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Monday, June 15, 2015

Minimize workplace incidents: Create a safe place for employees and customers

Owning or managing a business certainly has its rewards, but it can have its stressful moments too. Not only are you responsible for the needs and satisfaction of your customers and employees, but you are also in charge of keeping them safe from workplace incidents that can result in injury. An injury within in the workplace has the potential to lead to legal trouble so it’s important that you take the steps to prevent such incidents before they occur.

Common employee and customer accidents, such as slip and falls, must be prevented within the interior as well as the exterior of the business. “Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents typically occur because a hazard that has not been cleaned up repaired...in most cases, this is due to the negligence of the property owner,” reports DSSLaw. Whether you are the property owner of the business or the manager, it’s vital you prevent accidents whenever possible.

Most common workplace incidents

In the workplace, the most common work-related injuries are overexertion of the body, falls, slips, and trips, or contact with an object or equipment. The injuries related to these common accidents can range from a minor strain to severe injuries leading to days away from work to a fatality. While thesework-related injuries are preventable and workplaces strive to have a “zero accident” record, thousands of workplace accidents continue to occur each year.

Before you can take steps in the prevention of accidents, it’s important to figure out why such injuries continue to occur. Are employees not following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)? Are they not trained properly? Are you missing safety equipment? Are your employees simply just clumsy? Chances are, it’s a combination of all of these things. Here are ways to make sure your workplace is a safer environment for your employees:

  • Have a safety plan in place: This is a plan that is well-known throughout the workplace, it is clear to all employees, and it detailed on what to do in the event of an injury or accident and how to proceed. Contact OSHA or view some of their samples to make your own plan.
  • Provide proper training, enforce safety: There’s a lot to cover when training a new employee, but safety should definitely covered. Even if you run a small convenience mart, your employees should know how to keep themselves safe. Whether you require safety gear, specific footwear, or other safety implements, make sure it’s enforced consistently.

Keep customer safety in mind

The success of your business can rise and fall with a customer’s experience, including an injury received in or outside of your business. Like employee injuries, slip, trips, and falls are common customer injuries, which means you need to take extra care in making sure your place of business is free from any hazards from puddles on the floor to uneven concrete to bunched up floor mats to cords strewn across the floor.

In addition to making sure your place of business is free of hazards, you should always post signs that clearly indicate a potential hazard. For example, if your floor is wet you must post wet floor signs. If your automatic door suddenly stops working, you are responsible taking quick action to have it repaired while making sure all customers know of any potential dangers involved with an inoperable door.

Keep your successful business running smoothly, make your employee and customer safety a number one priority.

* Image: Shutterstock, copyright: Lee Torrens

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Newsletter: Investment financial instruments

Monday, June 8, 2015

10 things you must include in your will

By David Johnson

Writing a will is one of the most important things anyone needs to do in order to provide for their loved ones. What to include in it is important, as is how to actually state your wishes.

Things to include

Things must be stated and identified clearly. In any kind of complexity it is usually advisable to consult a specialist. However there are a number of things you can be thinking about before getting to that stage:-
  • You can gift particular items to named beneficiaries in your will – jewellery, furniture, family heirlooms, vehicles, investments - anything you own in fact.
  • Appoint guardians in your will for your children. Even if your spouse is alive, you could die together in an accident leaving your children unprotected. For partners who are not married this is especially important – if an unmarried man dies guardianship usually goes to the mother, but the reverse is not true; if an unmarried woman dies her partner does not automatically get guardianship of their children! Appoint each other guardians in your two separate wills.
  • Your home and any other property can be left in the will, but special rules could apply to property you own jointly with someone else, depending on the arrangement.
  • Residual estate – After making all other gifts and legacies, it is important to state what you wish to happen to the remainder of your estate, if any. If you do not, that part of your estate becomes subject to the laws of intestacy.
  • You can also will money or assets to specified charities.
  • Choose and specify your executor well, and a substitute. They can be a relative or friend, but consider if they are sufficiently good at handling administration matters and large payments.
  • Finally you must sign it before two independent witnesses, who are not mentioned in the will and not the spouse of anyone mentioned.

What needs other arrangements

While dealing with all that, consider also what matters will not be covered by the will and make arrangements for them:
  • A company pension scheme, for one thing. If you die while in the company’s service death benefits will usually be paid at the discretion of the scheme trustees. So you must inform the trustees regarding your wishes as to who should benefit. Failure to do that will mean the money reverts to your estate.
  • Life assurance policies made in trust – contact the insurance company to ensure the money will go to the right person.
  • Next consider if your home is worth more than the threshold for inheritance tax, currently £325,000. There are various ways to avoid it, including giving gifts up to £3000 a year; giving larger amounts - but for these you must survive for 7 years afterward; and putting assets into trust.

Keeping up to date

Remember also that future changes of circumstances may alter matters, especially events such as marriage (which generally cancels an existing will), having children, divorce, or the death of one of your beneficiaries. Be ready to make changes to your will if needed.

The above information applies in England. The rules differ in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

About the author: David Johnson is the owner of Asset Wills, an Essex will writing company who specialise in writing, protecting and executing wills on behalf of their clients.

Image: Author owned and licensed

Friday, June 5, 2015

How local businesses can get good online reviews that boost business

SEO Training - ClickMinded.com
By Michelle Rubio

Online reviews are today’s version of the classic word of mouth, but exponentially faster and with a wider reach which is why it is very important to make sure that what is written about your products or services in the reviews is positive and accurate. Having good online reviews is vital to your online marketing strategy, especially if your business is in an industry where most of the competition have online reviews. If your listing has less positive online reviews relative to your competitors, your online visibility may be adversely affected.

A Harvard Business School study points out the impact of online reviews to your business, “a restaurant that boosts its Yelp score by one full star can see revenues increase 5 to 9 percent.” Although you have absolutely no control over what customers would write about you, being proactive when it comes to your local business’ online reputation management helps ensure that you have enough positive reviews to offset the not so good ones. Here are some tips on how your local business can gain positive online reviews to help your SEO ranking and, of course, your business revenue.

Make your customers happy

Start with the basics. Offer quality products and services and reinforce this with excellent customer service. Do not ignore customer feedback about your products and make sure that you quickly respond when there are concerns. When you make your customers happy and deliver exactly what they want at the least, you are sure to earn great online reviews.

Ask your customers for reviews

Ask and you shall receive. It only takes a gentle reminder to get a great online review if you were able to successfully make your customers genuinely happy with your product or service. Right after they have enjoyed your product or service, politely ask your customers to leave an online review and inform them how good reviews can help your business grow and continue providing them your products or services.

Make it easy for them to leave a review

Make it as convenient as possible for customers to leave online reviews and you will be receiving more and more. You can give your customers the URL to the review site where they can provide their comments. Include a clickable link on your email newsletter or social media post. You can also print QR codes that will direct customers straight to the review site on product packaging, display sheets, or posters that customers can scan using their mobile devices.

Offer incentives

Many businesses include online reviews in their customer loyalty programs. To entice your customers to leave good online reviews, you can offer them some incentives such as a freebie, discount, coupon, or extra service once they have left a review about your business. Let your customers know that they are not being forced into providing a positive comment about your business, that you will appreciate an honest to goodness feedback from them.

Boost your online presence

Build your online presence in various social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter and connect with your customers on a regular basis. Constant engagement with your online audience is a great way to strengthen customer loyalty and encourage your followers to interact with you, and this includes leaving online reviews. If you need to undergo SEO training to help you implement effective online marketing strategies, there are various online courses that will help you become more knowledgeable about internet marketing and how it can greatly benefit your business.

Provide quick response to negative reviews

Negative reviews are not always a bad thing. In fact, negative feedback can provide your business with the opportunity to show that you value and implement good customer service. When you receive reviews from unsatisfied customers, contact the reviewer and ask them about their experience with your product or service. Offer them ways to help fix the issue, such as offering a free product replacement or a refund.

About the author: Michelle Rubio is an experienced SEO copywriter and blogger since 2010. She has been working with various businesses, big and small, in the United States, UK, and Australia. You can see more of her works and experiences in her LinkedIn profile.

Images: 1. Highways England/Flickr; CC BY 2.0; 2. SocialAutomotive/Flickr, CC BY 2.0; Frederick MD Publicity/Flickr, CC BY 2.0