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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 Design A Top-Rate Business Report

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A well-designed business report is likely to trigger curiosity and encourage people to flip through pages or scroll with the mouse.

In business, reports are commonplace and usually not that exciting – so how do we create documents our audience really want to read? Well, you can start by using a report designer tool to choose a template style and then use strategies to present the content of the report, to make it more interesting for your audience.

Report Format and Structure

There are many ways to share data, so you don’t have to use pdf files. Instead, try with other formats like infographics, microsites, live data charts, and anything else you feel will encourage better conversion rates of your content.

Example:  Getflywheel has for some time used a microsite to share their annual report.

Using HTML and frontend software, the presentation of boring numbers is turned around with interesting graphics and charts using animation.

Structure

After deciding on your report format, e.g. microsite or infographic, give priority to the structure of your report. It’s the structure that ensures the logical flow of content your audience will appreciate.

Follow the standard index of content:

  • introduction
  • an overview or background
  • principle points
  • recommendations
  • summary

Content strategies

Now we’re up to how you can present your content. Your report can include storytelling, infographics and pictograms, videos and graphs to ensure the content is easy to comprehend and memorable for your audience.

Use the power of storytelling

We all love stories, and storytelling presents data and content in a more exciting way.

In business, it’s vital to keep your audience interested and engaged with the message. HubSpot sums it up well in their post and say telling a story is like painting a picture but with words.

You can use your audience’s knowledge to inject analogies and local knowledge of culture, the environment and communities to get the message across.

Pro-tip: According to research, storytelling has a positive influence on the recall of information of readers.

interactive

Interactive Content

When you’re creating a digital report, interactivity is the key to success. Readers are likely to turn to reports with audios, embedded videos, and prompt animations.

Interactive and animated charts and graphs draw the reader’s focus and lead their eyes to a specific point on the chart, thereby delivering your message.

Apart from keeping readers engaged for a long duration, it encourages them to share and return to your report. Furthermore, interactive reports are a great way to entice short readers looking for insights. These animated graphs could help them search for information.

Therefore using visuals also helps to break up hard to digest data and words.

If your report is number intensive, data visualization could add value. Use charts, pictograms, and charts to showcase your numbers. Use blurbs to highlight critical points.

All these elements work collectively to tell a story and make your report stand out. Therefore, start with a simple idea, slowly build upon your idea and finally reach a logical conclusion to your report.

A great example of an interactive chart is when a chart legend appears as your reader hover over the graph’s bar or line.

Pro-tip: Use interactive charts to reveal trends and patterns over time. It helps stakeholders see untapped data which they can use for their business benefit.

Example: Notice how Noord used annual report infographics to showcase a visual story that was engaging, compelling, and impactful. The company effortlessly uses characters in a creative and hand-drawn style. Apart from storytelling, their report displays excellent copywriting skills, which ties story elements perfectly with the subject.

Focus

While you may be using animations, embedded videos, infographics, and data points in your report to make it digestible, try keeping your report focused on sharing the content and data pertinent to the report.

For example, when creating a visual investor business report, there is no point in mentioning sales, revenue from upsell or cross-sell, and the cost breakdown of marketing and sales.

Why? As you’re creating a report for business funding, KPIs such as debt-to-equity ratio, share price, work capital ratio, etc., matters.

To include everything you deem necessary, you end up creating ocean-boiling reports. These are one of the most dreaded reports because it’s incredibly tedious to search for information in such reports.

Therefore, it’s best to start by identifying the reason for designing a report and outline all questions it will answer.

Build your report to answer those questions. Never include graphics, text, or data for the sake of it. Irrespective of how beautiful your graph looks with a data point, remove data points if they are not required. Remember that at times less is better because it helps you remain focused.

Pro-tip: Never create a one-size-fits-all report. Different scenarios require different types of reports. For example, one report may be for your CMO, while the other may be for potential investors.

Review

Often, after completing a business report, you may feel that your report is not delivering any helpful information. It’s not adding any value. That’s okay. You probably need to revisit the goals of your report to understand what you are missing.

To add value to your report, have a meeting with team members to understand which checkpoints you should remove.

Furthermore, recheck the time frame of your report if it’s not adding any value. For example, you may have created a sales report 15 days back, and due to worldwide lockdown or other circumstances, the sales numbers remain unchanged.

Creating another sales report would not provide any valuable insight to your readers. So, check whether you’re pulling your business report at the correct time.

Revisiting doesn’t mean proofreading your report for errors. It is more about making your business report present insightful information instead of just sharing information.

Pro-tip: When revisiting your report, ensure to keep the data points, facts, and figures fresh and up-to-date.

Aesthetics

Before a reader dives into the content, it’s the colors, borders, and page size that give them an overall sense of your report’s quality and theme.

Therefore, after deciding on the layout, you need to give importance to your business report’s overall aesthetic appearance. Filling an entire page with information and visuals makes your report look cluttered.

So, give a good amount of space around the edges and ensure you use proper margins. For business reports, the most common margin is one-inch margins all around.

Adding margins makes your report feel minimalistic and clean. Having content too close to your design’s edge makes your report look unprofessional and fails to deliver the intended message.

Example: Notice how Carlberg uses margins to increase the report’s readability.

Pro-tip: Pay attention to the white spaces as it primarily affects readability. Both spacing and margins are essential secrets that differentiate a killer business report from a mediocre one.

Final Words

The adage says, you get only one chance to create a first impression, rings true when it comes to your business reports. That’s why brands are doing more with their business reports to impress and improve their readability.

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Management

Does Your Business Need Knowledge Management Software?

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Regardless of the business size or the type of organization run, there will always be a need for creating, storing and sharing information. Knowledge management is a set of processes that can help create and distribute said knowledge to utilize its potential to the fullest.

So the question we will answer in this article is: does your business need knowledge management software?

Importance Of Growing Your Business

It would help if you always were looking at ways in which you can grow your business. It can help you to cultivate a strong company culture as a result. The better informed your staff are, the more successful their work becomes.

Knowledge is valuable for everyone, yet one of the biggest challenges that businesses face is communication. Growing your business is made difficult when there isn’t effective communication within the company. There’s often a lot of down-time that results in fix errors in communication or clarifying issues that could have easily prevented.

How Does Knowledge Management Work?

It’s firstly important to know how knowledge management works. It’s something that varies from business to business. So what your knowledge management entails might not be the same for another company.

The information you have as a business needs to be organized, and that’s where knowledge management comes in. This system will likely have various tools that you can choose from to help with the customization of your knowledge database.

You want to make your knowledge more accessible ultimately, and with these management systems, you’re able to do precisely that.

A knowledge management system will consist of an internal process that helps capture company knowledge. The information is reviewed, and then technology in the form of software helps support all this. You may already have somewhat of a knowledge management system in place.

For example, if you use cloud storage or a shared drive to save documents instead of saving them on your desktops, then this is knowledge management in action. There is some excellent internal knowledge base software worth learning more about before deciding which one is for you.

The Benefits Of Knowledge Management Software

With knowledge management software, the process of setting it all up is something that will take time. However, the benefits of having a system in place can make it all worthwhile.

As your organization matures, it’s essential to have this knowledge management to support and enhance your daily operations. One of the significant benefits is that it can help gather the power from your company to grow the business.

You can give your employees more knowledge sharing structures that can help them do their job more efficiently. There’s quicker problem-solving and faster decision making that comes with having this system in place.

It can help make your employee’s work more exciting and engaging, which is ultimately what you want to better yourself from the competition. With more knowledgeable and productive employees, it makes for improved work processes in general.

To continue innovating your business and supporting employee growth, having this knowledge management software will be more beneficial to have in place than not have it at all.

Implementation

What are the steps to implement knowledge management software into business?

If you’re implementing knowledge management software for the first time, it’s essential to know the steps in which to do so effectively.

Identify Problems

Firstly, you want to consider the problems you have and to define them in more detail.

Brainstorming

At this point, you’ll then focus on the part of your organization that can help brainstorm these problems to create solutions. It might be those interested in such a project, or you feel you are capable of doing so.

When you’ve gathered these individuals together, you then have your initial network. You’ll then want to actively involve everyone else, perhaps giving this initiative its own name so that it gets people interested.

Ideas

Capturing ideas is an essential part of the process, and this might involve suggestion boxes or providing a simple Google Form questionnaire for people to fill in and give feedback.

Implement solutions

Implement these and be sure to reward those who contributed to changing those problems into solutions. It’s then time to share that knowledge and ensure that every employee knows what’s available and how to access it.

customers

Sharing The Knowledge With Your Customers

It could also be something that you make available to your customers if you feel it’s relevant.

There are times when you have potential leads come onto your site and perhaps have questions stopping them from making a purchase or moving down the sales funnel.

Your customer service agents will likely have those common questions asked to them multiple times per day. If that’s the case, then offering this knowledge base to your customers will reduce the number of queries being directed at the agent.

It means your agent can prioritize more complex queries, and those potential customers can navigate further down the sales funnel, hopefully, to make a sale.

Summary

Your business can undoubtedly benefit from knowledge management software, especially when communication seems to be a problem for many companies nowadays.

Things become more challenging to manage as your organization grows in size, and when it comes to training employees, sometimes, there can be information that gets missed.

Having this one centralized database of information can help to educate both existing employees and any new ones that come into the organization. It can save time, cut down costs, and aid that your business will benefit from when it comes to growing it over time.

Again, a knowledge base takes time to build, and there may always be something that you’re adding to it.

However, it’s better than leaving it unorganized and having your organization as a whole feeling unprepared and lacking the knowledge they need to improve your company.

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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 quickly 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 essential, 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, cutting 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 regular 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 need 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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