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What the Popularization of Remote Work Means for Business Owners



remote work

The business world is ever-changing, but the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has put those change processes into overdrive. And perhaps the most significant of those changes is the dramatic surge in remote work.

While the virtual office did not begin with the pandemic, the outbreak has certainly contributed to the increased popularity of remote work. This increasing popularity is due not only to health considerations but also to the convenience and cost-savings that these new work-from-home warriors have discovered in the remote working environment. But what does the popularization of remote work mean for business owners?

The Need for Flexibility

Creating a healthy and productive remote work environment means that you can’t just go about business as usual. Literally. The old formulae for keeping the physical office humming with happy and high-performing workers generally won’t translate to the virtual office.

Your remote workers are likely going to need greater flexibility than they would have required in the traditional office, particularly since they’re also going to be contending with distractions they wouldn’t face on campus. Even employees who have their own dedicated home office may still require more frequent breaks or a more flexible shift to take care of other home responsibilities, from helping the kids with their schoolwork to making sure elderly parents have their meals and medication.

Additionally, your remote employees are likely to need your support in maintaining a proper work-life balance, because the remote office can easily lead employees to feel pressured to always be working. And, without your emphasizing your employees’ well-being while also modeling your own self-care, then you’re inevitably creating the conditions for burnout, low productivity, decreased job satisfaction, and attrition in your workforce.

The Need for Support

Chances are, many, if not most, of your employees may be new to the remote work environment. So that means they will need not only your flexibility but also your support, both professional and emotional.

From a professional standpoint, employees may need training to enable them to learn to use any new remote work technologies. They will also likely need clarification on what is expected of them in this new work environment, including whether they are expected to adhere to their regular work shift or if they are required to attend daily video conferences.

Professional support also means that you should be expected to provide your employees with whatever they may need to work productively from home. This could include anything from reimbursing employees for their home office furniture and equipment to comping their internet, cell, and landline costs.

However, your responsibility to support your employees extends beyond their specific work duties. You also need to be a source of emotional support, as remote work can be challenging for some employees, who may experience loneliness, depression, or anxiety when working from home. Because of this, you should be prepared to support your remote employees’ physical and mental well-being through a range of practices, from offering mental health coverages to providing employees with ample opportunities to connect with one another, both online and in person.

The Need for Clarity

It’s not only your employees who will need clarity as they engage in remote work. As a business owner, you will also need to have clarity in your remote work processes. One of the first and most important issues that you will need to clarify is the exact employment status of your workers. For example, full employees will entail different rights and responsibilities than do independent contractors.

So for legal, regulatory, and tax purposes, it’s imperative to define the status of your remote workers and to reflect that status in a written contract that you and your workers sign before you transition established employees to the virtual office or you onboard new hires for remote work.

The Takeaway

The popularization of remote work has significantly changed the way business owners today operate. This includes the need to offer employees greater flexibility and support than ever before. At the same time, it involves the necessity for operational clarity, including clearly defining the status of remote workers.

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Tips to Jumpstart a Property-Flipping Business



property flipping

The real estate market is booming and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. And you can flip properties to capitalize on rising demand for properties nationwide.

Flipping properties can be lucrative. But you need to plan ahead before you purchase, upgrade, and flip your first property. That way, you can achieve immediate success out of the gate.

Now, let’s look at four tips to jumpstart a property-flipping business — and keep it going strong long into the future.

1. Establish Goals

Create SMART goals for your property-flipping business. These goals are:

  • Specific: Outline what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do so.
  • Measurable: Ensure that you can track your progress as you work toward achieving your goals.
  • Achievable: Verify that your goals are realistic.
  • Relevant: Confirm that your goals align with what you want to accomplish in your career.
  • Time-Bound: Give yourself sufficient time to complete your goals.

Maintain flexibility with your property-flipping business goals as well. If you need to adjust your goals along the way, do so as needed.   

2. Evaluate the Real Estate Market

Keep an eye on the real estate market. Then, you can make a plan to flip properties per the sector’s current and future performance.

For instance, research indicates U.S. home prices rose 18% year over year in September 2021. However, some real estate market experts predict “buyer fatigue” may impact home prices in the foreseeable future. This could lead to a rapid shift in the real estate market that impacts your ability to purchase properties and flip them for significant profits.

It also pays to watch real estate startup technology trends. Using real estate mobile apps with geolocation and other state-of-the-art technologies can help you determine what properties to target. From here, you can use these technologies to explore ways to get the most value out of your property investments.

3. Obtain Financing

Seek out financing, so you can get the money you need to flip properties. Hard money and conventional loans are available. Evaluate both options carefully to determine if either is right for you.

Generally, it helps to meet with multiple lenders. You can then get insights into various loan options and how they work. Finally, you can make an informed decision on how to finance your property-flipping business.

Don’t forget to set up a budget, too. Know how much money is accessible and stick to your budget as you launch your budget. In doing so, you can reduce your risk of going bankrupt. 

4. Prioritize Property Upgrades

Check out properties and consider how you can upgrade them. Next, you can prioritize upgrades that help you boost a property’s value. At the same time, you can identify property upgrades that won’t break your budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to learn about the legal ramifications associated with myriad property upgrades. For instance, you may need to complete repairs to ensure a residential property’s plumbing is up to code. Or, you may need to remove asbestos from a property; failure to alleviate this issue can expose occupants to harmful airborne contaminants that can contribute to lung cancer and to legal penalties.

If possible, hire professional help to assist with property upgrades. Seek out property improvement professionals who possess comprehensive expertise. These professionals can complete any property repairs correctly, on time, and on budget.  

The Bottom Line on How to Jumpstart Your Property-Flipping Business

A property-flipping business can open the door to a wide range of career opportunities. Some people successfully flip properties for years and earn substantial income doing so. Meanwhile, others start flipping properties and move on to opportunities to rent their properties.

Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can lay the groundwork for a successful property-flipping business. Use these tips to help get your property-flipping business off the ground. And as your company grows, remain persistent to ensure your business can achieve the optimal results now and in the future.

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Malaysian food startup MATES. introducing the concept of Complete Food – OATLER



MATES Introducing the Best Complete Food Oatler

Ever heard of brands like Dollar Shave Club, Glossier & Gymshark? These are all Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands from the West that have achieved the unicorn status (valued at >US$ 1 billion) by selling everyday products directly to consumers, some are even listed in the US stock exchange such as Warby Parker & FIGS.

Taking a closer look at the SEA scene, you may have come across brands that are mainly digitally native and have minimal offline presence. To name a few, these folks are Oxwhite, Secretlab, Zenyum, Love Bonito, Thousand Miles etc., who have employed various e-commerce strategies to reach the digital-first consumers in SEA.

What is DTC model? Comparison between Traditional vs DTC

MATES Introducing the Best Complete Food Oatler

Here comes the billion dollar question: Why does DTC matter?

Well, the DTC model is gaining traction as brands are moving towards embracing cost-effective business strategies and safer modes of distribution to the consumers.

DTC retail is essentially a fast-track method of reaching consumers, allowing them to make purchase through exclusive channels (i.e. official website), by way of eliminating middlemen involved in the distribution process. This helps the retailers reduce hefty markups from wholesalers and save logistical costs in the secondary mile delivery.

These DTC brands often focus on niche audience via heavy investing in online marketing, thus enabling them to provide them a better quality and greater end-to-end customer buying experience, with very competitive pricing.

Here is a recent example of a Malaysia-based e-commerce brand, MATES. that is adopting the DTC model.

Who is MATES.?

MATES. is a DTC lifestyle brand offering and specialising in convenient and new health products. They aim to provide the urban community with convenient food alternatives without compromising on nutrition and taste.

As seen on their official website, their flagship product is Oatler, a.k.a. 5-Sec Breakfast, an oat-based food that is complete with an adult’s daily nutrition needs packed in a highly portable pouch. Learn more about their product here (2-min read).

MATES. Business Strategies (from Marketing > Community Building > Operating Model)

Social Media Marketing

As discussed above, DTC brands invest massive effort in online marketing. This Malaysia-based brand focuses on social media marketing through creative ways of getting its first batch of users to try out their debut product.

Weeks prior to their official product launch, they did seeding in micro-influencers and key opinion leaders (“KOL”) marketing to get them to share their testimonials and reviews over their social media. This is an effective word-ofmouth marketing as seen in many other micro DTC brands too.

Community Building

Another strategy adopted by this brand is targeted community building. With the proliferation of micro e-commerce brands, today’s consumers have less brand loyalty than ever before. It takes more than just a great product to build a loyal following of customers. MATES. first started out with a 2-pronged approach: (1) social media content creation and (2) creating a club-based community, where they managed to bring a feel-good exclusivity to their social media followers. The followers who resonate with the pain points and overall brand philosophy are likely to be more engaged, thereby convert into a customer and drive word-of-mouth traffic.

Business Operating Model & Product Launch

According to the founding team of MATES., they are currently operating on a 100% e-commerce, pre-order only model, without any offline presence. This allows them to remove the middlemen and minimise working capital.

Customers can place an order upon their official launch on 24 October 2021 and will have their product delivered in early January 2022, i.e. approximately 2.5 months of lead time.

Prior to their product launch on 24th Oct 2021, there is no doubt that enormous amount of marketing work needs to be put in place. They rolled out a referral campaign where everyone can refer their friends mainly through social media channels and, in return, receive rewards upon achieving certain amount of referrals.

For this campaign, they have incorporated a “milestone” concept, where a referrer is entitled to purchase a certain number of MATES. products at RM1 depending on the referral “milestone” achieved.

There are 3 milestones in total:

1. Referred 8 friends = 2-week supply of breakfast @ RM1

2. Referred 25 friends = 6-week supply of breakfast @ RM1

3. Referred 100 friends = 1-year supply of breakfast @ RM1

While this seems creative and does create a fun game-like experience to the participants, it still boils down to how successful this DTC brand is in capturing these leads and converting them into massive sales volumes.

Vicole Lim and Yeann Tan are co-founders of Mates Food Store (widely known as MATES). Vicole oversees MATES’ marketing, spearheading the overall marketing direction, business strategy, and supply chain operations. Yeann, on the other hand, oversees business strategy too, finance, public relations (PR) and partnerships.

Facebook: @heymates.official
Instagram: @heymates.official
Twitter: @TweetyMates

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3 Tips to Invest in Your Personal Success



3 Tips to Invest in Your Personal Success

While everyone dreams of financial stability and career success, it’s all too often that people overwork themselves to the point of burnout while living paycheck to paycheck. It goes without saying that this is something that should be avoided. That said, with the proper strategic investments, you can set yourself up for success down the road. To that end, we’ve outlined our favorite tips on investing in your personal success below.

1. Long-term Investments

The earlier you’re able to invest, the better your future will be. For example, some beneficial long-term investments include purchasing life insurance young or contributing to a 401(k) account. These types of investments start you on the path to building your financial future and providing for your loved ones. 

If you’re looking for a more risky option, you may even decide to invest some capital into the stock market or cryptocurrencies. That said, if you go down this route, research is absolutely necessary. You don’t want to invest your money blindly, but if you get used to moving your money around strategically, it could pay off later on.

2. Mental Well-Being

First and foremost, you want to invest in your mental well-being. For some, this could mean practicing meditation everyday, but for others it could mean enrolling in therapy. After all, if you aren’t properly caring for your emotional health and mental sharpness, other areas of your life will suffer.

Additionally, if you’re finding that you’re regularly stressed out, you might want to establish a consistent mindfulness practice. Research shows that mindfulness helps improve your concentration, immune system function and overall well-being. It can be helpful to start a daily morning mindfulness routine in the form of journaling, meditation or even yoga. This will help you to maintain an optimal mindset to tackle the rest of your day. 

3. Work-Life Balance

These days, hustle culture will lead you to believe that every moment of every second needs to be spent “grinding” in order to achieve business success. This is simply not true. Success isn’t just about financial achievement, it’s also about taking care of your personal life. The last thing you want is for your relationships with friends and family to suffer because you’re too focused on working.

To achieve a healthy work-life balance, you need to be assertive. Set clear boundaries between work and your personal life. For example, you can make it a habit to not to check your work email when spending quality time with your family. Set aside time for yourself to do things that you find rewarding and relaxing. If you can properly decompress during your time off, it will even help you be more productive when you return to work. 
To reach your definition of success, you’re going to need to make strategic personal investments early on. This means investing both time and money into your long-term well-being. By making the right investments, you will see overall improvements in your quality of life. To learn more about investing in yourself, the folks at The Zebra created the infographic below.

3 Tips to Invest in Your Personal Success
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