What You Can Do To Reduce Downtime In Business

What You Can Do To Reduce Downtime In Business

Downtime is a serious issue for any business to face. When an unexpected problem pauses productivity within your company, it’s going to have consequences. Money is lost, and time is wasted, but there are even bigger disasters to contend with. Being unproductive could mean disappointing your customers, which can harm your reputation. Sometimes, legal trouble can even occur. As stressful as this may be for you, it affects the employees too, impacting staff morale and productivity. With that in mind, here are ten things you can do to reduce downtime.

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1. Educate The Entire Team

Employees are the backbone of any company. Without a team of hardworking individuals, your business won’t survive. Because of this, it should be no surprise that employees can be one of the largest contributors to downtime. If the workers are always making mistakes, it will begin to affect productivity. The trouble is, employees won’t know what to do unless you teach them. Even the best workers make mistakes, but they will make less of them with proper training. 

2. Work On Staff Communication

Every great leader knows the importance of communication. Unless your employees talk to one another, they won’t collaborate effectively. This means that work will likely suffer, impacting productivity overall. While an open plan office would allow for easy communication, it doesn’t work in all situations. Some employees work much more productively in private spaces. If you offer private offices or rooms, make sure that your staff can talk using email and messenger. 

3. Stick To Maintenance Schedules

All companies have equipment that they rely on. Sometimes this is little more than computers and printers, but other times, your staff will need special tools to carry out their work. When this equipment doesn’t work as it should, it can result in downtime. Thankfully, you can usually avoid this issue with maintenance. Not only will this reduce the number of unexpected breakdowns, but the equipment will last longer too. This means that you’ll have to pay out for fewer replacements.

4. Upgrade Any Old Equipment

Even when you take care of technology, it won’t last forever. Eventually, all equipment has to be replaced. Rather than wait for an unexpected breakdown, you should invest in regular upgrades. This means that you can make plans to reduce the effect the replacement has on the business. Avoiding these upgrades might save you money in the short-term, but it won’t do any good overall. It will become difficult to repair certain devices, as the parts will be harder to source. 

5. Bring In Professional Help

Good equipment operators should have no trouble in diagnosing and repairing many smaller problems with their tools. However, you will need an expert for any complex issues. Trying to fix problems you don’t understand could make them much worse. Because of this, you should research nearby IT experts and find help that you can trust. It’s particularly important that you have professional help in large and complicated scenarios, like relocating the business. 

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6. Plan For Power Outages

Working technology is little use to you unless you can power it. A power outage could bring your company to a halt, especially if it relies heavily on technology. Thankfully, there are several ways to limit the impact. With variable speed drives, you can continue to feed power to conveyor belts, plant machinery, and other equipment, even if power output dips. A backup generator would also help to keep the business up and running until you could get the power back on again. 

7. Reward Your Hard Workers

Punishing an employee for causing downtime would be a natural response of many employers when that employee doesn’t perform. Some bosses would dock pay or cancel benefits to those caught sitting on the job. However, this isn’t the best way to motivate your staff. A much better approach would be to treat those staff members that are working hard. There are many ways to reward employees, from paid days off to fancy lunches and even gift cards for local stores. 

8. Make A Healthy Office

Sickness can cause chaos within a workforce, seriously affecting productivity. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone on your team is functioning at their very best. They must be capable of handling the work you delegate to them, or huge issues could arise. Making a healthy office will prevent sickness, as well as injury. When a worker is sick or hurt, you should offer your support. Showing that you care in this way will motivate your staff to get back on track.

9. Look At Your Budget

While downtime is costly, resolving the problems that cause it isn’t cheap. After all, electricians, replacement tools, and backup generators can all be pricey. For this reason, you must take a look at your budget and plan how to cover the costs associated with downtime. If you were to build an emergency fund, for example, you would be able to dip into that whenever you had an invoice to pay. Make sure that you also have a great business insurance policy to fall back on.

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10. Give Each Other Feedback

Unless employees are told they’re making a mistake, they will continue to make it. It’s for this reason that performance reviews are so crucial. Giving your workers constructive feedback lets them improve, benefiting them and the company. Just remember that you can improve too. Make sure you also allow your staff to offer advice of their own, whether it be face to face or using a suggestions box. Staff productivity is just as much your responsibility as it is the employees’.

Nearly all businesses experience downtime at some point. However, that doesn’t mean that your venture should be destroyed by it. Downtime may cause chaos, but you can protect your company. With the advice above, it’s possible to prevent downtime in your business, saving time and money, as well as unnecessary stress. If you can’t avoid downtime, the tips above should still help you to limit the impact that it has. 

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Can You Turn Your Business Green?

Can You Turn Your Business Green?

With climate change and helping to preserve the environment becoming the most important issues of the day, it’s more vital than ever that your business can jump on the bandwagon. Consumers are becoming more and more savvy and picky when it comes to the companies that they choose to do business with. If you don’t have the eco credentials, your niche market may move elsewhere. It doesn’t matter whether you import ball bearings, or whether you create custom made tee shirts from home, there are some simple ways to turn your business a more palatable shade of green. 

You may think that morphing into a sustainable startup is expensive. While costs will be incurred, the possibility to pass this onto the customer can end up making your venture more profitable. People actively seek out companies that have a policy of being sustainable and are willing to pay a higher price for this luxury.

Lighting 

Office blocks around the globe are full of inefficient strip lighting that causes a ridiculous amount of light pollution and costs a small fortune to keep on. Strip lighting isn’t natural and doesn’t create a pleasant ambience for offices. While they are cheap to install, they don’t last long and will regularly need replacing. More energy saving LED lighting will create a more comfortable light for your workplace. The bulbs themselves may be more expensive to buy but they can last five times longer than other bulbs. They also don’t contain the toxic mercury that is present in incandescent light bulbs. 

The culture of your workplace also needs to be refreshed. Have an away day with your staff team and explain the new emphasis that you are going to place on saving energy. Whereas you may have had a policy of keeping your office lit overnight in the past, this wasteful act now needs to be banished. If your team leaves lights on when they aren’t using a meeting room, this needs to change. This will save energy as well as money for your startup. 

Recycle As Much As You Can 

When you are trying to be green, you need to think back to your school days of reusing, reducing and recycling. You might wonder what on Earth you can recycle. After all, you are a business, not a charity. Only ever consider recycling something when it is no longer of use to you. If you were going to throw it away anyway, you may as well give it to somebody who can use it. 

Laptop computers that are obsolete to you could be great for a local school or hospital. As you are a startup with plenty of confidential and sensitive data on your hard drives, you need to simplify erasing computers with WipeDrive. Using this simple program, you can ensure that your assets remain secure, are fully wiped and don’t slip into the wrong hands. 

Recycling doesn’t end with laptops and hardware. If you are refurbishing your office space and replacing the desktop booths with collaborative meeting pods, give the obsolete versions to somebody new to utilize. If you are keen on swapping the dull artwork with some local photography, give the framed pictures that you no longer want to a charity shop. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.

Plastic

If you have seen a nature documentary recently, the chances are that it will have shown the shocking effects of disposable plastic in the world’s oceans. While everyone loves a bottle of cold water, you don’t have to succumb to the single use plastic variety, and you should place a ban on these in your office. Instead, fork out some cash and make an effort to install a water filtration system. This way, you no longer have to rely on the water cooler tanks, and your staff can enjoy freshly filtered water direct from the tap. Again, this can be costly, but it is a clear example of your commitment to help the environment that you can plaster all across your website for your potential customer base to see. 

Being green doesn’t mean losing money, becoming less productive or forgetting about your other business priorities. You need to consider what really matters to you personally and professionally. With the emergence of public figures like Greta Thunberg, it’s time to get in on the eco conscious action and play your part in trying to save the planet. With some simple tweaks and a re-evaluation of your company ethos, you can turn your business the perfect hue of green.

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Is Your Techno-phobia Ruining Your Business?

Is Your Techno-phobia Ruining Your Business?

There are a lot of things that are entirely unique to the era that we currently live in. After all, the march of progress never stops moving forward and over the last several decades it’s been getting faster and faster. And there’s one thing that is both responsible for that speed as well as for many of the advances that are happening all of the time. That thing is, of course, technology. Technology is one of the most important aspects of modern society and that is especially true if you’re running any kind of business. However, there are plenty of business owners who find themselves either uninterested in technology or even actually afraid of it. A lot of the time these are the kinds of people who work under the assumption that, because their business has survived for this long without the need for technology, there’s no reason to embrace it now. If that’s the kind of attitude that you have then I have some bad news for you. The truth is that technology is an integral part of running a modern business whether you like it or not. It’s just a matter of knowing how it can help. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can use technology to improve your business.

Understand how to use it.

The reality of technology is that it’s not just going to come in a save your business. There’s no singular “technology” that you can put in the center of your business that will solve all of your problems. The key is understanding how it is exactly that you can use it in order to make your business better. How you go about doing this is often going to depend pretty heavily on what kind of business it is that you’re running in the first place. Whether you need a raid capacity calculator or the hardware and software for full-scale automation is going to depend entirely on your business’s needs. However, you’re never going to be able to make the most of any technology if you don’t understand how most effectively to use it in the first place. The only way that you’re going to be able to solve this issue is to do as much research as possible. This may well be a lot of work but the improvements that it can lead to in your business are well worth it.

Improve your website

It should come as no real shock to anyone that, if you want your business to succeed in the modern world, you need a website. Without one, you may as well not have a business in the first place. Your website is the place where your customers will come and find you, the place where you will put out essential information, and is a huge part in making your business as visible as possible. However, it’s not just a matter of having any old website. Your website has to be one that people will actually want to visit in the first place. It might sound rather shallow but the truth is that most people in the modern world aren’t going to spend much longer than a minute looking at your website before passing judgment. And it’s not just the website itself that they’re judging. The truth is that if your website looks cheap and amateurish then people are going to assume that the same can be said about your business as a whole. You need a website that properly reflects the kind of quality that people can expect from your business. This means not only making it attractive but highly functional as well. A beautiful website that’s impossible to navigate is as good as useless.

Think about how your customers use it.

Of course, it’s not just a matter of how your business can use technology, it’s also a matter of how your customers relate to technology. This is a fantastic perspective to understand because it helps you understand exactly what it is that you really need to be offering to your customers. This applies to a number of areas. When it comes to your marketing, you need to think about what kinds of social media platforms your customers use so that you can best utilize those yourself. If you’ve got a lot of customers wanting to use your business in a digital space then it becomes a whole lot clearer that the best thing to do is to push it in that direction.

Change the way you and your employees work

For the longest time, the ways in which a lot of businesses work and are organized has been relatively fixed. You had business owners at the top with employees working in an office in a standard nine to five pattern. However, technology has created the opportunity for some highly useful and interesting disruptions to that pattern. The most obvious is that the office is can now be pretty much anywhere. Remote working methods allow for your employees to work no matter where they are which means that not only are they going to be able to maintain a much stronger sense of a work/life balance but you’re no longer limited to just hiring candidates who are local to your business. Not only that but thanks to online conferencing programs like Skype and Slack, it’s never been easier for you and your employees to connect with one another no matter where you are.

Of course, it’s also just as important to remember that it’s not just a matter of bringing technology into your business and abandoning everything that you were doing before. The truth is that if you want to run a truly successful business then it’s incredibly important that you foster a sense of balance between what’s new and exciting and you’ve learned from the past. To think that there’s nothing valuable that your business can learn from what’s come before is just as misguided to assume that you don’t need to embrace technology at all.

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Rapidly Grow Your Email List & Improve Your Business Strategy With Interact Quiz Creator

Rapidly Grow Your Email List & Improve Your Business Strategy With Interact Quiz Creator

Let’s get real for a minute. Have you ever taken an online quiz?

From “What Hogwarts house am I?” to “What animal am I?” to “What should my career be?”, online quizzes are all the rage. You’ll be minding your own business, scrolling social media or a blog then BAM there it is…a little quiz grabs your attention and says just the right thing to peak your curiosity! Before you know it you’re answering questions (and even giving out your personal email) so that you can discover what color of cat you were in a previous life…

Admit it. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

Now, quizzes might seem like a fun side-hobby but did you know they can actually be incredibly effective tools for building your email list?

Think about it. People LOVE taking quizzes. And if you build a quiz that grabs the interest of the demographic you are trying to reach, all you have to do is:

  1. Put the quiz somewhere they will see it.
  2. Ask for their email in order to get their quiz results.
  3. BOOM! You’ve got a new subscriber!

When I was asked to test Interact; an online quiz creator software, I jumped at the opportunity. I needed something to spice up the content I was creating and attract more people interested in what I have to offer. Creating quizzes geared towards my target demographic was a fresh strategy I’d never tried before.

Here are 5 Ways Interact Quiz Creator Can Improve Your Business

Here are the benefits I have discovered from using Interact Quiz Software.

#1 Rapidly grow your email list

When I put my first quiz out there, I had an almost 50% conversion rate from people who clicked on the quiz. That means I got 25 emails for every 50 people who took the quiz. THAT is a great statistic!

#2 Segment your list

There are so many benefits to email list segmentation! A “get to know you” style quiz can help you understand your audience better, automatically separate them based on responses, and enable you to write more personalized, applicable content to them. This is a great strategy for increasing open rates, boosting engagement and getting new clients or customers.  

#3 Drive Sales

A quiz is an easy way to show which of your products or services may be of use to a particular person. If you don’t sell anything that can be marketed through a quiz, you can also use a quiz to direct your readers to affiliate products and services.

#4 Get Seen On Social Media

As a business owner, it is getting harder and harder to be seen on social media due to frequently-changing algorithms. A sure way to be seen is if an individual shares something you are attached to. Enter interact quizzes! People often share their quiz results on social media and this is an easy way to spread your business name around on Facebook and grow your presence.

#5 Boost Audience Engagement

Creating a fun, interactive quiz is an easy way to encourage audience engagement. You can also use quizzes to get valuable feedback from your readers and customers.

So far, I have been extremely pleased with my experience using Interact. I was looking for a tool that is simple to use (for myself and my clients), something that looked modern and attractive, and something to boost my numbers that was also fun to do.

Here are more benefits when you use their platform:

  • Customizable Design
  • Branching Logic
  • Multiple Quiz Types
  • Opt-In Form Builder
  • In-Depth Analytics
  • and much more…

There are many options for your business with Interact that I suggest you check out their website and sign up for one of their plans which range from Free to Pro and very affordable!

You can try Interact Quiz Creator here!

Have fun! 

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Is A Website That Important To My Business? Yes. Absolutely.

Is A Website That Important To My Business? Yes. Absolutely.

Is your business off the ground and doing pretty well? Cool. Well done. That stage is often super annoying and tedious. Turning your idea into something that you can actually make money from doesn’t exactly happen smoothly. You’ve probably got everything nailed at the moment, but are there a few things you’re lacking? You can always improve.

Nowadays, pretty much every single business should be up and running online. They should also have a website to accompany everything they’re trying to achieve. Websites are now a staple in the business world, and if you don’t have one, you could be missing out on a lot. Almost every single individual on the planet has access to the internet now, so you might as well make the most of those eyes.

If you’re not online, then you could probably still get a few sales and generate some good money. It happens with some firms. But they’re so important if you want to make serious strides. Let’s go into a little more detail as to why they’ve become an essential part of this game. 

First Point Of Contact  
When something goes wrong with a product or someone just needs to get in touch with a company, they don’t really phone up anymore. This generation is jam-packed full of phones, but many don’t really use them to call anyone! Instead, they’ll want to deal with someone in a live chat, or they’ll want to read the FAQ. A website provides that comfort and that welcome. It’s like a home for the entire company.

People Lazily Look For A Site
When you want to know about a certain topic, person, or event, what do you do? You research it online, don’t you? The instinctive thing to do nowadays is to open your computer or whip out your phone and surf the web. So, what if someone sees your company and wants to know more? If you don’t have a site up, then they’re going to Google your name and check out a little more info. If there’s no website there, then they’re going to be a little let down. That’s just how it is these days!

Millions Of People Are On The Web
As we briefly mentioned before, there are lots and lots of people online. Right now, there are millions scrolling through search engine results, social media, and other stuff. You have to get in amongst all that if you want to push on as a company. If you’re not with the times, you might end up getting swallowed by competitors that are willing to do so.

People Expect A Website Nowadays
We’re now firmly stuck into a society that is caked in technology. Kids these days are literally baffled at how we lived our lives before all of this. They don’t quite understand what it was like before all of this convenient button-pushing. That same spoiled mentality has crept into pretty much everyone’s line of thinking these days. If you don’t have a page that has a pretty website design, then you’re going to be judged negatively. Standards are only going to increase from here on in, too. 

This is a contributed post.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

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Learn How to Stay on Track with Lisza Crisalle

Learn How to Stay on Track with Lisza Crisalle

Interview with Lisza Crisalle

Lisa Crisalle, founder of the International Association Of Health & Nutrition Business Owners, teaches us the value of investing in a mentor or coach to help us succeed in business.

Lisa gives insight into why it’s important to “stay on track” even when we have multitudinous new ideas and opportunities that may distract us from our original commitments and goals

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