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

The way that a business works in the modern day is pretty much the same conceptually since the first business. Ideally, you will provide a good or service to your customer, and if they are happy with what they get they will tell others about it, which, combined with your own efforts, will bring in more business. Straightforward and familiar as this concept is, the tools that are being used to effect this result have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, with the ubiquity of the internet and the rise of mobile technology and social media effecting the basic communication habits of the majority of the population. Social media is the number one activity on the internet, and mobile continues to grow in use and importance to marketers. If your small business is not taking advantage of technology and social media (which is usually free), then you are missing out on a whole lot of potential, but beyond that, you may be allowing your

  A recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek assessed the situation in the US regarding maternity leave and other benefits for expecting mothers in the workforce. The situation is not great, with Papua New Guinea the only other country with no guaranteed leave for the care of newborn children, and only 5% of American companies offering fully paid maternity leave, according to the article. When it comes to small businesses, even less is being done, since businesses that are under 50 employees technically don’t have to provide maternity leave at all to their employees. Are business owners overestimating the value of maternity leave? The value of maternity leave in terms of hard currency may be less than the positive value that comes with being flexible. In an environment where many businesses are reporting having problems finding and keeping top tier talent, playing up the flexibility advantage that comes along with a smaller business setting is a prudent move. It is better to plan in advance to cover

Small business owners fight hard for their customers, and because of this, they often develop strong personal relationships with them that can last for years. However, one error that small business owners sometimes make is assuming that their customers will support them indefinitely, slacking on their efforts to attract new business and build the reach of their brand. Falling into the trap of working with a single big customer to the detriment of others is something that can befall business owners when they are trying to win a large client with great service, and in the same way that can happen, a group of regular customers can diffuse a business owner’s resolve to acquire new clients. If you lose a major customer, how much of your revenues would disappear? Look at your numbers and determine just how big a portion of your business is represented by your best customers. The larger the share, the more important it is that you cover yourself by attracting more. A

Vision refers to something that goes beyond the ability to plan for the next month, and far beyond the normal day to day routine of your business. It’s the ability to project the values and role of your business in your community into the future, and knowing what those values are. Successful businesses are often able to grow not only because of the practical business knowledge put into their development, but also because the vision behind the business is big enough to grow beyond being important to a single entrepreneur and involve a whole team, then eventually a whole community. Even if your vision is to simply create a place in your neighborhood that will be there for future generations to appreciate, that vision should factor in to the way that you manage your business and set goals in the short term. What is the vision that you have for your business? Where do you see yourself in five years from now? If the answer is

The Fall season continues on, with the specter of colder temperatures ever approaching and the memory of last Winter’s polar vortex fresh in the minds of many small business owners all over the country. While the thought may be grim to some, business owners have no choice but to prepare as best they can to meet with unpredictable business patterns ranging from glacially slow to unpredictable boom. In an article on, a few case studies were looked at, from an auto-body shop preparing for a surge in accidents on icy roads, to a gym planning on opening new locations as well as a home healthcare service planning for sever weather in advance. Business owners need to account for the possibility of greater demand, or on the flip-side being forced to remain productive while snowed in. Review the numbers from last Winter. What happened last Winter is a likely indicator of how things stand to go this year assuming that there is a similarly enduring cold

When running a business with bad credit, making something out of nothing is a skill that can come very much in handy, especially when it comes to marketing which can be very expensive when left to third party agencies. Bad credit business financing means knowing where you have to spend and where you can scale back, and fortunately for small business owners, there is a lot of functionality that they can tap into without tapping into their cash flows if they know where to look and what to do with what they have. Be open to potential new technologies. In order to begin adopting new free technology, you have to know how to find it. Millennial employees are often a great source of ideas pertaining to a business’s use of technology, since they are usually pretty well acquainted with the use of tech in their daily lives. One example of a technology that was popularized by millennials becoming a platform for savvy marketing is Snapchat, a temporary

Millennials are the newest generation entering the workforce, and thanks to their unique perspectives on everything from social issues to technology, they represent a potentially powerful force for managers to harness towards greater business productivity. While some ideas that millennials have, such as what is more important, business or the time they spend on themselves, have managers wary, by re-framing the relationship between millennial employees and their work, business owners can ensure that they get the most out of their employees in terms of productivity and the high energy that young staff members bring to a team. Ask them what more they could be doing. Millennials are just beginning their careers, and are generally eager to please as well as learn new skills and take on challenges. Leaving a millennial employee in the corner with a stack of papers is a surefire way to have them become disengaged, but by contrast, giving them a clear directive with instructions then making space for them to execute their

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