Author: Peter Steeves

Telecommuting: a one-off situation or the future of companies?

The Covid-19 pandemic has tested, as never before, the effectiveness and efficiency of teleworking as an alternative modality to work attendance. This is why Citrix, an expert company in the creation of safe digital workspaces, has evaluated the perception of teleworking through the study ‘Teleworking: a one-off situation or the future of companies‘.

This study has been carried out in Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Australia. In Spain, the report reflects the opinions of 1,000 workers from different sectors and with varied positions within companies who have worked remotely during confinement.

According to the Citrix sample, 71% of the respondents believe that teleworking will be the most frequent mode of work once the period of confinement is over.

Regarding the ideal conditions for working remotely, 56% of Spaniards stated that they have a specific space to work at home, while 22% do so in the bedroom and 20% in the kitchen or living room.

In Spain, before the current situation, many of the main companies had already implemented telework policies, normally with 1 or 2 days a week in remote work for each employee. However, others have had to organize themselves quickly to effectively deal with their company’s remote operation. In this sense, and according to the data provided by the study, 32% of respondents said that they already did so regularly.

The impact on productivity

The perception about domestic work performance is being more positive than expected, with 34% feeling that their productivity levels are higher at home than at the office, compared to 32% who believe they have declined, and 35% who feel that they are just as efficient in the office as at home.

However, to be even more productive working remotely, 49% of respondents feel they need a more technologically appropriate work environment, with a single remote access solution (35%) and a greater opportunity to connect with colleagues (22%).

In addition, almost half of the participants (40%) say that the biggest obstacle to working from home is the lack of appropriate technology or access to certain documents and applications. In this situation, 74% say they use tools such as WhatsApp, WeTransfer, Dropbox, Gmail, etc., which are not commonly used in the corporate environment.

Distractions, the main risk of teleworking

According to the data from the Citrix survey, the greatest difficulty professionals are encountering is distraction at home, as well as the feeling of not being as productive because they do not have the same tools available to them to perform their duties when they are at the office (30%).

Reconciliation and sustainability

In contrast, one of the benefits of teleworking is the ease of optimizing the time normally lost in transport and travel to workplaces, as 55% of respondents said.

Furthermore, this type of remote working also benefits them in terms of family reconciliation, according to 46% of them.

On the other hand, teleworking is also contributing to the emergence of ecological and social awareness, since 28% of participants say that working from home contributes to reducing CO2 emissions, as has been found in large cities around the world.

 

“It is clear that there are many ways of understanding teleworking and that the challenge, today, is more cultural and leadership than technological. In the situation in which we find ourselves it is critical to understand that business continuity is fundamental, offering fast and secure solutions. With a more general vision, in order to be prepared for the future it is important to understand within the organizations that telework or smart working, seeing it as a concept, must be one more possibility within the day to day. Work is what you do, not where you do it”, said Santiago Campuzano, Iberia Regional Director of Citrix.

 

The importance of entrepreneurship: 5 points you should know

If you are wondering what the importance of entrepreneurship is, there are 5 points you should know.

In today’s article I explain the scope of the contribution made by those who generate commercial activities, from small, medium and large enterprises.

 

Why does entrepreneurship affect the emergence of a better economy?

Entrepreneurship is synonymous of the search for financial improvement. Most entrepreneurships are carried out in order to have a better economic stability. But, WARNING, this economic improvement can be studied from two points of view:

  • On a personal level.
  • At a State level.

Firstly, starting a business means that the finances of your personal life will be more stable (or at least that is sought). Of course, the aspiration is to sell, grow, sell more, have a lot of profits, etc. On the other hand, there is the general level, which we can call the national or state level.

The latter is the result of a set of undertakings. It is logical that if a country is entrepreneurial, and has a good number of committed entrepreneurs, the main consequence will be a country with many producing companies.

This means that it can become a powerhouse country, or at least have good economic stability.

So, if we talk about the importance of entrepreneurship, we can say that it brings an economic improvement for the entrepreneur, for the State and, consequently, for the citizens.

 

What are the innovative products and services in the emerging market?

Another reason why entrepreneurship is considered important is because of innovation.

Entrepreneurs, although not necessarily innovative, tend to be more innovative every day.

The result of this is new, serious and innovative products. If there were no entrepreneurs, innovation would not be possible.

So, when you enjoy a new mobile phone or other innovative equipment or service, thank them that entrepreneurship exists. Thanks to entrepreneurs is that you can enjoy such things!

 

The improvements and development that come from entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship makes a society develop better. If you have time to investigate everything related to entrepreneurs, businesses, companies… You will realize that a very important and influential factor is competition.

Due to the existence of competition, entrepreneurs strive to create something better, make themselves known and be preferred. So we can say that entrepreneurship is important to make possible the creation of products (not only innovative) of higher quality, achieving better development.

The idea of being the best is always present in the mentality of the entrepreneur. Pending this, innovation is not synonymous with improvement! Because we can make a product never seen before, but that does not work at all.

If we speak at a national level, we can say that a developed country is one that has joined forces to be a power. No country is going to be a power if it does not embark on a new path, strategies, business…!

 

Satisfaction and problem solving

The creations of the entrepreneurs are always focused on solving a problem or making the solution of a problem easier. Only with the satisfaction of the customer is it possible to sell!

This is why entrepreneurship brings satisfaction and solution to multiple problems, which without them would be more complicated or almost impossible to solve. For example, if the entrepreneur who started the hairdresser’s shop you visit hadn’t had that business idea, where would you go to get your hair cut? Do you understand me?

And if you’re a little heavy and you tell me that you would go to another hairdresser’s, let me tell you that you are going to another entrepreneur’s work. Accept it! Entrepreneurs make it possible to meet many of people’s needs.

 

Relevance of personal discipline in entrepreneurship

In addition to all the benefits we have already mentioned, entrepreneurship makes you a person with a better profile. For example, it makes you a disciplined person, with character, responsibility, etc.

I say this because it is necessary for you to have this profile to be a true entrepreneur. And logically, by making these attributes your habits in business matters, you will also reflect them in your personal life.

 

 

How to start investing: You want to invest and you don’t know how to start?

To begin with, you should clearly understand that investing is simply about putting your money to work in a way that increases your income over time.

However, choosing the type of investment can become complex if you’re not clear on what you want to invest for, or don’t understand the difference between stocks, bonds, real estate, or mutual funds.

Every responsible investor will take the same initial steps: first, study the alternatives available, and then choose the one that is best suited to your needs.

Here are the first steps and questions you should answer to get your investment going in the right direction.

One of the first things is to find out what your investor profile is

Your personality and your investment profile are not always the same. Just because you’re shy doesn’t mean you’re too conservative to invest or enjoy extreme sports doesn’t necessarily make you an under investor.

There are hundreds of tests on the Internet that you can take to define your investment profile; start with this one offered by the Superintendence of Securities and Insurance (SVS).

Also take advantage of the questionnaires that many financial institutions offer their clients to answer to determine their profile.

The better you know what your risk level is regarding how your money will behave in an investment context, the better decision you will make.

Decide how much money you have to invest

Knowing exactly how much you have available to invest will allow you to put limits on possible losses and recognize true gains.

To know this amount, you must first organize your finances and know how much you are willing to invest in a given time.

In an investment, money will change in value, and this should not affect your personal finances. That’s why we recommend that you set aside water; the money you use for your expenses is not the same money you will save, nor is it the same money you will invest.

Finally, keep in mind that the money you have available for investment should cover all the associated costs and minimum requirements according to the financial product you choose.

Find out the minimum investment amounts, many times they are less than you imagine and everyone can invest.

Understands the basic concepts

Once you know what your profile is and you are clear about how much money you will use, you must know the two basic concepts of any investment: risk and return.

  • What is risk?

It is the general concept associated with the fluctuations that surround the operations of an investment with respect to the expected values.

  • What is profitability?

It is the capacity that the investment of your money has to generate profits.

A person who invests chooses between risk or return depending on his or her investment objective: to save money or to obtain a higher return.

There are two premises with which you must choose between investment alternatives of greater or lesser risk and return:

  • If the risk conditions are the same, choose the investment that offers the highest return.
  • If the return conditions are the same, opt for the one with the lowest risk.

When you are clear about these terms, you will understand more easily your investment alternatives such as:

  • Shares
  • Bonds
  • Mutual Funds
  • Real estate funds

Set a goal

What do you want to save for? What is your investment goal? What are your terms for both? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself to identify the reason why you are setting aside an amount of money to save or make a profit.

It’s a good idea to have a clear goal, which guides your financial planning and gives you heightened awareness of the imponderables that will arise along the way.

 

Choose the financial product that best suits you

This decision will influence your investment plan. The product you choose must fit your investment profile and financial need.

You may want to start slowly and safely, or you may want to seek profits more quickly and immediately. In order for you to make an informed decision, learn about the main differences between the most common savings and investment instruments on the market.

Always keep in mind that regardless of the instrument you choose, you should diversify; allocate different percentages or amounts of your money in different investment instruments, to reduce and control the risk of loss.

Develop an investment plan for a specific time

Do you know how long to invest? How often you want to make a profit? Will you be on the lookout all the time or will you see it indirectly? Do you prefer to leave it to an expert?

All these questions will allow you to plan your investment knowing exactly what you want, when and how.

Understand the associated costs

Any investment in financial instruments implies some kind of cost or associated payment. They usually consist of fees for holding and managing your money, but there are also maintenance costs and costs associated with risk that you may not always know exactly.

There are also the taxes you will have to pay when you redeem your earnings.

Be sure to check with the financial institution that you will be entrusting your money to find out what all these associated costs are and consider them part of your investment amount.

Conclusion

Starting to invest involves a set of uncertainties and unforeseen situations, which you must know how to deal with from the beginning.

That’s why you must decide on your objectives, define a financial plan, understand the costs and handle the basic concepts that will help you understand what your investment is about.

Be sure to ask questions and get informed before making a decision that makes you feel comfortable. The key is to start with manageable steps to get you on track.

 

 

 

 

How to start a business without knowing anything about business

If you’ve come this far, it’s because you’d like to know how to start your own business but have no idea what your first steps should be.

A lot of people are getting encouraged to create a business even if it is small. And even more so today with the crisis that exists in which having a job is no longer a safe option and the salaries are getting worse.

The big problem is that, there you are, determined to open your own business, with all the illusion of the world and willing to work 12 hours a day if necessary but you don’t know anything about business. You don’t know whether to start an online business or a physical one, nor what to sell or what services to offer; you have no idea if you will need a lot or a little capital to start it, or how to attract customers and promote yourself to increase your profits.

You’re in luck: here I’m going to show you the 8 steps you need to take to start a business, from what type of venture is best for you, to how to get funding, to how to register your business and create a marketing plan to have a good customer base.

 

Think about what your business will be

This step is clear to you: if you want to start a business, you must have an idea of what it is going to be. However, there are many people who, although they are clear that they want to start an activity of this type, they do not know what to do.

Here is some advice to clarify your ideas…

To create a successful business, you must combine 3 important factors: something you like, something you know or have skills in, and something that is interesting to others.

So, think about those 3 factors and make a list to decide on one venture or another.

Make your business plan

Do you know what business you’re going to put in? If so, before you start going crazy looking for ways to attract customers or where to get the money you need, it is imperative that you make your business plan.

A business plan is a kind of “guide” where you will see the most important ideas of your project to guide you throughout the process.

Although the name may seem a bit complicated to prepare, do not worry, it is not as difficult as you think, and will be very useful both to take the first step to set up your business, as to solve future problems once you have opened your doors to your customers.

Your business plan does not need to be and you will need to answer the following basic questions:

  • What is your business going to be?
  • What are you going to sell in your business (products, services, etc.)?
  • Who your customers will be (men, women, what ages they are, what interests them, how much they earn)?
  • How will you reach them (social networks, magazine advertising, brochures in their mailboxes)?
  • Who your competitors are and how you can differentiate yourself from them?
  • Where are you going to put your business (Internet, a physical location…)?
  • What equipment, materials, and expenses you will have (to create a budget of the necessary capital)?
  • How you will manage to finance your project if you need capital (investors, your savings, your family)?
  • What risks are there?

Seek financing if you need it

The next step is to find the money you need to start your business, if you need it.

Create your ideal customer profile

Sure, for you your ideal customer is anyone who comes into your business and spends $500 at once; but when we talk about the ideal customer profile, we mean the people who are going to buy what you offer.

If you’re going to sell women’s dresses that cost $150, chances are a man is not your ideal customer, and a woman with a very low salary is not your ideal customer either because she can’t afford it.

That’s why it’s so important to identify your ideal client by profiling them.

Ask yourself if they are a man, a woman or children, what their ages are, what their tastes are, what things they buy and where they buy them (online or in physical stores), what their needs are and what problems they have and how your product or service can solve them.

Choose the location of your business

Once you know who your customer is, where they are buying, and have secured the necessary financing, you must choose the location of your business.

If you have verified that your customers tend to buy more through the Internet, this step will be very easy for you because you will only have to buy a domain and a hosting to make your website and open your business online.

But if your buyers are more traditional – they like to go to a physical store to buy your products or services – or your company needs a physical place like a warehouse or a building, you will have to choose a location and premises.

In case you are going to set up a store, make sure it is located in a good place where people interested in what you sell pass by, that it is accessible (public transport arrives, there is parking for cars) and that it has a good size for what you need.

Search for suppliers if you offer products

If you provide services in your business or create your own products, you can skip this step and go to the next point. But if you’re going to sell products that you didn’t make yourself, it’s important to find good suppliers who will serve your goods.

The first thing to think about is what you need from your supplier: do you want your goods to be good, but a little more expensive, or do you prefer a lower quality but a lower cost?

Once you have thought about this aspect, look for several distributors with the characteristics you have. You can start your search on the Internet, talking to other entrepreneurs in the same sector, going to dealer associations to see if they have lists of suppliers…

When you have found some providers, talk to ALL of them and select the ones you are most interested in, and then try to negotiate prices to see which one provides you with a better service at a cheaper price.

Remember that it is important that you try their services by making a small first order and, if you like the way they work with you, stick with it.

Register your business

At this point, before you start your business activity, you will need to register it and apply for the necessary licenses and permits. I can’t tell you exactly what you will need to do because this is different for each type of company and each country. So the best thing to do is to go to your local council or your local authority and ask them for all the necessary information.

Create your marketing plan to attract customers

This is the last step to start your business: create a marketing plan to know what message to convey and through which channel to attract customers to your company. The customer profile you created in point 4 will also be very useful for this, because with it you will know where your customers are and what they are most interested in.

Your marketing plan should include:

  • What objectives you want to achieve (attract customers, build customer loyalty, achieve X percentage more sales, etc.)
  • What strategies are you going to use (advertising, publications in social networks, discounts, organization of events, contests…)
  • What means will you use to put your plan into action (traditional advertising, digital marketing)
  • With this data, you must put your marketing plan into action to start making your business known and thus build your customer portfolio.

 

Starting a business may seem complicated, but if you take it step by step, thinking about what you should do, it is easier than you think.

And the best thing of all: once your project starts working, if you have done everything right, the benefits will be a great reward for all your efforts.

 

The pros and cons of investing in franchises

Franchises are a very attractive business model; different reasons such as allowing rapid growth, carrying less risk or allowing access to economies of scale, make them very attractive in the eyes of entrepreneurs. But is it all so good, or do they have drawbacks? 

Well, no, it’s not all good. Franchises are not magic solutions, they require as much dedication, investment and work as other businesses, because that is what they are, a business. And like all businesses, they require a dose of work and bring a dose of risk.

But also, in the case of franchises, a series of obligations and commitments are created that do not appear in other business models, and furthermore, in them it is fundamental that both parties worry about generating reciprocal benefits and are always very attentive to the final consumer.

Pros for the franchisee

The most striking advantage is being able to benefit from the prestige that the brand enjoys in the market, ensuring customers from the very beginning of the activity. But in addition, the franchisee already knows how the business is going, that is, he or she knows if it is safe and can check the results.

Something very important nowadays is to be known on the Net, so the franchisee can already benefit from the good positioning of the business on the Internet. You can save unexpected reactions from the market, since previously the brand has already done tests in pilot stores and in others that are part of the chain, so that part is overcome.

Of course, the franchisee also benefits from something very important, the “know-how” and experience that the company already has in advance, plus they usually have tools as necessary as a good computer support control, security in the supply or economic advantages of purchase, to benefit from the advantages of the economy of scale of the chosen chain.

On the other hand, it is important to know that the risk of starting a business is reduced in the case of franchises, and that with this business model we ensure area exclusivity.

The image we inherit from the company, provided it is clear, provides us with greater solvency in relation to third parties, and it is also much easier to have greater brand awareness and a good commercial image.

Even if our business is at a local level, we will be able to benefit from the company’s campaigns at a national level. And of course, we will have previously received initial training, and we will always be able to recycle ourselves with a permanent training and information support, adapted to the latest techniques that the chain is following.

In short, the franchise allows us to benefit from the advantages and tools provided by a large company, although we are a small and local business, and always with the advantage that we are being our own bosses.

Cons for the franchisee

The first drawback would be the fact of losing a good part of the freedom that would be given to us by setting up a business that is absolutely our own, which makes the franchisee lose part of his or her business independence. This is also directly related to the fate of the franchiser, in other words, if he or she carries out a bad management, we will be affected even though our work is impeccable.

We are going to invest a lot of time, effort and money in the business, but in reality, we are not the owners of either the name or the commercial brand that we work with, so sometimes we can become overwhelmed thinking that all our effort is actually for the benefit of someone else. In addition, and despite being dedicated to the business as if it were our own, any contribution we make will be merely consultative, as we do not have executive power.

When it comes to starting up, we may lack data or knowledge about the chain, without being able to be 100% sure that it is profitable, reliable, etc. Also, when taking the first steps, it may happen that we do not receive at the right time the planning and organization to be followed by the franchisor, which complicates things a little, that is, starting well does not depend only on us.

During the life of the business we do not have total autonomy either, so sometimes it is likely that disagreements will arise, and we will not always agree with some of the franchiser’s philosophies in different aspects of the business.

The economic part can also be a disadvantage, since we will have to pay part of the benefits that the business gives us, permanently and punctually, to the franchiser, whether we have done very well, and there are many benefits, or it has been a disastrous month.

In a nutshell, be well informed from the beginning if you want to invest in franchises. Franchising is an interesting way to start a business, but you must make sure that you pay for what suits you, and in exchange for acquiring what you do not have or are not able to do yourself.

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