While retail businesses are entering a time when they need all hands on deck, not every small business requires the physical presence of their staff during the holidays, and in fact may benefit in terms of improving employee loyalty and morale from implementing a more flexible work schedule that can allow their employees to spend more time with their families and loved ones. The balance between personal direction and freedom and productivity is one that small business owners need to think about directly, as more freedom can lead to retaining better talent, but too much lenience can create the issue of insufficient communications and missed deadlines. Create a structured process for taking time to work remotely. Provided that your employees aren’t going on vacation, but are committing to working from home during part of the holiday season, you should think in advance in order to define the priority of assignments that you give them and make steps towards allowing them to be both flexible and accountable.

With the holidays here, small business owners aren’t only making sales; some are making purchases of gifts for staff, business partners and mentors. When it comes to picking a perfect, business appropriate gift, there are a few elements that should influence the type of gift that you get, those being the level of familiarity you have with the recipient, their relationship to you and your business, and how much you know about their personal preferences. Giving a gift during the holidays, even a small gift, demonstrates your commitment to a successful relationship and can be a nice way to show your partners that you value them. The gift you get should reflect your relationship with the recipient. The more time you spend with someone, the more you start to pick up on their personal preferences. When it comes to buying gifts, you can use all that you have observed to help you purchase a gift that reflects their tastes on a deeper level. When you work

  Small businesses are often labors of love, with one of the primary reasons entrepreneurs become self-employed being that they value the freedom it affords them to manage their time and pursue their passions. In fact, according to a Manta survey, slightly over half the respondents listed independence as their number one job perk. This independence can be a double edged sword, however, since it is up to business owners to sustain their own enthusiasm for what it is that they are doing and not let themselves become discouraged Learn to perceive and contextualize your successes. One problem that can get in the way of small business owners moving forwards is a perception that they aren’t doing as well as they should be, often stemming from self critical and perfectionist tendencies that can be common among those who chose to manage their own livelihoods. One way to manage expectations and feelings of success is to become adept at creating and managing the realization of goals in

  In an article from Fox Business, tips were shared from author T.D. Jakes on how business owners can create a more successful mindset for themselves. One of the tips in particular mentioned that business in the modern day should no longer be considered from a single perspective, instead business owners should strive to think of how to extend the reach of their business past their own social norms and into a truly global arena. Your social island is comprised of the circles that you keep, and if you are unable to move past the social boundaries that you have set for yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously, How can you grow your perspective past the familiar? Business owners seeking to apply a wider perspective to the development of their businesses have a multitude of options for gaining more information and insight. For one thing, by using free tools such as Google Alerts, small business owners can begin to broaden their base of influences and stay tuned

  The Thanksgiving holiday comes in the midst of one of the busiest times to be a business owner. The rush of planning that takes place going into the holiday season is one that can seriously drain the time resources that would otherwise be dedicated to family time. Fortunately, small business owners can manage their family and business commitments if they plan strategically. Take travel time into account if you are visiting family. The time that it takes you to go to and from your final Thanksgiving destination is important to factor in to your planning. You may be tempted to project an optimistic number when allowing for time spent traveling, but be aware that you may encounter holiday traffic depending on your area and the weather. It’s better to allow yourself a bit of cushion rather than lose your cool while trapped in a traffic jam because you will miss a meeting you scheduled too close to the holiday. If you must be productive while

The spookiness of Halloween has passed, and the next major holiday to come is Thanksgiving, a day of taking time to think on all that you have to be grateful for, especially those things that you may have begun to take for granted. Business owners are among those who should be the most receptive to this idea, since in business, the stress of the day to day can often overshadow the major milestones that entrepreneurs accomplish. Taking the time to bask in the glow of accomplishment is something that can get cut short by the arrival of your next task or even the appearance of a sudden setback, so the fact that there is a whole holiday devoted to positive self reflection is something that business owners should readily embrace. Beyond Thanksgiving, remembering to be thankful for what you have and have accomplished is simply a healthy thing to do, allowing you to be more realistic about where you stand in relation to your short

Running a small business, you will quickly realize the value of your finite resources, time and money. While both are essential to manage, your business will ideally be able to make more money, but no matter what you do, there is no way that you can regain even a moment once it has been spent. While this is somewhat of a negative thought, it doesn’t have to be. Rather, you should embrace the challenge of taking the time that you are given and making it work for you to the best of your ability. Remember that you get the same twenty-four hours each day that have been given to moguls of the business world, and it is up to you to use them in the best way you can. What do you spend time on during the day already? The first step to a better level of appreciation and management of your time is through auditing the ways you already spend it to determine what are

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

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

  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

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