Halloween is here, and at Horizon we’re celebrating, as well as our small business customers. It’s a great holiday, and for business owners there are a whole lot of reasons to love it. Here are five that business owners can embrace as they enjoy the special day. 1) It’s the beginning of the holidays. The holiday season is generally the start of retailers strongest sales months, and Halloween is just the beginning, with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, not to mention last minute shopping days all on the horizon. 2) It’s a chance to lay the groundwork for future sales. The positive impression you make during Halloween selling is a chance to lay the groundwork for a relationship that matures during the holiday shopping season! That’s one of the reasons why business owners should relish the chance to take part in the spooky fun of the holiday, and make the experience of Halloween in their communities that much more memorable. 3) You can

We love our family and friends, but when it comes to running a business, the stress of the situation has the potential to throw a serious monkey wrench into important relationships. If you are sure that you want to go into business with someone who is close to you, making sure that you take pains to minimize the risk and mitigate the potential for disputes down the road is of the essence, lest you find yourself short of both a business and your business partner. The good thing about having someone you are close with on your team is that you already have a strong rapport, trust each other and share passion that can be explosive behind the right idea. Whether your intention is to turn your business into a family business that can last for generations, or to turn a longtime dream you’ve shared with a friend into a reality, make sure that you cover yourselves against every chance of conflict. While you will

Research studies at the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways indicate that employees who ate healthy meals and exercised regularly showed higher job performance and lower absenteeism. Workers who maintained a healthy diet throughout the day were 25% more likely to perform better on the job. Those that exercised for at least 30 minutes three times a week were 15% more likely to be more productive at work. Carter Coberley, vice president of Health Research and Outcomes at Healthways, noted that well-being is gaining recognition as an important measure that relates not only to the quality of life for the individual but also to financial measures that are important to businesses. This is seen in the direct correlation between the health and well-being of employees and employee absence and job performance. The study was based on data collected from geographically dispersed US companies and was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. What

Small business Saturday, falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is the small business answer to slashed prices at big box stores created by American Express in an effort to boost awareness of local businesses and their contributions to the economy. Local business owners should take advantage of the social media campaigning that Amex invests in to promote Small Business Saturday, which continues to grow nationally. When combined with a positive forecast for this year’s holiday spending, both in brick and mortar locations and online, business owners would do well to remember the date, November 29th this year, and prepare for it by rallying their neighborhoods and other local business owners to get on board. Plan a promotion. A discount is what your customers will be expecting, so get ready now preparing a door-buster that will bring business to your location. Think of something that is popular and can be discounted without your business taking a loss, since this item may be the purchase that inspires your

  Social media has come a long way since the creation of Myspace and Facebook, to the point that it is a nearly ubiquitous global phenomenon, connecting people and cultures in a melting pot of digital interaction. Heavy hitters in the social media arena arena such as Facebook, with around 1.23 Billion currently active users, have been around for a while and the millennial generation who were among the first to adopt the technology have now been using the platform for around a decade, meaning that there is a user base on the network that is long standing and entrenched, but that does not meant that the platform itself is immune to challenges, and lately the latest round of networks have been making waves as they sound a challenge to long dominant brands in the space. A movement towards privacy and quality of experience. Social media has entered a phase of its growth where it has gone from being a trendy new technology to something that is

When running a business you will ideally be working with complementary personalities, and during the hiring process you can screen for qualities like attitude and fit within your organization. Even so, you still might wind up with two equally effective employees with personalities that don’t mesh very well. The ability of your business to function smoothly is contingent on employee cooperation, and when you need something to get done and must rely on your business’s version of the odd couple to take care of it, some management finesse may be in order. In general it is better to create a framework of cooperation that can help you avoid employee disputes, since taking the time to resolve an open conflict can be a serious time-sink. Clearly delegate responsibility and stay open to communications. People will often begin to squabble when there is a lack of clarity surrounding what they are working on, which is why goal setting followed up by open communications is the key to getting

Student loans can be a double edged sword, on the one hand allowing students to pursue higher education and obtain skills that can fuel the success of their careers, at the price of large amounts of debt at a young age that can be very difficult to overcome, especially if there is no way to refinance the debt into a more manageable package. For young entrepreneurs, managing debt while building a business means being strong at defining priority and having an understanding of what parts of your business need to grow in order to support others. Employee management can also be a challenge, since if you are not managing millennial employees, there is a chance that your relative lack of experience can make it tougher to lead managers in the middle or endgame of their careers. While it can be disheartening to contend with the challenges of business management while managing debt, through identifying priorities, carefully managing collections and trusting in the effectiveness of your

The Ebola virus possesses qualities that make it a potentially major threat if not contained. According to the World Health Organization’s fact sheet on Ebola, it is a virus transmitted from wild animals to humans which then becomes transmittable from person to person via body fluids. There no known cure for Ebola, and the fatality rate for the disease can vary greatly by outbreak, from 25% to 90%. While Ebola has not become a major issue in the US, it has already killed many people in the current outbreak in East Africa, and with individuals who are either sick with the virus or have come into contact with it being reported in major cities including New York and Dallas, the media and the American public have taken a major notice of the virus, affecting small businesses and their employees in turn. Understanding the true nature of the virus is important both for prevention and for maintaining order on a community level. Through education on the real

The first impression that you make is an incredibly powerful and long lasting thing. Whether for good or for bad, people will arrive at assumptions in a short period of time that can be hard to shake going forward, making it much more practical for a business owner to try and take charge of the first interactions they have with clients through a smooth onboarding process as opposed to possibly fighting an uphill battle after a rocky start. While a first impression is a major factor in creating a relationship, the follow up is also highly important. Did you make a great impression on your client, and now they are excited to work with you? Great, then you need to actively take steps to preserve that goodwill so that it has the potential to ripen into more business, positive reviews and potentially ever referrals for more business. The ability to gain referrals is especially important for your business’s ability to continue growing. Having a stable client

Texting is a form of communication that, while it might elicit an eye roll from purists, has become a ubiquitous feature of our culture in a relatively short period of time. Not only that, but thanks to the prominence of mobile technology, text messages more often than not are opened and read by recipients as soon as they are received. Because of this, business owners can use them to effectively deliver news about limited time offers or other deals to their customers using a medium that is cheap enough to fine tune through a little trial and error. With an opt-in, text message lists can become highly effective tools for reaching targeted groups of customers. Through a double opt in process, you can begin to create a list of numbers for customers interested in being directly contacted regarding limited time offers and deals for your business. Using multiple venues for capturing customer information, from your website, sign ups in you location, as well as through other

TOP css.php