5 Attributes CEOS need to Succeed

While every CEO might have different ways of doing business, many share similar characteristics that contribute to their success. If you’re looking to mirror the achievements of some of today’s top leaders, consider the following attributes that CEOs need to succeed.

1. Adaptability

The world is constantly changing, so it’s essential to periodically take a look at your current business plans and future trends to make sure you’re on the right path. When Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayen thought about the future, he realized that selling software on physical discs was a dying practice. Even though the company’s fortune was built on selling box sets of graphic design software, Narayen switched to a subscription-based model and the change has proven successful.

2. Honesty

Plenty of CEOs start out thinking they’ll always be truthful with everyone in the company, and when things are going well that isn’t hard to do. However, it is times when a business hits a rough patch that truly tests the honesty of a CEO. You have to share the negative news along with the good news to keep up your credibility. After all, if you say the company is doing fine, only for employees to turn around and face layoffs and cutbacks, your believability is instantly ruined and might not ever come back.

ceo

3. Resiliency

Chances are good you won’t hit instant success overnight. Challenge and obstacles arise for any business, but you can’t succeed unless you’re willing to forge ahead in the face of them. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky admits it took around 1,000 days for his business to start working. However, instead of giving up, he pushed forward to make the travel accommodations website what it is today.

4. Ability to Inspire Loyalty

Great CEOs not only like people, they understand and emphasize with people as well. Additionally, a good CEO won’t put his or her needs above the needs of the company or its employees. When Mark Hurd accepted the CEO position at Oracle, he didn’t take a pay raise. Instead, he opted for stock options and bonuses. That way, he only did well if the company did well. Likewise, when he had to trim costs by asking employees to take a pay cut, he also took a pay cut to show he holds himself to the same rules and standards.

5. Integrity

There might come a time when you have to admit a mistake and make amends. How you handle this situation will say a lot about you as a CEO. Apple CEO Tim Cook says that a lot of big companies are afraid to admit mistakes, yet he realizes that not owning up to an issue can cause the company to lose employees and customers. He offered public apologies for the launch of the bug-filled Apple maps app and the hiring of John Browett for head of retail, who Cook says just wasn’t a good fit for Apple.

From inspiring loyalty to changing with the times, if you’re looking to take inspiration from some of the top men and women in the business world, consider the previous attributes that contribute to a successful CEO.

3 Ways A Customised Storage System Can Benefit Your Business

Having a storage system in place is an incredibly important part of running any business, especially for those that involve keeping significant inventory on hand. It’s very easy for a warehouse, or even an office, to descend into chaos without some form of organisation in place. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions to this.

  1. Think vertically

Using pallet racking systems are a great way to consolidate your available room according to your needs. Not only does this open up huge floor space, it also allows you to create dense rows of storage, or simply push all of your materials up against the walls of your warehouse, clearing a large space in the centre for other items. There are many companies, like Brisbane-based manufacturer Macrack, that specialise in this kind of storage solution and they are well worth investigating.

  1. Never lose anything again

A customised storage system means you can easily create an easy-to-read sorting system, or even use specialised software to automate locating items. This means that pickers and packers will be able to locate items they require with far greater efficiency, meaning you’re sending more out the door every day. This, in turn, creates more room for incoming stock. Also: stocktake season will be a breeze instead of a chore.

  1. Work around your equipment

How large is your warehouse? Do you require the use of a forklift? If larger machinery like this is a consideration, custom storage makes it easy to still maintain a vast inventory but still have room to safely move about. Create lanes of storage that will not only allow forklifts passage, but the room to turn around with a pallet if need be.

These are just a few of the ways that a customised storage system can be of benefit to your business. It’s about making sure the storage solutions you have are commensurate with your needs – if you have too much (or not enough) storage then your system may need revising. What are some of your favourite storage solutions for business? Sound off in the comments!

Expert Consultants: The Modern Solution for HIPAA Compliance

Today, compliance is more important than ever before. Businesses who are found to be out of compliance by their specific regulating agency can face a host of consequences. These include fines, greater oversight or even the shuttering of their business completely. Nearly every business must contend with being compliant within the parameters of those regulations set by their particular industry. Nowhere is this more true than the medical field.

HIPAA Compliance Matters

In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that most people know better simply as HIPAA. Since that time, measures have been put into place at both the federal and state level that mandate the type of information that medical providers can obtain from their patients and how that information can be used.

When coupled with healthcare reform, HIPAA is a fluid entity that involves updates and changes that can be a challenge for today’s medical providers to stay abreast of. Meaningful Use consulting provides expert skills, focused tools and personalized recommendations that are designed to address the specific issues that you face.

Advantages of Using Consultants

As medical providers continue to face increasingly complex regulations as the result of healthcare reform, ensuring that your practice is HIPAA compliant can become more difficult. The following are some of the most common reasons that medical providers turn to consultants and other experts.

  • *Your office staff is already overworked: Office staff often already must contend with complicated insurance coding. They also must try to schedule patients in order to effectively maximize healthcare providers’ time. Most office staff simply lack the skills needed to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations like HIPAA.
  • *Your human resource department lacks knowledge: The type of knowledge – as well as the time commitment required to staying current – can be considerable. In many cases, your human resource staff is going to require a great deal of time and energy to get up to speed on the latest regulations, if you added compliance procedures.
  • *You simply lack staff: If you are like many medical offices, you keep a small staff that has very specific duties that are imperative to your daily operations. There are simply not enough hours in the day to add another responsibility to their list of duties.
  • *Hiring a dedicated person doesn’t make sense: Compliance issues tend to come up on an as-needed basis. That is, if you hire a person who is dedicated exclusively to these issues, they are typically not going to be kept busy enough to warrant adding to the payroll.
  • *Your budget for staff is limited: In fact, putting someone on your payroll who is working exclusively on ensuring that your medical practice is compliant is likely to cost you a great deal of money. Not only will you need to pay their salary, you’ll also need to fork over money for benefits and insurance as well.

Hiring consultants means that you have a professionally-trained and objective expert that is dedicated to ensuring that your business is compliant. This provides you with the peace of mind that your practice is following all of the required mandates. You can then concentrate on providing outstanding care to your patients.

Insider Tips for Marketing Restricted Products

Marketing fashion garments or sofas is relatively easy: you can pay for Google AdWords, promote your products online, and talk about what you offer on social media. If you sell e-cigs, adult DVDs or other restricted goods, your marketing opportunities are more limited. So what are your options?

There is no reason why you should discount the idea of selling restricted products. This is a highly lucrative market and ecig marketing in particular has been massively successful, despite the restrictions placed on the industry by online advertising channels such as Google and Facebook.

Be Creative

To be successful, however, you are going to have to get a little more creative when planning your marketing campaigns. Make sure you understand the constraints of your niche before you begin formulating a marketing strategy. For the avoidance of doubt, you will not be allowed to advertise on any of the search engines. Social media advertising is also a big no-no. Websites you do advertise on must have an age confirmation page before viewers are allowed to see your ads. Any ads you create can’t be retargeted or advertised to children. In other words, mass advertising channels are firmly out of bounds. So what can you try?

Content Marketing

Content marketing is perfectly OK, no matter what type of restricted products you sell. You may find that some websites refuse to accept content with backlinks pointing to a site selling restricted products, so be careful where you pitch your content. Make sure any content is well-written and relevant to the host site, as this makes acceptance more likely.

Website Influencers

Reach out to influential websites and people with a high online profile to see if they will promote your products. In the case of e-cigs, for example, many celebrities use them, so it is worth asking one or two if they would be willing to mention your products on their Twitter or Facebook page. As long as this is done in a natural way, it should be OK.

Social Media Marketing

You can’t place ads on social media, but you can promote your products on websites such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. As long as you don’t break the content guidelines, you are allowed to talk about your products and chat to customers online. Just be sure to read the site’s guidelines very carefully, as once you breach their posting guidelines, retribution will be swift.

SEO

Search engine optimisation is critical. Unless you pay a lot of attention to effective SEO techniques, online customers will struggle to find your website. Concentrate on building an attractive website with great content. Use the right keywords and update your website content regularly. All this matters a great deal, so don’t ignore the fundamental principles of SEO.

Lastly, remember that word of mouth advertising is critical when marketing restricted products and services. Always encourage existing customers to tell their friends about your products. Offer them discounts in return for honest reviews and product feedback on review sites and social media.

How to Run a Successful Buy to Let Business

If you are considering investing some money and starting a business which could end up making you a lot of profit, there is every reason to consider the buy-to-let property industry. Buying and letting property is becoming more and more popular as less individuals and families are buying their own homes, with many choosing to rent instead. Purchasing homes which will then be let out to tenants can certainly bring in a lot of money, but in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly, it’s vital to have a solid plan in place. That’s why we’ve put together some handy tips to help you successfully run a buy-to-let business.

Where to Invest

When it comes to running a buy-to-let business, where you invest your money is a very important question. Deciding on the types of homes and properties that you’re going to purchase definitely holds a lot of weight as it is these properties which you will be advertising to rent to tenants in the future. When searching for properties to purchase, it’s vital that you look with your target market in mind, which could often mean buying houses that you would personally never go for. It’s a good idea to conduct some market research  in your area to discover what kinds of homes tend to be the most sought-after.

Finding Tenants

Finding good tenants  who will respect and look after your property along with making sure that they are up to date with rental payments is vital to the success of your business. Of course, it’s not always possible to determine how suitable a tenant will be before they move into your property. However, it’s always a good idea to take a range of precautions, for example carrying out background checks or requiring tenants to provide you with details for a guarantor who’ll be able to help out with rental payments in the event of any difficulty with the tenant. Many landlords enlist the help of a letting agency in order to ensure that they are able to fully vet and background check tenants before allowing them to move in.

Property Management

Last but not least, managing your property or properties is an important part of your business and should never be ignored. How you manage and look after your properties and the tenants who are living in them can be hugely important to your success. For many landlords, enlisting the help of a property management company, that is experienced in the field and will ensure that your properties are managed well for a percentage of the rental payment per month is the best way to do this. A property management company can also be useful when it comes to things such as getting good landlord insurance set up, which is absolutely vital to ensuring that yourself and your properties are covered and protected if necessary.

Starting a business in the buy-to-let industry can definitely be very profitable, but it’s important to be well-prepared in order to ensure that your investment venture is successful.

What is BAA and Why Should HIPAA Protected Industries Care

Does it feel like you’re dealing with nothing but alphabet soup when it comes to your healthcare business? Or do your healthcare clients not bother to keep up with the laws that affect their business? It’s true that there are a lot of legal requirements that the healthcare industry must comply with to avoid trouble down the line. One of these requirements is the BAA, or Business Associate Agreement. It’s a federal law that defines liability, how information is shared, and how partnered businesses should work together when dealing with patient information.

Who Is a Business Associate?

Image via Flickr by NEC Corporation of America

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines a business associate as an individual or entity (business) that does certain tasks or functions that require access to private health information, or PHI. This definition typically covers insurance companies, service providers, equipment suppliers, and health care clearinghouses. Anyone who has to access PHI and who is not an employee or partner in the business falls under the definition of BAA. Such entities are subject to this law governing the protection of sensitive information.

Who Signs a BAA Contract?

Anyone who is a business partner of a healthcare operation has to sign a BAA. This is usually done by checking off a box online or by presenting a physical copy of the agreement for a responsible party to sign. After the BAA has been signed, all involved parties must adhere to the requirements of the law and protect PHI.

The law governing electronic health records, or EHR, requires health care providers to store patient records electronically. Not all operations have the ability to keep a server room on site to store the data; some go off site instead, using cloud services offered by companies such as Google and Dropbox for file storage. However, it’s important to make sure that the service you’re using is BAA-compliant. Cloud service providers don’t apply the same security protocols across all products, which means the consumer-level product won’t adhere to the requirements of the BAA. These companies do offer services that are targeted toward HIPAA/BAA compliance, however, and healthcare customers should request those instead.

Who’s Responsible for What?

Under the BAA, both parties share equal responsibility for PHI. That is, the third party must keep records under strict confidentiality and control to prevent unauthorized access, but only when the third party requires full access to the information. Full access means the third party can view the patient’s personal information along with his or her health records. In the event that a third party does not need full PHI, it does not need to sign a BAA. The office staff strips out identifying information first, then sends the files to the third party.

It’s important to review all third-party interactions to determine whether they fall under BAA. This may take some time, but it’s beneficial in the long run. Protecting patient information is priority number one for any healthcare operation, and it’s better to trust but verify rather than simply trust.

3 Growing Pains All New Businesses Face

When you first launch your business, you might feel like all the problems of the world are falling onto your shoulders, and you’re the only one who faces them. In reality, many other entrepreneurs and business owners have faced the same challenges. Below are a few common problems that most businesses face and tips for how you can overcome them.

Founder Fatigue

Oftentimes, owners have to pick up the slack left behind by other employees or gaps in the process. If employees get sick and miss a shift, the owner has to fill in for them if no one else can. Even when they’re not running the business, owners have to deal with finance management, marketing, and even legal aspects of ownership. All of this can be incredibly taxing. It’s not uncommon for owners to suffer from founder fatigue and burnout a few months or years on the job.

To prevent founder fatigue, owners need to learn when to say no. If they regularly have to pick up shifts, they may need to consider hiring part-time help or replacing an unreliable employee. They also need to set aside hours to disconnect from work, even if it’s only for a few hours every night.

 

Marketing on a Budget

Most business owners prefer to allocate their budget to parts of the business with direct return on investment (ROI). As such, they only want to launch marketing promotions that are free or have some way to track how many customers come in and what they spend. This is a problem for businesses that need to use branding to get their name out there.

Never underestimate the power of branding. For instance, the website Jet.com ran a branding campaign months before it officially launched in order to guarantee a customer base. It’s worth your time to do something that boosts your business’s name. Consider setting a flat budget to spend on marketing every month. This way you’ll never have surprise costs, and you can change up your marketing strategy as necessary. If you own a seasonal company, consider setting aside funds in savings each month until it’s time to use them during the season.

 

Finding the Right Credit Card Processor

Image via Flickr by originalrobart

When businesses first launch, they may not have a strong credit score or a lengthy financial history. This means it can be hard to receive credit as a high-volume merchant account. Companies are only willing to process a certain number of transactions per day, and they might not grant you as many as you need. This can be a huge problem if you rely on several small tickets per day, instead of a few big ones.

It’s important to shop around when looking for a processing company so you can find the right one to meet your company needs. As you build up your credit history, evaluate your current plan every year to see if there’s a better deal out there.

Starting a business is both tedious and terrifying, but if you work through these problems, the process can lead to some of the best years of your life.

 

What Online Trading Entails.

Online trading refers to the trade of financial products via online trading platforms. Online brokers provide these platforms to every individual who is willing to carry out this trade .The financial products available include shares, Forex, indices and commodities. Trading shares and commodities like gold is familiar to some people but the most popular financial product is Forex trading due to its advantages. Equipped with a computer, financial knowledge and enough startup capital, one can easily venture into this lucrative business.

The financial world is getting competitive every day. This means that a trader needs to have an efficient trading strategy in order to make profit, and not fall prey to the fraudsters. During the trade, someone can decide which stocks to buy or sell and can personally request the trades. Some online trading platforms have live brokers who offer advice and assist the traders as part of their services. Online brokers carry out the trades and keep the stock and money in their customers’ accounts. Although there have been many mergers and acquisition since the inception of online trading, there are countless firms one can still choose from.

Stock investments

Investing in stocks starts when a company wants to raise money and expand. As a result, the company goes public by offering common stock. The price of the stock is determined through bidding after the company goes public which in return establishes the value of the company. After the offering is complete, stock prices move independently without regard to the company’s success. The prices are however a reflection of the supply and demand of the stock, thus if the stock become desirable for any reason, be it its popularity, or recent success, the stock prices eventually rise. There are many online trading companies that provide the platforms for stock investment such as CMC Markets.

Stock investment has changed over time due to the changes in technology. Online trading has become easier for the traders and the investors due to the efficiency and predictability of the marketplace that has reduced randomness and therefore nothing is left to chance. Being a part owner of the company, the shareholder receives proxy materials before any stakeholder meetings are held and is entitled to vote for officers or to change certain policies.

The savvy investors and traders who trade stocks online use trading strategies that are highly accurate and that help them anticipate market trends and hence identify the best and productive demand and supply zones. Prices often change direction once it gets to either of these zones. Any move could be catalyzed by making profits or a bad move that may affect the market sector. Most of the unforeseen moves in the market are as a result of the entry of new and inexperienced investors who start to trade at the worst times possible. These traders always trade against. The trading strategies that a trader or investor adopts have a huge impact on their performance. In most cases, the most important factor to always consider is the price.

Benefits of stock investments

Investing in the stock market has become one of the ways to gain financial independence security and a means to generate wealth. This is despite the fact that money can be lost too. For any new or existing trader who would want their money to work efficiently for them, it is important to have a solid knowledge of how such an investment works.

An investor should therefore put enough effort into learning how the market works. In addition to this, an investor should take the advice of the experts in order to gain an insight of the types of stocks that are performing well and know the state of the economy. Before investing a trader should assess his/her risk and return objectives clearly because of the dynamics of the market and use the information to determine what stocks to invest in from the vast options available. Savvy investors and traders who trade their stocks online can make the investments work to their advantage because of their knowledge of the market. Online trading is no doubt one of the ways many people are generating wealth at the comfort of their own homes.

 

Simple Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy at Work

When you run a small business or startup which employs other people in paid work, employee satisfaction should be a top priority, right from the very beginning. Keeping your employees satisfied is a crucial part of your business which should never be ignored, as satisfied employees are loyal, productive employees who are more likely going to stick with your company for longer and strive harder to get better results at work. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that in order to make sure that their employees are satisfied, it’s important to hand out large amounts of cash as bonuses, rewards and incentives. However, this isn’t always the case, and even those businesses who have little to spare in the budget can invest in their employees in a range of non-monetary ways.

Commuting to Work

Commuting to work can be the worst time of the day. This is especially true for any of your employees who might find themselves sat on their own at the wheel in traffic congestion every morning on their way to work. Consider arranging alternative commute options for those employees who want it, for example a carpool option from Ridester which means that they can socialise and save money on the way to work, or discounts for using public transportation, which is becoming a much popular method of getting to the workplace for many employees.

Showing Your Appreciation

It costs nothing to say thank you – and this small gesture can definitely have a huge impact on your business’ levels of employee satisfaction and productivity overall. Nobody likes to come into work every day to carry out tasks for somebody who never notices, thanks or appreciates them for this. Simply making sure that your employees know that you’re grateful for them at the end of the day, for example sending out an email thanking them for the day’s work or even going and speaking to them all in person can make all the difference when it comes to having a workforce that is satisfied, happy and productive.

Give Your Employees a Voice

Even if you don’t have a lot of money available just yet to fund expensive employee investments such as training courses or cash incentives, simply giving your employees a voice can be hugely influential when it comes to helping to improve levels of employee satisfaction in your workforce. Carrying out employee surveys, which you can obtain cheaply or even for free, if you don’t want to make your own, can be a great way to make sure that you listen to the concerns of your individual employees. Gathering opinions and ideas from the people who work for your business day after day can give you some great new perspectives on things and perhaps you will even find some new, fresh ideas that you hadn’t thought of beforehand.

For many startup owners, it’s simply not in the budget yet to spend a lot on keeping employees happy at work. But, improving employee satisfaction is often simpler than you may realise.

4 Ways to Find Wasted Money at a Company

Running a business of any size means several people coming up with ideas, then running those ideas in front of the decision makers. Sometimes those decisions cost the company money, but if there’s justification, they get approved. It’s part and parcel of running a business. Problems begin when no one’s keeping an eye on whether those procedures continue to be worthwhile, and costs spiral out of control.

Controlling costs is a constant issue in a business. While some costs are of course necessary, there are others that might be more manageable with some negotiation or critical examination. Following are four ways to find wasted money and bring spending into line.

Reduce Large or Overly-Expensive Office Space

office space

There’s always a sense of optimism when getting office space for your team. It means new and exciting things are on the horizon, with a big, new space for a fresh start. But when the team isn’t as large as projected, money winds up going out those big windows toward rental cost. It’s an expense that needs to be controlled, or you’ll wind up bleeding more on the project than necessary. Consider renting a temporary workspace if you’re interested in having a temporary space for certain company-wide meetings.

Another downfall for many companies is location cost. There’s a certain cachet in having a specific address or locating in an expensive urban center in order to attract customers and employment talent. But when that address doesn’t enhance the business by bringing in more money, or that urban location isn’t bringing in the talent because it’s moved elsewhere, it’s time to find less costly space.

Properly Track Return On Investment

It’s an accepted fact that a business has to spend money in order to earn it. But there are many times when spending doesn’t directly translate to earnings. The problem might be that no one’s really paying attention to the ROI for various reasons. There may be fear of losing a client because a project didn’t go as planned, or one person may get stretched thin and not have the focus to keep track of everything. Using high-quality software such as Sage 50 Accounting to track spending can reduce the strain on individual decision makers. Proper statements and ROI tracking mean being able to see company performance at a glance, and this makes it that much easier to make accurate decisions.

Hire Interns

Sometimes there are tasks that are regular, repetitive, and easy to learn, but take up the time of staff members who could be better used for other projects. These are excellent jobs for interns who are seeking to build experience. Approach the local community college or university that has educational programs with students who might be a good fit. You may be able to enter into an arrangement with them to trade working hours for credit hours.

Bringing in an intern or two can lift the burden from the employees currently doing the work and can free them up for more critical tasks. It’s an excellent alternative to hiring another paid employee, but should never be considered as an excuse not to hire. Although using interns can help lower costs due to their unpaid or low-paid status, keep focus on what they do and don’t let mission creep come into play. If you find extra work for them beyond original expectations, you should discuss a reward of some type in exchange.

Negotiate Lower Costs

There are any number of operating and supply costs that are negotiable. Insurance, supplies, and even rent are negotiable. Take a hard look at all your current costs, and approach those entities who may offer a better deal when asked. It’s not unusual for a supplier or landlord to cut costs in order to keep a reliable customer or tenant. Keep in mind that such deals sometimes come with a contract; for instance, your business may be expected to buy from that supplier for a certain length of time.

These are just some of the ways to find wasted money in a business. Use accounting software, talk to your employees, and figure out where your business needs to trim the fat. It can save money and jobs in the long run while maintaining profitability.