It is often said that 90% of the startups have the hard games only to be the failures. However, it is not because they are silly or unprepared. They did a lot of preparations and researches, and they created the detailed business plans just like you. It is because the business world is very severe and extremely difficult to survive. What should you do in order to be the 10% of the winners? Here, you can learn, from their mistakes, how to operate your business during the first five years.
To Begin With, Why Do Businesses Fail?
50% of the businesses close down within the first 5 years. This is very large number, isn’t it? All of those business failures have some patterns. By learning what to avoid, you will be able to protect your precious business from ding out.
Cannot pay the bills
The biggest reason of the failures is not to have enough money to keep paying the bills. The large companies usually have very steady cash flow. They took a long time to pay their bills; the average is four to six months. It is essential to know how to control your company’s cash flow like the large companies do.
Offering the products that people are not willing to pay
The lack of the researches on the market needs always results in the failures. You need to consider extremely carefully about what kind of products you are going to offer and how much the price should be. What you want to create may not always be equal to what people want. Therefore, objective analysis on market needs is essential for the business success.
Adapt cost-inefficient marketing strategies
There are a lot of ways to promote your product, and its costs vary. Which medium is the best to promote your products to the targeted audience? Business failures often cannot find the best balance of the scale of the targeted audience and the advertisement cost.
Not have skills to manage the team & company
Management directly affects the company’s success/ failure. Even if you have a great business idea, resources, and the work team, your business could easily fail without the reliable management source. Also, companies should make sure that they are operated by certain systems; not only by the “knowing-all” founder.
Features Of Successful Companies
What 10% of successful entrepreneurs do? Just like the failures have some patterns, succeeded companies also have the patterns.
Product fits the market needs perfectly
As mentioned above, it is essential to ensure that you are producing something that people are willing to pay for. No matter how greatly the business is operated, there will be no success if nobody wants to purchase your product. Successful companies are constantly offering the products that are right on point for the targeted customers.
Pay attention to everything
Successful companies never neglect or ignore anything brought up as an issue during the business process. It is because they know that “boring stuff” could be the key aspect of the business.
Have a strong team
In starting up a company, versatile work team is necessary. If your team has the great skillset and mindset, you are very likely to survive your first five years. Startups always have a lot of challenges; constantly make changes, adjust to the market, analyze the situations, and adapt something new. It cannot be handled only by the one-man competence. Also, a data shows that the startups with co-founder have the higher rate of surviving compared to the solo founder’s businesses.
Make the business grow fast
You may think that it is unavoidable for many companies to lose their money during the first two years; because that’s the hardest period of time in starting up the business. But it does not mean that you have to lose money too. Growing fast is not a unrealistic thing to achieve. If your company grows fast, you do not have to worry about running out of cash, which is the second biggest reason of business failures. In addition, it is much earlier for them to find the good investors because we all like the immediate profits.
5 Tips To Survive The First 5 years
What specifically should you do to avoid the business failure? What do you need to be a successful business owner? Here are the 5 tips that you can practice for your company.
1. Make commitment
Make a commitment to yourself that you are going to stay in this business for at least the next five years. And also what to achieve during this period of time. The strong will is important and has a great effect on your business growth, maybe more than you expect.
2. Take notice of long-term success
Always think ahead, and do not be swayed by the thought of a quick profit. If you have a solid long-term business plan, and follow it faithfully, your company will bloom soon. It may sounds conflicted about the fast-growing companies mentioned earlier. Growing fast is still possible for the companies, however, only if you do not sacrifice the future profits for a momentary gain.
3. Build the good credit
Good credit is necessary for the leasing and other business transactions. However, you don’t need to worry about showing some losses at the beginning. It is unavoidable for many companies to have deficit when they just started operating their business. As long as your company is growing steadily, you will be able to establish the good credit for your company.
4. Plan for success, but not failure
Do not take it wrong. It does not mean you don’t need the exiting strategies; All companies should know what to do in case of closing down their businesses. However, in terms of the business plan, you should build it based on the vision of yourself being successful.
5. Know when to make changes
As you are doing business, you will face to the time when you need to make changes; on your product, branding, or business plan. Listen to the customers and the market, and know when and what to change. The proper shift in the business can give your company the opportunity to enlarge the business scale and increase the profits.
Cloud-based phone system, more commonly “VoIP,” is named as one of the business strategies, especially for small businesses and startup companies. Is VoIP for you? It is important to know what you can except from the VoIP system to make the right decision for your company.
4 Top Advantages Of Using VoIP
You will save money, a lot of money, by switching to VoIP. It does not require expensive hardwares or maintenance fees unlike the traditional phone services; phone calls can be made and received through your smartphones or desk phones. According to VirtualPBX, Cloud-based phone system can save up to 80% of your phone bill. The long distance call through VoIP is also much cheaper than traditional phone services.
Distance and location do not matter at all to VoIP system. When you are in the office, or at home, or even on the other side of the world, you won’t have any difference in communicating with people. This is a greatest advantage if you have clients/ business partners nationwide, or if you are considering to take your company global.
Integration of communication
Cloud-based phone system makes it much easier to share the business tools operating in the cloud. Employees can access to all tools whenever and wherever they want with their personal devices; no matter where they are, they can stay connected. It increases the productivity and the efficiency of the workflow.
Flexible for your needs
In the cloud-based phone system, you will be able to choose the features you need for your company. VoIP allows to convert the signals from traditional phones and forward it as digital data through the internet. You can request to have your own VoIP number, which enables you to receive and make phone calls at anywhere as long as you have internet. Also, not only the phone calls but videoconferencing is available through your VoIP phone. There are so many convenient functions that you can choose from.
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What You Should Consider
It is also essential to know the downsides of VoIP system before making the final decision.
Reliable internet connection required
You must have reliable internet connection and sufficient bandwidth in order to fully utilize the functions. Without enough bandwidth, some calls may have issues such as lag and delay.
Not for emergency calls
As mentioned earlier, the internet is “must-have” condition for the VoIP phone system. If the power goes out and you do not have the internet connection, you cannot either make or receive calls any longer. Therefore, cloud-based phone system may not be useful in case of emergency.
5 Tips To Choose The Right VoIP Provider
There is plenty of options available for the cloud phone system. If you have decided to switch to VoIP, here is the list of things you want to know in order to choose the right provider.
1. Do research on technology
It is necessary to at least have a basic knowledge about how VoIP works compared to PBX or other business phone services. You can read books, search on internet, or even ask for the professional advices.
2. Evaluate the features
Assess the features to determine what functions will be beneficial for your company and your specific needs. Before start looking for a provider, make a list of the features you would like to have with the order of priority.
3. Know that all cloud phone systems are NOT the same
Not all providers offer the same services or features. It is important to check as many providers as possible and compare them carefully. Do not only focus on price; having all the features you need is vital for the business solution.
4. Check compatibility
The system provider do not always offer the network evaluation for you. Do not forget to ask if your existing network will be able to handle the VoIP software.
5. Know what to expect in downtime
People tend to forget to do the disaster planning, but it is essential. Ask what you can expect for the disaster recovery from the provider; and evaluate if you will be able to maintain your business and keep the data safe.
It requires a lot of researches and efforts to find the right VoIP service, but finding the best fit for your company is important for your business success. Make sure that you understand what you can expect in order to fully take advantage of this advancing technology.
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Business VoIP – The Benefits, Disadvantages And How It Works
Employee training is the investment. Companies secure large amount of their budgets on the employee training regardless of the industry or the company size. According to the ATD 2016 State of the Industry report, companies in the United States spent average $1,252 per employee on trainings in 2015. Each employee spent 33.5 hours per year, and the learning cost was $82/ hr on average. Most of the companies are willing to spend their money, time, and effort to improve the employee quality.
3 Reasons Why The Employee Training Is Important
Here are the reasons why you want to give the full consideration on the employee training/ development.
High quality employees gather and stay
Motivated employees always seek for the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge. The great training program attracts them, and gives them a reason to stay in your company. It results in decreasing the employee turnover, which is very important to save money; it is very costly to recruit and train the new employee after losing the current one.
More innovative work team
When the employees have access to good learning materials and new information, they are more likely to come up with innovative ideas or solutions.
Boost customer satisfaction level
Employee trainings are the shortcut to improve the customer service. It will increase employees’ awareness on the matters of customer services.
Now you know why many companies invest in the employee development. But how do you find the appropriate budget for your company? Charles Schulz introduces the following method to determine the training budget:
Set The Nudget Based On The Company Goals
Ask yourself these questions before setting the budget.
- What is your main goal to achieve?
- What are the sales goals and the revenue goals?
- How many customers do you need to achieve the goals?
- The numbers of retained customers & new customers you need?
- What and how to improve the product/ service you are offering?
- Can your existing team achieve these goals with current skills?
It will help you to find out what is the specific things to improve or supplement; what makes your company away from the goal? It may be the workplace environment, the lack of knowledge/ skills, or the old-fashioned system. Take your company goals into account when trying to build the on-point training strategies.
Lastly, Decide The Detailed Training Techniques To Use
There are massive options you can choose from for the training methods and materials. Each training technique has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is essential to understand the characteristics of each method to choose the most effective one for your work team. TrainingToday explains about the training techniques in its article “The Most Effective Training Techniques.”
- What are your training goal (for each session)?
- Who are the trainees?
- How much can you spend on the training?
- How much time can be allocated for the training?
Based on the answers to these questions, determine the best training method/ material for your company. The followings are the five major training methods widely used today.
1. Classroom/ Instructor-led trainings
It is the traditional method, and one of the most popular options of trainings. It includes blackboard/ whiteboard, overhead projector, video, PowerPoint presentation, and storytelling.
- Efficiently introduce a large amount of materials/ information.
- Face-to-face and can be very personal (Especially when it includes storytellings).
- Everyone will gets the same information at the same time.
- Good value for the price.
- It is difficult to schedule a session for the large numbers of employees.
- Sometimes it is not interactive and cannot gain trainees’ attention.
- Effectiveness of the lecture affects the training success too much.
2. Interactive methods
There are many ways to get trainees involved during the sessions. It includes quizzes, group discussions, case studies, active summaries, Q & A session, role playing, demonstrations, and so on.
- Trainees are engaged in the training, and generally gain more information/ knowledge.
- More enjoyable for the trainees.
- Opportunity for veteran employees to pass on their knowledge to new employees.
- In-session feedback to the trainers is possible. (Because of the direct communication between trainer and trainees.)
- Time-consuming because of the activities.
- Sometimes it can be less structured/ organized.
3. Hands-on training
Experiential trainings are very effective for the specific purposes. For instance, cross-training can make trainees improve their skills and produce the employees who can handle more than one job.
Demonstrations are helpful to introduce the steps for new systems or processes, and coaching can focus on individual needs of each employee.
- Efficiently introduces new procedures and equipments.
- The learning contents can be practical immediately after the training.
- Trainers can easily tell if the trainees have learned the contents during the session.
- Not suitable for the large audience.
- Some methods can cause confusion over the system, and reduce the productivity during the training.
4. Computer-Based Training (CBT)
Computer-based training is getting more and more popular and widely used around the world. It has options such as text-only, CD-ROM, multimedia, and virtual reality.
- Easy to use and convenient.
- Often offers customized version of the materials for a variety of needs.
- Most effective in developing and practicing new skills.
- Cost-effective because same program can be used for large group of people.
- Interactive contents are available.
- Enable to track each trainee’s learning status.
- Trainees must have computer literate and computer access.
- Not suitable for the trainings on customer service, sales, and sensitivity trainings.
- Often difficult for trainees to interact with trainers.
5. Online, E-learning
Since the business world has been greatly globalized, it causes the demand for training technology to share the materials with people in different locations worldwide.
- Efficiently deliver the training to multiple locations, and it saves money on travel expense.
- Good for self-directed learning.
- Easily updated with new policies, procedure, regulations, or issues.
- Variety options for trainees with different level of knowledge/ skills.
- Usually cannot be customized for company’s specific needs.
- Trainees must have computer literate.
- Consumes massive bandwidth of your company’s internet service.
- Outdated hardwares could cause issues on receiving the training.
- Limited access to professional advices and quick questions response.
Each company has different purposes and goals to achieve. By understanding all of these aspects of the employee training, you will be able to determine the most efficient and successful methods for your company.
How to Use Your Business Goals to Set Your Employee Training Budget
The Most Effective Training Techniques
ATD Releases 2016 State of the Industry Report