5 Important Rules For Hiring Your First Employee

When you start a new business, managing your finances is so important. You need to keep spending as low as possible until you can get things off the ground. For a lot of people, that means handling the day to day running of the business on their own. But once you start making a few sales and the business starts to grow, you’re going to need to start hiring some employees. Hiring your first employee is a big step and if you haven’t run a business before, you probably don’t know where to start. The success of your business is so dependent on your employees so you’ve got to make sure that you get it right. These are some of the most important things to remember when you’re hiring your first employee. Know Your Responsibilities As An Employer When you become an employer, you’ve got a lot of responsibilities to fulfil. You need to make sure that you’re creating a safe working environment, you’re paying everybody fairly, and you’re following all of the regulations around sick pay etc. You could land yourself in a lot of trouble if you’re not fulfilling all of your responsibilities and that usually happens because employers don’t know exactly what is expected of them. Research is key here, read a HR blog for more information about what it means to be an employer, what rules you need to follow, and the issues that you might face once you hire your first employees. I found that...

How to Have Your New Business Taken Seriously

It seems like the chips are ever stacked against new businesses. They’re trying to carve out their space in a tough market place, they have to do it on a shoestring budget, and, to cap things off, they can have a hard time being taken seriously by customers and other businesses. While you can’t always do anything about the market or how much money you have, you can do something about how you’re perceived by others. Below, we take a look at some useful tips that’ll have your new business taken more seriously. Look the Part If you have a corner office on Madison Avenue, you’ll be taken seriously. Alas, that’ll have to be a far-flung dream for your business, which is likely being run out of your own home. It makes more sense to spend money on important things rather than where you’re working, so accept that you’re not going to impress anyone with your location, and move on. You can, however, make a solid impression by wearing the right clothes. Make sure you’re always dressing smartly, even when you’re not expecting to be in front of anyone else that day. Zuckerberg and Elon Musk can wear what they want — they’ve made it. You need to show the world that you mean business. Online Presence Whether you’re a digital business or not, you need to have a solid online presence. Virtually everyone who encounters your store will find you via the internet, which will mean your website is...

Perks Of The Job: Attracting Better Candidates To Your Business

Recruitment can be a very frustrating field, especially in this digital world. Regardless of how much effort you put into making your advert, getting it out into the world, and going through the applications you receive, it will always feel as though the perfect employee is a resume or two away. While this is partly thanks to a stagnant job market, it could also be down to the perks which you offer alongside your roles. To give you an idea of what you can use to attract better professionals to your roles, this post will be exploring some of the most popular perks which come with modern jobs. Transport The concept of a company car has been around for a long time, with employers providing their team members with their own sets of wheels to ensure that they can get around. While this can cost a lot of money, it gives you the chance to offer a lower salary, while also ensuring that the people working for you will always look incredibly professional. Car dealerships will often offer lease agreements to handle this. This will make it possible to pay for the cars as if they were just another salary, helping to avoid any cash flow issues as the result of this investment. Being able to offer a company car will make your job look more desirable than other options on the market. Health & Fitness Keeping fit and healthy is a challenge, especially when people are stuck working in...

Can Technology Bring Old-Fashioned Industries Into The 21st Century?

When a long-established industry is ailing, entrepreneurs can sometimes be a little too quick in figuring out that it’s time to jump ship. Ultimately, even a dying industry can be revived as long as it remains relevant to the market. Indeed, a professional sector that is meaningful to contemporary society can, and should, evolve to meet modern trends. The real question you want to ask yourself is how can contemporary processes and innovative technologies bring yesterday’s business into today’s world, and save your company from closing down. The real answer to this strategic repositioning is that people’s basic needs at a customer level have remained the same. They want products they can rely on, a brand that takes them seriously, and businesses that has the right solution to their problems. Here’s how you can inject a little bit of tech know-how to revive your dying business: You thought farming was antiquated? Think again Farming is by far one of the oldest industries in the world. But, contrary to the common belief, it’s not going away any time soon. After all, people still need to eat every day! However, the abundance of remote and digital roles can push aside the value of old-fashion businesses such as running a farm. With a growing population and increasing weather chaos – unfortunately, as a direct result from the global warming situation – you can’t harvest vegetables the way your ancestors have always done. You need to produce crops out of extreme weather conditions, using...

Developing Your Inner Guru

Stick or twist? Stop or go? Making business decisions can feel like a step into the dark sometimes and leave you wondering if you’re going to plunge headlong into a financial abyss or into something altogether more enticing. Unless you have the gift of seeing into the future, there can be no way of telling for sure what’s going to happen but is there such a thing as business sense? If you’re setting up on your own for the first time, it’s a leap of faith and you might make one or two questionable decisions during those early days. The stakes only start to get much higher the further along you go, so how do you avoid the snakes and climb the ladders? We’ll show you how to develop your inner business guru and make decisions that boost your business rather than harm it. Network For so many of us, the idea of making small talk in a room filled with strangers is torture but making contacts, particularly with people in the same boat as you, can help you to develop some sharp instincts. Don’t be afraid to quiz them on their decision-making processes, what’s worked and what hasn’t. If you can gain any insight into their practice, then use it to your advantage. If you build a strong enough network, you might even be able to call on them for advice when it comes to crunch time and decisions need to be made, just be willing to extend that...

3 Basic Tips for Gaining Customer Trust as a New Entrepreneur

No business will be successful for more than a heartbeat, unless they are capable of obtaining and maintaining client trust. You could be the most savvy businessmen in the world, you could have the most impressive product, and could have marketing graphics and videos that would make the finest artists of your day and age weep tears of joy. But if your customers or clients think that you are manipulative, untrustworthy, or otherwise exploitative, it is only a matter of time before your entire business venture sinks. On the other hand, even if your product or service isn’t the most advanced, streamlined, or pioneering in your field, customers and clients will give you a lot of slack if you are known to be trustworthy, supportive, and to have a high degree of professional integrity. So, since gaining customer trust is a fundamental part of your job as an entrepreneur, here are some effective but basic tips for gaining that trust. Be mindful of “qualifiers of professionalism” “Qualifiers of professionalism,” are those things that let your prospective clients or customers know, or at least cause them to believe, that you are highly professional, sophisticated, and know what you are doing. It certainly doesn’t hurt if they also think that you are well established in your particular niche, even if you aren’t yet. Of course, it should go without saying that you should never deceive your customers, or claim to have certain accolades which you do not. Nonetheless, you should be extremely...

Developing a Reading Habit

I have always been a reluctant reader. Mainly because it hated the idea of conforming to the ideals my school wanted me to adhere to. At school reading was a chore and so I hated every minute of reading a book. Later in life, I started to realise that books were one of the best tools available to progress your knowledge, career and self confidence. Especially considering that I work in an industry that consistently changes at a rapid rate, reading became one of the most important aspects of success. Reading become something I enjoyed however it still did not change the fact that I battled to develop a discipline of reading. I would read a book and then take a break for almost a year sometimes. It seemed ridiculous that I couldn’t find the time to devote to something that was such a great self development tool. So at the beginning of 2017 I decided to fix the problem and made some big changes to my approach to reading and my life. This lead to me spending many hours reading and taking my reading average of 2-3 books a year to 23 in 2017. So if there are any people out there looking to build a reading discipline I though I’d share the changes I made. Mindset Change: You don’t have to finish a book This was big for me. One of the reasons I would stop reading is that I would use the fact that I hadn’t finished...

The power of someone else’s idea

I remember the day I had an idea. A big idea! An idea that lead to me starting a business. I spent all my time trying to make that idea a real thing. I have spent the last few years of my life building a business, an idea I had for a digital agency. An agency that would help business succeed in a digital world. Its been an incredible journey and one that I spent every waking minute creating. I poured my heart and soul into making that idea a real thing. Something that had a real impact on the world. That idea became my reason to wake up, to go to work, to read, to hire, to teach, and to speak. Everything inside me wanted it to become a reality. As I have built a team over the years I have learnt an important lesson. It doesn't matter how much I love my idea, how much I believe in it or how much time I spend getting you to believe it. If I focus on trying to convince people about my idea the best I can hope for is a few people keen to work with me, who can share the work load of my idea. I have worked with many people you have liked my ideas and even believed in them alot. These people have been incredibly valuable to me in trying to get my ideas off the ground but there was something missing. The missing piece was...

Cultivating culture that Millennials love

The millennial generation has many people wondering what makes them tick. They are enigmas, a mysterious generation that either frustrates or excites you. Their potential is massive however, they are often left unguided in organisations because they confuse older generations. Inherently corporate organisations, and even small boomer orientated businesses, struggle to unlock the potential in millennials. As we work with our Millennial counterparts more it’s becoming evident that their own frustrations are routed in two primary world views: Firstly, the disconnect between what they experience in day to day life verse what happens inside the organsiations they work in. The way we access people and information has changed thanks to our connection economy. Secondly, the cynicism that has developed as they watched the previous generation fail at keeping our planet alive and our people happy. The way we lead has changed to become more personal and deliberate, no more sweeping visionary statements in the hope that people follow. Millennials are entering our organisations ready to make a change and skeptical that the current methods are working. In dealing with the first world view, there are a few things you can do to improve your culture to be friendlier to Millennials. Access to Information In Huddles latest Enterprise Information Landscape Study, 18-31 year olds show the most frustration on everyday tasks that waste their time: Wasting time searching for documents Figuring out who has specific information to perform tasks Trying to find their co-workers contact details Having grown up with technology...

Feedback like this make my work worthwhile

A few weeks ago I presented at a clients Sales Conference. We structured the presentation in such a way that each attendee received a copy of my book “The Five Year Mark” and I presented my latest presentation Love Your Work. As usual I asked for feedback and got this in my inbox a few days later: Apologies we couldn’t touch base after your interaction with my team, but keeping 50 sales consultants interested, and engaged for a day, does not allow for much break time in-between sessions. The feedback after the session was fantastic, however I must be honest, usually the immediate response is good but wanes off  over the next couple of days with this type of event. Hence the reason why I’m so chuffed sending this message to you, I think giving the team a copy of your book The Five Year Mark and the way the managers have been referring to chapters in it has given us a longevity of impact I haven’t been able to replicate before. However here is the kicker ! On Friday, one of our admin staff, who also received a copy of the book, asked if he could have a meeting with me. He recounted how he had been moved to action after reading your book over a weekend basically in one continuous reading marathon. His goal is now to become a sales consultant and not just work in the sales admin department, seeing the fire in his belly, what else can...

Leadership and Motivation

Keith Coats, the man who was both my mentor and mentoree, helped me realise that helping people unlock their true potential meant they needed to be motivated and inspired. There are many different leadership styles and ways of motivating staff, but Keith approached motivation in a similar way to Fredrick Hertzberg. If you aren’t familiar with Hertzberg, he was an American psychologist famous for his model of motivation theory. Hertzberg suggested people aren’t only motivated by what he referred to as ‘Hygiene Factors’ in a work environment. What are ‘Hygiene Factors’? They are the basics aspects of employment that need to be met to make sure employees feel satisfied in their jobs. Here are Hertzberg’s ‘Hygiene Factors’: Job security Compensation Organisational politics Relationships Working conditions Quality leadership These factors aren’t tools that can be used to motivate people or increase job satisfaction. Hertzberg’s theory suggests that motivation and job satisfaction don’t rely on one another. Employees can actually be satisfied in their jobs but demotivated at the same time. Often, leaders make the mistake of trying to use ‘Hygiene Factors’ to motivate people. I say ‘mistake’ because ‘Hygiene Factors’ may provide a short-term increase in job satisfaction, but they don’t successfully motivate people. But, that’s not to say hygiene factors aren’t important. They are a good foundation for motivation and good leadership means making sure they are met: Compensation: Make sure your team is earning a fair and market-related salary. Quality leadership: Invest in your team. Constantly work on their...

On giving back to the industry

I’ve always admired how people come together to create something new and spectacular. Musicians do this frequently. They’re more interested in making great music than self-promotion, making them more willing to work together. Great musicians are always looking for new talent to collaborate with – people they can perform, write and ultimately promote the music industry with. Collaboration helps musicians introduce themselves to new audiences, learn, grow and network. It helps build both the industry and the individuals involved. So, why aren’t we doing this in the digital industry? Over the years, I’ve found that our industry shares a lot of information online, but this isn’t true collaboration. Sharing knowledge has become more of a self-promotional tool rather than a collaborative effort that could drive our industry to new heights. I firmly believe industries can benefit from industry leaders and players putting their pride aside and starting initiatives to accelerate understanding, expertise and promote growth within their industry. There are so many benefits of true collaboration within an industry. Here are some I’ve seen come to life during my entrepreneurial journey: What The Industry Gains When You Give Back: When people collaborate and openly share knowledge, it not only pushes industry understanding, expertise and experience, it inspires and stimulates people, injecting a renewed energy and excitement back into the industry. Collaboration can also be used as a promotional tool to attract new clients, create revenue and develop new products and services. It pushes people within the industry to create and...

Zero to One

After reading a number of books about finding purpose in life this book challenges entrepreneurs to the core to create business that build the future instead of cluttering the present with more of the same. A great book and must read for entrepreneurs. Let me dive straight into a few interesting thoughts. Best definition of a startup Hidden in this book is my new favourite definition of a startup. “A startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.” It points to an entrepreneurs need for clear vision, the need to clearly communicate it and the fact that your vision should be bigger than you, it should build a different future. Making a difference Copying something or joining an industry does not build a new future. Entrepreneurs make a real difference by creating something new, something that didn’t exist before. Something we needed but didn’t know. Henry Ford built the first car before anyone knew what a car was. He went from zero to one. The world develops and grows when entrepreneurs go from zero to one instead of become more of the same. Monopoly is good If your going from zero to one you’re going to have the monopoly. Monopoly is not bad it’s the natural circumstance for a business building a different future. Money is just money if you have a plan People with money will always leave it in banks because they don’t know what to do with it. Money is...

2016 was actually pretty good

I have been in a number of conversations over the past few months talking about how 2016 has been a terrible year for so many people. There has even been a meme dedicated to how tough the year has been. At this point I have to admit that I began slipping into the same mindset, believing that 2016 was a terrible year. In 2016 my business partner immigrated, I have had to work harder than ever before to keep the business healthy, my good friends got divorced, I spent too much time away from home, missed my sons Christmas play, had so many unseen expenses, both in business and personally. I have been near burnout for almost two months now, I have been so busy that I miss my wife, friends and family. I’m tired, grumpy and easily irritated. And so on, and so on… It’s so easy to join the crowd and agree with how bad 2016 has been. It has been tough, very tough. So I challenged myself to look at the bright side and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. I finally wrote a book which has been a dream of mine since I started reading business books. Our business grew, despite challenges that come with setting big targets, to the point that we need to double the size of our office space Stacey, my wife, had great things take place in her career and it’s clear that she is to going have a great...

I chopped my finger off and learnt about the future

I remember the day clearly, my uncle had bought my brother and I our first swiss army penknife for christmas. My brother (who is now an engineer) spent the morning carefully opening each knife and closing it again, paying close attention to safety and control. I decided it was much more important to mimic the display of the knife like I saw in retail outlets (I now run a digital marketing agency). Whilst carefully mimicking the art of retail display I managed to get my right hand index finger stuck behind a blade which snapped back next to another blade. The outcome was that I ended up chopping off the tip of my index finger. I quietly (believe it or not) walked over to the kitchen tap and started to wash the wound. My Dad arrived on the scene seconds later and I started feeling faint. Over the next hour or so my father applied every single scouts trick he knew to bandage the tip of my finger back onto my hand. It worked, I have a fully function right index fingure today almost 25 years later. The only side effect was that the tip on my right index finger was permanently numb for about 20 years. Around the time this happened I was also learning my right from left. It was super easy for me because I would feel for my numb calloused index finger and always know which way was right. Until 20 years later when something interesting happened....

Life is full

A friend once told me ‘I enjoy traveling but hate being away from home’ I finally understand, if home is where the heart is then there should be a longing to get home. My job requires me to travel to some pretty awesome places all over the world. I love these trips, I get to meet new people, new businesses, see new culture and take new photos. These trips are often highlights of my professional career and come with much learning and valuable exposure. These days I have found something more valuable than travel, success, new experiences and new learnings. Life is not made enjoyable by finding joy in your work. Life is made better by those you share it with. These people will hold your heart and they will make your house a home. The warmth and energy in your home will be driven by their heartbeat. So my tips for a full life: 1) Focus on people more than progress 2) Love people more than you love work 3) Steal time from work instead of from your family 4) Reserve some energy for the weekend, you’ll enjoy spending it there much more than at work. Article originally posted on my Medium Profile

The best advice I took when I started DigitLab

I can still remember the day I started my business. I had just been retrenched and was desperately needing something new, exciting and profitable to sink my time and energy into. Starting a digital marketing agency made sense to me and it just felt right at the time that I take this passion and turn it into a business vehicle. It did however dawn on me that no matter what I decided to do I needed some sound business advice, or else my great business idea that I was so passionate about was doomed for failure. I embarked on an intense learning exercise in business. I read every article I could find, met with every successful business owner who would let me buy them coffee and a few pearls of wisdom rose to the forefront of my business strategy. Address the immediate cash flow crisis Almost every single budding entrepreneur buys into the idea that it will take time to see the money come into their business. While it may take time to realise profit, it should never take long to drive some good solid cash into your bank account. Cash is what counts, it will make or break your business so its worth spending the time developing a strategy to drive cash into your business quickly. I did this by creating quick sellable services like presentations, workshops, and ‘out the box’ services that I could sell to people. This made it easy to get cash in quick and give...

‘It’s the small wins that count’ – How to make every day productive

Entrepreneurs are often dubbed workaholics because of how hard we work. I think we should work hard but only on the things that matter. We should not be caught up in busyness, but rather focus on business. Our attention should be caught by our dreams, aspirations and vision – not someone else’s. If we don’t take control of our time someone else will, possibly an investor, possibly a customer. An unfocused entrepreneur is dangerous for their business. Productivity for an entrepreneur is not about doing things faster. It’s about being able to cut through the clutter to find the right things to focus your time on. Productivity for the entrepreneur is about finding clarity and purpose in your day instead of checking off a to-do list. I found I needed the small wins every day to keep me focused In my time as an entrepreneur, I have found the following tips very helpful in becoming a more valuable asset to my business. With these four things in mind you will surely be a more productive and focused entrepreneur: 1) Set daily goals and achieve them Entrepreneurs are people looking to win and sometimes that win takes a long time to see. I found I needed the small wins every day to keep me focused. Taking time each morning as I got ready for the day to consider that biggest challenge that needed to be solved, the things that needed to be done and the wins that were possible to achieve...

Why we don’t delegate and how to start

A leader is constantly in need of people around them who can make things happen. The trouble is that many of us don’t lean on those people around us and we therefore end up focusing more of our time in the business instead of on the business. This is a standard issue problem that most entrepreneurs experience and it becomes one of the biggest reasons why they cannot lead effectively. You cannot lead someone if you are doing their work for them. Over the past few years I have found three reasons why we don’t delegate work to our employees and our peers in business. 1)    We don’t trust others to do it It is that simple. We are surrounded by people we don’t trust to do a good job. People who are incapable of producing the work you need done. Entrepreneurs often don’t spend enough time with their team to build up their skills in doing the work the right way. Solution: Hire well and train better: Hire and partner with trustworthy people then spend a lot of time at the start making sure they know and understand how to do what you need them to do. 2)    Self importance, only I can do it right This often happens when we get into a rut on the first problem. When we are constantly let down by untrustworthy employees or employees who weren’t trained properly we begin to believe a massive lie. “Only I can do this right, I just...

Some decisions are hard. This was one of them.

I must be honest. I have been blessed in life. I may have had to walk some difficult roads but after everything I count myself blessed living a life riddle with grace. This blessed life had me face a decision that was not easy to make. Quick reflection… Its hard to measure a life, I don’t think life should be measured by the fun you’ve had or how much you enjoy, sometimes its hard to take hold of the things that really matter. I don’t think it should be measured by the size of you wallet, I know plenty of people who have wasted their lives chasing money having lost everything in the process. I also don’t think life can be measured by a single attribute. Life is more beautiful than that, more intricate, more like a diverse tapestry instead of a colourful piece of cardboard. In the movie “The Bucket List” Morgan Freeman says that you should measure your life by those who measure theirs against yours. I love this quote. It reminds me that people mark your life, in good ways and bad. They impact you, challenge you, inspire you, mentor you and basically shape the person you become. I am surrounded by great people. That’s why I count myself blessed. My son is the light of my life, my fiánce is truly the most exquisite person I have met, DigitLab is packed full of the most dedicated and talented people and TomorrowToday is the wisest counsel I have...

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