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10 Reasons Why Your Friends Should Be Jealous of Your Workplace Culture

10 Reasons Why Your Friends Should Be Jealous of Your Workplace Culture

Have you read stories about how newer companies are changing the way we view workplace cultures? You know, there is the company with a built in slide to get from floor to floor or the companies that provide free food to employees.

Don’t even get me started about all of the awesome benefits companies like Google and Facebook offer to employees (free food, free gym, and free car washes just to name a few).

If you’re reading this article from your dull boxed in cubicle while sitting in a 10 year old office chair drinking crappy instant coffee, then there’s a good chance you envy the way many newer companies are transforming the workplace.

On the other side, if you’re lucky enough to be reading this from a bright, vibrant office in the lounge room while drinking a delicious organic tea, then there’s a good chance that your friends are completely envious of your workplace.

Not sure where you stand? Here are 10 reasons why your friends should be jealous of your workplace culture.

1. Your company has low turnover.

At a time when more and more millennials are job hopping and rarely stay in one position for more than a couple of years, having a low turnover rate is something to be admired.

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If your entry to mid-level employees are sticking around long term, there’s something keeping them there aside from just a paycheck. More than likely, it’s because they genuinely enjoy where they work.

2. People are always looking to join your team.

There are certain companies that have such a strong reputation of having a great workplace that people anxiously wait for a vacancy to open up so they can swoop in.

I hate to bring it up again (not really), but think about Google, Facebook, or Zappos. These are all companies that have received a great deal of attention not just for their economic success, but for their workplace culture.

If your company is known for being a great place to work, then people will want to work there.

3. The chain of command is a little more flat.

Have you ever worked at a job where you had 10 different bosses above you? A lot of older companies are setup with this more “traditional” hierarchy structure, but modern companies are proving that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Having a workplace where there aren’t 20 VP’s makes it easier for good ideas to be heard, and also gets rid of the whole “us against them” attitude that can ruin a workplace.

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4. People don’t have a case of the “Mondays”.

Let’s be honest. If you absolutely dread Sunday evenings because you know you have to go to work on Monday, that’s a problem.

Unfortunately, so few people get to experience working for a great company with a fun and exciting work culture that the “Mondays” has become way too common. Modern workplace cultures have managed to blur the line between work and fun.

5. Employees fight for the company.

Most companies have some sort of mission, goal, or company philosophy. What happens at a lot of traditional minded companies is that the CEO and company spokespeople push the mission, but the lower level employees couldn’t care less about it.

Heck, most of the employees probably don’t even know what the mission is at all. But employees at forward thinking businesses feel like they are a real part of the company and work harder to make it a success.

6. Your company fights for employees.

At the same time, the company is willing to go to bat for their employees.

Whether it’s helping someone get through school, making it easy for parents to tend to their kids when necessary, or other gestures that aren’t necessarily required but are very valued, it shows that the company cares about, and believes in their team, and that’s what people want to be a part of.

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7. Nobody’s walking on eggshells.

There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable at work. You don’t want to say the wrong thing to one of the big wigs, or you feel you have to hold your tongue in certain situations.

Not only is that type of workplace cold and uninviting, but it also leads to a lot of missed opportunities because people are afraid to voice their opinions.

8. Innovation is a priority.

If your company has been doing everything the same way for fifty years with no signs of changing, then your friends probably aren’t too jealous of the culture at your workplace.

Rules are great and can add some structure, but there should always be room for new ideas and change.

With a lot of newer companies, innovation is being made a top priority. If you think of a better way of doing things, you’re able to voice it and actually be rewarded for pushing the envelope.

9. Your colleagues are happy.

Take a look around your office. Does everyone have a look of gloom and despair on their face? Is the overall team morale just kind of “meh?” In a strong workplace, you’ll notice that people are smiling and seem excited and happy.

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10. The workplace is fun and stimulating.

I’m not sure what it was about creating offices and workplaces in the 90’s, 80’s and years prior, but a lot of them feel dark and dreary. Thankfully, more and more companies are realizing the effect that the environment has on employee satisfaction.

Twenty years ago, the thought of having an entire game room in the office would have sounded crazy. But today, I’m happy to see that it’s becoming more of the norm.

There’s no way to avoid the fact that the way workplaces are run is changing. Companies that are stuck in the past and placing the satisfaction of stockholders above the satisfaction of employees are going to be in for a rude awakening when they realize the top candidates don’t want to work for them.

It’s an exciting time for businesses, and if you don’t feel excited and energized to go to work, then hopefully this article will somehow find it’s way to your boss.

Featured photo credit: CQuadratNet via pixabay.com

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Published on December 13, 2018

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

If you’ve ever thought about starting and running your own business, you’re not alone. Being your own boss, having flexibility with your schedule and keeping more of the financial rewards that come with business ownership are all good reasons to own your own company.

But as you might expect, it’s not all vacations and fat bank accounts. According to the SBA, 2/3 of businesses survive at least 2 years and approximately 50% survive 5 years.[1] So why is the failure rate so high? At least for the businesses that fail early on, lack of, or poor planning can be a major factor.

So how to start a company?

Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and work. Here are the first and most important 9 steps to take when your are starting a company from scratch.

1. Do an Honest Evaluation of Yourself

Do you work better in a structured or unstructured environment? Does a daily routine reduce your anxiety? What kinds of things are you good at? Does public speaking or making presentations make you nervous? Are you good at accounting and numbers? Can you handle the rejections you’re bound to get when selling or cold calling?

These are all important questions to ask yourself, in fact it’s a good idea to get other peoples opinion about their perception of you in each of these situations.

Whatever the answers you come up with for your evaluation, remember that’s all it is, an evaluation of where you are now. Think of it as a way to identify both your areas of strength and weaknesses.

You maybe good at public speaking which can help when raising money, but bad at accounting which just means that you’ll need to find some kind of help with that area of the business.

2. Evaluate Your Idea

If your business idea involves a new product or service (or even an enhancement to an existing product or service), it needs to be evaluated. This is technically called market research.

There are firms that specialize in doing market research for new products, but if you are on a tight budget, you can do this yourself.

First, if you can build a prototype for people to use, touch and look at that’s the best option. If a prototype is not possible or it’s a service business, then offer a highly descriptive presentation of the business plan complete with it’s unique benefits and how it’s different from the competition.

Then listen! Remember that this is not about others liking your product, this is not your baby that they are talking about. You want honest market research that gives you the best chance for a successful business. Take notes, when someone tells you that they didn’t like a feature or some aspect of your idea tell them ‘Thank you”.

After several rounds of market research with different groups of people, you should see patterns emerging about things that they both liked and didn’t like. Use this information to tweak your product or service and do another round of market research.

Keep in mind that you’ll never come up with a universally loved product, your job is to produce a product or service that appeals to the broadest range of your target market.

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3. Make a Business Plan

I know, I know this isn’t the “fun” part of starting your own business, but it is an very important step in creating a successful business!

Basically, you can think of a business plan as an outline or blueprint of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:

  • Executive Summary – This should lay out the businesses product or service and the problem that it solves for the consumer.
  • Market Evaluation – This should talk about the market you are serving. Is it an expanding market, and how does your product better fulfill the consumers in that market.
  • Market Strategies – How are you going to penetrate the market and sell your product.
  • Operational Plan – How will the company run from day to day? Who are the key employees and what are their specific rolls. Do your key players have specific goals set for them in advance?

A final word on making a business plan: while lying is never acceptable especially when you are using the business plan to raise money, it is acceptable to “put your best foot forward”.

Playing up the positives while minimizing the negatives is almost expected in a business plan.

Besides, banks as well as professional investors will both do a more in-depth analysis before investing any money into your idea.

4. Decide on a Business Structure

You have many options here, and discussing them with your accountant or financial adviser is really the only way to know what’s right for you. But just to give you a quick rundown of the types of business entities and their pros and cons we will briefly go through them:

Sole Proprietorship

This is a common way for small businesses to get started.

The pros being:

Relatively low costs to set up (usually a business license and sales tax license).Owners normally do not have to set up a special bank account, they are allowed to use their personal one. Any income earned can be offset by other losses (check with your state!). You as the sole proprietor have complete control over all decision making. 

Finally, sole proprietorship’s are relative easy to dissolve.

The cons of using a sole proprietorship include:

You as the sole proprietor can be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company. Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are not directly deductible from business income.

If you need to raise money, you are not allowed to sell an equity stake in the company. In that same vein, hiring key people maybe more difficult because you cannot offer them an equity stake in the company.

Partnership

A partnership is formed when two or more people decide to start a business. Although there is no legal requirement for any documentation to form a partnership, it is my advice that you never enter into a partnership without having a partnership agreement. (Remember, spending $1500 now can save you $150,000 in legal fees later!).

The pros of a partnership include:

Being relatively easy and inexpensive to start. Hiring key employees can be easier as you are allowed to give equity ownership to as many partners as you want.

For tax purposes, partnerships are relative simple as any income is treated as “pass through” meaning that each partner pays tax on their individual portion of the partnerships income (As of this writing, always check with your tax adviser).

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As far as the cons go:

It can be difficult for some general partnerships to raise capitol. Because it is a partnership, the actions of one of the partners can obligate the entire organisation. All profits must be shared according to the partnership agreement regardless of the amount of work done by any single partner.

Some employee benefits may not be able to be deducted on income tax returns.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a very popular business entity for small to medium sized businesses. The reason for this is the cost of set up is not prohibitive and there is a separation between the owners and the company.

The pros of an LLC include:

Limited liability for the partners, unlike sole proprietorship’s and partnerships where the owners are held responsible for all of the companies debts and liabilities, an LLC provides some protection against certain debts and liabilities that are solely the companies.

Simple taxation, just like the sole proprietorship and partnerships, income is considered “pass through” and is only taxed once on an individual level.

There is no limit on the number of shareholders in an LLC. An LLC requires fewer fillings and administrative requirements than a corporation.

Corporation

A corporation is much more complex and expensive to set up. And a corporation is legally considered an independent entity that is separate from its owners.

The pros of a corporation include:

Complete separation between the owners and the company. Because the corporation is considered its own legal entity, owners can not be held personally responsible for any debts or liabilities of the company.

A corporation can raise capital much easier just by selling more shares in the company.

Cons of corporations include:

Much higher administrative costs than any other business entity. Corporations generally have a higher tax rate. Dividends are not tax deductible for corporations. Income paid in dividends is taxed twice, once by the corporation and again by the shareholder.

Again, this is just a short summary of the pros and cons, always check with your tax adviser about what will work best in your situation.

5. Address Finances

Again, not one of the “Sexier” parts of starting your business from scratch, but very important nonetheless.

So, you’ve done your business plan and an estimate of your start up funding should be included. It should include the amount of funding you’ll need to get you through your first full year of operations.

Now, how do you get that money?

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Self Funding

If possible, self funding is the easiest. You won’t have to go to banks and investors with hat in hand, or give up ownership or control of your company. But as we know, this is not a reality for most people. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available.

Friends and Family

They can be a good source of funding your business if they can see and understand your vision.

Remember that business plan? Pass them out to everyone you know. Then follow up, be prepared to tell them the total amount of money you expect to raise, the minimum investment you are looking for and what you will give in return for the investment.

For example, you give a friend your business plan and follow up with him/her a few days later. You can explain that you have secured funding for $80,000 of the $100,000 you need. You are selling a 2% share in the company for every $2,000 investment. How many shares would he like?

And when he/she tells you no, thank him/her and ask if he/she can think of anyone off the top of his head who might be interested? Tell him/her you really appreciate his/her time and if he/she does come across someone who might be interested to let you know.

Banks

These guys are happy to lend you money when you don’t need it, but all of the sudden they get stingy when you actually need a loan! This is where preparation comes in.

It’s a good idea to go over your business plan with an expert and maybe even have it rewritten by an expert before you approach either a bank or professional investor. Both will want to go over your business plan with a fine tooth comb, verifying all the numbers and data you provide.

You should also brush up on everything in the plan so that you can answer any questions they have with authority.

Crowdfunding

Finally, there is crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Crowdfunding helps to build interest, community spirit, and a customer base. It’s also an efficient way to raise funds. You can take a look at these tips to find out more:

6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

6. Register with the Government

As stated earlier, different types of business entities have different filling and administrative requirements. At the very least, you’ll probably need a business license as well as a state sales tax license.

Unless you are forming a corporation, there are many good resources on the web that will do everything for you at a minimal cost.

7. Assemble Your Team

Remember when we evaluated your strengths and weaknesses? Here is where we fill in the gaps!

Do you hate sales and cold calling? Great! There are people who love selling and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

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Bored to death with accounting? There are a ton of small accounting firms out there that will take care of that for you.

What about marketing? You can hire someone in-house or out-source that too.

Your job is to keep on top of all the different aspects of the business to make sure they are all running smoothly and getting the results you need. If not, it’s your job to figure out the problem and implement a solution.

Check out this guide and learn how to delegate effectively:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

8. Buy Insurance

No matter what kind of business you start, you need insurance! Yes, I know, no one likes to buy insurance, but it can literally be the difference between having a minor inconvenience and declaring bankruptcy.

We live in a very litigious time, even a minor slip and fall at your place of business could bankrupt you without insurance. If you need help finding a good agent, check with your local trade organizations or fellow business owners.

9. Start Branding Yourself

Has anyone ever ask you for a Kleenex or a QTip? We all know what they are because of branding, Kleenex is just a brand of tissue and QTip is just a brand of cotton swab. It doesn’t have to be as widely known as Kleenex or QTip, but you can make your brand a common name within your niche.

I once owned a manufacturing company that developed a product that was so popular that my competitors started co-opting my brand name for their products.

If you aren’t sure how to kickstart branding yourself, check out these ways:

5 Ways to Build your Personal Brand & Make More Money

The Bottom Line

Starting a business from scratch can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.

But do you know what’s even more rewarding? Having a business that succeeds, is profitable and provides a good source of income for you, your employees and their family’s.

More Resources About Entrepreneurship

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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