Last year’s outbreak of COVID-19 made a very profound impact on the contemporary business landscape. One of the most significant transitions we have seen was the rise of virtual teams and the massive switch to work from home.
How big of a portion? According to a recent survey, 80% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely, while 47% will enable employees to work from home full-time. This can be best described as tectonic changes.
Of course, all significant overhauls that envelop this scale must include various challenges, obstacles, and adversities. In this article, we will cover some of the most notorious problems and try to find practical solutions for dealing with them.
When they are at the workplace, employees are working with an infrastructure that’s already been laid out and can get support from other departments. Moving workers out of this controlled environment to their homes leaves them with their own resources. Lack of necessary tools, varying software versions, and different software platforms are only some of the problems that undermine effective collaboration and productivity. One of the most straightforward workarounds for this obstacle can be found in platform-agnostic cloud tools, where updates are passed to all end users simultaneously. Most of these platforms usually feature built-in collaborative tools, making them even more suitable for virtual teams.
In a physical workplace, communication develops very spontaneously, and answers can be found through chatter and brainstorming as much as established communication hierarchy. In the virtual environment, however, a lack of clear and transparent hierarchy often creates clutter where critical information is often indiscernible from jabber. In order to avoid this problem, you need to establish firm rules about what needs to be reported to whom, when, and through what channels. This way, your workers will always know where to get relevant info without unnecessary delays and idling. In turn, all of your processes will be sped up and run more efficiently.
Poor worker engagement
These are two factors that take the hardest hit by relocating workers from offices to their homes. Without any motivational tools and supervision of their superiors, your employees can slip into idling and start losing productivity. This is an issue that needs to be cut in its roots. Fortunately enough, the gravity of this problem gave birth to tools for employee engagement explicitly designed to address problems related to virtual teams like check-ins, notices, scheduling, rosters, administration, and onboarding. Most essential processes are kept under one integrated umbrella and employee voices are allowed to be heard. Both these factors have a very positive impact on morale.
Response time and accountability
The problem of accountability is not related exclusively to virtual teams and remote working. But some mistakes are easier to trace in the digital environment, and unread emails, unopened messages, and other invisible walls make coming to the bottom of the problem even harder. Although this issue can’t ever be rooted out, you can, at least, do your best to cut down the response times as much as possible. Enforce the rules where priority emails will need to be responded to without any delays. Also, you can set up separate communication channels only for problems of this sort.
Lack of trust in leadership
In normal circumstances, inspired leadership keeps the workforce high-spirited, motivated, and on track with current obligations. Translating this sort of leadership into a virtual environment is very hard even if management and staff have a personal or professional history, as in numerous contemporary startups. Since you will undoubtedly lack this inspiring personal touch, you should try to bind the workers closer to the goals of your company, perform internal marketing actions that will promote your mission statement among the staff, and motivate workers to take action in building the company future by incentives and chances for promotion.
Of course, failing motivation is not only the result of absent leadership. Remote working simply doesn’t provide a sufficiently stimulating environment to help your employees reach their maximum potential. That is why you need to find another way to keep them stimulated. Do your best then to provide them with to-do lists for every new workday or at least ask them to submit their own. Short, specific, and feasible goals will help your employees plow through their obligations much faster. Offering small incentives like, for instance, leaving the workplace earlier if the tasks are finished will undoubtedly give them an additional reason to stop procrastinating and tackle their obligations head-on.
Absence of support
Last but not least, we have to mention the lack of support employees get when they are working from home. In the previous section, we have noted that most of the software issues can be prevented by adopting the Cloud technology where maintenance and updates are the responsibility of the service provider. Even so, you should do your best to build a comprehensive knowledge base where your staff will be able to find all the answers regarding technical issues and procedures without having to lose time by referring to higher-ups.
We hope these few examples gave you some general idea about the challenges startups are facing while building virtual teams and transitioning to a remote working model. Although telecommuting got a great boost with the outbreak of COVID-19, this model gained traction much earlier and will not stop developing even after the outbreak is over. With things as they are, the best we can do is to join the early adopters and make the transition as painless as possible.
Useful Tips For Starting A Construction Company
If you have a passion for construction, you might have thought about starting your own construction business. This can be an incredibly thrilling and rewarding business venture, plus there will always be demand for skilled construction businesses. It is also an industry that can be competitive and hard when starting out, so it is useful to know a few pieces of advice to help you hit the ground running with your construction company. This post will offer advice for anyone thinking of starting their own construction company that should help you build a solid foundation and find success straight out of the gate.
Conduct Market Research & Write A Business Plan
While a construction business might not seem as formal as a regular office-based business, you must still conduct detailed market research. This research will help you to build a brand that is separate from the competition and appeals to your target market. You must also write a high-quality business plan that will act as a blueprint for your success.
Build A Skilled Team
The success of your business will rely on your employees, so you want to take your time to build a skilled team with a diverse skill set. Keep in mind that you can always use training to bring people up to speed, but you cannot teach things like work ethic. Additionally, you can always use subcontractors for complex tasks.
Invest In Quality Tools, Equipment, And Materials
You will also need to invest in high-quality tools, equipment, and materials. This will allow you to complete projects to a high standard, which will be critical for developing a positive reputation and satisfying customers. This can all add up to a fair amount, so you will want to secure funding to cover the costs (and various other costs).
Use Freight Shipping
An important consideration with any new project you take on will be transport. You will need to move equipment, raw materials, and supplies to your construction site, and freight shipping is often the best option. Freight shipping facilitates the movement of large and high-volume items from A to B, allowing you to move everything you need to the construction site. You can also compare freight shipping quotes online to save money and find trusted freight shipping companies.
Create A Portfolio
To achieve ongoing success with your construction company, you will need to demonstrate your experience and capabilities. This is why you need to create an online portfolio with detailed information about each project. Additionally, be sure to include customer testimonials – these can be key for winning over new customers.
Ask For Referrals
Additionally, do not shy away from asking for referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing remains hugely effective in this field, so ask existing customers, as well as friends and family, to recommend your services.
Starting your own construction company can be a rewarding venture, and there is the potential to make a lot of money. There are also challenges involved, and it can be tricky when first starting out. These tips will help build the foundation and hopefully help you to hit the ground running.
6 Tips to Scale Up Your Business
Every business owner ultimately has the same goal: to grow and scale up their business. You don’t have to aspire to become a multinational corporation. Even if you would like to stay a local, family-run business, there are still plenty of things you can do to scale up and become more efficient and more productive.
Let’s look at six ways to scale your business.
Start by taking a good long look at the current state of your business. What are you really good at? What are your biggest challenges? What do you want to improve? Where do you want to get?
Most businesses suffer from the same growth obstacles, so chances are you are no exception. By taking the time to pinpoint them, you can set up a plan to overcome them.
Be as realistic as possible. Business owners often have pretty big blind spots when it comes to certain aspects of their company, so make sure to ask your staff, your friends and family, and your customers for their opinions.
Don’t be surprised to learn that you are one of these obstacles. If, as a business owner, you make a lot of day-to-day decisions, you may be holding up other people in doing their work.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses ultimately fail because they are not prepared for growth when it hits them. They aren’t able to scale fast enough, and things start to fall through the cracks. Eventually, they can’t keep up with demand, and they crack under the pressure.
To avoid the same fate, take some time to write down a clear action plan. How much work are you able to take on now? When do you need to hire more people, and what roles will they need to fill?
Be as specific as possible, and plan for the wildest possible success. Make sure there is someone on your team who is keeping an eye on stress levels and is ready to ring the alarm when things start to get too much.
In order to scale not only successfully but sustainably, you need to know who you are as a brand. Having a clear set of values you will not deviate from no matter what can be a huge asset in that regard.
They will help you choose the way forward and make the hard decisions when they arise. They will prevent you from going down the wrong path. For example, you may be tempted to start selling a product that is likely to earn you a lot in the short term but does not align with your long-term goals.
Your company values will dictate whether or not this is a decision you want to make.
Sometimes, you can scale your business by investing in something outside of it. For example, you can invest in property, other businesses, or stocks.
The first two investments will, of course, require you to have a lot of disposable funds available already. Nonetheless, investing in stocks doesn’t have to put a big dent in your budget.
Carefully select stocks that are the most likely to have a high yield. Look into stocks that are stable as well, as you don’t want to end up losing money. For example, AI stocks can be a good choice, as they are likely to be worth more and more, and the industry keeps developing.
No matter how long you have been in business and how much you have learned, there are still things you could use a helping hand with. Instead of trying to do everything in-house or on your own, find help when you need it.
This can mean hiring a freelancer who will take care of your social media presence or sending your customer care team on a course in empathy and communication. It can also mean talking to people in your industry about the vendors they use for office supplies.
As a business owner, it’s part of your job to keep learning and keep improving. Finding yourself a business coach can be a worthwhile investment. Even speaking to a therapist on a regular basis can significantly improve your performance and vision.
We live in a world where there is an app for everything. Every aspect of running, managing, and doing your job can be made easier (or more complicated) with an app.
In order to scale your business, you will need to find the right piece of software for every job.
Start by looking at the solutions you are already using. Maybe you’re accustomed to a certain app and have been using it for the past ten years. Meanwhile, maybe there’s something newer available that will suit your business more.
Look at every software solution in your arsenal from a financial and practical aspect. Can you find a more affordable and more reliable solution? Is there something out there that might be easier to use or easier to integrate with some of your other apps?
Make sure to talk to your team and see where the bottlenecks are. Then go window shopping and look at as many solutions as you can. Schedule demos and really take your time to make a decision.
Don’t try to switch up your entire operation in a short space of time, though. Take it one small change at a time, and then give everyone time to get used to the new way of doing things. Once all the kinks are ironed out and everyone is more productive, move on to the next change.
Which one of these tips do you find the most appealing? Have you already considered implementing some of them?
Before you choose one, make sure to carefully consider what your ultimate scaling goal is. Also take into account the current state of your business. Both will help you make the best possible choice for your specific situation.
From Passion To Plate: Steps To Launching Your Catering Business
Turning your love for cooking into a successful venture requires a unique blend of creativity and strategic thinking. Of course, your culinary passion will be the heartbeat of your catering business. However, before you delve into the logistics, identify and nurture this love for cooking. Genuine passion becomes the driving force, fuelling creativity and innovation and setting the stage for a unique and compelling catering service.
Now that you have laid the foundation or metaphorical table, you can focus on the other element to help launch your catering business.
Market Research To Identify Your Niche
Identifying your niche is crucial to stand out in the competitive catering industry. Thorough market research allows you to understand the needs and preferences of your target audience. Find a unique angle that separates your catering services, ensuring a distinct and appealing offering.
Crafting A Unique Brand Identity
A memorable brand is paramount in the visually-driven world of catering. Develop a compelling brand story, design an eye-catching logo, and maintain consistent visual elements. Your brand identity should reflect the essence of your culinary passion, creating a lasting impression on potential clients.
Building A Professional Network
Networking is a powerful tool in the catering industry. Establish relationships with suppliers, connect with fellow caterers, and engage with potential clients. A strong professional network opens doors to collaboration opportunities and provides valuable insights into industry trends and customer expectations.
Legalities And Regulations
Navigating the legal landscape is a critical step in launching a catering business. Obtain the necessary licenses, adhere to health and safety regulations, and prioritise food hygiene certification. Consider the convenience of taking accredited food hygiene courses online to ensure your business meets the highest food safety standards, instilling confidence in your clients.
The Power Of A Well-Designed Menu
Your menu is the heart of your catering business. Craft a menu that not only showcases your culinary expertise but also caters to the preferences of your target audience. Balance diversity with focus, offering a range of dishes that highlight your passion and skill while meeting the varied tastes of your clientele.
Kitchen Setup And Equipment
Efficiency is key in a catering kitchen. Invest in the necessary equipment, organise your workspace for optimal workflow, and create a functional kitchen setup. A well-equipped kitchen enhances productivity and allows you to deliver top-notch catering services, setting the stage for a seamless and successful operation.
Handling Finances And Pricing
Effective financial management is the backbone of a successful catering business. Develop a comprehensive budget, conduct cost analysis, and determine pricing strategies that are competitive yet profitable. Sound financial practices ensure the sustainability and growth of your venture, providing a solid foundation for long-term success.
Customer Service Excellence
Exceptional customer service is a non-negotiable element of the catering industry. Build positive client relationships by prioritising communication, responsiveness, and attention to detail. Satisfied clients become repeat customers and valuable ambassadors for your business, contributing to its reputation and growth.
Adapting To Trends And Staying Relevant
Stay ahead in the dynamic catering industry by adapting to trends and innovations. Incorporate current culinary trends into your offerings and consistently innovate to meet and exceed customer expectations. Remaining relevant ensures the longevity and success of your catering business, positioning you as a leader in the ever-evolving world of culinary delights.
Launching your catering business is a multifaceted journey that requires a blend of passion, creativity, and strategic planning. Take these steps to heart, stay committed to your culinary passion, and watch as your catering business transforms from a dream to a thriving reality.
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