This post brought to you by Super Claims AustraliaID-100172603

As the world still recovers from the Global Financial Crisis, even six years later, providing for our families is one of the hardest but most important tasks we have before us.

We need to not only put a roof above their heads and food on the table, but also ensure we have enough financial back-up should an unexpected emergency strike. Here are five simple ways to provide financially for your family:

Superannuation

The first thing you should look into is your superannuation package. As pensions become ever scarcer, people are going to have to look at self-retiree possibilities, including superannuation. If you don’t have a super package or you need to make a claim on your existing package, take some advice from professionals such as Super Claims Australia to see what you should do.

Automatic savings

Just as you set up automatic payments for regular bills, create a new savings account and have money regularly transferred into it. You can keep it as a savings device so that, when retirement comes, there is a nice nest egg, or use it for major bills that come once or twice a year and usually prove to be a burden on the budget. Whatever you use it for, try to forget it is there until its intended purpose comes around.

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Have an emergency plan

Make sure your will, life insurance and other ‘fall-back’ measures are in place and up-to-date. Should you be injured or unable to work for a lengthy period, workers’ compensation and other government schemes will last only so long. You might need to have private scheme in place to at least supplement any employer or government compensation. And should you die from something that is unrelated to work, your will should stipulate how to dispose of your assets and look after your family. If you don’t have a will, get one as soon as possible.

Future investments

Savings are wonderful (and important) but they aren’t the only way to ensure you and your family enjoy a prosperous future. Have you ever thought of splitting your hard earned cash into different investment streams? Consider keeping some money in a high interest-earning savings account, while putting some into property and a bit more into shares. That way when the markets or interest rates drop in one area, you should still be earning in another. It will also mean a collapse in, for example, the share market, isn’t going to completely wipe out your earning capacity.

Continue growing

Always look at your net worth, with an eye on how to make it grow. Some people turn hobbies into profitable side businesses. Often called entrepreneurs, these are people who look at all the possibilities in life and grab any opportunity to make a buck. Similarly, reducing your debt can also grow your net worth. If you think the house you have is far too big for your purposes, down size. If you don’t really need the V8 muscle car in your garage, consider trading it in for a smaller model.

The trick to providing for your family’s future, particularly in tough economic times, is to not let the unknown worry you and instead consider your options. It’s not about taking risks, it’s about grasping opportunities that come your way.

Car and house image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Emergency image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Chandler MacleodID-100276567

In the early days, most business founders are literally the director and the secretary and it can be tempting to put off some investments and systems ‘until you’re more established’.

No matter how small your start-up is, some of the decisions you make in the early days of your business can have a long term impact on your growth and development. Below are some tips to make sure that your business is future ready from the day you start trading:

1. Be An Employee from Day One

Even if you are a sole trader for taxation purposes, you need to have some separation between your personal and business finances. You will inevitably need a payroll system at some stage as your business grows, so you might as well start with one from the beginning.

Try to choose an option now that you can build on as you expand without needing to overhaul the system. If you’re unsure, recruitment specialists like Chandler Macleod actually advise which payroll software solution will work best for you given your chosen industry.

2. Outsource Now

If things like human resources, accounting and other support services aren’t your area of expertise, start working with the professionals as early as possible. Virtually every aspect of running your business can be outsourced and you can usually tailor a package that provides as much – or as little – support as you need. Hiring and training costs time and money, so you can really save in the long run by keeping the in house employees to essential positions only as you get established.

3. Work on Your Brand

A brand is more than a logo – essentially it is your business’ personality. Your mission statement and values should introduce your organisation and underpin what it is like to do business with you. Make sure you spend time developing a brand that reflects not only what your business is now, but what you want it to be in the future too.

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4. Protect Your Brand

Make sure you claim your business name wherever you can – on every social media platform (even if you’re not actually going to use all of them at first), different variations and extensions (eg .com and .net) of your website address and in directories. Consistency makes it easier for your customers to find you and also safeguards against someone else using your name.

5. Action Your Business Plan

It is crucial that you have measurable goals and targets to work towards. Very few businesses will reach their potential by chance so make sure you have a comprehensive and actionable business plan in place. Do your research, spend time on competitive analysis, and above all else – make sure that you check in on your business plan regularly to see if you’re on track.

The foundations you lay when you launch your business can have a lasting effect so it is important to make sure that everything you do will work for you not just today, but as you grow and expand too.

What advice would you give to the owner of a fledgling business?

Success image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Brand image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by EvoccaID-10029028

Let’s face it: you will spend a large chunk of your life at work. You shouldn’t hate being there. Having a career or running a business you love is becoming more and more important in this day and age, and for good reason. Below are some insightful reasons as to why you should love what you do:

It’s Your Second Home

Firstly, if you’re not currently in the career or business you love, you can change. There are a number of colleges and universities, such as Evocca, that offer alternate options to finding your ideal path. Think of it like this; your job is technically your second home. You love your home, even though the people in it may drive you crazy sometimes. This same theory applies to work. Don’t expose yourself to the burden of a job you hate or you’ll never be completely happy or satisfied.

It Affects Your Family

When you’re stressed, your family is stressed. If you have children, it’s particularly important to show them that going to work is not a bad thing, as they will take this notion with them when it comes time for them to enter the work force. By working in a career you love, you are showing your family that having a job is a good thing, and that they can enjoy the chance to find a career or launch a business they love too.

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It’s Fulfilling

To work in a career and towards goals that you are passionate about can be extremely fulfilling. Achievement in life is what everyone aims for, no matter what it is, and achievements in a career are a big thing. Happiness is what everyone aims for in life, and having a career you love, and that you can go to, and work towards, provides a huge opportunity to reach this. And when you’re happy you work with a clearer mind, a more positive and productive attitude, and can more easily pass this frame of mind on to others.

You Can Be Influential

If you work in a career you truly love you have a lot more conviction when it comes to influencing others both in and out of your work environment. At one stage or another you may have a team working for you, and if you want them to learn, and be the best they can be, you have to show them this job is worth being in. Also, working with external stakeholders is a must in just about any company or business, and if you don’t have faith in what you’re doing, how can you expect someone else to put their faith and trust in you?

Unfortunately, not everyone has the option to take a job they love over a job they need. This is why you should aim to step into at least your industry of choice right from the get-go. Work should never be a burden, as it affects every aspect of your life. Even if you aren’t in a career or running a business you love at the moment, try finding aspects of it that you do love and focus on these. In the meantime, expand your knowledge through study and experience, and you’ll be working towards a career you really do love in no time.

What have been some of your least favourite jobs or career paths? Leave your answers in the comments below.

Heart image courtesy of Keattikorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Smiling young family image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Turner Freeman LawyersID-100111271

When staff feel safe and supported by their superiors and their colleagues, productivity is increased. Creating a positive working environment for your staff is as much about physical safety as it is about mental safety. Subtle changes to the workplace can have lasting impacts for all staff. Here are some tips to creating a safe and positive environment:

Encourage Dialogue

If a staff member is having issues either with another employee, the work they are doing, or otherwise, you should encourage a safe space forum where they can voice their concerns without fear of retribution, or information leaking. You should be accessible to your staff and encourage them to express their grievances and comments to you.

In the same way, staff should understand that you will do the same to them should any issue arise. For more help on this matter, consider contacting a legal specialist such as Turner Freeman Lawyers, who can fully brief you on what is required under the law and what exactly is considered workplace bullying or harassment.

Use Positive Language

People need positivity. An environment that is encouraging and complimentary will help staff to succeed and strive for excellence. If a staff member must be reprimanded, or criticised, do this privately. The rest of the work force does not need to be privy to your working relationship with each one, but when one staff member is given public recognition, it fuels everyone to meet that same success.

Provide Social Opportunities

Provide opportunities for staff members to get to know each other. Staff will feel more safe and comfortable when they understand and get to know the people they work with. Bonding exercises might seem uncomfortable, but could give staff a forum to speak freely and honestly about themselves and others. Social opportunities like morning tea, staff dinners, or even activities can allow staff to loosen up more than they would in the workplace setting.

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Take Responsibility

As the leader of your workforce, you must be accountable for its mishaps and shortcomings. When something goes wrong between staff members, it is your responsibility to remedy the situation in a way that is best suitable for the parties involved and the rest of the workforce. You must hold both yourself and your staff accountable. Tackle problems right away before they become bigger issues that have a larger impact. Staff will respect you as their leader, but also as someone who takes on issues positively and effectively.

Consider the Physical Environment

Create a positive physical environment for your staff. Lots of natural lighting has a deep impact on a person’s mood and stress level. Keep the workplace clean and free of hazards. If possible, create a room for staff to go and de-stress. Allow staff the flexibility to be comfortable and encouraged to perform their tasks everyday.

When your working environment is safe and positive, the people within it also feel safe and positive. No matter their tasks, they will enjoy coming into the workplace and engaging with the people and their responsibilities. Although stressful situations can never be fully alleviated, taking strides to decrease the impact even slightly will be hugely beneficial.

Smiling woman image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – People with hands together image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Fort KnoxID-100128285

If you are feeling distracted at work and that your productivity is suffering as a result, there are some good ways to change the situation. Remaining focused, efficient and productive at work can be difficult, but there are ways to be better organised and improve your outputs.

1: Get organised

Many people work in a state of disorganised chaos. They have desks that are drowning in papers and files, and there’s no logical system for storing and organising both soft and hard copy files.

Having too many papers and other tangible items around can compromise your productivity and be an unwelcome distraction. Throw out items for which you have no ongoing use and move items that you need to keep (but do not use every day) into a quality storage facility, such as that provided by Fort Knox. Doing this gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your documents, files and other resources are safe and secure, without them taking up valuable space within your workplace. High quality storage facilities are clean, secure, safe and allow convenient access to your storage unit.

2: Request help and delegate as appropriate

In almost every workplace and every role, help is important. In particular, large tasks should not be undertaken alone; a far better process occurs and a far better outcome is realised when people work together.

It’s important to trust colleagues and to trust their ability to help you complete your work when you request it. To assist effectively, colleagues need to have all of the needed resources, understand the requirements of the task, and be completely aware of the deadline for project components.

It’s also important that you feel comfortable asking others to help you. People will rarely volunteer but, when asked, are willing to offer support.

3: Create and work from ‘to-do’ lists

The tasks that you need to complete in the course of your work range from the quite simple and straightforward, to those which are very complex. To ensure that all tasks are completed, it’s useful to prepare a to-do list and work from this list.

It is also worthwhile to allocate the timeframes in which you expect, or need to complete, particular tasks. This assists you to identify and respond to the most urgent tasks first and prioritise effectively. A thoughtful ‘to-do’ list helps many workers to avoid distraction and stay focused on the tasks that need to be done.

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4: Take your breaks

While you may think that working for as long and as hard as you possibly can is the best way of working, evidence shows that taking breaks makes you more productive. Your body and mind grow tired when working all day, and so it is important to take time to refresh and enjoy a change of scene before returning to work.

Many workers feel distracted in the course of their work and know that their productivity is compromised as a result. There are many ways to avoid distractions and improve your focus at work. Improved organisation, more effective arrangement of your office or workplace, and working from to-do lists are just some of the most recommended approaches to reducing distraction and increasing productivity.

Do you have any great tricks for increasing your productivity? We’d love to know! Leave a comment below.

Woman with Post-its image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net –  Checklist image courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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