the same way as salaried employees.

3. You should always be on the lookout for new customers

This is a half truth. While you should absolutely keep an eye out for new customers, this should never be at the expense of retaining the customers you already rely on. These are the foundation upon which you will build your future growth.

It may be easier to balance the two by incentivizing your existing customers to introduce their friends, family and colleagues to your business with exclusive offers, promotions and giveaways for both parties.

 

By all means go with your gut, but think long and hard about basing your business plan on any assumed truths of business.

 

Stuck In The Past? Being A Modern Entrepreneur In The Agriculture Industry

In so many ways, the agriculture industry is a mish-mash of past and present. While the average agriculture startup in the modern day is doing its utmost to harness the technological aspects and use a more modern mindset, so many other aspects of the industry are still stuck in the past.

As a modern entrepreneur, what can you do to make sure that the past is firmly brought into the present, while still acknowledging the classic aspects of the industry that made it so successful in the first place?   

1. Slow Implementation Of Past And Present

Technology is one of those things that’s hurtling towards the future with such speed, it can be difficult for many industries to keep up, especially the farming industry.

As the farming industry is dependent on so many machines and tech to ensure a healthy development of crops and livestock, everything needs to run like clockwork, as it usually does.

As a result, you can’t shake up everything so quickly, because it will be a big shock to the system. But what you can do is implement the smaller components and phase everything in gradually.

A supplier like www.fertilizerdealer.com/ can supply Ag tanks and similar components. At least, when you implement these aspects, you have a stable foundation in which to grow. Slow and steady wins the race in the agriculture industry.

2. Connecting The Individual Components

As farming isn’t considered to be at the forefront of technological industry, what we can do is to bring farmers, distributors, retailers, and companies into contact with each other.

As there are online discovery platforms these days, it’s important that as the modern entrepreneur, that we take advantage of these two connecting aspects of the industry together.

Better communication means making life easier across the entire supply chain. It’s common sense, but communication isn’t always the speediest component, especially in the agricultural industry.

3. Helping Farmers Have Easy Access

Much like e-commerce, you can help the contemporary farmer have more access to raw materials, livestock and farming equipment through the equivalent of an e-commerce platform they can access from a cellphone.

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As the older generations are used to their own approaches, this can be quite an alteration. But as the younger farmers are coming up, these are the people that you are best utilizing so you can increase that idea of communication.

As the agricultural industry demands sufficient care and treatment, technology can prove to be a goldmine of resources, but as so many agricultural specialists are of the “old world”, this can prove to be a change they are not ready to make.

Modern entrepreneurs have to be adept and need to meet the demands of the current marketplace. But they also have to work with these agricultural specialists to ensure that they have a job at the end of the day.

Bringing agriculture into the present-day isn’t an overly complex task. But for those who are stuck in the past, it requires a little more coaxing. In fact, many modern farming lands are transformed into tourist attractions.

On www.independent.ie/ you can see how one man turned a 14-acre farm into a major empire! It can be done, no matter how stuck in the past you are.

Boost Your Retirement Pot With These Nifty Tricks

When is the right time to give your retirement savings a boost? The answer is always right now. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or eyeballing giving up work in the next ten years, it’s never going to be a bad time to make sure your pension pot is topped up, after you’ve sorted out any debt you have.

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Image via Unsplash

 

The power of compound interest means you’ll be better off overall if you’ve started out on your savings plan early, but a boost is always welcome.

As we are all living longer and being much more active in later life, we need to become even more careful with our money, and make sure that we have a comprehensive retirement plan in place to manage our investments and any business ventures to generate additional income.

Here’s how to maximize your nest egg in the short to medium term..

1. Reduce The Costs Of Investing

Costs related to your investments are eroding money from your return, so it’s a good idea to look at reducing them as far as possible. If you have investment in mutual or exchange traded funds then there will be hidden fees associated with them.

In particular, there is an expense ratio attached to each fund – essentially the fee you pay for it’s management. If you pay an Independent Financial Adviser to help you in your purchases, that is on top of the costs you pay them.

When you also add on transaction fees and loads, it’s suddenly a lot of money. So it’s worth looking out lower cost options with a similar profile, or checking with your Financial Advisor they they are also using the lower cost options.

Even a small percentage, when looked at over the lifetime of your investment, can make a big difference to your future profits.

And sadly, it’s a common scenario for investments to be put into higher expense funds simply because they yield a bigger commission for the broker!

2. Get Into Property Development

Housing is a good way to make your investments work harder, especially in these days of rising property demand. You don’t have to be a tradesmen to transform a run-down property into a desirable new home – you just need a good network of contractors with CIS registration and a good head for a business case.

Pick up properties at auction and let location be your main guide – most other factors can be changed. Make sure that you have familiarized yourself with average selling prices in the area and factored in what you are likely to make as a profit margin once the sale and legal costs, plus the cost of the development work, are taken into account.

3. Add In A Lump Sum

You can top up your retirement income by adding lump sums to your pension plan. Any random windfall, tax refund or bonus at work – add a few thousand and with the power of interest rates it will make a big difference over a few years.

A few thousand at five per cent can be a really welcome sum to add to your retirement package.

5 Office Organization Hacks For 2019

Now that the New Year is here it is time for us to start fresh and be more productive with our days. When it comes to working in the office it can feel as if you are going back to the same old same old right away and you can easily fall back into those bad patterns again. But luckily here are some of the way you can be more productive this year to make sure that you are truly working to the best of your ability.

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1. Colour code everything

Before you do anything else, go and raid your local stationery shop and buy a folder of every colour for your office.

The great thing about doing this is that you can place things of different projects into different folders and you will always know where to find something when you need it.

It is a simple trick but it can save a lot of time looking for lost paperwork.

2. Schedule time

If you want to make the most out of your working day it can be a great idea to have a meeting room booking system for the office for anyone to book a meeting through the week.

This means that if you have something to talk about which is too important to talk by email, you can use this system and have a meeting about it instead.

Meetings can be great because you can end up getting a lot more done and you can be much more productive.

3. Have a group calendar

It can be a handy idea to have a calendar which is shared by the whole office so that you can see what you need to do each day and you can see when others are busy.

Knowing when everyone else is working on something or in a meeting is invaluable, and if you need to talk to someone you can simply open up your calendar and request them at a time when they are free.

4. Create a quiet space

Offices can be pretty fast paced at times and sometimes they can also become a little bit loud and rowdy.

To avoid this from distracting you while you try to work, you can think about creating a quiet room for workers to escape to when they need to get something done in peace.

Having a room like this can make all the difference to you and it can make your life much less stressful.

5. In box, out box

Always have two piles of work on your desk: things you need do, and things you have completed.

This will make things a lot easier for you every morning as you can simply look through you in box and choose the task or tasks you want to do that day.

Organizing your work like this can make w huge impact on your working day and it will allow you to stop sifting through piles and piles of things in order to find what you are looking for.

5 Ways to Avoid Debt in 2019

It’s easy to fall into debt, especially when you don’t know what your options are. Chances are, you’ve attempted to navigate the world as best as you can while trying to save as much money in the process.

That’s a good start, but there are some more strategies that you can try to get out of a financial sinkhole quicker. From refinancing your long-term loans to automating your monthly bills, you’ll be able to pay off more debt this year (and hopefully have some extra money left over).

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Photo from Unsplash

1. Refinance

Depending on what type of mortgage you have, how long you’ve had it, and how much your credit has improved, it might be worth refinancing, especially if you plan on keeping your current house for the foreseeable future.

By refinancing your mortgage, you could qualify for a lower rate, stop paying mortgage insurance, and shorten the length of your loan. However, you’ll have to do your research.

If you’re not careful, you could end up with a higher rate, more interest, and lots of closing costs. After all, refinancing costs, such as originator fees and an appraisal, could add up to 3% of your loan amount. Be sure you have all of your ducks in a row before refinancing your house.

Another type of loan you could consider refinancing is your student loan. Again, there are pros and cons to refinancing student loans but the benefits are impressive. Just like when you initially applied for a student loan back as a freshman, you’ll have to first be eligible for a new loan.

Refinancing basically means you’re taking out a new loan for the total amount of your previous loans, but hopefully with better terms, like lower monthly payments and lower interest rates.

If you have multiple student loans—say one per year of school—you’ll be able to consolidate these into one loan and one monthly payment.

Another advantage is that you’ll have the luxury of shopping around for a new lender whereas you may have had limited choices as a younger student with less credit history and, let’s face it, less knowledge.

2. Audit Your monthly Bills

Take a moment to look your monthly bills over. What could be cheaper? What could you stop paying altogether? Which subscriptions, like Netflix or Good Housekeeping, could you live without?

You can also try renegotiating some of your bills. In fact, there are apps out there that will do this for you. This might make you wonder, what else could be done for me?

Well, home maintenance is another expensive bill that could cost less. Signing up for a home warranty could cut your repair bills in half. For example, if your dishwasher breaks, you could be facing a bill of $150 to $1,000.

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If you have home warranty coverage, you’ll pay a small service fee of $75 to get it repaired or even replaced with a brand new appliance. Note: most homeowners file two major claims per year, which means you could pay $150 for thousands of dollars worth of repairs or replacements.

3. Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a huge role in your finances and vice-versa. It’s a measurement of your total finances, including your financial history.

Your score is based on information in your credit report, like how many credit cards you have, the balances of these credit cards plus your loans, any delinquent payments you haven’t paid, bankruptcies and other factors.

Lenders will look at your credit score to decide whether or not to approve your loan and at what interest rate.

To get the lowest interest rate, you should have a credit score of at least 760. To give your credit a boost, you can: put more money toward your monthly loan and credit card payments, keep your longest line of credit open, and avoid opening more lines of credit.

4. Be Cheap!

Creating a budget is one thing. Adamantly sticking to a budget is a whole other ball game. This means you have a certain amount of money to pay your major expenses each month, a certain amount to put toward debt, and a little cushion for personal spending.

You’ll have to make some hard decisions, like choosing to stay in on the weekend rather than going out with friends. You might have to push your vacation to next year.

You’ll have to keep the big picture in mind whenever you feel an impulse to purchase something for short-term happiness.

5. Enroll in Auto Payments

My last advice is to enroll in automatic payments for as many bills as you can. This set-it-and-forget-it strategy will make sure you don’t overspend on frivolous things and that you meet all of your minimum payments on time.

Setting up automatic payment methods will not only save you money, but it will save you time too. With these smart strategies in place, you’ll have a much more efficient year, which should set you up for long-term happiness for years to come.

Written BY;

Paige A. Mitchell

Paige Mitchell is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing practical financial advice. You can reach her at paige.a.mitchell18@gmail.com.

 

3 Simple Ways To Flex Your Eco-Friendly Muscles In Business

As an entrepreneur, your primary motivation when setting up your new business will be ensuring that your cash flow remains fluid. Without a steady money stream, your supply chain can ground to a halt, you can fail to provide a quality service or product, and your reputation can quickly slide.

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However, once you have established your business entity within your sector, the motivation shifts from making money to saving money.

 

One of the simplest ways to make economic savings is to focus on your green credentials.

 

With a bit of thought and initial investment, you can do your bit towards saving the planet and make crucial financial savings for your company.

Take a look at these three simple ways that could see you saving money in an environmentally aware way. 

1.Water

Even if you don’t work in a rural, farming or outdoors based industry, you can still save a ridiculous amount of money when it comes to your water usage. Running and dripping taps waste an extortionate amount of money each year across homes and businesses.

Lackadaisical attitudes towards utilities means that needless money literally falls down the drain. Instead of relying on mains water and paying for the privilege, consider exploring companies like National Poly Industries and obtaining some heavy duty water tanks that will collect rainwater for you to reuse.

This could be to wash vehicles, water plants or to irrigate land. By recycling water, you are flexing your Eco-credential muscles, being less wasteful and saving money.

2. Cycle-To-Work Scheme

Encouraging your employees to take a greener mode of transport to work may not appear to save your company money in the first instance. However, by empowering your workforce to decide for themselves how they will work and where they will work, this naturally boosts morale.

A happy workforce is a productive workforce, meaning that you can enjoy a greater quantity and better quality of work from your employees.

At the same time, using less gas guzzling cars and encouraging remote working means that you do your bit for the environment and allow your company to welcome the advent of flexible working with open arms.

3. Solar Power

If you have the money in the bank, it may be wise to invest some of this nest egg into future proofing your business. Solar panels, while expensive to initially install, can pay for themselves within a decade and help you run a carbon and money neutral enterprise.

Imagine heating your premises using the power of the sun, without having to hook up and utilize mains gas or electricity. It can be done. Many companies are now choosing to go down a more self sufficient route embracing more control and saving money on their utility bills.

 

While saving the planet won’t be the first motivation for your business plans, embracing greener ways of working can save money. From a PR perspective, your business can project itself as forward thinking and environmentally aware, and you can enhance your reputation as a frugal, economically sound and Eco-friendly startup.

How to Start Your Business and Reduce the Risk of Failure

In case you found yourself in a dead end job last year and would like to become financially independent, or you have long term plans that don’t involve doing a job 9 to 5, you should create a plan and startup strategy.

The bad news is that over 80 percent of startup businesses fail in the first few years (this figure is higher, according to some experts), so you need to be prepared for the challenges ahead. Below you will find a few tools that will help you create a successful strategy.

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1. Create a Vision Board

Before you start a business, you will need to know why you are doing what you are planning to do. Your vision should be related to your professional and personal life. You might want to spend more time with your loved ones, or simply have a more flexible work schedule.

Once you know what you need, you can start finding the right business model. You can make money without having your own product or service, too.

You can read more about the different methods at  https://budgetboost.co/how-to-start-a-drop-shipping-business-from-home/  and start experimenting with ideas.

2. Improve Your Skills

If you would like to transition from the world of an employee into being self employed, chances are that you will need to learn some basic discipline skills and understand the importance of taking responsibility for your actions.

Your success or failure will no longer depend on your supervisor, but yourself. Whether you need to step up your game when it comes to organization or communication, it will help you succeed.

3. Have the Right Mindset

Many entrepreneurs will tell you that it is all in the head. You will need to create the right mindset and get rid of negativity that might hold you back from success.

If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect your potential customers to do so. You can find plenty of motivational books that will help you frame your mind for success and improve your skills to deal with challenges while staying positive.

4. Secure the Funding

No matter how good your business idea is, you will not succeed if you don’t have the investment you need to start things moving in the right direction.

One of the main risks new businesses face is related to their finances. You have to create a realistic plan and profit predictions, so you don’t run out of money before you would break even and start generating profits.

5. Get Support

If you are not an expert at digital marketing or need help designing your sales funnels, you will need to accept your limitations and get professional help and support.

There are plenty of great online training programs, but you might also book a consultation with a digital marketing expert to get some ideas on how to get your business noticed online.

There are plenty of risks associated with starting a business. Make sure that you address them one by one and get yourself ready for the challenges ahead.

4 Business Risks All Small Businesses Need To Know About

Being able to work for yourself and setting up your own business can be a dream for many people. It can be the challenge of creating something for yourself that you can drive to be a success, as well as being the person in control and being your own boss. And all of that sounds well and good, right?

But if that is the case, why don’t more and more people do it? The reason being, is that there are definitely some risks involved with running your own business and being your own boss. There are risks each day when you’re working for yourself, and you have to be the one to deal with it, rather than someone else.

That being said, there are many advantages to working for yourself and running a business of your own. But to help provide some balance, here are some of the risks that you may face, and the things to be looking out for. Then you can be in a better place to manage your risks successfully.

1. Physical Risk

There are going to be physical risks to your business, because your business will be made up of physical things. From laptops, computers, offices, and warehouses, these will all carry risks for your business, and things need to be put in place to make sure that you are able to deal with it all.

There can be a whole host of things that can go wrong with the physical things that you have, such as natural disasters, fires, theft, and vandalism. Insurance for your business is a must really, as then you at least have protection should anything like that happen to your physical business.

You won’t want to slow down production or growth because of having to deal with something stolen, for example.

2. Strategic Risks

The decisions that are made for your business will bring some form of strategic risk for the business. The choices that are made are generally made to help the business to achieve the goals or aims that you have set out for it.

But there is always going to be a chance that what you choose doesn’t go to plan. There could just be plain bad or ill-thought out decisions that are made, as well as just not being able to execute them clearly, or that they are not rolled out in a good or timely way.

Cash flow can be a problem when there are strategic things that go wrong, as well as missed deadlines or lack of sales.

In order to combat this kind of thing, it is a good idea to regularly check over your business processes, and keep on to of what is going on. It is also a good idea to set yourself clear key performance indicators, to check that you are on track for things.

3. Development Risks

In order to help your business to grow and do better, then there are going to be a certain degree of development risks that come as a result of growth.

It could be the decisions to relocate or move things offshore, that could lead to other issues out of your control, such as government changes or legislation in the new country, or things like service provider risks. When you expand you may choose to outsource to suppliers or vendors.

And it can be a risk as they have to meet things at their end in order for you to meet your deadlines. So research for all of this kind of thing is really key.

4. Technology Risk

We live in an ‘information age’ where we have access to so much at our fingertips through technology. And as a result, it is highly likely that you use technology in your business.

There are risks that are small, from things like power outages, to things that are much more serious like malware issues, or cyber attacks. These things can lead to down time on your business, loss of profits, and even data breaches.

Which is why making sure that you have the right backups in place, as well as things like anti-virus software in place, can be really key to helping minimize the destruction that a technology risk can have on your business.

 

As you can see there are risks that can come to your business. But there are also things that can be put in place to deal with them. You just need to put it all in place, before things get started.

 

Why You Should Never Ignore Your Business’s Equipment Needs

There’s no denying that every business is different. After all, if your business was the same as every other one on the market then there would be no reason for it to exist, would there? Because of that, you need to be fully aware of what the specific needs for your business are.

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Different businesses always have different needs and if you’re not tailoring your business in the right direction, you’re doing it a disservice. One of the most significant areas where this applies is in the equipment that your business uses.

If you’re ignoring the specific equipment needs of your business, that can lead to some serious issues further down the line. With that in mind, here are some ways in which you can make sure that you’re not ignoring the equipment in your business.

1. Efficiency

Making your business more efficient should be right at the top of your list of priorities at all times. The modern business world moves at an incredibly fast pace and if you’re not keeping up then you’re just going to end up falling behind.

Whether it’s the software that you use to communicate within the company, city cranes for construction work, or even something as simple as making sure that the computers in your business are all working properly, having the right equipment and keeping it well maintained is essential to improving the efficiency of your business.

Your business should be a well-oiled machine. Otherwise, you could well end up getting buried under all of the different aspects of your business at once.

2. Employee support

The beating heart of your business is always going to be your employees and that means that you need to be doing everything that you can to support them.

If you’re not keeping your equipment maintained then that’s going to make it a whole lot harder for your employees to do their jobs.

This means that you’ve got to focus keeping things running smoothly so that your employees can focus on what’s most important, rather than trying to find fixes for things that shouldn’t have gone wrong in the first place.

3. Health and safety

Health and safety might not be the most glamorous part of any business, but it’s still one of the most important. If you’re not making your business a safe place for your employees and yourself then that can lead to some serious problems down the line.

This means that you need to be sure that you’re maintaining all of your equipment as well as possible and that you’re offering clear training on how to safely use it for all of your employees.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that equipment is the only part of your business that matters. The truth is that your business needs to focus on all of the things that are specific to it.

If you’re not leaning into the things that make your business unique then you run the risk of it ending up generic and uninteresting to customers.

You need to make sure that customers can instantly see what it is that makes your business stand out against the competition.