The law expects that all businesses must take the proper steps to ensure that the customers and clients visiting their premises are safe and protected from injuries and accidents. Although unforeseen incidents cannot be prevented, every business owner should be prepared for the possibility of having to deal with personal injury lawsuits.
As a store or company owner, you must take the basic precautions to ensure that your setup remains safe from lawsuits brought by employees or customers. Keep in mind that plaintiffs suing your company even with a small complaint can cost you millions of dollars if found to be valid. It might interest you to know the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that each year 16,397 personal injury cases are presented in court. This number makes up only 4% of the total number of incidents with the other 96% being settled out of court.
Here are some of the initiatives you can implement on a regular basis.
1. Conduct Regular Training Sessions for Your Employees
Educate your employees about the importance of a creating a hazard-free workplace, both for the people who work in the company and for customers, vendors, and any other visitors so that personal injury lawsuits are avoided. Remember, even if the incident occurs because of the negligence of a worker, you could still be held responsible.
Set up a protocol that employees must strictly follow when using equipment. Train them carefully so that even the simplest of tasks are performed without causing injury or creating a hazard. For example, a smart stacking system that won’t cause products to tumble with casual brushing.
Insist that all equipment is stored carefully after use and not left lying around so it can hurt people.
On your part, keep all equipment well-maintained and in perfect working order.
As a feature in Business.com explains, teach your employees to keep a sharp lookout for loose railings and floorboards, torn carpets, shaky tiles and bricks, or any other potential hazard.
Welcome feedback from your workers regarding any health and safety issues that need to be dealt with.
2. Invite Professional Health and Safety Inspections
Even if you’re not the property owner, as the lessee, it is up to you to ensure that the building is safe. You can conduct regular inspections of the structure to look for any risks and hazards that can potentially lead to personal injury lawsuits resulting from negligence on the part of the store owner. If possible, get a professional to inspect the external and internal sections, sidewalks outside, storerooms, stairways, hallways, restrooms, and all other areas of the company structure. Yet another smart strategy is to call in an attorney who has the necessary experience in litigation to take a look around and identify any weak spots.
3. Conduct All Maintenance and Renovations Out of Working Hours
Schedule any cleaning and maintenance tasks out of business hours so that they don’t cause any slips and falls. For instance, water or soap on the floor, ladders in the hallways, and tools lying around could hurt visitors. You can also risk a personal injury lawsuit because of the dust or fumes from cleaning solutions. If you must have the repair jobs done right away, section off the area with the mandatory yellow signs warning visitors of the risks.
4. Organize the Workplace Carefully
Organize your store or workplace carefully so that there is no clutter lying around that can cause tripping incidents. Mark out all corners carefully with signs that are clearly visible. Arrange the desks and aisles with enough moving space. If your organization has earned certificates and licenses for health and safety precautions, you might want to display them. In this way, you offer assurance to customers that your company takes all the necessary care for their protection.
5. Talk to Your Insurance Company about General Liability Coverage
Getting protection against personal injury lawsuits that can cause significant losses is a good move. As an article on FindLaw reveals, accidents can also occur in areas where the lighting is inadequate or because of natural weather conditions like rain water or melted snow that can result in a slip-and-fall occurrence. General liability insurance can provide you with coverage in case you get sued. In addition to personal and bodily harm, the insurance also protects you from advertising injury, slander, libel, damage to property and any other risks.
6. Handle an Accident with Tact and Sensitivity
You can take all the possible precautions to secure your establishment but accidents can take place. It is advisable to stay informed on the best measures to take when an incident occurs. For instance, have an updated first-aid kit always at hand. Inform emergency services right away and do everything you can to add to the comfort of the injured person. Create a detailed account of the incident and request all the other people around for statements. Record their impressions along with their names and contact information in case you need to call them in as witnesses. Also, get in touch with your attorney to prepare for the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit.
In addition to the costs of litigation, you may have to deal with the loss of reputation of your business in case an accident and its fallout takes place. Protect your company from unwanted and unfavorable publicity by doing the best you can to secure the premises and avoid personal injury lawsuits.
As you know, at nonsociety.com the vision is to help people like you march to the beat of your own drum, and avoid living, working and being stuck in other people’s boxes. After all, life is short, and you won’t find many people — or probably any people — in their final moments regretting that they “spent too much time conforming to the wishes of others”. On the contrary, you’ll typically hear them lament about doing far too much for people they don’t even like, and not enough for themselves and those they truly care about.
Now, what does this have to do with your business? It’s this: just as you want your life to stand out from the ordinary, you also want — and frankly need — your business to stand out from your competitors. Otherwise, you’ll end up being the best kept secret in your marketplace, which is the worst thing that can happen; because it means you’ll be out of business sooner or later.
To avoid that fate — and to help you make a lasting positive impact on current and future customers — here are three smart and strategic ways to make your business stand out, but without exceeding your budget or forcing you deep into debt:
1. Hold a Contest
Contests are exciting and memorable ways to make a splash, generate publicity, and increase brand visibility that translates into more sales and profits. Just remember to think outside of the box and do something that truly grabs attention. For example, instead of giving away a gift certificate (yawn…), you can offer the lucky winner a cruise on a luxurious party bus. You can even take photos and post them on your social media pages, which adds to the fun.
Instead of doing all of the promotional heavy lifting on your own, why not find a strategic partner and create a win-win alliance? For example, if you build custom business signs, then sending and receiving referrals with a business lawyer who specializes in working with clients starting a new business (and therefore need signs for their store, trade show booth, etc.) could be a positive relationship for all involved, including your mutual customers/clients.
3. Create an app
Who says you need to be a Fortune 500 enterprise to have an app? That may have been the case a couple of decades ago, but these days many small businesses — including home-based businesses on a tight budget — are staying connected with current and future customers through a mobile app. You can build something impressive and functional for less than you think, and the ROI can be enormous.
The Bottom Line
Standing out in a competitive, crowded marketplace isn’t just a good idea: it’s necessary for your business to survive. The above suggestions can help you make a lasting impact with your target market, and surge ahead of your competitors.
The latest addition to the IT world is the cloud technology or cloud services. It is a similar to a server found in your organization but found outside your organization where your information are saved and stored. The only difference is that whatever information e.g. programs and date, can be assessed from anywhere with the correct login identification and password.
The cloud services are accessed through the web, delivered and used over the internet. Cloud services customers have to pay for the services. The whole of the cloud infrastructure is maintained by the cloud provider and not the individual cloud customer. These cloud service networks are large groups of servers have specialized connections to spread data processing chores across large pools of systems that are linked together.
Cloud technology services can be used for data storage and your people or employees can access your data and software from any place which is very ideal for those who need to work from home or do extensive travelling. You only pay for whatever programs that are licensed to the numbers of user. You can either reduced or add more users and pay accordingly.
Users of clouds services need not have to worry about safety because these cloud services have their own security and antivirus application software. Everything goes through multiple scanning. Once the cloud application is updated, there is no need to update each computer with new upgrades.
Organization including government agency, grocery store, profit and non-profit can benefit from these cloud applications and services. If you have not yet used the cloud services, but you are thinking about using one, then you will need some assistance. To learn more about cloud services and where you can get safe cloud service with the proper I.T. support, you can connect to one of the technology solutions e.g. MelroseTEC or others similar sites.
Once you are connected to cloud computing which is a type of Internet-based computing, the different types of services – including servers, storage and applications are delivered to your organization’s computers and devices through the Internet. You will be able to access and use the computing resources in a secure and more advanced way.
Small businesses can also benefit from cloud services and can access the resources with an internet connection and a web browser. You will pay for the type of services you use.
You want to increase your retail sales, that’s a given. The purpose of any business is to bring in paying clients, and the best way to accomplish this is through marketing. If sales are low, then perhaps there’s something wrong and you must figure it out fast.
In our competitive world, getting results is all that matters. Take note that successful retailers aren’t more intelligent or talented that you are, they just learned to do things effectively while making money in the process.
Check out the practical tips below that you can apply to improve your retail sales.
Start advertising more. Sometimes businesses cut on spending for their marketing when they should actually be spending more. It’s good to increase your marketing efforts during slow periods of sale since the entire industry will be looking out to get the most out of a decreased market share.
The best way to do this is through social media that’s connected to your business website. If you still don’t have social media presence, then now is the best time to create pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube – basically the channels that your business will benefit from.
As to your website, all promotions from your social media channels should directly go to a specific page on your website. Any business owner worth his or her salt knows that a website is a necessary investment. Start by doing a domain name search to help you name your businesses’ website name and address. A good domain name and hosting provider should be able to guide you throughout the entire steps of taking your business online, so don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance and to make use of their other tools and integrated guides.
Assess your pricing strategy. When buying and pricing your products or services, always consider the cost of goods and that your retail shop is constantly making a profit at the price point. Your product price must always be competitive while still making a profit for your business. At the end of the day, the appropriate price is the price that your clients are willing to pay for your products or services.
Improve your store’s looks. Consider leveraging on cross-merchandising techniques and impulse sales opportunities. Small changes like different lighting fixtures and creative displays may be added to attract passing customers. Try playing videos for product or service education, entertainment, and any other promotional or upsell tie-in. A lively store is always a customer magnet.
Aren’t we forgetting something? Of course not – it’s practising good customer service!
Great customer service has always been a major factor to increase sales regardless of the season. Be sympathetic to your customers to know their wants and needs. The next step is to educate them about your offerings. Lastly, let them know that you appreciate their loyalty or business. Consider offering value-added products and services.
Next, educate them about the products. Finally, let your customer know that you appreciate their business. Offer value-added services and products. Create a mailing list by asking for contact information from each customer. Remember, the customer is looking for an experience and not just a product.
That’s it! Apply these practical tips to retail store and watch as your sales improve. Best of luck! Have any other tips to share your fellow business owners? Share it with us.
If you are running a sizable organization, you will have to soon consider buying a vehicle solely for business purposes. This is particularly important in companies where the employees are expected to constantly be on the move. Here, having to rely on taxis is not only costly, it can be time-consuming as well. If you are on the hunt for the perfect car, you know how difficult this endeavor can be. After all, you don’t have to be a car fanatic to know just how many options there are out there for you. To help you narrow down the list, here are some guidelines to stick to:
Assess the Business’ Needs
When looking for a company car, you need to assess the needs of the company and its employees. A good starting question is, how much space do you require? For instance, do your workers travel independently or do they sometimes have to journey as a group for presentations? The other thing to consider is storage space. Just how much room is there to store pamphlets, documents, and anything else your workers may need to carry with them? If you don’t need a lot of room for people or storage, you will find that a good-sized car such as the Toyota Corolla will suit your needs perfectly.
Figure Out the Budget
Of course, you will need to determine how much you are willing to spend on transportation each month. This doesn’t just refer to the amount that you need to shell out for the loan or insurance payments. It also alludes to the maintenance as well as the fuel consumption of the car. Now, if you are looking to keep this types of costs to a minimum, you should look at the Honda Accord. This vehicle is reliable, affordable, and has a decent fuel economy as well.
Consider External Factors
When choosing a vehicle, you will need to think about the environmental factors that the car will have to withstand. For instance, does the area in question experience extremes in temperature? If so, you will need to find a car that is suited to the regional conditions. The other thing to consider is the terrain that the vehicle will have to drive over each day. Is it smooth, paved roads, or does the car have to overcome rugged terrain and uneven roads? The reason that this is such an important factor is because getting a vehicle that is suitable to the right conditions will ensure that it will last longer.
Determine the Effect
To a certain extent, your business car is more than just a way to get from one place to another. It is also a style statement and a representation of your business. So, it is a good idea trying to decide just what statement it is that you want the car to make. Do you want something comfortable and relatable or are you looking for something sleek and sophisticated?
These are the elements that you will need to look at when you want to purchase a company car.
Running and maintaining a successful business is wrought with continuous difficulties and ever-changing approaches, these difficulties and changes are what makes business both exciting and challenging. There are many areas that can be covered and observed from within a business model, but there are often areas which need outside ideas and help and one of the most important of these is in the legal sector. This is one of the most important aspects of a business no matter how big or small the business is. There are always some legal areas which will need attention and the help of a good business lawyer. These can save you head-aches in the future and help to resolve disputes that may arise throughout the life time of your business, however, choosing the wrong lawyer can be as bad as not having one at all. There are always a few things you should look out for in any lawyer but particularly in a business lawyer.
Versed in the areas where you need attention
There are many different aspects to business law and you want to ensure that the firm and lawyer you choose are versed in the areas that are most important to you. You can check this out in a number, consulting with the firm, asking businesses who have had dealings with them and by looking at their track record. Commercial lawyers should be versed in all aspects of your business from initial purchase to negotiating deals and sales.
References and experience
If you are a new business owner you want to ensure you have chosen a lawyer who has a good track record in getting the best results for his clients and who can work to the schedule that your business requires. It is best to ask other business who have worked with your chosen firm and see what they thought of the professionalism and outcome of whatever legal process was taking place. This will allow you to make and informed decision on the correct firm to approach.
You will need a firm that can work to deadlines and take on multiple tasks when required. Your business may be dealing with an array of issues such as employee disputes, commercial purchases, tax issues and a whole host of other events. You want to choose a firm which is large enough to take on these challenges and can see it out to the end. The size of your business should also correspond to the size of the firm you task with dealing with your legal issues.
Commercial lawyers should make you feel as if your business is the most important to them. It obviously may not be true but it at least shows their involvement and professionalism in holding your business in the same high regard that you do. Looking at some of these areas in a good business lawyer will allow for a better choice in lawyer and a better legal approach to your business.
Managing a business is difficult, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. You have to have the right attitude and mindset to make it seem easier than it is in reality. Avoid over thinking it and making you sick trying to decide what to do next.
Analyze where you’re at and where you’d like to be. Step back and give your company room to breathe while you sort it all out. Prepare yourself to make changes that are going to affect your business, but not put any extra stress in on you in the process. See simple things every company needs to succeed.
It’s quite simple; you need goals and objectives to keep you moving forward. You don’t want to stay where you are forever. Your goals will keep you and your team on track for advancing and improving your business. Work won’t get done without goals and objectives in place. Have a vision and share it with everyone. Map it all out and communicate to your team what they’re working towards each day. This will motivate them to do their job better because they’ll have a purpose.
You have to have hardworking employees in your corner if you’re going to succeed. You can’t do it all alone. Be strategic in your hiring decisions and only bring on board those who you know are fit for the role and company. Take your time and do it right the first time. Ask multiple people in your company to interview the candidate and make sure they match your list of desired qualities. You want everyone on the same page and working together toward a common goal. Lousy employees will bring you down and make more work for everyone.
Policies & Procedures
Write policies and procedures that staff is to follow to keep order in your office. You never know when an incident will arise and you’ll need to refer to your documents for guidance. Protect yourself and your business by having guidelines in place for sticky situations. For instance, employees may act out, or you could be faced with a hard drive failure. In this case, you would know who to call for an HDD repair when at your office because you were prepared. Not knowing what to do in an emergency wastes time and puts you at risk for worse consequences.
Always remember to focus on your customers. Keep your clients happy, and everyone will be satisfied. Tell them how much you appreciate their business and be there to help them out when they run into issues. Work as a team to ensure clients are being heard and feel valued. Put a customer service department in place that goes above and beyond to please the customer. Losing clients is never a good feeling. Avoid this circumstance by putting in the hard work upfront to put smiles on their faces.
Every business needs a boost once in a while. There are ways to improve the current environment without breaking your back. These are simple things every company needs to succeed.
Board meetings are rarely high up on anyone’s list of favorite activities, as even the directors who sit on them complain about how long and tedious they can be. The work of the board is essential, overseeing management and providing organizations, businesses, government agencies, and financial institutions with direction and strategy. That should be compelling stuff, but director engagement remains a challenge for many.
Enter the board portal: a board software solution that digitizes board documents and puts collaborative tools in directors’ hands that they can use between meetings. Board software is the tool that can make meetings more efficient, more focused, and revive engagement by offering a few key features.
Easy Updates – At the heart of board software is an easy solution to the problem of distributing board books and other documents. Back in the days of paper board books, administrators would struggle to keep every director informed of the latest updates, especially when documents or financial reports were updated last minute. It cost a fortune to courier everything to directors who could be anywhere in the world at any given minute. Today, electronic board books are much more common, but board portal software offers superior security compared to other file sharing methods, especially as many have become popular tools for masking cybercrime attacks.
Collaboration Between Meetings – Board software should come with tools that make it easy for directors to do their job in between meetings. For example, annotation tools are used in Aprio Boardroom, a leading board software solution, that let directors mark up documents either with private notes or to share with their peers. Everyone knows that when an idea strikes, you can’t wait until the next meeting. If you want to develop a more thorough conversation, you have to be able to work in between meetings.
Another great feature of Aprio is the freedom to vote remotely with an electronic signature. It helps boards make more time for key decisions, as the freedom to vote remotely means matters like agreeing on minutes can be dealt with beforehand.
Desktop and Tablet – Flexibility is key for directors who regularly travel and split their responsibilities. Any board software you consider should be compatible on Android, Apple, and Windows tablets, as well as offer offline access to documents.
For many organizations, board portals are already standard, but if you’ve been using this transformative technology already, consider how the industry has changed over the last few years. If your board’s contract with your current board software vendor needs to be renewed, now may be a good time to reassess. In the early days of board software, portals offering better security – the kind of security required by financial institutions, health agencies, and Fortune 500 companies – came at a premium. Those security options are now no longer so expensive, though some portal vendors are still charging higher rates. You can learn more about how security has changed, and become more accessible for all, at Aprio.net and exploring their options for board software. Whether your board’s contract is up or you haven’t yet made the shift to secure electronic board books, do your due diligence, request several demos from vendors, and be sure to compare products based on customer support, security, and price.
If you want to be able to do business online, you have to make sure that you keep your name visible to potential customers. But you also have to make sure that what people see is positive. This is why SEO and branding is hugely important, but reputation management should be your top priority.
Building a Positive Reputation
Before any of your marketing and SEO efforts can pay off, people have to recognize your brand as a trustworthy and authority source. Once you have established that reputation, you have to make sure it is maintained as well. If you are a new business, your first step should be, therefore, to create positive content and to nurture this as much as possible. This is a lot of hard work, particularly since the world is so competitive nowadays. Customer service has to be your top priority, as this will help to build your positive reputation.
You simply cannot leave this as an afterthought. If you do, any other effort you engage in to build trust won’t work, and you will end up having to invest heavily in damage control. Hence, reputation management should be your first important action if you want your business to succeed.
You Need Positive Feedback
Every business wants to have happy, satisfied customers. Your goal should be to make them talk about that, however, thereby building your reputation. You can achieve that in a variety of different ways. Firstly, you need to list any products you sell on websites that allow for reviews, such as Amazon. Secondly, you need to have a Facebook business page with review options switched on. Thirdly, you need to make sure your website has a customer feedback form included on it. Last but not least, you should list on local directory sites, such as Yelp and Google My Business, again ensuring that people can find you and talk about you. You should also make sure that you link to all of these pages on your website, your social media accounts, and any online communication and newsletters you send out.
Stand Out with Reputation Management
You must pay very close attention to what is said about you, so you can truly benefit from it. Indeed, you can even benefit from negative comments, so long as you address them properly. If someone looks you up and sees a negative review, but then also sees that you have tried to remedy the issue, they will be far more forgiving. They old saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” continues to ring true today.
You may feel confused about choosing a marketing plan that works for you, and that is no surprise considering everything is suddenly online, competition is fierce, and changes are made on a daily basis. But if you take reputation management as your starting point, and consider that everything you do online is to give people the opportunity to see you in a positive light, you will come a long way.
Entertaining clients has become standard practice for most corporations, whether those clients come to you from around the world, or you travel to them. Businesses tend to understand the value that can come with entertaining clients, including completing deals and fostering stronger relationships. At the same time, it can be tricky to master some of the ins and outs of these scenarios.
There are things to consider such as how to manage technicalities like business expense receipt submission, to what would be considered professional in an out-of-the-office situation.
The following is a general rundown of what to know about entertaining clients in any industry.
While many large corporations do have a good deal of client entertainment and outside meals happening, they might also experience fraud or inefficiency when it comes to documenting expenses. This can be avoided with a modern expense management software solution, which will not just make it easier for employees to keep track of their expenses, but it will also simplify oversight and create visibility and transparency.
If anyone in your organization is responsible for entertaining clients, a comprehensive expense reporting solution should absolutely be in place.
This eliminates the gray area that can come with using company cards, submitting receipts and defining things such as the reason for the meeting.
It’s also important that along with using a software solution, corporations have a well-defined policy in place for managing expenses and entertaining clients.
Keep It On Track
When employees are entertaining, it’s important that they keep the conversation on track with the business at-hand. There are IRS guidelines in place stipulating that entertaining has to be directly related to business.
While this can get really murky, as an employer you have to be firm on this for your own tax-related purposes, and also to make sure you avoid fraud when your employees invite clients for meals.
In general, only 50 percent of an entertainment-based meal is deductible according to the IRS, although this might not always be the case.
This might seem obvious, but all-too-often employees will start to think entertaining clients is synonymous with party time. They may be drinking too much or be too loose-lipped, and not only can that be problematic for your company’s reputation, but it can distract from the business that’s supposed to be going on, and can lead to even bigger problems for example if your employee starts to become inappropriate.
It’s important that you train employees on how to maintain a strict sense of professionalism so that lines don’t become blurred when they’re out with employees.
Above all else, your goals as a corporation when you have employees responsible for entertaining clients to ensure that a system is set up to prevent fraud and abuse, and also keep costs in check. There should be precisely defined guidelines for spending, and you should encourage employees to stick with policies through the use of expense reporting software. It’s also important that clients are well-trained on what’s appropriate and what isn’t, both regarding spending and reporting, and also behavior when they’re representing your company.