For some small business owners, taking care of their business is such a high priority that at times they can forget to take better care of themselves. Where this can become particularly evident is in the dietary choices that they make. When pressed for time, it can be tempting and all too easy to simply order takeout, or grab a doughnut off of a snack tray, but this is not going to do you any favors in the long run. Eating a healthy and balanced diet has benefits that go far beyond your waistline; it can improve your energy and mood and even help you live longer. This guide isn’t going to prescribe you with a miracle diet, rather provide you with some suggestions that you can use to make better choices and work with your on the go lifestyle. Switch to whole grains. Whenever possible, go for whole grain products as opposed to bleached flour. While some people prefer the texture and flavor of white

As a business owner, whether you like it or not you are a public figure. As a public figure, you and your business are going to appear on the internet at some point, whether in self managed ways such as through the creation of personal and business related social media accounts, or in others, including user submitted reviews on rating and local listing websites. It’s these latter ways that things can get scary and unpredictable, and when a bad review or some negative press appears out of the ether, it’s really frustrating to think that an anonymous person has created something that can potentially damage your livelihood. Digital reputation management can be achieved by a combination of methods. There are a few components that make up your online reputation. The first is ultimately how you act and how your business operates in the real world. If you are getting a ton of complaints about an aspect of your business on the internet, you might need to face

We have often said that relationships are the key to successful business. Creating strong alliances with people who you can trust to be there for you makes doing the tough job of managing an enterprise that much easier. Keeping things easy is only one aspect of what makes relationships important, however. Small business owners should also consider the fact that they can actually save money by promoting stable long term  relationships with their vendors. The vendors who supply your business with the essential products that it needs to function should be considered to be more than just people who sell you things you need. Look at your vendors as an extension of your business. Just like the equipment you use to be productive and the employees you coach to perform their best, the vendor relationships you have should be actively maintained. Stronger vendor relationships save time. For one thing, it takes time to shop around. Comparing and contrasting pricing, product quality and customer support all take time and

In the hierarchy of importance of departments, customer service is often not given the prominence that it deserves, especially when a growing business has to put sales, accounting and marketing at the forefront in order to create the revenues needed to sustain growth. Customer service improvements can get put on hold during scrambles to expand, but not paying enough attention to these areas is a big mistake for growing businesses lest they find themselves with a growing client base and no means to appease them should things go wrong (and something will always go wrong). So what is a small business owner to do? How can you create satisfactory customer service practices without taking away from building the other aspects of your business? Here are some suggestions for developing a customer service experience that will keep your customers happy and coming back for more. If you lack a dedicated customer service department, plan to create one. Right off the bat, if you don’t have a customer

There are so many components that go into the management of a small business, each one of them vitally important in their own ways. However, one of the most important by far is the physical location of a small business (assuming that it has one). Where your business is actually located can make a big difference on what kind of foot traffic it will get, what times will be the most busy and who will be passing by. Another big potential impact is the rent that you are paying and the agreements that you have signed into the lease. Here’s what small business owners need to consider before they sign a lease for a brick and mortar location. Don’t put the cart before the horse. If you aren’t ready to get started doing business out of your location, don’t sign a lease. Often, small business owners will find a location that they fall in love with, but don’t have inventory or any clientele, yet sign a

Small business owners often have wildly varying opinions on Yelp. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a great tool that can help them to gain exposure and connect with their local customers, or an unfair playing field wherein a single negative review can hurt business and exposure is meted out to those who are willing to pay for it. Regardless of your opinion on it, Yelp is poised to partner with Yahoo in an attempt to bolster their local search game, as currently, Yelp is the major player in local business listings. In truth, small business owners should loan attention to their Yelp profiles regardless, as they are a potentially major source of referral business. Now that Yahoo is getting into the mix, the exposure that Yelp profiles get is poised to increase as Yahoo funnels their share of web traffic into the site. Get your business’s profile up to snuff now, and your business may stand to benefit from the strategic partnership. Fill

As you may or may not be excited about, Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching. For some small business owners, the day is little more than a reminder of love through a barrage of candy hearts and pink and red decorations, but to others, particularly in retail and certain types of service based businesses, the day can represent a big sales day, and deserves to have business owners loan time to preparing for it. While getting new business in the door on Valentine’s day is important, small business owners should think a step ahead and not only try to post bigger numbers the day of Valentine’s day, but also give their new customers a reason to create a long term relationship with their service. Attract Valentine’s day traffic by accentuating your business’s appeal. Bringing people in on Valentines’ day is easier when you give them a deal. Fear of losing out is a classic factor in closing sales, and a limited edition product or offer can help

Business owners who are planning new product releases or are trying to make sure they are getting a good deal from their current suppliers must loan enough time from their busy schedules in order to ensure that they are finding a good deal. In order to make it easier for them to get started shopping around,  we’ve put together a top five list of the most helpful tips for finding and negotiating with a supplier. Think locally. When looking for a supplier, one who is on the other side of the country is going to have to charge you higher shipping costs, raising the price of the product you are purchasing. It’s better to find a local supplier, if possible. Start out by using your network of business contacts to see if someone you know has any suggestions to refer you. A referral can potentially be beneficial by coming with a discount or a perk for the person who referred you or even for both of

While small business owners are generally a tough bunch, there are things that are beyond their control, from the government to natural disasters, that they need to be prepared to face in order to preserve the strength of their business. One of these external issues that can severely effect a business is the extremely cold weather that many parts of the US experience in late winter. Business owners should take note that, before they do anything to protect their small business, they need to ensure that they and their families are dry, warm, and out of the path of dangerous weather, with enough supplies to last them through whatever period of time they may need to stay indoors. If possible, get your business location ready in advance of inclement weather. Things to do in order to prep for extreme cold are checking to see if any of the electrical wiring, water or gas lines to the building are in danger of freezing or being damaged by

The holidays represent a great time to be a small business owner, as more business around this time of year means that you will be able to create more revenues. However, criminals are also aware of the increase in business volume around the holiday season, and target in particular businesses that handle a large amount of cash around this time of year, including retailers and other service providers like limousine and taxi services. Invest in the security of your small business, and the safety of you and your employees identities and credit, by taking the following steps to stay secure this year. Document Shredders can safeguard sensitive information. When you throw out documents, you are creating an opportunity for thieves to salvage potentially sensitive information about your business and your employees. This can be avoided by investing in a document shredder, which will destroy any records leaving your business. In general, shredding documents is a good safeguard, but for businesses that collect a large amount of

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