Written on Mar, 25, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

Facebook-Goals-and-ObjectivesSetting goals for your small business conjures up thoughts of structure, planning, focused thinking and effort. For the creative types in business, this can make you feel like you are being boxed in. For the overworked small business owner, it can make you feel overwhelmed and the reason why you avoid setting goals for your business. Yet, goal setting is critical for small business success because it keeps you from making costly mistakes. When you know the exact steps you need to take for each stage of your business, you spend less time on unnecessary activities and become profitable more quickly.

Using a smart goals framework helps you know if you are going in the right direction with your business. It gives you peace-of-mind when you know what to do and when to do it. How to set business goals using smart goals examples will give you a smart goals template to follow.

Continue Reading...
Written on Mar, 25, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

cyber-security1There are many misconceptions in the small business community as to what constitutes business security. It is more than just having locks on your doors and an alarm system to protect your business assets. There is no one size fits all in the security world, even if you have two businesses that are the same but in different areas of a city, they will still have varying types of threats and vulnerabilities to security issues.

This is why each business, no matter what the size, whether it is a brick and mortar location or home based business, needs to have security measures and risk assessments specifically for each location.

You’ve heard that location, location, location is the most important part of a business. Criminals see it the same way. Most business crimes are that of opportunity, if you give them the opportunity they will steal anything they can from you or find a way to make you a victim.

The big issue for businesses in the security assessment should be that of physical security of the location. This has to do with the location you’re in business at, it includes at a minimum:

 

  • Hazards in and around the outside of the building for anyone on site
  • Crime in the area that could affect your business or people on site.
  • Parking Areas, Lighting, Landscaping, Access and Egress Points.
  • Doors, Windows, Locks, Cameras, Visibility day and night of inside.
  • Routing of highways, truck traffic, ease of escape routes, possible accidents

 

The next issue is the protection of people; this includes at least the following areas:

 

  • Background Checks for employees before hiring and annually after hiring.
  • Training in Operations, Emergencies and Security Issues for the business.
  • Written Policy and Procedures to cover the above issues.
  • Identifying and reducing possible risks and threats to your business.

 

The last issue is protection of information to include at least these areas:

 

  • Policy’s for handling information safely.
  • Storage of electronic information of customers, employees and vendors.
  • Access to information in the business and who can access it for what reasons.
  • Backups of all business information stored off site.
  • Annual reviews of information security to include web based uses.

 

There are many more issues that need to be addressed in more detail as a security assessment is completed, but these few areas will get you started in understanding what the bare minimum is needed to provide security for your business. It doesn’t make a difference in whether the business is a storefront or home based, they still need to be looked at; storefronts just mean more areas to look at and assess overall.

Continue Reading...
Written on Mar, 25, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

iStock_000017227049SmallVery few companies need to keep records beyond six or seven years, but some companies keep them much longer. Does that sound like your company?

I worked in the cemetery and funeral business for over 20 years as an Administrative Professional, and this is one business that does actually need to keep some records for the long haul. We actually had records back to the early 1920s, and yes, we needed them. But, with new technologies we were, finally, able to reclaim some lost physical space and make our records easier to find at the same time. In this case we turned one of our archiving rooms in to a usable office for two employees.

Now, don’t misunderstand; that doesn’t mean we had to keep all our records that long, just records of death, locations of interments and more industry specific records. All our other records were subject to much shorter retention periods, depending on the needs they met for staff.

Another area that you may want to consider having a retention guideline is regarding employee email boxes. Unless they are very well organized, how quickly could they actually locate the information they are trying to retrieve? Would they be better off storing this email in the client’s electronic folder?

Don’t forget the goal of keeping information is to enable information to be retrieved at a later date. How old are the documents in the company shared drive, is it getting difficult to find current files needed for projects or assignments through the maze of long ago completed files. Do you have an archive system in place for your electronic folders? Do you purge these files on a regular schedule?

Does your staff need to keep tons of resource articles and magazines? Could you locate the same issue of an old magazine in the office of multiple staff members? Have any of those staff members looked in that magazine in recent history? Is there a different way they could access that information? Should that information be archived or has it pasted its expiry date and it is time to purge.

Some records, we all know, have to be kept for a certain length of time like your financial records and human resource records. But, some records will just sit in boxes for years without being purged. Do you also have old procedure and operating manuals sitting gathering dust on a shelf? It may be time to set up some retention policies for your office.

Implementing a good file retrieval system, archiving system and installing retention guidelines will increase the efficiency in your office, increase office productivity and that will be reflected in improved customer service and increased revenue.

Continue Reading...