3 Ways to be Smart about Business Expenses as a New Business Owner

New business owners become overwhelmed by expenses, taxes, and financial issues in a short time. With so much to do and manage, it is challenging to keep tabs on expenses. But, if you want to stay in business, you must keep your spending in check, stay on top of your tax responsibilities, and prioritize tasks and expenses. Our tips will show you how to do it all.

  1. Hire a Financial Advisor Specializing in Small Businesses

It seems strange to emphasize keeping expenses in check and then suggest hiring a financial advisor, but it is the best way for you to comply with tax laws, make smart purchases and investments, and protect your assets as your business grows. Your best move is to choose a financial advisor who has ample experience in assisting small businesses and who understands the ever-changing tax laws.

If you work from home, you especially need a financial advisor to help you determine whether claiming your home office is the best way to proceed with your taxes. It also is more challenging for small business owners who work from home to keep their personal and business expenses separate, and a financial advisor will ensure you do things by the book to avoid penalties or fees. Your financial advisor also will help you find areas to save costs and prevent you from using too much of your personal money to grow your business.

  1. Create a Budget… and Stick to It

Your financial advisor also will help you create a budget for your small business or your home office. It is critical that you stick to your budget because you don’t want to stretch your new business too thin in the early stages.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 80% of businesses with employees survive their first year in business, 66% survive their second year, and about 50% will survive their fifth year. However, only about 30% survive their tenth year. Why do so many small businesses fail? For many of them, the answer is lack of sufficient capital and cash flow problems. One study shows that 82% of businesses fail due to cashflow problems.

The lessons new business owners must learn are that they need to manage their expenses wisely, and they need to have enough capital to grow. The solution to these common issues is to prioritize your needs by creating and sticking to a budget.

If working from home is the best way to start your business, do so to save overhead costs. You’d be surprised by how much you can accomplish with the perfect workspace in your home and the right technology. You’ll likely be able to get off the ground with reliable, high-speed internet, a laptop or tablet, and a reliable printer and phone. There are even online payment systems that allow remote business owners to receive one-time or recurringclient payments from the comforts of a home office. Reliability and convenience are much more important than spending too much for the latest technology, phones, or gadgets.

  1. Make Priorities

As a new business owner, the bulk of the work will fall to you. Because your time is money when you’re in charge, you need to be as productive as possible and make time for yourself and your family. That may be easier said than done if you work from home, so set your hours based on when you are most productive and make time for your family to strike a work-life balance. The perk of working from home is setting your schedule, so do so wisely.

You’ll also need to prioritize your workday tasks. While answering emails is an important part of your role as a new business owner, other tasks will suffer if you spend too much time checking your inbox and replying to emails that are not urgent.

To spend less time on email, set up an automatic response and take advantage of canned responses. You’ll still respond to customers promptly, but you’ll also be more productive if you schedule time for email throughout your day. It’s also important to prioritize record keeping for tax purposes and to create a system for filing receipts and other documents that will support your business expense claims each quarter.

New business owners succeed when they make smart decisions about expenses. Make it easier on yourself by hiring a financial advisor specializing in small business, creating and sticking to a budget, and making priorities.

Guest post: About the Author

Ms. Fisher has spent more than 20 years as a CPA, and is currently working on a book about financial literacy (due out in 2018). She also runs Financiallywell.info.

Instagram Ads: The Basics

If you have explored advertising on any social media platform, you have likely focused your attention on Facebook. However, a rising star in this space is Instagram, which has grown from 90 to 800 million since 2013!

Although Instagram gives owners the potential to connect to a large group of users, cutting through the online clutter is difficult for small businesses that are trying to increase their brand recognition… Simply posting content and waiting to grow your following organically can take months, if not years.

A better strategy to reach a mass audience instantly may be to pay for Instagram Ads. The ads would be featured as “sponsored posts” that would come up on users’ feeds as they browse. The goals of utilizing Instagram ads would be to “grow brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and move current leads down the funnel (and hopefully towards converting).”

Are Instagram Ads Effective?

Is investing in Instagram ads effective? The results speak for themselves. “In March 2017, over 120 million Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business based on an Instagram ad,” according to a source.

Why are Instagram Ads Effective?

Unlike advertising on a website or on television, where you can choose the channel, but not who sees your ads, Instagram allows you to target your audience base. This means that you have the ability for your ads to be shown to selected individuals, based on factors such as gender, age, location, interests, etc.

Plus, you can create groups for each ad, choosing between:

“Saved Audiences – interest-based targeting

Custom Audiences – retargeting audiences and customers

Lookalike Audiences – people similar to your other audiences”

How to Set up an Instagram Account to Create Ads

Using Instagram is very easy, and a business can set up an account within an hour to get started with the following steps.

  1. Because Facebook bought Instagram, you can use your Facebook account or create a personal Instagram account to get started.
  2. Sign up for a Business Manager account.
  3. Create a Business Page.
  4. Enter all the required information, such as your business name and details and your contact information.
  5. Create your ad.
  6. Choose an ad objective, which includes goals like brand recognition, engagement, reach, traffic, app installs, lead generation, etc.
  7. Choose who the ad will target, decide on your budget, create a schedule and narrow down on the creative aspect of your ad.
  8. Start advertising!

Examples of Inspiring Instagram Ads

If you are not extremely creative, there are a multitude of examples online of Instagram ads that can inspire you, such as:

55 Amazing Instagram Ads

84 Best Instagram Ad Examples in 2018

You do not require a large budget to get started with advertising on Instagram. AdEspresso’s research has found that the average price of a pay-per-click Instagram ad is around $0.80. Although, to reach a substantial amount of people, you may want to hit the ground running!

IOU Financial can help you to market and grow your business with a small business loan of up to $300,000. Call us at 1.866.217.8564 or visit us online at www.ioufinancial.com to learn more!

Should My Business be on Snapchat?

Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Snapchat. The list of social media platforms goes on and on. While business owners know the value that social media presence can bring to their company, many small and medium firms simply don’t have the resources to devote to all of the platforms. In this article, we will discuss one of the most popular social media sites, Snapchat, which has become a dominant player in today’s world.

Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur explains his view on the success of this platform: “Snapchat closely resembles how we communicate face-to-face than any other social network. When we talk to each other, passing in the halls or just living out our lives, those moments disappear. Snapchat emulates that behavior and psychology. Moments are temporary and that’s exactly the feeling and behavior that Snapchat matched to.”

Younger Target Audience

Snapchat is an ideal tool to reach a younger audience base. Out of a total 166 million users, the majority of Snapchat users are under 24 years old. More specifically, 71% of users are 18-34 years old.

As of September 2016, Snapchat had over 150 daily active users all over the world. What is the best way to reach these audiences? With a well thought out marketing strategy.

Here is a list of some of the most successful utilizations of Snapchat:

  • Sour Patch Kids: The candy company made headlines on Snapchat when they posted snaps of harmless pranks they would conduct in public. Candy and pranks are perfect attention grabbers for the younger generation, which is how the brand connected with them.
  • Taco Bell: While Taco Bell has a variety of customers, it utilized Snapchat’s storytelling feature to share new products, and even give dating tips!
  • Amazon: This world-known giant posts exclusive deals just for Snapchat members, and made a killing on black Friday with this strategy!

Not Right for All Industries

While Snapchat is a valuable platform that can help businesses increase brand recognition, it is not right for all industries. Fields such as government, construction, logistics and banking may find more advantageous to focus on other platforms, such as LinkedIn.

The customers of these websites are typically older, married and not as prone to using Snapchat. They also are less likely to be driven to explore a business from a social media ad or post. Instead, they would probably be more swayed from reading an article or an opinion piece online!

Can’t Drive Traffic

There are ways to include a link to your website when you post content on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. However, there is no way to do that currently on Snapchat. While it can be a valuable marketing platform for brand recognition, there is no way to track and analyze Snapchat’s value in bringing in leads or raising profits.

Business owners that are tight on funds may find it more valuable to utilize social media trends that can present clear data on conversion rates.

Although Snapchat is not right for all businesses, if you have interesting and unique content (videos and photos) to share with a younger age group, it can be a helpful tool in driving new business. IOU Financial can help you with the funds needed to explore all of the offerings Snapchat has to grow your company. Call us today to inquire about our small business loans, which can be approved in as little as 24-48 hours.

 

How Text Messaging Can Grow Your Business

You likely text your friends and family, but have you considered sending text messages to your customers? If you have, you are not alone as 1 in every 10 text messages is between a business and a client. With over 7 billion people around the world owning a mobile phone, there is no better time to consider the benefits of using SMS communication (text messages) to grow your business.

Benefits of Texting Your Customers

No Internet Connection Required

In a battle between email, social media and SMS marketing, only one can be used without an internet connection—SMS. Although it may seem access to internet is never a problem, consider that less than half of mobile phone owners have smartphones. This means that while they can receive text messages, they cannot check their email or browse the web without access to WiFi.

Plus, a phone connection is simply more reliable than the internet; think about how many times you couldn’t use the web but were able to text and make phone calls on your mobile device!

In Your Face

When a text is sent, it shows up right on the screen of the mobile phone, and unless the person is a heavy texter, is extremely noticeable. Compare this to the dozens, if not hundreds, of emails that we receive daily. Plus, phones do not filter text messages, and there is no Spam folder for texts as there is with emails. Given the fact that 82% of mobile phone owners read every single they text they receive, it comes as no surprise that texts are read 98% of the time rather than 15-22% with emails.

Gives Your Customers Power

Texting isn’t a one-directional tactic; it is a two-way strategy that can play a significant role in attracting new clients. Half of the time (50% to be exact) a sale is dependent on timing, as a study found that shoppers tend to choose the company that they can get in touch with first.

If you share your phone number online and encourage customers to text you, you can improve your communication and offer them an immediate response, thereby increasing your sales.

Examples of Uses of SMS Communication

There are a multitude of ways you can utilize SMS communication to grow your business, such as:

Making/ Confirming Appointments

Text messages are an advantageous strategy to make or confirm appointments for businesses, such as medical offices, spas, salons and body shops. As the messages comes straight to the recipient’s phone, you won’t hear the excuse that it went to spam or wasn’t seen at all. Texting is a quick and convenient way to keep your calendar updated to stay on top of late shows and cancellations.

Verifications

With the rising amount of credit card fraud, asking for customers’ phone numbers to send them a verification code to confirm a purchase is a smart solution for all businesses. Plus, this allows you to store phone numbers to later use them for marketing purposes.

Location-Based Texts

Business owners can use geofencing, a service that sends texts to customers based on their location. You have the ability to send notices and coupons to your subscribers when they are in close proximity to your retail location, thereby increasing the chance they will visit your business.

If you need help integrating SMS or any other type of marketing to grow your business, you can benefit from a small business loan. Find out more about what services IOU Financial offers, and how easy and quickly you can qualify for a small business loan of up to $300,000.

 

Retirement Planning for Small Business Owners

It’s not uncommon for business owners to consider their businesses as their retirement plans. At retirement age, the plan is to sell the business for cash, or to give the business to a family member in return for a share of future wealth. It might work out, but it’s risky, because if your business fails, your retirement plans end up in shreds. Short of bankruptcy, a troubled business would be hard to sell and bring in less money than anticipated. Many owners might face the prospect of delaying retirement until the business “picks up.”

It need not be this way. An orderly approach to retirement planning will help you provide for your later years independent of the ups and downs of your business. Here are five steps to take to save money for retirement:

Do the math:

Figure out how much money you will need for your retirement lifestyle, especially if you don’t receive a lot of money from your business. This is frequently a wake-up call to get your retirement plan moving. Check out online retirement calculators from financial service companies such as Vanguard, TIAA and Fidelity and many others. Use these resources to help you nail down future spending.

Get help:

You are probably an expert on your business, but don’t assume that extends to retirement planning. If you don’t have a solid finance background, hire a financial adviser to organize your retirement planning. It’s a good idea to use one who charges a flat fee rather than one who takes commissions on your trading. The best ones usually have an accreditation, such as Certified Financial Planner.

Begin a diversified retirement plan:

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your retirement plan, but you should make a long-term commitment to it. It will cut your current taxes and allow your money to grow tax-deferred. Here are for options that make sense for small businesses, suitable for sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations:

  1. SEP-IRA: A good choice for one-employee companies, because you must fund the plan for all employees. Its works like a traditional IRA, but in 2018 you can contribute up to 25 percent of total compensation or $55,000, whichever is less.
  2. SIMPLE IRA: A plan for owners of companies with up to 100 employees. You and your employees make pre-tax contributions directly from your paycheck. The 2018 contribution limit is $12,500, or $15,500 if you’re 50 or older.
  3. Solo 401(k): Good for self-employed. You can contribute up to 25 percent of your compensation, plus up to $18,500 ($24,500 if 50 or older) in employee contributions, for a total maximum up to $54,000 in 2018.
  4. SIMPLE 401(k): For business with 100 or fewer employees. You and your employees can contribute up to $18,500 a year. You can borrow from your account and make no-penalty withdrawals under certain circumstancees.

Invest simply:

Index funds are simple and cheap, and you will always get average performance, year after year. If you know when you are going to retire, you can buy into a target-date fund that adjusts its investments based on your age. Consider also a REIT investment.

Pay yourself first:

When business gets slow, it’s tempting to cut back on your contributions, and that might occasionally make sense. But resist the temptation if you can, your retirement will thank you for it.

Reasons You Should Have a Business Credit Card

If you are self-employed or the owner of a business, you should seriously consider getting a business credit card and use it exclusively for your business-related purchases. Picking the right card can save you time and money – let’s see why.

Taxes:

Your business expenses are tax-deductible. The easiest way to keep track of these expenses is to charge them to your business credit card whenever feasible. Furthermore, you can deduct interest charges and/or annual fees on your card, as long as you use it exclusively for business. Those fees aren’t deductible on a personal credit card, even if you charge some business expenses on it. At tax time, you can look at your business credit card transactions for the tax year for a quick summary of your deductions, which will save you time (and money if you use a tax preparer). By the way, the IRS frowns on intermixing personal and business spending, and you might attract unwanted attention if you mix your spending on the same card. It might also help to show the IRS your business is a business, not a hobby.

Credit history:

Using a business credit card for your LLC or corporation will create a credit history for the business. That’s very important, especially if you pay your bills on time. Having a good credit history should result in a good credit score for your business and easier access to business loans.

Bonus points:

Most self-respecting credit cards, whether personal or business, reward you with bonus points or cash back on your purchases. The problem with personal cards is that they might not reward you for the kind of expenses your business incurs. For example, a personal card might reward grocery store purchases but not social media advertising. It’s smart to get a business credit card that offers rewards on purchases like search engine advertising, internet services, business travel, shipping costs and so forth. Some of these purchases might not earn you any rewards on your personal card. You might be able to pool your points from your business and personal credit cards if they come from the same issuer.

Bookkeeping:

If you make all your purchases on a personal credit card, you’ll have to waste time every month separating the business purchases from the non-business ones. Yes, you can still deduct business expenses charged on a personal card, but why do the extra work and risk overlooking several expenses? You can export your business card transactions directly into accounting programs like QuickBooks and save a lot of time. Business credit card statements are often more detailed, and this comes in handy if you have employees who get their own copies of your business credit card, which most issuers will provide you for free. By setting up your business card, you can quickly give one to each new hire. Don’t forget, you collect all the rewards on your employees’ purchases when they use your business card.

A business credit card is a no-brainer for sole proprietorships, partnerships, and limited liability companies. There are a few cautions to be aware of when choosing a corporate business credit card:

Fees:

Many personal and small-business credit cards have no annual fees. However, many corporate cards have fees, some of them on the high side. Also, many of these credit cards charge a higher interest rate compared to personal cards.

Grumbling:

Your suppliers and vendors might grumble if you pay them with a corporate credit card, because the transaction fees they have to pay on these cards are much higher.

Abuse:

If you have employees sharing a corporate card, be on the lookout for any personal purchases they make with it. First, they are stealing from you if they do this. Secondly, even if you don’t catch it, the IRS might, especially if you deducted personal expenses as business ones.

Financial Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Themselves

The most significant strength of a small to medium business is its size. A small-to-medium enterprise has a reasonable overhead cost. The infrastructure is confined to one location in most cases. There are fewer employees (or perhaps none). The company can tweak its policies to suit its customers or clients, scaling up or down a bit is not a major challenge. And lastly, there is substantial scope to grow because one is starting small.

However, these advantages are countered by one significant disadvantage. Most small-to-medium businesses have limited capital or available cash. A majority of small businesses fail due to a financial crisis. Lack of sales or revenue is the obvious cause of failure in theory and in practice. However, that problem can always be tackled for a longer period of time if there is enough financial backup. Every business needs time to mature and grow, to solidify its clientele or consumer base, and to become a self-sustained enterprise.

Business owners must ask themselves hard financial questions and only rely on actual numbers, not estimates, speculations, expectations, or assumptions. As a business owner, be sure to ask:

How much does it cost to run my business?

A business owner should know every cost or financial liability like the back of their hand. Many people focus on rent, utility bills, wages, personal income, and cost of inventory. These are indeed the quintessential recurring expenses, but there are more. A business will need funds to advertise its products and services or promote itself as a brand. There are costs to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure, even in the short term. Very few businesses launch with an infrastructure that can sustain its short term growth. Using the last penny from the revenue generated to finance minor upgrades or to procure more inventory can risk the sustenance of the business, as the working capital will dry up.

How much profit does my business actually make?

Every business owner should know the fundamental difference between gross profit and net profit. Gross profit is not the difference between the selling price and cost price of a product or service. It is the amount you are left with after paying for every recurring expense and after putting aside whatever amount of money you wish to infuse in your backup fund. Net profit is calculated after business and individual taxes. The difference between revenue and gross profit and subsequently with net profit is substantial in most industries. A wrong calculation of profit can wreck a business.

What is my business credit score?

Most business owners worry about their credit score only when they have to apply for a loan. This is fine if your business credit score is healthy and acceptable to the lenders. If not,  there are many ways you can improve your credit score over a period of time so when you have to look for some financing, your rating doesn’t prevent you from getting a loan. Keep a tab on your business credit score and work on improving it. This will save your business when the going gets tough or even when you wish to expand and grow, which requires fresh funding.

What are the financial highs and lows in my business?

Every business owner should have a budget. It is an integral part of any business plan, not just at the inception of an enterprise, but every year and every month for some companies. No business has a uniform or entirely predictable revenue stream throughout the year. What you do with the surplus revenue when “the going is great” and how you manage the revenue deficit when “the tough gets going” will determine the long term fate of your enterprise.

What is the cost and income per unit for my business?

This is a difficult calculation. Even successful companies struggle to boil all its income and expenditure down to a unit. A unit can be a piece of inventory you have or every dollar you spend. The objective is to find out how much your business earns for every penny you spend. This is one of the surest ways to know if your business is financially viable. There will always be some inventory stocked up and some receivables pending. There will be credits granted to you and owed to you. Some incomes and expenses will always be in limbo because of the ongoing cycle of purchases and sales. There will be the need to expand. And lastly, a compulsion to change your products or services.

All such mathematical calculations can become subjective and circumstantial unless you focus on the cost and income per unit. If this correlation is in the green, then your business is financially viable and stable. Else, you need to review the financials of your business.

Guest post: About the Author

Steven Millstein is a professional personal finance writer and contributor to many leading financial publications. His work has been mentioned in and linked to from The Bustle, The Huffington Post, Benzinga, Yahoo Finance and many other publications. He also has his own personal finance blog, Credit Zeal, where you can follow him.

Why Your Small Business Needs a Blog

If you have a small business and work as a hairdresser, mechanic or restauranteur, the idea of creating a blog may be unfamiliar and scary. Although your specialty may not be in this area and you are not a natural born writer, you can take steps to add content to your website once you realize how much it can help you in attracting new clientele and retaining your existing customers. Would it help if we tell you that a study found that 4 out of every 10 people read online blogs?

What is a Business Blog?

A blog is simply a collection of articles that you feature on your site. Although they can be written on any topic, for help with search engine optimization (SEO), you want to write on topics relevant to your brand.

This means that you can write blog posts that provide more thorough information about the products you sell than is available in your product descriptions, or simply provide your guidance on the best use of the products or services.

Two Enormous Benefits of Having a Blog

More Efficient SEO

Having a website is not enough to allowing online visitors to find it with all of the other online clutter. Having a marketing strategy is essential to attract new visitors to your website, thereby growing your business.

To get the best results from SEO, you need to update your website with fresh content on a regular basis. This way, when the Google bots assess your site, they will push it to the top amongst Google search organic (unpaid) results. As a rule, if your site is not featured amongst the first few results on Google, it is likely you are not getting a lot of traffic.

To help Google index your site, you need to include relevant keywords (words and phrases) in your content, and there’s no better place to do that than in your blog. A source found that sites that have a blog have 43% more indexed Google pages than those that do not!

Do a Google Adwords search to find keywords that your audience may be searching for, and center your writing around them.

If your business has a local presence, consider adding location-specific keywords (Baltimore Tattoo Shop or Fairfax Mexican Restaurant) to gain foot traffic.

Become an Authority

The truth is that regardless of what industry you are in, you most likely have competitors. A key way to distinguish yourself from them and work towards getting your customers to trust you is to become an authority in your field.

Consider these people:

  • Oprah Winfrey and her book club
  • Suze Orman and her portfolio of financial products
  • Dr. Oz and his medical products recommendations

Although people can purchase any of items from anywhere, they are most likely to listen to the advice of influencers in their given fields.

A blog provides you with an opportunity to educate your customers, making them feel confident that you are a true expert. Once you create a relationship based on trust, you can push products and services through your blog, and your clients will listen to your recommendations.

If you need help in marketing your blog, or feel that you will benefit from hiring a professional content writer, IOU Financial can help you with the associated costs. We work with small and medium size business owners by providing them with easy business loans. Learn more about our company by visiting www.ioufinancial today.

 

Reach Employee Communication Goals With Texting

Now is a great time to assess your process and look for improvement. You can save a lot of money and time by establishing more effective communication policies for your employees. Here are five of our favorite ways to improve your company-wide communication policies this year.

  1. Prepare for Connecting with the Incoming Generations

Younger generations are showing a strong preference for texting, according to Pew Research Center and other surveys done recently. As you work to appeal to upcoming talent, you will want to expand your methods to include text messaging for recruitment. Text messages will help automate your hiring process, speed up your training sessions and allow your new employees to be more efficient and prepared for their positions.

  1. Use More Dynamic Content

Most professionals prefer less wordy emails and won’t read generic newsletters. Instead, create dynamic content to increase engagement levels. You can always text links to video content or blog posts with images to keep readers engaged. You also want to take advantage of the short nature of texting that will force you to cut the fluff and get to the point. Boost employee communication with SMS that will keep departments and teams communicating and collaborating.

  1. Empower Employee Advocacy

You want to increase your reach, brand recognition and influence, so make sure your employees are turning into advocates. Start by creating a workplace that your employees are excited about and making sure your professionals feel valuable in their jobs. Then, empower your employees by giving them access to key industry news and insight, encouraging them to share and participate in various platforms. You can use employees to help write articles in your newsletters or share their best posts to encourage more interaction. You will only have truly influential advocates if you help promote their value as a professional in their field and on your team.

  1. Increase Flexibility and On-the-Go Communication

Texting can help employees gain freedom they wouldn’t have through email and phone calls alone. Use a texting platform and company phone plans to enable your employees to do more work while they are on-the-go. Give employees as much freedom as possible to work as they can from home or while traveling, allowing for more flexible hours and scheduling. The improved work-life integration will appeal to younger generations that value flexibility and are willing to have increased interruption with working during strange hours on their devices.

  1. Speed Up Policy Changes and Strategies

Automated mass texting can really help your company get the word out about new policies and strategies. Simply send out texts to your entire team or the specific department that it will apply to in order to notify them of changing rules, training dates, industry information, deadline reminders or prompts for paperwork. Text messages are typically read within seconds, allowing your important company notifications to be distributed quickly and effectively. Emails often get lost and phone calls waste time, so use text messaging to send out these notices in a way that is sure to get the message across.

In an age of technology, don’t let your employees waste their time by worrying or gossiping – work to improve communication each year. Text messaging and great content will help you communicate in a stronger way with your employees.

Guest Post: About the Author

Joel Lee is the SEO marketing specialist at Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases.

3 Steps to Creating a Strong Company Culture

Any time a group of people interact with one another on a regular basis, an individual culture forms. As such, each company has its own company culture, which can determine to a large extent the success of the organization and the satisfaction of the employees. While a culture can organically form, managers and business owners can take steps to shape a strong and positive company culture with the steps below.

The Importance of a Winning Company Culture

A company culture is “an intangible ecosystem” according to a source, which involves “the ideology of an organization.” When your company has a strong company culture, it influences a multitude of factors that can truly make or break the success of your business. Everything from more effective teamwork, productivity, employee loyalty, reduced turnover and help with attracting top talent.

Steps to Create a Strong Company Culture

The truth is that regardless of how talented and experienced your colleagues are, if you don’t have the culture to promote their attributes, they won’t be able to thrive. Follow these steps to create a company culture that develops winners:

1. Decide What Your Core Values are

A company culture should be based around the core values of the company, which are created by the business owners. Other than making a profit, what do you want to see from your employees and how do you want to shape their lives and overall society?

If you want to involve a philanthropic initiative, build your culture around that. Is your focus is more closely aligned with teamwork and productivity? Consider how to foster relationships between your staff members to promote collaboration. Do you want to be known as a company that offers the best customer experience? Put strategies into place that reflect that desire.

The fact is that a corporate culture develops best when it is based on certain beliefs and is focused on a specific course.

2. Choose the Right Colleagues

Every hiring decision needs to consider whether the candidate would make a good addition to your team. Would this person be able to fit in and uphold the values you deem important for your company?

Oftentimes, employers tend to hire the same type of person, who either resembles them or another star employee. However, a successful environment is one that contains diversity, and hiring employees who have different strengths and points of view can help foster creativity and innovation, which will drive a positive culture.

3. Promote Transparency

A thriving company is one where every single employee feels valued and appreciated. The old world model of a hierarchy that keeps information locked at the top is outdated, and transparency is the new normal in the professional world.

A healthy company culture is one that democratizes decision making and gives everyone a voice. Instead of shielding your employees from sensitive news, involve them in the process and witness how much more invested they will become in the success of your company.

If you would like access to more articles about managing a business, or would like to inquire about getting a small business loan, contact IOU Financial.