This post brought to you by Patinos Personal LawyersID-100185530

Given the amount of time we spend at work, work place health and safety is an area that is sadly overlooked by many businesses.  You are not just morally obligated to protect your employees, there are laws in place that must be followed.

Work place health and safety is all about prevention, so you must create a safe environment to not only protect your staff but also your business.  It is not that difficult to put some guidelines and procedures into place to avoid potential legal issues down the track.  Here are some tips to take on board:

Know Your Responsibilities

There are a number of government sites that outline what your responsibilities are as an employer.  There may be different obligations depending on your state or Territory and also your industry so make it your business to know what these are.  Some resources you could use are as follows:

Develop Guidelines

Once you know what your responsibilities are as an employer, you should form health and safety guidelines in conjunction with your employees and share it with them. It is a legal requirement that you discuss safety in the work place and this also ensures your staff know that their health and safety is a priority for your business.

Display the guidelines in a public place in your workplace, conduct regular training and information sessions, communicate procedures via email (consider a weekly safety tip sent to all staff to keep safety front of mind) and consider scheduling practice runs in case of an emergency.  Ensure your employees  know that they not only work in a safe environment, but also how their actions can minimise their risks and protect their fellow staff members.  All new staff should have a health and safety induction.

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Make Your Workplace  Safe

It is your legal responsibility as an employer and business owner to ensure you create a safe work place for your staff and take action to minimise any hazards that could cause stress or injury.  Each workplace will be unique so take some time to formulate preventive measures.  Consider every task your staff have to undertake and the risks involved.  You may like to look at things like tripping hazards, clear and appropriate signage for exits, fire escapes etc, bullying, falls, occupational violence, using chemicals, driving business vehicles etc.

Health and Safety Representatives

It is vital that you have at least one staff member responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS) in your workplace.  OHS is a potential legal minefield and it is important to have someone making sure that all of your current practices and procedures are relevant and up to date.  This includes being adequately insured.  All elected representatives are entitled to undertake approved training.  There is a dedicated site for them here. This person should also be responsible for keeping and updating your Register of Injuries.  This is a legal requirement of all workplaces.

To ensure you are absolutely covered for any potential lawsuit it would be prudent to discuss your health and safety risks with a professional.  Patinos Personal Lawyers are workplace accident professionals and can offer advice on how you can best protect your staff and your business.

Don’t leave the safety of your staff to chance.  Know your legal responsibilities and be proactive about keeping your staff safe.  The effect of not taking action could be devastating to your business.

Construction sign image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Woman engineer image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Short Term Business Loan AustraliaID-10078936

Starting a business may be scary and stressful, but once you have it all up and running, the next thought is almost always related to expansion. This can, again, be difficult, both emotionally and financially. There is a trade-off between risk and potential loss, and playing it safe but having your business grow stagnant.

If you feel like you will need a loan to kick-start the next stage of your business, loan specialists like Short Term Business Loans Australia can help you out financially. However, before you even get your hands on this kind of money, you will need to know how to spend it – and spend it wisely. If interested, read on!

Plan

Planning, as it is in many other situations, is key when you are planning on expanding your business. An expansion plan should, amongst other things, involve your key goals – these should be both short and long term. Writing and setting out a plan will allow you to think through your process a little more, meaning you will make a more informed decision rather than one that may be instinctive. It should also take into account your business’ cashflow, and contingencies to be put into place if anything does go awry.

Careful Monitoring

Monitor your cashflow carefully before and during the expansion of your business. This will set you up to be better prepared to deal with crises as they arise. Separate cashflow forecasts for every project should be conducted to monitor and plan for its cash related needs. Additionally, you should also plan for the best and worst case scenarios for these projects – this will allow you to be better equipped to react to any sort of cash flow related issues should they pop up.

Profit

Profits can be severely affected if cashflow is not managed properly. Balancing these two is and can be extremely difficult, as your revenue can increase while your profit margins shrink. A lack of cashflow is a fast and painful way to run your business into the ground, and a consistent loss in profit margin is not particularly helpful either. Find a way to stabilise both of these aspects of your business, and you will be golden.

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Investment

Depending on your forecasts, you might want to invest some of your excess cash in one of the many short term options available. If you find that you may need cash injections at particular times in your expansion, do not be afraid to take out a loan to cover your costs. However, do make sure you account for these in your forecasts and that you are able to pay them back in a timely fashion.

These are just some ways you can navigate cashflow during the expansion of a business. Careful planning is definitely needed, but you also have to be able to pull the trigger and dive in headfirst when the time is right. Good luck!

Have you just expanded your business or are you currently in the process of doing so? How did you navigate your cashflow? Did you experience any problems and how did you combat these? Leave your advice down below in the comments.

Coin image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Profit image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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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