For small businesses aiming to expand and thrive, securing investment can be a game-changer. The infusion of capital, along with valuable expertise from investors, can propel your business to new heights. However, navigating the world of investments and finding the right investors requires careful planning and execution. In this blog post for Small Business Advice Week, we'll provide essential investment and investor advice to help your small business attract the right funding and support.
Develop a Solid Business Plan:
Before seeking investment, ensure you have a comprehensive business plan that outlines your company's vision, mission, target market, products or services, marketing strategies, financial projections, and growth plans. A well-structured business plan not only demonstrates your commitment and understanding of your business but also gives potential investors confidence in your venture's potential.
Assess Your Funding Needs:
Determine the specific funding requirements of your business. Whether you need capital for research and development, expanding production, or scaling marketing efforts, having a clear understanding of your funding needs will help you approach investors with a well-defined purpose.
Identify the Right Investors:
Finding the right investors who align with your business values and long-term goals is crucial. Consider different sources of investment, such as angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity firms, or crowdfunding platforms. Research potential investors' backgrounds and past investments to ensure they have relevant experience in your industry.
Build and Showcase a Strong Track Record:
Investors are more likely to fund businesses that have a track record of success and growth. If you have achieved significant milestones or secured notable partnerships, highlight these achievements to instil confidence in potential investors.
Prepare a Compelling Pitch:
Craft a compelling and concise pitch that clearly communicates your business proposition, growth potential, and financial projections. Tailor your pitch to each investor's interests and goals, showcasing how their investment will help your business achieve mutual success.
Be Transparent and Realistic:
Transparency and honesty are crucial when dealing with potential investors. Be upfront about the risks and challenges your business may face. Investors appreciate entrepreneurs who are realistic about their business prospects and show a clear understanding of potential obstacles.
Understand Investor Expectations:
Before entering into any investment agreement, ensure you understand the expectations and terms set by the investors. Discuss how much control or decision-making power they expect to have in your business. Balancing investor expectations with your long-term vision is key to maintaining a harmonious relationship.
Protect Your Intellectual Property:
If your business relies on unique intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, or copyrights, take steps to protect these assets. Investors value businesses with protected intellectual property as it establishes a competitive advantage and mitigates the risk of infringement issues.
Seek Legal and Financial Advice:
Engage legal and financial advisors with experience in small business investments. They can help you navigate complex investment terms, negotiate favourable deals, and ensure compliance with legal regulations.
Investment can be a significant catalyst for small business growth, but it also comes with important considerations and responsibilities. By having a solid business plan, identifying the right investors, and presenting a compelling pitch, you can attract the funding and support needed to take your business to the next level. Remember to be transparent, protect your intellectual property, and seek professional advice to make informed decisions that benefit both your business and your investors. With a strategic approach and the right investors by your side, your small business can flourish in a competitive market and achieve sustainable success.
As an aspiring or established small business owner, navigating the legal landscape can be a daunting task. However, understanding and adhering to essential legal requirements is crucial for the success and longevity of your venture. In this blog post we'll explore the three vital legal aspects that every small business should focus on: contracts, licenses, and regulations. Let's dive in!
Contracts: Protecting Your Business and Interests
Contracts are the backbone of any business relationship. Whether dealing with customers, suppliers, vendors, or employees, having well-drafted contracts in place is essential to protect your interests and mitigate potential disputes. Here are some key considerations:
a. Clear and Comprehensive Terms: Ensure that all contracts clearly outline the rights and obligations of each party involved. Clearly define deliverables, payment terms, timelines, confidentiality, and dispute resolution mechanisms.
b. Seek Legal Counsel: Engage a qualified solicitor to review and draft contracts specific to your business needs. Professional legal advice can help you avoid loopholes and protect your business from potential liabilities.
c. Review and Update Regularly: As your business evolves, so should your contracts. Regularly review and update agreements to reflect changes in products, services, or business practices.
Licenses: Operating Legally and Ethically
Operating without the required licenses and permits can lead to severe penalties, legal complications, and reputational damage. Ensure that you have obtained all necessary licenses and permits relevant to your industry and location:
a. Research and Identify Requirements: Research the specific licenses and permits needed for your business at the local, national and international levels. Each industry may have unique licensing requirements.
b. Obtain Licenses Early: Start the application process for licenses and permits as early as possible to avoid any delays in opening or expanding your business.
c. Compliance and Renewals: Once you have obtained the necessary licenses, ensure ongoing compliance with regulations and timely renewals.
Regulations: Staying Compliant and Avoiding Legal Pitfalls
Compliance with regulations is essential to protect your business from fines, penalties, or even closure. Keep these points in mind to stay on the right side of the law:
a. Understand Industry-Specific Regulations: Different industries have varying regulations, and it's crucial to be aware of and adhere to these rules. This may include health and safety regulations, data protection laws, or advertising guidelines.
b. Tax Compliance: Complying with tax laws is a fundamental aspect of running a business. Keep accurate financial records, understand tax obligations, and file returns promptly.
c. Employment Regulations: If you have employees, familiarize yourself with employment laws, minimum wage requirements, overtime rules, and other employment-related regulations.
Small businesses must prioritize their legal obligations to ensure long-term success and avoid costly legal disputes. Contracts protect your interests and maintain clear communication with business partners. Licenses and permits ensure you operate legally and ethically within your industry. Regulations keep your business compliant with relevant laws and regulations, safeguarding you from potential penalties.
Seeking professional legal advice, conducting thorough research, and staying informed about changes in regulations are essential for a legally sound business. Remember, staying proactive in addressing legal essentials will provide a solid foundation for your small business to flourish and grow confidently in a competitive marketplace.
In the ever-evolving landscape of business, economic strategy plays a pivotal role in the success and sustainability of small enterprises. Here we delve into the art of economic strategy, providing essential advice for small businesses to navigate economic challenges and capitalize on growth opportunities.
Whether you're a budding entrepreneur or an established small business owner, mastering economic strategy can be the key to unlocking your business's full potential.
Embrace a Data-Driven Approach:
Economic strategy begins with a solid understanding of your business's financial health and performance. Embrace a data-driven approach by meticulously analysing financial statements, cash flow projections, and key performance indicators. This will empower you to make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.
Monitor Market Trends:
Economic landscapes are shaped by market trends, consumer behaviour, and industry developments. Stay attuned to these changes by conducting regular market research. Keep a finger on the pulse of your target audience, study competitor strategies, and anticipate shifts in demand to adapt your business accordingly.
Diversify Revenue Streams:
To mitigate risks associated with economic fluctuations, diversify your revenue streams. Relying heavily on a single product or service may leave your business vulnerable to sudden downturns. Explore new offerings or expand into complementary markets to ensure stable revenue generation.
Implement Efficient Cost Management:
Effective cost management is essential for small businesses to thrive in a competitive market. Review your expenses regularly and identify areas where cost-cutting measures can be implemented without compromising quality. Emphasise efficiency and resource optimisation to enhance your profit margins.
Foster Strategic Partnerships:
Collaborative partnerships can be instrumental in strengthening your economic position. Seek out mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers, distributors, and other businesses within your industry. Strategic partnerships can offer access to new markets, reduce costs, and create unique value propositions.
Adaptability and Flexibility:
In an ever-changing economic environment, adaptability and flexibility are paramount. Develop a culture of agility within your organisation, allowing you to respond swiftly to economic challenges or emerging opportunities. Be open to experimenting with new strategies and remain receptive to feedback from employees and customers.
Invest in Technology and Innovation:
Incorporating technology and fostering innovation can enhance your economic strategy significantly. Embrace automation to streamline processes, improve productivity, and deliver better customer experiences. Invest in research and development to stay ahead of the competition and drive innovation within your industry.
Anticipate and Prepare for Economic Uncertainty:
Economic uncertainty is an inevitable aspect of business. To mitigate its impact, build contingency plans that anticipate potential economic downturns or crises. Maintain a financial safety net and seek professional advice to navigate turbulent economic waters.
Economic strategy forms the backbone of small business success, enabling enterprises to thrive in dynamic market conditions. Embrace a data-driven approach, monitor market trends, and diversify revenue streams to build resilience. Implement efficient cost management, foster strategic partnerships, and prioritise adaptability and innovation. Anticipate economic uncertainties and prepare with contingency plans to safeguard your business's future. By mastering economic strategy, your small business can navigate economic challenges and seize opportunities to chart a course towards sustainable growth and prosperity.
One of the most critical aspects of running a successful small business is managing finances effectively. While profitability and revenue are essential, understanding and managing cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of cash flow for small businesses and provide valuable tips to help you manage your finances more efficiently.
What is Cash Flow and Why Does It Matter?
Cash flow refers to the movement of money in and out of your business. It's the net amount of cash generated or used during a specific period, such as a month or a quarter. Positive cash flow means more money is coming into your business than going out, while negative cash flow indicates the opposite.
Cash flow is vital for several reasons:
Forecast Your Cash Flow:
To effectively manage your cash flow, create a cash flow forecast. This forward-looking projection estimates your future cash inflows and outflows, giving you a clear picture of your financial situation. Analyse historical data, sales projections, payment terms, and expense patterns to make accurate predictions.
Manage Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable:
Delayed payments from customers can significantly impact your cash flow. Implement a robust invoicing and collection system to ensure timely payments. Offer incentives for early payments and follow up with customers on overdue invoices promptly.
On the other hand, negotiate favourable payment terms with your suppliers to extend your payables without harming your relationships. This will give you more time to convert inventory into revenue before paying your bills.
Control Inventory Levels:
Excess inventory ties up your cash and increases storage costs. Analyse sales trends and customer demands to optimise your inventory levels. Adopt just-in-time inventory practices to reduce holding costs and free up cash for other business needs.
Keep Personal and Business Finances Separate:
Mixing personal and business finances is a common mistake among small business owners. Open a separate business bank account and use dedicated business credit cards for transactions. This separation streamlines financial tracking, simplifies tax reporting, and safeguards your personal assets.
Create a Contingency Fund:
Unexpected expenses or a temporary dip in sales can disrupt your cash flow. Build a contingency fund to weather these challenges. Set aside a portion of your profits regularly to create a safety net for your business.
Monitor and Analyse Financial Reports:
Regularly review financial statements, such as cash flow statements, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets. These reports provide valuable insights into your business's financial health and performance. Identifying trends and patterns will help you make informed decisions and spot potential issues early.
Properly managing cash flow is the key to the long-term success and stability of your small business. Understanding the flow of money in and out of your company allows you to make well-informed decisions, seize growth opportunities, and navigate through challenging times. By forecasting cash flow, controlling inventory, and keeping a watchful eye on your financial reports, you can ensure your business stays on a solid financial footing and thrives in the dynamic market landscape. Remember, managing finances is an ongoing process, so stay vigilant and proactive in your efforts. Best of luck on your journey to financial success!
Starting a small business is an exciting and rewarding venture, but it also requires careful planning and execution. As part of Small Business Advice Week, we aim to empower aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge and guidance needed to launch their businesses on the right foot. In this blog post, we'll outline ten essential steps to help you navigate the initial stages of building a successful small business.
1. Conduct Thorough Market Research: Before diving headfirst into your business idea, take the time to conduct comprehensive market research. Understand your target audience, their needs, preferences, and pain points. Analyse your competitors to identify gaps in the market and potential opportunities. This research will provide valuable insights that will shape your business strategy and give you a competitive edge.
2. Develop a Solid Business Plan: A well-crafted business plan serves as a roadmap for your small business. It outlines your mission, vision, target market, products or services, marketing strategies, financial projections, and growth plans. A thorough business plan will not only guide your decisions but also help you secure funding from investors or lenders.
3. Choose the Right Business Structure: Selecting the appropriate legal structure for your business is crucial for various reasons, including taxation, liability, and operational flexibility. Common options include sole trader, partnership and limited company. Consult with a solicitor or financial advisor to determine the best fit for your specific needs.
4. Secure Adequate Funding: Starting a small business often requires initial capital investment. Explore various funding options such as personal savings, loans from banks, venture capital, angel investors, or crowdfunding platforms. Prepare a detailed financial plan that outlines your startup costs and how you plan to sustain your business until it becomes profitable.
5. Register Your Business and Obtain Licenses: Ensure your business is legally compliant by registering it with the appropriate authorities. Obtain all necessary licenses, permits, and registrations to operate legally in your industry and location. Compliance with regulations will protect you from potential legal issues and establish your credibility with customers.
6. Build a Strong Online Presence: In today's digital age, a robust online presence is essential for small business success. Create a professional website, optimise it for search engines (SEO), and establish a strong social media presence to reach a wider audience. Engage with potential customers, respond to inquiries promptly, and maintain a consistent brand image across all platforms.
7. Invest in PR, Marketing and Advertising: Marketing is a vital aspect of attracting customers and generating sales. Allocate a portion of your budget to effective promotional strategies, such as PR, content marketing, social media advertising, email marketing, and partnerships with other businesses. Monitor your marketing efforts' performance and adapt your strategies as needed.
8. Hire the Right Team: As your business grows, you may need to hire employees or freelancers to support your operations. Invest time in the hiring process to find individuals who align with your company culture, share your vision, and possess the necessary skills to contribute to your success.
9. Prioritise Customer Service: Providing exceptional customer service can set your small business apart from larger competitors. Focus on building strong relationships with your customers, listen to their feedback, and address any concerns promptly. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and advocate for your brand.
10. Continuously Adapt and Improve: The business landscape is ever-changing, and successful entrepreneurs must be adaptable and open to innovation. Regularly assess your business performance, analyse market trends, and be willing to pivot or refine your strategies to stay ahead of the competition.
Starting a successful small business requires careful planning, determination, and continuous learning. By following these ten essential steps, you can set a strong foundation for your venture and increase your chances of achieving long-term success. Remember that success may not come overnight, but with perseverance and dedication, you can turn your small business dreams into a thriving reality. Good luck on your entrepreneurial journey!
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom today unveiled a £10 million grant scheme for business organisations and trade associations to support businesses in preparing for Brexit ahead of 31 October 2019.
The Business Readiness Fund is open to business organisations and trade associations throughout the UK and will support events, training and the production of advice packs to assist businesses in making sure they are fully prepared for a Brexit on 31 October 2019.
Activities funded by the grants must be open to both members and non-members, and to businesses large and small preparing for Brexit on 31 October. This will ensure all businesses will benefit and can be reassured that they are fully ready, from major British producers to the smallest tech startups and entrepreneurs. There will be no barriers, such as affordability of membership.
Applications for grants will be accepted up to Monday 30 September 2019 and administered through a dedicated website. Funding will have to be used on activities to be completed ahead of 31 October 2019 in order to ensure they are focused on Brexit preparations and that our businesses are fully prepared for Brexit day.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
"The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October. For businesses that still feel unprepared, I am determined to do everything I possibly can to ensure they are fully ready for Brexit.
"We know that companies often rely on the wider business community for help and advice with planning. Business groups will now be given the necessary tools to engage with this crucial task, communicating with non-members and businesses of all sizes.
"The funding we are announcing today will mean business organisations from all sectors across the country can stand resolutely behind businesses large and small to support them in preparing for, and seizing the opportunities of, leaving the EU."
Craig Beaumont, Director of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Business said:
"As an organisation representing 165,000 small firms and the self-employed in every local community across the UK, we welcome these funds that target small businesses. It is mission critical to the economy that they have the information they need, to prepare for Brexit."
For more information visit Gov.uk's page located here.
Cutting unnecessary expenses is one of the quickest ways for small businesses to have fewer excess costs. In most cases, you will easily find the information that you require to make decisions about your options, these areas could include: space, vehicles, utilities, telecom, and printing – it really depends on what kind of business you are running. The first step is to analyse your expenses at the moment and work towards a better solution.
Have a business communication strategy
If you previously set up a business communication strategy, if your business ever finds itself in trouble, you will already have a plan to let your customers know what is going on. If you haven't, you should set one up today. It will help you communicate things quickly, which is vital in the event of a crisis. This is why it is necessary that you have an up-to-date list of all your customers’ email addresses and phone numbers, so that you can contact them straight away. Next to that, you should have someone in your company who is going to write a press release in case of a true disaster.
A great number of business leaders will tell you that telecommuting can do wonders for your cost-cutting needs. The sad fact is that many companies don’t make use of this potential. It has been proven that telecommuting allowances, as well as other kinds of flexible work agreements, positively affect your employees’ job satisfaction and morale. And, of course, it goes without saying that these things have a great impact on general productivity.
Cost cutting your product
Another method of cutting costs is to pay attention to a particular product or service. When it comes to this solution, you must put all related expenses under scrutiny. As a small business owner, you can look into materials, purchasing, design, production, and delivery, as well as other fields that are related to the product itself.
Make use of social media
If a crisis occurs, you need to make the best out of all the social media channels that you have. In truth, they can make or break your efforts to solve the issues at hand. It is of an essence that whoever is managing the accounts is fully acquainted with your business crisis plan. This will make sure that nothing goes wrong while you are taking care of your business’ communication strategy.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
When in need of support during a critical situation, you can rely on your contacts in order to get referrals. These are the people who are interested in the products or services that you have to offer. So all that you need to do is ask. Your contacts can provide prospects, the more referrals you’ve got, the more business you will generate through them.
Every once in a while, your small business is bound to face adversity.
You may have already heard the saying that “Existing customers are more likely to buy from you then when approaching a new customer.” Well, it’s much more than a saying – it’s a proven fact.
A joint study by BIA/Kelsey and Manta found that existing customers not only spend on average 67% more than new customers during checkout, but retaining the business of an existing customer costs 10 times less than the cost of acquiring new customers.
The report concludes by noting that customer loyalty can bring big benefits to small businesses:
Once businesses truly grasp the impact their customer base has on their long term business viability, they can spend more of their time and budget focused on existing customers, which not only saves them money – it makes for explosive revenue growth.
Because of this, it puzzles me that so many small businesses and even large corporations spend their time and resources it takes to chase down and win over new customers instead of simply looking after their existing ones.
Why Sales Isn’t A Numbers Game!
Have you ever heard the saying, “Sales isn’t a Numbers Game”? If you’ve ever worked in sales, you have undoubtedly heard that saying at least once (or if you worked at a cold call center, once every hour of the work day). But sales aren’t isn’t supposed to be a numbers game. This archaic mentality is what will lead you to spending a whole lot of time and energy trying to convert the nonconvertible.
I don’t know who came up with that saying, but they are dead wrong – and here is why. It is incredibly short sighted to think that sales are a simply game of asking as many people as possible for money, then hoping and praying that eventually someone will cave in and fork over their cash. Having worked in a variety of different industries, I’ve witnessed firsthand that regardless of what industry you work in, the one common denominator that all salespeople should consider is that customers are people – human beings just like you and I – and that they are certainly not numbers to be checked off one-by-one.
The bottom line is that businesses treat their customers as numbers. That is a fact which is one of the biggest problems we have in the world of business today. If the customer were just a number, you would not need to care how they feel, think or talk about your product or service after they bought it. Instead, you would just keep on making money from them without looking after your existing customers.
They Are A People’s Game!
Some businesses offer subscription services, such as mobile phones, online memberships, hosting, and many other products. As a result, they lose their customers within their first 12 months and get bad reviews on customer care, support and even their products. Many companies use ads and marketing strategies to win new customers, then, as soon as they have them, they no longer care about looking after them or following up. It’s as if once the money is in their hands, the customer ceases to exist.
This unsympathetic approach to customer service can often turn fatal for businesses of any size. As a result of their poor customer care and support systems in place, businesses end up losing their customers just as fast as they got them.
Which brings me to the point: that sales aren’t a numbers game, but a people game. When you have a great relationship with your customers, they will always come back to buy more from you, not to mention send more customer referrals your way. The sales revenue, the numbers in your account, and even the success of your business are just a few of the many results of you selling your product. The thing that matters most is to look after your existing customers to the best of your ability. This will not only increase your sales, but also improve your public reputation as a company, which is very important these days in regards to building a long lasting, successful business.
Even before a product can hit the shelves – or even before it’s available in online stores – there are hundreds of hours of market research that takes place. Research on what type of consumer your demographic is made up of, customers like, what is in demand, what customers need, what they do not like about competing products, where do they currently spend their money, and on what?
From the beginning of developing a product or offering a service, all the way up until it is actually sold and starts to generate revenue, and even throughout the entire sales process, every single aspect of a product or service revolves around the actual customers that are buying what you’re selling.
In today’s market, businesses who believe that sales are a numbers game are setting themselves up for failure. Sales is now – and always has been – a people game. It’s a game of winning their trust before they even consider buying from you, a game of demonstrating the value of not just what you’re selling to them, but that you and your sales pitch are valuable enough to take up their time.
You can hire the best product development team to come out with the most effective, aesthetically pleasing, and indestructible product on the planet – but if customers don’t trust the person selling it, they won’t buy it. At the end of the day, all you need to remember is to treat people like people, not a paycheck.
For more information on how you can maximise sales in your business click here.
Words by Dario Cucci
You’ve got a brilliant business idea and you’re raring to get started. So, what’s next? Is there a typical time it takes to develop a business idea and launch it on the world? Is it possible to get your business running in less than a month?
In short, yes. Working from a focused action plan, ensuring you complete all the necessary activities, you can 100% become your own boss in less than a month. Here’s what you need to do.
Estimated time: 3 days
You can’t launch a business without first doing a bit of homework. Your first three days should be spent answering the following key questions:
You don’t need to spend money gathering these insights, much of it is available for free online (competitor websites, TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Reddit, Facebook) or simply by walking down your local high street, or talking to people. Gather as much insight as you can and get it all down. This will help you build an important picture and tell you if you should go ahead with your business idea.
Hopefully, you can now move forwards with confidence.
Estimated time: 3 days
The next stage is to work out what you’re going to need to get your business up and running. We’re talking the basics here. Given the timeframes, you’re going to need to scale down your ambitions and look to launch something that can be refined once you’re generating income.
Where are you going to run your business?
Running a business from home is clearly a cheaper and easier solution when you’re getting started. But, if you need to find premises, co-working spaces are growing in popularity across the UK.
What equipment are you going to need?
Having a decent computer or laptop is nigh-on essential these days, but, if you’re working from home, you’ll also want to spend money on creating a suitable office environment. Clean space, clean mind, and all that. The rest will clearly depend on the type of business you’re setting up. For example, a street food business will need cooking equipment, whilst a plumbing business will need a van.
What suppliers are you going to need?
Most businesses will need suppliers of some kind. That can include manufacturers, distributers, and importers. Even if you don’t sell anything physical, you’re still going to need to have in place service providers for things like IT, electricity, energy, and website hosting. And, don’t forget, insurance.
Estimated time: 5 days
You can now start piecing together your business plan. This is a crucial document that will provide an overview of your business idea and vision, the research and planning you’ve done in the last week, before moving on to your financial models (pricing and legal structure etc) and marketing plans (more on that in a moment).
Whilst it’s easy to be overawed by this task, it’s important to note that your business plan is a working document; something that will evolve over time. Don’t worry about it being perfect at this stage.
What it should do, though, is give you an idea of the finances you’re going to need for launch and your day-to-day operations. Are you going to fund the business yourself? Through friends and family? Through the bank? Or, perhaps, through alternative funding routes such as crowdfunding? Whatever you do, don’t dive in until you’ve weighed up all the options.
Estimated time: 5 days
It’s important to leave some money left over for promoting your business. After all, you’re going to struggle to bring in money if people don’t know your business exists.
However, it’s definitely wise to keep your promotional expenditure to a modest level. It’s all too easy to flutter away your limited funds on ineffective tactics and strategies.
So, what are the things you should definitely have in place?
Your business name, logo, website and social media pages are all pretty much essential, and should cost little to set up, although, you might want to recruit a freelancer to help you on some aspects.
Once they’re in place you can start to think about your marketing tactics and draw out a plan. The research work you did right at the beginning should play a key role in shaping who, what and how you want to promote your business. Tried and tested cost-effective tactics include Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and email marketing – but there’s no harm in also printing some business cards.
Readying for launch
Estimated time: 3 days
Before you launch your business on the world there are a number of admin-based tasks you’ll need to do. These include:
That’s it! Well, at least these are the basics to getting your business launched. Clearly you could spend much longer planning and preparing your business, but then you might risk losing your momentum. Plus, the insights you’ll gather once you’re up and running are often the most
First impressions are crucial. In the business world, they can make a world of difference in getting a promotion or being the perfect candidate in a job interview. In this post, we’ll highlight a few aspects — from good oral health to dressing for the job you want — that impact your career prospects.
Many different factors influence how successful your career is. Some are out of your hands, whereas others — like how you carry yourself as a professional — are entirely up to you. Granted, this is somewhat of a broad statement, but the reality is there are many things to consider when it comes to how other people perceive you.
Below we’ll discuss a few aspects of your appearance and self-maintenance that may be harming your career.
Dressing for the Job You Want
In the digital age, a large percentage of people opt for a freelance career and many SMEs and startups take a casual and less corporate approach to business. It’s safe to say that the stereotypical work clothes of a professional have changed. But, as a general rule of thumb, try aiming to dress slightly smarter than the employees of the business you want to join.
If the job you’re applying for is at a bespoke company where professional clothing is mandatory, your choice of interview attire is a no-brainer. For men, this could be a suit, shirt and tie, or a smart sweater. For women, it depends on your own style — some will prefer a dress whereas others feel more comfortable in a suit.
If the interview is with a startup, small business, or even a large organisation that prefers their employees to wear business-casual clothing, you have more options and room to incorporate some unique fashion choices. Tread lightly with this, as bright colours and flashy items can be distracting. If you want someone to focus on your attributes and skills as an industry professional, a flashy outfit isn’t helpful.
Good Oral Health
Although your physical appearance shouldn’t be a contributing factor when it comes to your career, good oral health and hygiene should be maintained with the correct care and attention. In an age where high-quality dentists and products are available to keep our teeth in good condition, failing to do so can project a lack of discipline or laziness.
Not to mention that damaged or decayed teeth is unsightly for customers and colleagues. If you happen to have an infection it can cause serious health problems and produce fierce bad breath. The latter is especially troublesome for your colleagues and genuinely impacts your success during interviews. Being memorable as the applicant with bad breath isn’t ideal when you want to be remembered for what you bring to their company.
If you’re someone who has missing teeth — whether removed by a dentist, knocked out, or fell out due to decay — there are several solutions that can return your smile to its former glory. If you’re looking for a long-term solution then your best bet is dental implants. This is where a metal root is fused with your jawbone and a prosthetic tooth is attached to the top. If you are self-conscious or suffer from a lack of confidence because of dental health, finding a solution that suits your needs and budget should be a top priority.
Don’t Neglect Personal Hygiene
Maintaining a good level of personal hygiene is not only important to stay healthy, but neglecting to do so demonstrates a lack of discipline and disregard for those around you. Being a bit smelly isn’t an acceptable reason for your employer to dismiss you, but it can significantly impact several aspects of your daily work life.
The importance of good personal hygiene during an interview cannot be stressed enough. There is a vast range of things that can impact your hygiene so it’s crucial to keep it under control. Whether you’re rushing to catch the tube and start to sweat, wake up late and don’t have time to shower or forget to clean the dirt from underneath your fingernails — your interviewer will notice and unfortunately, it will influence their opinion of you.
Everything about your appearance and hygiene gives an interviewer insight on how you perform at work and how well you’re prepared — choose an appropriate outfit, brush your teeth, and don’t forget to use deodorant.