Seven ways to manage stress in the workplace

manage stress in workplace
Do you have trouble sleeping or suffer from constant headaches? Are you always tired, experience chest pains, heart palpitations or muscular tension? Well, these are some of the physical symptoms of excess stress. Stress doesn’t only impact your body, it also has an effect on your mind. The psychological symptoms of stress may include irritability, anxiety and even depression.

Understanding the impact of stress at work
We spend the majority of our time at work with our colleagues. In most cases, we spend more time at work than we do at home with our families. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing and you’re always under pressure to deliver, you could experience anxiety and helplessness. When you combine this with the general demands of life, like negotiating traffic, caring for your family and managing your finances, you could find yourself stressed out and depressed. Stress doesn’t only impact the individual; it could reduce overall productivity of the business and result in an unhappy home if irritability, intolerance and aggression manifest themselves. These behavioural symptoms can compromise the quality of your work and your personal life.

Seven tips to alleviate work-related stress

  1. Exercise regularly Exercise refocuses the mind on your body’s movement rather than obsessing over your worries. It can be a form of active meditation that has a calming effect on the body and mind.
  2. Form positive relationships Much of the stress we go through can be relieved by simply talking about it. This is why positive relationships at work are important.
  3. Eat healthy foods Avoid “stress eating” or “comfort foods”. Sugary or fatty foods make us feel lethargic, adding to our listlessness and exhaustion. Instead, try to eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates that fuel our brains to enhance concentration and focus.
  4. Get enough sleep Lack of sleep inhibits your ability to cope with even normal amounts of stress, and negatively affects your mood and outlook. It can’t be emphasised enough… get sufficient sleep!
  5. Prioritise and organise Do it or risk a chance of feeling overwhelmed. Make time to sit with your manager to set clear objectives and realistic deadlines.
  6. Daily detachment Switch off work and let go of the day’s events and worries at the end of each workday. Create and adhere to a leisure and relaxation process that puts you in charge of your mood.
  7. Seek help Some companies offer emotional support to employees. However, if this isn’t available at your workplace, consider speaking to a professional counsellor that can help you manage your stress.
    From: Liberty Newsletter
Advertisements
Posted in Your Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year inspiration for a successful small business

new-year-fresh-start2

The new year has dawned – and as usual, it will be full of challenges, surprises and hopefully growth in our personal and business life. Thinking back about the beginning of Rietmark, way back in 1997, I once again realise how much the business landscape has changed.

Saving the Rietmark ads on floppy drives and stiffies (you remember it still?), faxes as one of our main office tools, and mobile phones still in it’s infancy. With time developed the internet, e-mail communication and the monthly updates of our printed booklets on our own website.

Starting and running a business in 1997 was very different from today. But 22 years later, Rietmark advertising is still going strong, with even more services, such as printing and signage. Below follows some of the actions, attitudes and resolutions we embraced over the years. Hopefully you find some inspiration!

Keep learning.

Your business can’t grow if you don’t. Attend trade shows, read journals, take seminars, hire a consultant to teach you new skills. Your brain is your most important business asset – use it and add to it.

Keep priorities straight.

It’s easy to keep busy being busy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. Make a list of those few items that make the difference between succeeding and failing, both in business and in life. Put your energies there. Don’t let unimportant squeaky wheels get all your attention.

Stay in touch with former clients.

We all focus our attention on the projects at hand, but former customers are one of the best sources of new business. Find an easy way to communicate with all your customers, past and present, at least two to three times a year.

Be technology savvy.

Use technology to streamline and improve your business. Search the internet to find tools for bookkeeping, HR, record keeping, project management, product sourcing, etc.. These days there are various free cloud services to assist you with various aspects of your business.

Know when NOT to use technology.

Technology is not the answer for every problem. Be open to the right solution for each problem, whether it’s technology or paper and pen. Every day, find time to turn technology off and interact with your customers, staff and family. Make time to get in touch with yourself.

Back up data.

Hard drives crash and computers have breakdowns, usually at the most inconvenient and busiest times. Make it one of your resolutions to move all your files to the cloud, for automatic backups.

Reflect.

Take time to think. It’s easy to get so busy we stop thinking about our business. So regularly, ideally every day, stop and think about what you’re doing, what you’re saying, how you’re saying it. The busier you are, the more important it is to pause, catch your breath, and reflect.

Hire more help.

Sure, it takes time and energy to train employees, and money out of our pockets, but evaluate whether you might actually make more money if you had someone to take over some of your non-income producing tasks.

Help employees to grow.

Help employees grow by letting them make decisions, do things their way, and sometimes make mistakes. In the long run everyone takes ownership of the growth of your business.

Help others.

Finally, let’s all find ways to have our businesses help others. Let’s make it a year in which we add to the wealth of our beautiful country, not just in monetary terms but in terms of kindness, sharing, lending a hand, and giving others opportunity.

Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Miemie Theron @ Rietmark

Posted in Inspirational, Your Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Got outstanding invoices? Here are 8 things you can do

invoice.jpg

Article provided by Xero

It would be nice if you could send an invoice, then sit back and watch the money roll in. But half of all invoices are paid late. And some aren’t paid at all. So how do you handle outstanding invoices?

How to collect money

Some people – like credit control managers, accountants and debt collectors – make a living out of getting invoices paid. Their methods aren’t rocket science. Just a mix of persistence and courage. If you’ve got outstanding invoices, try their techniques. Here are their tips on how to collect money (and many experts recommend starting at number four, by the way).

Write a payment request letter or email

This is your first move when someone is late paying an invoice, so there’s no need to overthink it. Open your note with a polite greeting, quote the invoice number, say when it was due, and ask when you can expect payment. There’s no need to explain what the invoice was for. The details should be on the invoice itself. Keep the letter or email really short.

Send a past due invoice

You could send a past due invoice, which is really just the original invoice with a ‘past due’ stamp on it. Or you could simply re-attach the original invoice to your payment request email, with or without the past due stamp.

Send a statement of accounts

A statement of accounts shows all the outstanding invoices a particular customer has with you. If someone has a few, by all means summarise them into one document or use your accounts software to generate a statement. But don’t expect it to hurry them up unless you follow with a phone call.

Make the dreaded phone call

Businesses that chase late payers by phone tend to get the best results. Customers can always screen your call but, once you have them on the line, it’s hard for them to ignore you. Don’t say too much. They’re the ones who need to do the talking. Just identify what’s overdue, ask when it will be paid, then wait in silence. Don’t get off the phone till they’ve told you when payment will arrive.

Charge a late payment fee on your invoices

You can demand more money if payment is late, but you can’t do it out of the blue. You need a late-fee policy and it must be clearly communicated up front in your payment terms. This is a great reason to get an agreement signed before supplying anything.

Identify late fees on the invoice, too. Don’t make it complicated. Some businesses quote it as a percentage but you’re better off to do the maths for your customer. Say something like:

Total due by 1 June: R100

Total due after 1 June: R110

Write (or call) to tell a customer when they’ve entered late fee territory. You could even offer to waive the fee if the customer pays right away.

Cut them off until outstanding invoices are paid

Why would you keep providing goods or services that you’re not getting paid for? It’s unsustainable. If a customer stops paying, stop filling their orders. And tell them what bills need to be paid before you’ll start supplying them again.

This is an aggressive move and some customers will take offence. You need to be prepared to lose the business to do this.

Hire a debt collector to go after your overdue invoice

Debt collectors have a skill for getting overdue invoices paid. It should cost nothing to put them on a case, but they’ll take 25% or more of the money they collect. This is likely to bring an end to your relationship with the customer so make sure you’ve exhausted all your other options.

Call in the lawyers

If the debt collectors don’t make any progress, then you could go all the way and hire a lawyer. The specific legal action will depend on the type of organisation you’re dealing with. It’s different for sole traders, partnerships and companies. In other words, it can get complex – so use a specialist lawyer. Your debt collector might have in-house legal expertise, or they may introduce you to a lawyer.

If your outstanding invoice stays unpaid

You have a lot of levers for getting paid, but sometimes none of them work. You may get stuck with an unpaid invoice. If that happens, you should write it off so your accounts reflect the lost income. That’s especially important if you’ve already paid tax on the income that was expected. The act of writing it off allows you to claim the tax back.

To reduce your chance of getting caught with an unpaid invoice in the future, consider doing credit checks on prospective customers before agreeing to work with them.

Xero is a proud Partner of the NSBC.

Posted in Your Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marketing Strategies for Tough Times

Recession1.jpg

South Africa entered a recession in the second quarter of 2018, for the first time since 2009.

Should you cancel your marketing plans, batten down the hatches and ride it out? Or should you beef up your promotional efforts and try to generate as much business as possible? These are questions companies have been asking now and for decades.

Maintaining corporate and product brand recognition should be considered an ongoing business investment. The moment it stops, it begins to lose power immediately, and future sales are in jeopardy. Studies have shown it takes four to six months to see the results of an advertising program. Cutting back during a downturn is like throwing away that investment. Maintenance today costs much less than rebuilding tomorrow.

Advertising should be seen as an investment rather than an expense. It is an investment  not only for short-term sales gains, but also for achieving longer term goals and developing brand equity. Strong and consistent advertising reinforces favorable attitudes toward your company and its products.

Data shows there is a direct effect of increasing or decreasing advertising during recessionary periods. The three basic premises are:

  • Advertising creates power. Companies that invest more in advertising over a period of years experience faster growth than those that spend less.
  • Advertising serves to revitalize. Companies that have increased their advertising budget during a recession have recovered more rapidly than their counterparts that have maintained or reduced advertising.
  • Advertising increases the bottom line. Organizations that have continuously increased their advertising investment have enjoyed similar increases in sales.

Here are some strategies that can help a company thrive in a recession economy.

  • Develop a strategic marketing plan. Don’t waste money advertising the wrong message in the wrong place and to the wrong audience.
  • Increase the advertising budget.  If your competitors cut back, your message has the chance to grow stronger.
  • Stay in contact with loyal customers. Keep in touch and let them know what you have to offer.
  • Product introductions. Introduce well-conceived and properly marketed new products when the competition is weak.
  • Sustain awareness. Advertising works cumulatively – remind people frequently about your brand or they’ll forget you.

A recession can help you strengthen the position of your company in your marketplace. Continuing advertising and marketing during a recession may not only be a smart thing to do, it may be a business opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Your Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your big tech guide – the basics you need to launch your business

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to technologies and tools you might need when you’re starting your own business.

Cyber security

Cyber security is not negotiable. Entrepreneurs need to ensure that they are protected from cyber-attacks, which can be detrimental to business continuity. Cyber security can prevent the loss of customer data and data backups.

Accounting cloud-based technology

These cloud-based platforms can help to increase productivity and provide entrepreneurs with real-time information via smartphone apps and the internet. Examples of these are SageXero and GreatSoft Cloud.

Project management tools

Entrepreneurs can create and edit documents online for free by using Google Docs. Tools like Asana and Trello are used for project management, productivity and project tracking. Slack is a team collaboration tool and service that allows you to communicate with staff and share projects.

Digital marketing

Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of the National Small Business Chamber, says all SMEs, no matter how small must professionalise their business.

“A few key things to action would be: a dedicated domain http://www.abctrading.co.za, a dedicated email david@abctrading.co.za, a website, a Facebook/ Instagram page and a Linkedin presence. This enhanced image and presence will allow the SME to be able to secure many more customers and grow top line quicker as seasoned businesses. Companies want to do business with those who take their business seriously and who are perceived to be stable and successful.”

Domain and website hosting

According to Hosting Web, domains can be bought and hosted from companies like AfrihostHetznerAxxess and Domains.co.za.  Website hosting is a type of internet hosting service that allows an individual or company to be visible on the internet.

Fibre and mobile data

The difference between fibre and mobile data is that fibre runs on a physical fibre optic backbone that connects an internet user with the internet. A mobile data connection runs on 3G or LTE and does not require physical cables.

ADSL and fibre are broadband connectivity solutions that use different infrastructure. The two also differ in the amount of speed they can reach. Beware: ADSL and even fibre can suffer from outages; having a mobile connection to fall back on is vital.

Social media

Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer for example let you post and schedule social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Mobile payment solutions

iKhokhaYocoWAPPointSureSwipe and ZipZap are examples of mobile payment options that entrepreneurs can possibly use. You can also make use of SnapScan.

Melissa Javan – freelance journalist and content contributor of the NSBC

Posted in Your Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make every Rietmark lead count

closing-dealsAs part of our commitment to helping local businesses, herewith a few tips to help your business close more deals!

Make a great first impression:
Give your business the best chances from the start with your first contact. Be friendly and accommodating over telephone contact. Ensure that the customer is free to speak or arrange a set time to phone back.

Follow up on your leads:
If you are unable to reach a customer by phone; don’t give up! Try again or send the customer an email stating you would like to quote them and arrange a time to phone back.

Improve your Rietmark advert:
Make use of our FREE design service for monthly, seasonal or periodical changes to your ad. Tell readers what is unique to your business or service. Keep contact details up-to-date.

Close leads by marketing your business:
Your business is your livelihood. So close the deal by making your business the best choice! Make sure you help customers understand why your business is the best for the job.

We hope these tips help your business to be even more successful. We look forward to  your business continuing to grow with Rietmark.

For any further assistance please contact us.

Posted in Your Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment