Mistakes That Could Mean The Demise Of Your Business

Mistakes should be expected, and even welcomed in business. After all, you should learn from your mistakes, and they can even help to redirect you and get you onto the right path. However, you don’t want to make mistakes that could mean the demise of your business before it has really taken off. Take a look at the mistakes below so you can avoid them before it’s too late:

Not Focusing On Customer Service

Customer service is the absolute most important thing that you should be focusing on. These days, with social media and other super fast ways of communicating (not only with the people we know, but with the world) it’s all too easy for your business to get a bad reputation if you’re not treating customers right. People talk, and studies have shown that they are far more likely to tell people about a bad experience than a good one. That’s just the way it is!

You need to make sure all of your staff are consistently trained in customer service, and that they know how important each interaction with a customer is. They should be prepared to go above and beyond to meet a customer’s needs. Having a brand voice and clear guidelines for dealing with customers will help.

Not Having A Clear Hiring Process

Having a clear hiring process will ensure you hire people who are right for your business and not just people who ‘look good’  – shockingly, some businesses admitted that they brought people in because they had a good CV, and then simply hired them because they looked good. You need a set way of hiring, and everybody should be asked the same questions and judged on the same criteria. This is the only way you can know that it has been fair. The onboarding process is also extremely important, so ensure you put effort into this too and give it structure.

Not Having A Mission And Vision In Place

Having a mission and vision in place is something you should make clear right from the off. This ensures everybody os working towards a common goal and that everybody knows how their roles contributes to the whole. For example, if you want to become a greener business and reduce your impact on the environment, you need to make that clear and start putting plans into place. You can go paperless, make small changes in the workplace, and invest in things like oil water separators to ensure your business processes are not harming the environment/waterways. There are various missions and visions of course, so you need to decide what will resonate best with you and your team.

Not Staying Flexible

Flexibility is crucial. Something that worked for you for years may suddenly stop working. Your staff may need to work remotely one day. Things change quickly in business and you must be prepared!

Not Encouraging Open Communication

Open communication is going to be much easier with things like the right office set up and software. You need to make sure everybody is on the same page, and that it doesn’t take up too much time or too many resources to get there.


Should You Invest In Silver?

Every form of investment has its pros and cons. What appeals to one may not appeal to another and silver is no different.

Regarding its value, silver, alongside its main competitor gold, isn’t having the best year. Many potential investors are looking at it carefully to see whether silver bullion is worth buying.

Here, we will have a look at the reasons for and against investing in silver bullion and help you to make a decision whether to invest in it or not.

Pros of holding silver bullion

  1.  It can be a protective investment
    Silver is often used as a measure of safety in times of economic and political uncertainty.. In these situations, currency is often ignored in favor of precious metals and assets such as silver and gold. While gold is usually the preferred choice, silver has its place, especially with the way the world is looking at the moment.
  2. It’s much cheaper than gold
    Silver bullion is not only considerably cheaper than gold, but it’s also easier to spend. Because it is lower in value than it’s main competitor, it is much easier to break and spend
  3.  It’s a tangible form of currency
    Cash and related investment products such as bonds and stocks are all susceptible  to depreciation due to the process of printing physical money. However, silver is a tangible and finite product, so while it isn’t completely immune to market crashes and fluctuations, it is less likely to crash due to its inherent value.
  4. It has been used as a currency for thousands of years

We love something with a bit of history and lineage, and silver’s role as a form of currency has both of these in abundance. Since silver was first discovered and mined, from around 4000 BC, people have used it to trade, and its value has always been recognized, so there is an expectation that it will continue to be valuable.


Cons of holding silver bullion

  1. It can be harder to sell
    In the event of a sudden price drop, silver can be difficult to sell quickly. While pawn shops and jewelers are always there if there is no other choice, they don’t always offer the best price.
  2. It is liable to theft.
    Unlike stocks and shares, silver is a tangible asset, and so is more likely to be stolen, There is the option of safety deposit boxes or a safe, but this means spending money to protect your money.
  3. Not the best form of investment
    While silver is an excellent form of investment, it is by no means the best. Some metals, particularly lithium and cobalt have seen a massive surge in popularity and value in recent years. Property is also one of the best investments that you can make in the longer term.

With all of this in mind, silver is definitely an investment worth looking into and buying, especially in smaller amounts. If you are interested in dabbling in it, you can get silver here.


Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Commercial Contractor

There are times when a commercial contracting company is essential to your success. Maybe you’re a construction business that needs to deliver on time and to specification. Or, perhaps the firm wants to build a new store to capitalize on their success and expand into new markets. Sometimes, it’s as simple as hiring them to solve a problem which has popped up out of nowhere, such as subsidence. Without the services to fix it, the problem will continue to grow until the site disappears completely.

As with all hiring decisions, understand the right questions to ask is an effective way to recruit quality partners. Outsourcing is a dangerous business, but people give away their secrets in the answers they provide. Looking for buzzwords and phrases is the next step, but for now, it’s important to get them to open up. And, to do that, it’s essential to drill down into the correct areas.

Having the perfect partner by your side can make all the difference, which is why you’ve come to this post. Here, you’ll find inspiration on which questions to ask a commercial contractor and why. Carry on reading to find out more and to dig a little deeper into the subject matter.

What’s Your Typical Project?

Whether it’s in retail, hospitality or manufacturing, it’s important to know that the contractor can do the job to your requirements. Otherwise, it’s going to be a gamble whether the end product is to the correct specifications. Considering it’s going to cost the company a lot of money, it’s best to get it right at the first time of asking and not spend more cash than necessary.

The thing to watch out for is whether the answer matches the question. For example, they may list off a range of services, but are they relevant? If there is a problem with the foundations, only things such as earth shoring and ground improvement will suffice. The people at Helitech Civil Construction Division offer these features, which is why they are a popular choice.

Another thing to be wary of here is their workload. Are they going to be busy and not be able to start the project for weeks or months? Or, will they try and multitask? If they opt for the latter, a good move is to ask them about their equipment and employees. Their answers should tell you if they will be able to handle multiple projects at a time.

Who Will Be Charge?

It’s not unusual to thrash out a deal with one person and then have another individual turn up on day one of the work. Again, this is down to things such as a backlog of projects and not enough employees on the payroll. Even something as basic as illness can get in the way. But, they may know who is going to be in charge from the beginning and not divulge the information.

With that in mind, don’t be afraid to ask the question. Say something such as “will it be you or another colleague?” The response is crucial as you will want to meet the co-worker before signing on the dotted line. Aside from getting a gut feeling, it’s vital to understand if he/she knows the ins and outs of the project. Plus, it’s wise to ask for qualifications and certification just in case. You never know if a person is trustworthy until you hold the proof in your hands. Ask about subcontractors, too. If they outsource, it’s important to know who to and why.

Make sure they understand you’ll pull out if the individual doesn’t turn up on day one. Unless there is an incredible excuse, they need to provide the manpower they said they would during the negotiations.

What’s An Escalation Clause?

In short, this is what contractors use to cover their backs regarding materials. They will give a quote and try to stick to it, yet they may not succeed. In this case, the odds are high that they won’t take a loss. What they will do is to add the extra costs of materials into the price and charge you extra. And, they do it via something called an escalation clause.

Although this is commonplace, it’s still nice to know if it’s included in the contract. Lots of customers think they are going to get the quoted price and end up paying something entirely different. By asking about this particular clause, it’s easier to tell whether the rate is an estimate or whether it’s set in stone. Alternatives include listening out for certain words. Any play on the phrase “estimate” suggests the quote is flexible and may not be the amount you end up paying in the end.

It’s important to get to grips with this tactic because you’ll need to know whether you will stump up the cash. After all, it may be out of your price range. To decide, make sure they provide evidence of the rise in the price of materials. Also, ensure they show which supplier they used and why.

What’s Their Level Of Experience?

Plenty of businesses know how to talk a good game yet struggle to walk the walk. Again, this is a waste of resources which is avoidable with a simple question. It’s tricky to hide the fact they haven’t been operating for a long time. Not that it should be a defining factor, but it’s nice to know they recognize the problems and understand how to deal with them.

The things to ask for include the date the company opened, how long they have offered your service, and references. Remember that the last part of the equation is vitally important. Asking about the level of experience isn’t simply about securing the info; it’s about using it to your advantage. Speaking with previous customers about their experience is a surefire way to figure out if a supplier can provide the service.

But, don’t take their word as the gospel truth. Sometimes, what one client finds unacceptable isn’t an issue to another consumer. For example, if they were late finishing the project, try and think about the consequences. If a couple of days isn’t going to impact anything, it may not be a huge deal, especially if they give you a discount. The same goes for cleanliness. Certain people find it shocking, yet you may realize it’s part of the project. Plus, it’s not a problem as long as they hit the specs.

What Are The Potential Threats?

Too many customers pay for something without understanding the process. Regarding a commercial contractor, it’s vital to get to grips with what they are going to do. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to keep them in check. They can do what they want and pass it off due to the fact you have no idea if they are telling the truth. So, asking about potential threats is a good move.

That way, you can do some research and read up on the topic. Not only that, but it will let you see into the future. When they explain the threats, the contractor should point out the impacts on the project. It may, for instance, prolong the work for a week or two. Anyone on a tight schedule needs to know these things in advance so that they can create a backup plan. Without a contingency, there is a good chance of negative PR before the work is finished.

And, let’s not forget about the communication factor. Informing the contractor about your needs beforehand should help to smooth out the process. When you know the threats, it’s possible to draw a line in the sand. It’s essential to do this before you sign a contract because there won’t be any recourse when the deal is official.

Will There Be Regular Updates?

Entrepreneurs who have outsourced before will know that this is an issue. Outsourcers and subcontractors take on the work and don’t report back regularly. Sometimes, it’s not a problem as everything is to specification, yet other times it’s a disaster. When this happens, there are bound to be crisis talks and negotiations, and they are stressful. Thankfully, it’s easy to bypass this hassle by communicating on a constant basis says Business Know How.

With regular updates, you should be able to put them back on course if they do anything wrong. Or, both parties will get on the same page thanks to a continuous dialogue. Either way, the partnership should be seamless and there should be fewer issues as a result. Don’t be afraid to contact them on a regular basis and demand updates if they aren’t forthcoming. As the customer, you are always right and deserve a high level of service.

Again, speak to their previous customers and clients to get a better idea. A pattern will emerge which will reveal when they are chatty or like to keep themselves to themselves.

This isn’t an exhaustive list as there are lots more questions you can and should ask. However, they are a fantastic place to start regarding hiring a commercial contractor.