Purchasing the Office Equipment for Your Business

Running your own business calls for having the most reliable, yet affordable office equipment that you can use for a long time.

Hardware and Software Advice

Make sure your purchases will answer your business needs and can be upgraded for long-term efficiency. If applicable, buy in bulk and from the same brand. Always ask for a free trial and a money-back guarantee. Choose products that are compatible with your existing equipment and have features that are most useful to your business. Also, make sure a round-the-clock technical support is offered with your purchase.

PC Tips

To be more productive in your business, choose a PC that provides the basic office and Internet functions, has a high-resolution monitor, and a big memory space to let you manipulate and store large data efficiently.

Printer Pointers / Photocopiers

  • Inkjet Printers. They are a big advantage to small businesses that need to produce good quality black-and-white and color prints since the ink cartridges they use are inexpensive. But they only let you print a small number of pages per minute, and you have to buy a whole color cartridge if just one color runs out.
  • Laser Printers. Small to medium businesses that need to produce a large number of color-highlighted documents will benefit from them. You can buy their color toners separately, but this only saves you money, not time.
  • Multifunction Units. They can best serve businesses that are big on scope of services but are short on office space. It may be best to choose a higher-priced model that delivers the highest quality prints and will work efficiently for many years to come. You’ll also benefit from their printing, scanning, and copying functions. This means you can forego buying a new copier and fax machine!

Always compare suppliers using photocopier leasing & rental for free before you take the plunge!

 

Kieran Donnelly / February 14, 2015 / Business

The Importance of Business Funding and its Sourcing

Setting up a business without enough money, savings or funding can be a disaster waiting to happen. Many individuals and business owners who develop a business concept without the correct funding or back up of cash flow for when things go wrong will often find keeping their business and their head above water, incredibly difficult. Money unarguably moves your business forward by providing necessary and essential fuel for growth and development. The revenue that your business makes will obviously provide some of the funds necessary to keep your business afloat, but you should never rely on revenue alone. This is why outside or third party funding funding comes in handy.

Payroll Finance and Funds

It’s important for any business to pay their employees on time each month, or week. The date in which an employee is paid should be stuck too, to ensure that they do not become gruntled or unhappy. However, revenue and customers do not always pay companies at the right time or when they should, which means one month you may be out of pocket. Additional funding acts as backup and will always allow you to pay your staff on time and provides a shortfall created by any timeline gap between sales transactions, paying employees and invoice payments.

Inventory Finance and Funds

Once you have launched your company, it’s important to keep an eye on your inventory and keep it maintained in order to have enough products to sell when in demand. If your company produced and manufactures its own products you need to ensure that your business has enough funding to produce your inventory or enough funding to buy inventory from a manufacturer.

Startup Funding

Before launching your business development concept you don’t necessary need funding right away, but when it’s time to physical build the business, funding becomes a crucial aspect. Startup funding can be incredibly useful, especially for paying for things such as hiring employees, marketing, equipment, insurance, licences and facilities.

How can I raise these necessary funds for my business?

There are many different methods which entrepreneurs and business owners can use to kickstart the fundraising process. Here are just a few simple ideas which you may wish to consider:

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can be a great way to achieve the necessary funds you need to get your business started or to cover the costs of particular aspects of your business. With so many crowdfunding sites available today it means you can go right ahead and kickstart your crowdfunding project in no time at all. Popular crowdfunding websites such as Fundable and Indiegogo are great platforms to fund small and large business respectively and quickly.

Friends and Family


If you do not wish to reach for your credit card just yet due to the lack of savings to help inject funds into your growing business, you may wish to consider inviting friends and family to invest in your business idea. It’s incredibly important that you make individuals aware that their money may not be returned (in the event something goes wrong). But in most cases family and friends will want to help and invest in you, not particularly your business. If everything is successful you, it’s always nice to reward those who helped you in the beginning when you needed it most.

Kieran Donnelly / February 12, 2015 / Business, Finance

FCA Compliance — Is Authorisation A Required Step for your business?

FCA

Before a firm or individual can conduct certain financial activities in the United Kingdom, they must first be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This is detailed under Section 19 of the Financial Services & Market Acts 2000 (FSMA), which states that any firm or individual who carries out regulated activities are required to have FCA authorisation unless they are exempt from getting authorised (to be discussed later). Failure to comply with this necessary step is considered a criminal offence and the owner may be charged with fines or be indicted with a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment.

FCA authorisation is an important step as it helps the UK government in monitoring regulated financial activities (e.g. issuing e-money, advising on investments, accepting deposits, etc.) as well as help in tracking and cracking down businesses doing illegal and shady financial activities such as money laundering. Compliance with the FCA will allow you to conduct your business in the UK without worries.

Certain firms and individuals can be exempt from getting FCA compliance. Examples of firms that are exempted are financial firms (i.e. comprised of accountants, solicitors, etc.) and insurance and/or mortgage firms. Consumer credit firms, however, are not exempt but they have a different method of acquiring FCA compliance, which is detailed in the FCA’s official website and the Perimeter Guidance Manual (PERG). There are other exclusions as well, which does not require FCA authorisation, which include introducer exclusion and overseas persons exclusion.

Should you have queries with regards to FCA compliance and authorisation, always seek out a compliance firm for professional advice.

Kieran Donnelly / February 10, 2015 / Business, Finance

Why Outsourcing Payroll & HR Is Important to a Small Business

payroll image

Many small businesses face diverse challenges. They must deal not only with fluctuating business cycles but also with important personnel matters. Constant vigilance and planning are necessary to ensure that internal systems are in place, while monitoring day-to-day business operations. It’s also important to note that sufficient capital is necessary for the business to take off and expand. Hence, prudent use of funds is imperative.

Outsourcing certain functions in the organisation – like HR and payroll — has emerged as a sensible move for most small enterprises. When making outsourcing decisions, company heads usually weigh the added costs that may be incurred vis-à-vis the long-term cost savings that may be obtained. Business owners and managers must also do a careful investigation of the other party before finalising an outsourcing deal. Important things like track record of experience and work quality must be checked.

Among the main benefits of outsourcing Human Resources (specifically recruitment, training, performance appraisals) and Payroll is that it frees up much time on the part of the business owner and existing employees. That time can be spent running and growing the business. Instead of attending to personnel matters and HR concerns (and lots of routine tasks, including paperwork), managers/business owners may also concentrate on finding novel ways to reach out to customers in innovative ways.

It’s very important for small business owners to allot ample time for planning and maintaining competitive edge. It’s common to find many small businesses all over the world floundering and being squashed by the competition. By outsourcing functions like Human Resources, Payroll, and even Marketing, small business operators will be able to devote more time for crucial matters like tracking the firm’s progress and exploring avenues for growth.

By outsourcing, they will also be utilising the specialised skills of the other party that will assume the HR and Payroll functions. By partnering with a reputable firm with cutting-edge business solutions, small business owners will benefit from the HR expertise (including modern software tools) and hands-on payroll administration of that organisation.

Reference: http://www.educationbusinessuk.net/index.php/features/6–sp-806/3373-outsourcing-your-payroll

There can be huge cost savings since the small enterprise need not hire and train full-time professionals. Hiring salaried HR/payroll professionals will entail other costs like health care, apart from the training cost. By outsourcing, a small enterprise eliminates these costs, along with overhead and equipment costs. The other clear upside is greater efficiency and productivity on the part of existing managers and employees.

Alongside outsourcing is the rising trend of skill-based pay organisations. A skill-based pay structure enables workers to hone whatever existing skills they have, with an eye towards being able to address future requirements. While employees and managers are busy honing skills or using skill-based pay structure, they are in effect learning and bracing the organisation for future growth. Once everything’s in place, companies can either proceed to invest on in-house teams, farm out work to multi-skilled employees, or outsource.

UK’s biggest outsourcing payroll company, supply their payroll services to companies with a minimum of 100 employees. They’re vetted and trusted to take care of your payroll – www.payroll-solutions.co.uk.

 

Kieran Donnelly / January 29, 2015 / Business, HR

The Definitive Checklist for a Start-up Businesses

I AM YOUR BOSS

Have you decided to become your own boss? If so, join hundreds and thousands of others who have made the same decision — but first, how and where do you begin? There is a lot to consider and do, and this checklist is here to help you out.

  1. Researching about the business
  • Assess your financial status: Can you afford the business or do you need to find another source of money to accomplish it?
  • Do significant research regarding your competitors.
  • Come up with three or more USPs (unique selling points) — and if you fail to, it’s probably best to come up with an entirely new business idea altogether.
  • Read up on distributors and suppliers from online forums. Make phone calls to actual suppliers and ask questions. If possible, interview other businesses in the same field about your concerns.
  • Learn more about how much consumers are willing to pay for the product in mind.
  • As a sort of practice task, try selling a few units of your product on online platforms, such as eBay, just to see what response you’re going to get.
  • Finalise your business setting: Will you be home-based or do you need more commercial or industrial venues? If so, do some research on commercial property pricing in your area, or wherever you decide to set up shop — include this in your budgetary considerations.
  1. Financing the business
  • Find an accountant and ask for preliminary advice.
  • Consult with a bank manager, if possible, regarding your tentative business plan. Ask about business loans, should you need one. Let him know that you’re still in the research phase of your start-up business.
  • If more funding is necessary, feel free to look into small business grants which your start-up might be eligible for.
  • If needed, make changes to your business plan, especially the financial aspect.
  1. Seeking business partners and employees
  • The next thing is to look at your own set of skills and abilities, so you can decide which areas you’re going to need help with. You can bring in a partner for the business if you want to. If you prefer to go solo, at least talk to experienced people in the field for advice.
  • It is possible to require some outsourcing, which is a great idea for start-ups. Unless you’re 100% set with the business plan and details, hold off on the hiring to keep your costs low as much — and for as long — as possible.
  • If you can, join networking groups to meet people, achieve better exposure, and get experience and a general feel of the industry.
  1. Finalising the business name and domain
  • Before finalising your business’ name, perform some research on branding. Some names may render better perception on consumers than others.
  • Check — and double check — that no other existing enterprise or franchise has already used the name you have picked. This applies for your website’s domain, as well. If all is clear, go ahead and buy the domain as soon as you can.
  1. Setting up your physical and online shops
  • Once all plans are a go, set up your physical shop (at home or at a commercial venue). Negotiate the contract and lease.
  • Make sure you have a separate bank account for your business.
  • Work out the nooks and crannies of your IT department — staff, equipment, and software. Decide if you’re better off renting than buying materials.
  • Set up your website. If you aren’t skilled at web design and development, hire the services of a professional. Make sure the website is optimised (SEO) for various online marketing criteria.
  • Once everything is running, maintain a good list of suppliers and distributors — include backups just in case. It’s smart to test out new suppliers with smaller batches of products before going full blast to see if everything goes smoothly.
  1. Running your own business
  • You have finally set up shop — get ready to market, sell, earn, and be your own boss!

Kieran Donnelly / January 26, 2015 / Business

Top 5 Benefits Of Using Your Brand Colours On Your Corporate Uniforms

L4P

Image source – Logos 4 Polos.

Every business, either big or small, should consider providing and requiring their employees to wear corporate uniforms. You have to understand that your company is not all about your products or services. Your staff is a big part of it as well. Hence, how you and your employees present yourselves to your customers is a big factor on your success. You can make your presentation more effective by wearing corporate uniforms that carry your brand’s colours. Here are the top 5 benefits you can get from it.

It Boosts Morale

When employees see themselves wearing the same clothes with the brand’s colours incorporated in the design, it gives them a sense of belonging and lifts their pride for the company they work for. That normally results in a boost in morale, which is known to improve productivity.

It Makes You Easily Identifiable For Clients

In case you meet a client outside of the office, your client will be able to identify you instantly just by looking at your uniform. Just as people can immediately recognize policemen by their uniforms, your brand colours will also remind them right away which company you represent.

It Is A Professional Way To Meet Clients

Your clients, current and potential, will be more at ease if you interact with them in your presentable uniforms with your brand colours. It immediately encourages a sense of trust because they are assured that they are meeting with an authorised representative of the company.

It Improves Brand Recognition

Most companies are recognised by their customers by their brand colours. Every time they see those colours or logos in print ads or commercials, they are unconsciously being reminded of the association of the colours with the company and that strengthens brand recognition. You can boost that further by using your clothing as a medium.

It Is An Effective Marketing Strategy

Advertising your brand can be very costly and this is one of the major problems of small businesses. If you are looking for a cheaper option, then try using your corporate uniforms as a marketing strategy. With your brand colours used in the design, you are, in a way, promoting your business every time you and your employees are out and about, even after office hours. During their commute home or their break times, they carry your brand’s identification around and that makes the people around them aware of your company.

Colours are very effective in conveying a message and they can influence how customers react to your brand. Therefore, give your brand colours careful thought and use them not just in your billboards or packaging materials, but also in your corporate uniforms to maximize their positive effects.

 

Kieran Donnelly / January 6, 2015 / Business

Reap the Benefits of a Clean and Organised Office

Creating and maintaining a clean and healthy office environment has many payoffs. It is conducive to good health and positive well-being. An organised office also saves people time and allows them to focus or get on with the important tasks of the day.

Dirty floors, dilapidated chairs, scratched walls, piles of paper and rundown cabinets are visually unappealing. All these things may even contribute to stress and heighten fatigue. On top of these, they may drive away customers.

If you keep the supplies, equipment and furniture in your office organised, clean and in good working condition, you attract more clients and reinforce your brand.

Keep Office Supplies Organised

Having clean and orderly work surroundings can send across a positive message of being `in control.’ Minimize clutter by using storage solutions – for reams of paper, paper clips, pens, and so on. Designate specific areas for office supplies. Out of sight should not mean out of reach, though. Keep departmental supplies in locations where the staff members can easily find them.

Sort, Discard and Clean

It may seem tedious to clean out every nook and cranny of your office. You can accomplish much by attacking your own desk surface and drawers first, then moving to other areas.

Clean cabinets and other storage areas frequently. Managers can set a definite time (even an hour) each day to clean up work areas.

Bring out folders and label them for easy retrieval of documents. Using the principles of 5S (removing unnecessary items, arranging them in a manner in which one can easily find them, cleaning, maintaining orderliness, and standardizing best practices) can lead to greater efficiency.

Make your Office Look Better

If you run your own business or operate a home office, then you have to focus on regularly cleaning areas including windows, floors, walls, ceiling, doors, hallways, entryway or waiting area. You can enlist professional cleaners to help you get the cleaning done, but you can do your part to maintain the cleanliness of your office.

Take a look also at items or furniture pieces that need fixing, repainting or replacement.

Maintain a Garden

Bringing the outdoors in can enhance the look and feel of your office. Some indoor plants add color and interest while also filtering the air. Nice plants, or even small twigs neatly arranged in a vase (for a minimalist touch) may add beauty and also inspire employees. They can also be a welcome sight for customers. Just make sure to hire someone who can help maintain them, and keep the `office garden’ free of overgrowth or weeds. Kings Cuts Tree Surgeons manage office gardens daily and take pride in their work.

 

Kieran Donnelly / December 10, 2014 / General

Retain The Best Talents in Your Organisation

Attracting and keeping the best people in the company remain to be one of the many challenges facing employers today. HR professionals and ranking executives may readily acknowledge that human resources are a vital cog in the organisation. Skilled manpower sustains operations and drive business growth. Employees, in turn, have needs that employers should not overlook.

To retain all the good people and propel the organisation to greater heights, companies nowadays must have in place talent management strategies. Creating an engaging and people-oriented internal environment where key talents can thrive can considerably boost productivity.

Here are a few tips that can guide modern-day organisations to retain their best talents.

  1. Empower and challenge employees to realize their full potential.

Organisation heads and managers normally conduct training sessions that can hone their staff’s skills or uncover strengths. Designing learning and developing in-house training programs can also motivate and spur employees to render their best performance. When career goals of people are aligned with the organisational mission-vision and overall direction, the outcome will most likely be a satisfied workforce and loyalty toward the company.

Skills must also keep pace with changing industry requirements and customer demands. Hence, the skill gaps of personnel — or lack of proficiency in meeting certain job requirements — must be spotted and addressed. Skills analysis and training are crucial in driving company performance.

  1. Let HR take a proactive role.

These days, the role of HR practitioners is no longer limited to screening candidates for positions and handling administrative routine tasks. Forward-looking firms and entities fully realize the merits of having HR play a more dynamic, strategic part in their overall scheme.

The HR head can delegate tasks to staff, and concentrate on assessing the overall personnel strategy. Adopting a holistic approach in managing people, uncovering their strengths and skills, engaging employees, facilitating avenues for growth, and creating a mutually beneficial employer-employee relationship can contribute to the company bottom line.

  1. Show why your company is a great workplace.

office

Managing the talent pool begins the moment HR gets people on board and cascades goals and objectives to them. Beyond offering perks, employers need to instill in their employees pride in the company. This can be done by showing that the company cares about the welfare and well-being of its people, and can support their professional and creative endeavors. Enticing top talents can be done by showing that there are many opportunities to learn and grow as part of the organisation.

As employees learn the values upheld by the organisation, it can lead to deep respect for the company.

  1. Value people; share talent.

Most employees want challenging and meaningful work, or greater opportunities to utilize their skills. Employers — through HR practitioners — may continually assess employees’ performance and undertake steps that may set and improve career paths within the organisation. This is where talent management solutions may enter.

A systematic approach in rewarding and promoting top performers, sharing talent, and giving due recognition to employees is vital. By providing career progression, employers may greatly diminish the loss of top talent.

  1. Involve and provide learning stimuli.

Involving key staff in strategic aspects of the business is one way of showing that they are valued and are recognized for their efforts and abilities. An appraisal process that includes a personal development plan, promotion or advancement opportunities in other parts of the business, and regular feedback mechanisms — not to mention organisational learning opportunities — provide impetus for the best talents to stay.

  1. Put a talent manager with a keen eye and savvy people skills in place.

A good talent manager, with the support of key executives who value the human side of enterprises, can set the stage for organisational success. Developing people’s skills, identifying personnel who can be future leaders, investing in their training and development, and sharing talent around the organisation are things that intuitive talent managers must be equipped to do.

Kieran Donnelly / September 3, 2014 / Business, HR

Welcome to IMOA

Hi there,

My names Kieran Donnelly, founder of IMOA. The site covers all different business and finance matters you may come into when running your business.

Read more about my background here I hope you enjoy the content I share with you.

 

Kieran Donnelly / July 29, 2014 / General

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)