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Management

Business Equipment – Lease or Buy?

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It’s the age old question, should you rent or buy equipment in your business? On the one hand, leasing can save you money in the short term. But in the long run, it could cost a lot more. There are a number of different factors that can impact this decision but before we look at these let’s assess the overall advantages and disadvantages of each option. We’ll start with leasing.

The Pros For Leasing Your Business Equipment

By leasing your equipment, you can keep your business up to date, efficient, modern and fresh. Since you haven’t committed to a purchase, you can update whenever you like. Think of this as getting a phone on a contract rather than buying one outright. On a contract, you can get a new phone once the contract expires and stay up to date with this tech. The same is true leasing equipment. Once the lease agreement expires, you can check the market to see if there’s any upgraded equipment that could be beneficial to your business.

No Charge At First

Since you’re leasing, you can avoid those heavy fixed costs of buying the equipment from day one. Let’s say that you’re using a cloud server. If you buy your own cloud server, you could be looking at thousands for installation charges alone. By leasing, you’ll only be paying around fifty dollars each month to use a server that is already set up and operational.

Go Beyond Your Means

Don’t forget, by leasing technology, you will be able to access more expensive, arguably unaffordable options. For instance, automated software is slowly trickling into every business industry, but it’s not cheap. Leasing out this tech., you can give you the upper hand over your competition without costing your company a fortune.

The Cons For Leasing

Unfortunately, leasing does tend to mean you pay more in the long run. Depending on how long you use the tech for, you could end up paying thousands for that cloud server, but it will be spread out over a longer period. You might not notice the expense, but it will be there, dragging your business down.

You might also find yourself paying for equipment that you no longer need. If your business model is flexible, it’s possible that you’ll reach the point where you no longer need the equipment you’ve leased out. But you’ll still have to keep paying for it until the lease ends.

Don’t forget, you’re also not getting any fixed advantage from the equipment. You don’t own it, so you won’t be able to sell it on and make some of the money back that you spent once you’re finished using it.

The Pros For Buying Your Business Equipment

Simple As Can Be

Buying is easy. Once you decide what equipment you want you find the supplier selling it at the right price and arrange an order. Leasing is a tad more complicated with paperwork that you need fill out and then there are the lease agreements. You’ll need to decide how long you can use it for, how you can use it and a variety of other factors that often come into play with these contracts.

Absolute Control

Since you own the tech or equipment you’re going to be using, you can do whatever you want with it. You’ll also find that repairs are a lot easier because you won’t have to worry about waiting for the leasing company to fix it for you. Instead, you can get your business back on track as soon as possible if the equipment does break down and avoid downtime.

Awesome Deductions

Since you own it, you can add your purchases to tax deductions. These can make those heavy costs we mentioned a lot easier and ensure buying equipment doesn’t drain your accounts completely.

The Cons For Buying Your Business Equipment

The disadvantages really do depend on the type of equipment we’re talking about here. For instance, there’s the cost. The cost of buying business equipment can be expensive, but it depends on how long you’re planning to use it for. If you know it’s going to be part of your business model for a few years it might be worth the high first fixed costs. But, it could still mean you need to take out an expensive loan, and that could play havoc with your credit rating.

Then there’s the issue with depreciation and outdated equipment. Certain pieces of equipment are going to depreciate faster than others. For instance, computers will lose nearly 25 percent of their value after the first year. That also means that you could be stuck using outdated equipment that cost a fortune in a couple years of time.

For this reason, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself before making this decision.

What Are The Tax Benefits?

We have already discussed the tax benefits of making deductions on any equipment that you buy. But there are also tax deductions available for leasing. For instance, you can may able to put the entire first cost as a deduction when leasing equipment. But, it does depend on the specific equipment and the lease in question. As such, you will need to investigate this carefully.

How Often Does The Tech Change?

In the computer world, tech changes every month, but in the agricultural industry, it can take years for tech to advance. As such, in the IT industry, it might be beneficial to lease equipment and keep up to date with changes. While for agricultural companies, a long-term investment could be the best decision and that’s just one example.

What Can You Afford?

On top of this, you need to consider what is the more affordable option for your business. It’s possible that you have the money in your accounts to buy the expensive equipment. Or, you could have the credit rating to easily handle a loan. On the other hand, you might not be in a strong financial position and if that’s the case leasing is always going to be the best possibility.

Which Is Best?

Ultimately, you will need to take all these factors into consideration when choosing whether to lease or buy. Think about how quickly technology changes, how much it will cost and the other benefits that leasing or buying could bring for your business.  What you don’t want to do is make a bad business decision with your liabilities especially if your business is in it’s infancy.

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Management

How To Work Out How Often To Schedule Office Cleaning

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How often do you need to schedule your office cleaning company?

Office managers or facility directors who are tasked with providing a clean building will know the answer. Still, if you’re new to the job, this article is for you.

First off, there is no right nor wrong answer to the frequency of office cleaning; however, you can ascertain what’s a good schedule for your business with a few simple answers. For hygiene and staying safe during a pandemic, cleaning is more frequent. All workstations need a thorough deep clean that also included disinfecting to kill bacteria and viruses.

Once you know the cleaning your office needs, your focus can switch to hiring a cleaning company regularly.

Company Budget and Needs

What your business can afford is the starting point. Scheduling a cleaning crew to come multiple times a week when you have a small office with a few employees can easily burn through your budget. It may not achieve your ultimate goal of having a sanitized environment that is safe for all.

On the other hand, if you wait too long between cleanings, filth, grime, and germs can build up over time. Therefore getting the frequency right is important, and so is clean.

Keep in mind that some industries require more frequent cleaning for health and safety reasons. If that’s the case for you, figure out your requirements (you may also have to comply with third-party regulations) and set a budget for your office cleaning services.

For instance, if you’re in the healthcare industry, sanitization and disposal can’t ever be skipped — but in an office environment, skipping a trash disposal service is less dangerous.

To establish an office cleaning budget, you will need to research the going rates with reliable commercial cleaning companies in your area.

Selection Process

Create a shortlist of potential providers and first cull it with a phone interview. Then from your shortlist, meet with a cleaning company or two if you’ve not yet decided on a provider to discuss the best possible schedule for your routine cleaning.

Most cleaning companies are flexible insofar as they understand the need to clean outside of normal operating hours.

Workplace Size

The size of your workplace and the number of people who frequent it will help the cleaning providers determine the time and resource required to clean it. More staff and more workstations will take longer and require more cleaning product. The number of workstations that will include desks and trash bins will require dusting and emptying the trash maybe multiple times a week.

Plus, how the office is furnished will add time and product to the task.

  • How many windows are in your office?
  • Are your office floors carpeted or tiled?

Floors

Flooring is a factor in how frequently you should schedule workplace cleaning. You may choose to do a thorough deep clean of carpets once a month. Know the flooring your office has and schedule the cleaning as and when required.

Windows

Depending on how many windows you have in your office, natural light will highlight the smudges on your windows as well as the accumulated dust in your office.

  • Are the windows furnished with curtains or blinds?

Your prospective cleaning company will need to do a walkthrough of your facility and complete an inventory to determine the best plan of action for cleaning your office as well as the cost. 🙂

Summary

Covid-19 has taught us a few things about hygiene and while staff are resilient you need to give them a healthy environment in which to work.

Know your budget and type of business and the cleaning it requires to keep your staff and customers safe. Create a cleaning schedule based on your needs. Remember, there is no right or wrong for the frequency of the clean or the cleaning and sanitising required.

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Education

How to Improve Employee Development

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How are you developing your employees? Hiring and retaining the right staff is a top priority for most businesses, and the process needs a failproof plan.

Employee development should also be part of your HR strategy and include online training for your remote workers. Plus professional development should commence from the moment staff are hired and continue throughout their employment.

If you’re wondering if your employee development program is up to scratch, don’t worry, we can help, and there are some straightforward steps you can take that will improve it immediately.

Below, we look at what employee development is and what it takes to make it successful.

Employee Development Explained

Supporting your staff to develop their skills is not solely about their current job. Nor is it just about where they can progress within your organisation. Staff development is about providing a series of training and knowledge programs and workshops that develop the employee.

Hard Skills

The training should include on the job training, and ‘hard skills’ pertinent to their ability to perform their current role and move up the ranks in their profession. For example, a cybersecurity analyst will undertake certifications, and industry recognised training or learn a new skill like pen-testing.

Soft Skills

The training also should cover soft skills which are transferrable to other roles. Every employee needs to develop their social and communication skills. Emotional Quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence, will play a role in the hiring and promotion opportunities for all staff.

Now we know the basics of professional development let’s look at how you can improve your program.

How To Improve Your Employee Development

Immediacy

Employee development should begin from the moment that your new member of staff steps through the door. This means coming up with a training program that gets them up to speed with the company and how it does business at the earliest possible opportunity.

Not only will this help your company, but it will also show the new employee that you are committed to their development right from the get-go. As a result, they are more likely to stay with your organization as it improves their career prospects in the future.

Run Regular Programs

Running a series of mandatory and voluntary employee development programs that take place throughout the year ensures that your staff members are always learning something and never stagnating. The programs could focus on their soft skills, particularly communication, or focus on something that is altogether more technical and specific such as looking at their Google cloud abilities.

Plus when there are some assessment and certification at the end of each program, the employee keeps it. Plus exams or tests are evidence the knowledge has been properly absorbed and retained.

Create Individual Development Plans

The general training programs that you put into place also help if you make some of these more specialized and personalized for each employee.

Usually, the setting of goals and targets can take place at each employee review. As well as the setting of targets, you also need to go back and check that everything has been followed up effectively.

Make sure that each employee is closely involved in their own development plan and that they agree to the targets that have been set for them.

Give Constructive Feedback

The art of giving feedback is a difficult one to master. Essentially, it should involve ensuring that any advice you give to your employees is constructive. If it’s too critical, it can have the opposite effect on the one you were intending. This is also the case if you make it too vague with no actionable steps that the employee can put into practice.

There is a balance to be struck along the way, and you may not be able to get the hang of it straight away. Over time, you will be able to put your finger on which feedback is constructive and not.

Use Certified Trainers

While you may want to take care of some of your own training in-house, there is a lot to be gained from getting in touch with certified trainers and bringing them in to manage some of the programs.

They are experienced in the sector and have specifically designed their classes to get the best from the people who take them. However, make sure that you read all the reviews and hire a team that knows what they are doing and talking about.

Summary

Hiring is costly and retaining the right employees can be even more expensive if your only option is to pay them more.

Improving employee development should be a reason staff stay, and it can end up bringing all sorts of unexpected advantages to your organization beyond staff retention. So, now is the time to put some of these techniques into practice.

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Education

5 Steps You Can Take To Become A Successful Business Leader

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Do you want to know five steps you can take to further your career as a business leader?

Getting ahead in any career is challenging and in leadership more so as this discipline requires soft skills that are harder to obtain from your usual tertiary qualification.

If leadership is your thing, you’ll need to take roles and opportunities to improve year upon year, so you’re not stagnating but climbing up the management ranks.

In this article, we look at the fundamental steps you can take to hone your leadership acumen, to give yourself a fighting chance to secure roles that are developing you as a leader.

Understand the business from the inside out

If you’re to find solutions to break down resistance to change as a leader and get more productivity from your people, expanding your thinking and attaining a wider skill-set will never go a miss.

For example, you may be managing a customer support team. Your direct knowledge and accountability are within customer support. However, this current leadership role is not the end game for you.

To be an effective business leader, you’ll need a working knowledge of the business as a whole, including operations, sales, technology, finance and so on.

Thorough knowledge of your business as a whole will make it easier for you to plan your rise up the ranks of leadership and management. How do you get it? This is easier than you think.

Form close alliances with other leaders in the company and suggest working together on projects that allow knowledge transfer. As the saying goes: a problem shared is a problem halved.

Your peers will be experiencing some of the same people management issues so you can learn a lot about their departments with closer associations with them.

Further education can deepen your knowledge

It sounds counter-intuitive, but further education is a powerful way to lead by example and thus become a role model in business. You may feel you left education behind years ago, that the only learning you need is outside the classroom, on the job – this is a grave mistake.

After all, you wouldn’t just be learning about your own business and colleagues, but the bigger picture. A deep understanding of how to manage and motivate those around you and organizational techniques is crucial. So, studying a degree like the BSBA degree will act as a springboard for your business leadership career.

Share what you’ve learned

Now that you’ve gained a deeper understanding of business administration and a grasp of relevant skills outside your area of expertise, it is time to solidify your newfound knowledge so you can implement it when you need it.

A great way to understand what you’ve learned is to teach it. Why not offer your advice to colleagues who need guidance or speak at seminars and events?

By teaching others, you can better understand what you’ve learned yourself.

Building the confidence to teach and learn from others will also sharpen your leadership skills further still.

Widen your network of contacts and your visibility

Attend in-person events and speak to as many attendees as you can. Turn up early and leave late, so you get ample time to circulate and introduce yourself to like-minded peers.

Get your profile set up on business networking sites such as LinkedIn and regularly post interesting, relevant information, so your network grows.

All leaders need to be confident communicators so improve your public speaking skills by joining seminar groups and putting yourself forward as a speaker.

Widening your network isn’t reserved for networking events either. Simple, everyday acts can help, too.

Make time to chat with your colleagues daily. You’ll stay engaged with what’s happening in different areas of your business and the wider industry. It will also keep your name at the front of people’s minds and stop you from slipping out of touch.

Have clear achieveable goals

Understand where you’re going in your career and how the role improves your leadership acumen. Having a clear business goal is a proven method for furthering your business career.

Where do you see yourself in a year? Or five years? If you can picture what you want to be doing in the future, it is easier to organize the ‘now’.

With clear, reachable goals, you’ll be inspired and motivated to work harder, smarter, and smash through any ceiling of resistance.

Summary

Strive for more in your leadership career using these five steps to deepen your knowledge and experience. Then use your network of contacts and goals to acquire new leadership roles that challenge you and are rewarding.

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