An employee every employer desires

Getting a job is usually the first step of a long journey. The entirety of the trip is rolled out for you when you fit the capacity in which you are expected to operate.

Fitting here relates to being that kind of employee whose services are needed, simply because there is enough evidence to prove that you are indispensable.

This then brings to fore the necessary expertise one should be endowed with if such an employee desires longevity in the office.

READ ALSO: Office automation in the 21st Century

Modern trends in employment demand that a wannabe employee should be as versatile as possible, though calls for specialization in a particular field cannot be ignored.

Your potential boss is looking for someone who can bring in more than is taken out; that is to say, the cost of hiring you should be superseded by the revenue gains you would bring to the business.

Anything short of this, and you could be “just another employee”.

Granted; you have passed the necessary interviews and tests, and you are ready to begin work.

The first few months could be rather “suffocating”. There is a brand to promote and project to both new and existing clients, as well as several other standards to be maintained.

That initial impression you give your boss could be your ticket – to either the higher echelons of power or to your way out.

Your two options – either firing on all cylinders in a bid to prove your worth or gradually worming your way into the “way things are done here”, would invariably determine your fate.

The ultimate aim of every job seeker is settle in an organization that would provide an enabling environment for maximum output.

This stems from the need to be tagged as productive in the workplace, as such a trend of events would culminate into the ultimate dream – reaching that office, earning that salary or driving that car.

At the end of the day, it is your boss, upon whose recommendation you may reach that height.

But then, there is a catch. You are definitely not the only one with such a desire; there are probably several others in the same unit, department, office, company or even industry with such a yearning.

How do you rise above the crowd? The answer is as short as the question – do what no else does.

There is a thin line between stepping on toes to get to your destination and truly rising above the masses with a clean slate of conscience.

The balancing act between impressing your boss for personal gains and maintaining that bond with fellow workers requires an innate skill few can exhibit.

Knowing how to play your cards right can propel you to heights previously thought of as unattainable.

READ ALSO: Your dream team

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Office automation in the 21st Century

The 21st century brought with it advancements in technology that have transformed the world further into an interconnected unit that spread out far and wide.

With a number of electronic gadgets at your disposal, it is possible to transact business across the world.

The internet, working in union with a number of hardware devices enables the corporate executive to, in the comfort of the office, execute tasks that would have, in previous times, been possible only by physical contact.

READ ALSO: Side-stepping Conflict of Interest at the office

Modern equipment like computers, telephones, printers, scanners and photocopy machines provide a heavy dose of relief to the corporate worker since they enhance the speed of work, efficiency and an overall increase in output.

A recent innovative strategy is to network a number of these devices to form a Local Area Network (LAN) that would enable one to work with a sense of coordinated speed.

A typical networked corporate unit with several branches spread across the length and breadth of a country, a continent, or even the world, puts in place modern electronic devices that assist in the performance of duties.

Various forms of software and hardware are employed when it becomes necessary to link up all departments or components of an office; programmes like Microsoft’s Office Suite with its components come in handy to help in office duties.

Depending on the nature of work done in the office, levels of complexity of electronic gadgets vary from business to business.

A sole proprietor may need a phone, a computer, internet access and books to record transactions.

These basic assets could assist the entrepreneur to propel the business to higher heights.

Other forms of equipment may come in as time goes on, but those become auxiliary since they only come in to complement the tasks that the previously listed items may execute.

Getting an office in shape could happen in various ways and at different times.

Taking into consideration the urgency behind the acquisition of equipment, a business unit may either choose to completely furnish its new office with items to assist in work, even before business activities start or it could, as a matter of urgency, get the basic necessities before work starts, so that other items are acquired as the business makes progress.

Either way, attention to business and the needs of clients should be held in high esteem, regardless of available devices.

Customers may switch attention to competing products and services when they come to realize that, behind the initial enthusiastic note work started on, are signals for the return to drab ways of doing things.

The customer is king, and as such pays little attention to the reasons behind the dismal performance of an office unit; excuses such as unavailability of tools to get work done might not assist the goodwill of the business; they may switch attention elsewhere. Getting an office in shape for business requires less of flamboyance and more of practicality.

The customer who is sufficiently impressed with efforts to please despite obvious challenges may stay, as compared to the one who believes in being underserved despite apparent resources that could enhance output.

READ ALSO: Wanted: More leaders; less managers

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You know you are an entrepreneur when…

Entrepreneurship is the current buzzword in the business community. With several reasons to give upon request, many have saddled themselves with the responsibility of trying to create something new; something that would stimulate one form of reward or the other.

The onerous task of designing a preferred future, as a product of entrepreneurship is fully realized when one understands all the intricacies of the task ahead.

Entrepreneurship becomes a pleasure when the daunting task ahead is executed with a degree of optimism, knowing that the risk-return factors would pay off in the end.

READ ALSO: Will the customer keep you in mind?

The decision to start and maintain your own business should be the product of a series of observations and conclusions that could pave way for your financial independence.

We all wish to be rich, retire young and basically live a comfortable live. That desire may be realized when one has passed the basic litmus test of entrepreneurship, which amongst other issues stimulates responses to the under-listed questions:

1. Are you ready to fully commit yourself to the task in mind or you wish to work part – time?

2. Are you ready to primarily commit personal resources (whether financial or human) in a bid to realize your dreams?

3. Are you ready to accommodate others and their opinions in the course of business?

4. Are you ready to share profits and losses with others you work with, as they come up?

5. Are you ready to patiently wait for months or even years, before that which you have in mind is reflected in reality?

Attempting responses to these questions and several others indicates your desire to take charge of your life and act when and how you want to.

The core task of an entrepreneur is to identify and maximize opportunities that are hidden in hitherto untapped avenues of commerce and industry.

Entrepreneurial opportunities are often described as limited because there seem to no new or unique ideas to exploit, and that stance presents a paradox; ignorance of an opportunity vis-à-vis disinterest in venturing into a seemingly mundane area of activity.

The obvious truth is that inasmuch as there seem to be no new opportunities (which is far from the truth), your ability to present your option as unique from the rest available to the potential client sparks an interest in your line of work.

The basic details might be just as is known in the market, but then there is something special about yours.

21st century thinking calls for ingenuity. It demands from an entrepreneur a strategy that can push the business to the apex in the industry.

It calls for alignment with modern trends that should prickle the interest of the customer.

You can’t afford to be like the rest; It is too dangerous a decision to make.

READ ALSO: Funding your business; options available

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Will the customer keep you in mind?

Your customer is the prime reason you are in business. This is the driving principle that fuels success in any line of trade, since revenue from sales would definitely add to the growth of the business.

It then becomes imperative to do everything possible to keep the customer. Keeping your customer focused on you alone, with regard to what you are engaged in, calls for a skill that few entrepreneurs possess; it is that same skill that aids their climb to the top.

No matter the kind of business, there is a potential patron out there. Making available to the customer what is needed in a stress – free manner shoots up your status amongst your peers.

READ ALSO: A burning desire; the case of the African entrepreneur

Your customer prefers comfort; certainly not the grueling stress one has to go through to get simple items, and that is where your trump card comes in.

Simply give them what they want at their own convenience, and they would find you wherever you are.

Consumer psychology is a science that is still at work today. We all have a soft spot for comfort; we always wish we can get all we want with as little effort as possible.

The smart entrepreneur is the one who takes advantage of this notion and perfects it to stimulate opportunities for business.

You would always be your customers favourite if you obey three simple rules: Quality goods and services, low prices and purchasing convenience.

Even with the most mundane of wares available for sale, your customer would find it difficult to switch attention if you play to their comfort.

The quality of what you have to offer would play a key role in your general outlook of your business.

Good quality ensures protected goodwill for your business; “quality” would always be associated with what you have. In that sense, whatever you represent is described as the right choice.

Pricing is a key determinant of business success. Knowing how to price your goods and services would decide your fate on the market.

The consumer is definitely price – conscious and, depending on your target market, you can either fail or succeed in your bid.

Some customers revel in being associated with luxury items which usually command high prices; other would settle for rock – bottom prices because that is what they can afford.

Purchasing convenience relates to the level of comfort the customer enjoys when patronizing your wares.

Do they have to walk to you or do you deliver it at their doorstep?

Do they have to endure long sessions of bureaucratic procedures when accessing your services or they can deal with all you have to offer in a number of minutes?

How fast can you get products and services they need, but you don’t readily have?

After sales services?

Your customer would always think of you first if you place their needs at the top of your priority list.

With a little effort, you can attract and keep the desired customers for what you have to sell.

READ ALSO: Funding your business; options available

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The nitty-gritty of business contracts

Every business unit, from sole proprietorships to fully-fledged public corporations usually comes into contact with one form of contractual arrangements or the other.

Once another individual or even business assumes a role in the setup, there is usually the need for a type of contractual agreement, usually in order to either establish precedence with regard to the execution of duties or to clearly define a manner in which every aspect of the business is to be carried out.

Contractual relationships come in many forms and types and it’s imperative that ground rules are set prior to the invitation of another party into the business.

READ ALSO: …and the merchants came to town

A contract in very simple terms is “an agreement intended to be legally binding and supported by consideration”.

It’s simply “an agreement that legally binds the parties”. This accounts for the reason why an affected party could pursue justice in a court of law if there is enough evidence to prove that there has been a deviation from the pre-arranged terms of the contract.

A contract becomes valid the moment there is an OFFER and an ACCEPTANCE. This implies that once both parties have agreed to pursue a business agenda, a contractual relationship materializes, even if the agreement hasn’t been documented.

This brings to light the expected prerequisites of a contract. There is a need to ensure that:

  • There is consensus (or agreement) between the two parties
  • Both parties are in the required capacity to execute the deal. By capacity, it implies that neither of them is 1. A minor or infant 2. An alien 3. Drunk or mentally – disordered
  • There is consideration, which is the act of giving out goods and services in exchange or money or a promise. Consideration is “the price for which a promise is bought”.
  • The contractual arrangement is formal. This relates to the fact that it should be a carefully worded agreement, but not one that is merely “exchanged” without caution with regard to the details.
  • It’s legal. An illegal contract is never enforceable in a court of law.
  • Intentions are clearly spelt out. Any omission that is later brought up in the course of operations is deemed to be void, since it tends to change pertinent elements in the contract.

Any formal business contract without any of these six elements fails to live up to be description of a contract, and as such becomes voidable.

Once you decide to start a business, or even accept employment in an existing business unit, care must be taken with regard to the minutest detail, lest you are

caught in a whirlwind of legalities you may not be prepared for. Contractual relationships are all around us; it behooves on us to carefully analyze and make prudent decisions when the need be.

READ ALSO: The task of taxes

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Side-stepping Conflict of Interest at the office

One of the primary reasons why people seek employment is to support the basic economic functions they need to perform.

Some desire a consistent source of income to assist in the upkeep of a family; others need money to acquire basic necessities in life, but all in all, a form of employment serves both needs for many.

Once at the workplace, the employee is tasked with duties that aid in the progress of work, and this effort is appropriately rewarded at the end of the month or any other pre – arranged time frame.

READ ALSO: Wanted: More leaders, less managers

Under normal circumstances, the terms of remuneration are explicitly discussed prior to the commencement of duties, hence one knows what to expect when time is due for payment.

With such a mechanism in place, the employee, deemed to be appropriately remunerated as per rank and other factors, is expected to exhibit characteristics that would ensure the promotion of integrity at the workplace, and one setback to this line of action is a typical conflict of interest situation one may find him or herself in.

Conflict of interest (COI) is simply the blurring of the line between what is personal and what is professional in the execution of duties.

This arises when there is a tendency for the promotion of personal interests either at the workplace or in the line of duties or both.

The employee; before, during or after employment may be linked to other instances that may corrode the quality of input at the workplace.

COI appears in three forms: Actual, Apparent or Potential. Actual COI refers to a real or existing case where the employee finds him or herself embroiled in cases like nepotism that may affect the quality of decisions at the workplace.

Apparent COI creates the impression that there is the likelihood of a typical COI situation, though it may not have actually happened yet.

Potential COI relates to the existence of private benefits that may create opportunities for COI if the employee in question decides to take advantage of the situation for private benefit, but it may not have happened yet.

COI situations often arise because the individual appears to be trapped between two opposing decisions of either professionally executing pre–assigned duties or bending low to serve a personal gain.

This relates to workers in both private and public enterprises as they both have various opportunities to bend their actions to serve personal interests that may arise in the line of duties. Several examples of COI exist, and outlined below are a few of them:

a. Using official advantages or opportunities for private gains

b. Using confidential information for the promotion of personal interests

c. Using one’s official capacity to influence the decisions of co – workers in a bid to realize personal gains

d. Either using or allowing the use of public property for private gains.

e. Soliciting for, and or accepting gifts that may influence decisions to be made in official capacities.

The official duties required to be performed at the workplace are separate and distinct from private activities that may direct some forms of benefits to the worker.

And this behooves on all and sundry to ensure that any act or set of activities that would negatively affect official duties to be carried out are done away with, as the provisions of employment did not create room for such private activities.

COI is so real and prevalent in several business units, both private and public, and it is in that regard that caution should be exercised wherever one is engaged ion in work, lest the unexpected occurs.

READ ALSO: Your dream team

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