One of the toughest balancing acts within the small business world is the balance that a business owner must strike between managing and expanding their operations and playing their roles in the day to day production of their business. On the one hand,  business owners need to be able to guarantee a quality product for their customers within an acceptable time frame. On the other hand, small business owners need to make sure that their invoices are being paid, that payroll gets met, that they are getting the supplies and raw materials they need to produce, and all the other administrative tasks that go into running an enterprise. If one side of the business is neglected, then the other will suffer, so small business owners can often find themselves caught in a priority tug of war without the hours they need to give every task the time it deserves. It can be difficult to know how to proceed in order to fix this imbalance, and

As this year’s notoriously cold and snowy Winter finally heads into its last weeks, small business owners have the Spring to look forward to, which loans them a particular opportunity to reassess their business strategies. Domestically, we have all heard of Spring cleaning our houses, but taking the process a step further to Spring cleaning your business is another logical step for small business owners who want to make the most of the season’s innate sense of renewal. Your business plan should never be completely static as a small business owner, the reason why being that small business owners can be more vulnerable to changes in the economy and their neighborhoods than larger corporations. This means that in order for them to perform at their highest potential, they should stay forward thinking and retain an ability to “roll with the punches”. That’s not to say that you need to re-do your business plan every week, but it does mean that you should review it and

If there is anything that 2013 taught small business owners, it was that, even in a slowly recovering economy, they must still be aware of the potential for major challenges arising within their industries. From the roll out of the ACA to myriad new regulations, especially in the commercial trucking industry, small business owners must be aware of the reality that their situations can change rapidly in our current economic and political environment. It’s not enough for business owners to simply hope that nothing will effect their businesses. In order to have some peace of mind surrounding the business that creates your livelihood, small business owners owe it to themselves (and their employees) to create a strategy that allows them the maneuverability to adapt to changes in their industries. Here are some recommendations for creating a highly adaptable business plan. Be constantly refining your strategies. The more static a business plan is, the more vulnerable it makes itself to sudden disruptive changes in its environment. In

An elevator pitch doesn’t always mean a pitch used to attract investors. It can also be used as a way of summarizing the core aspects of your business to channel partners, prospective employees, other business owners and anyone who would like to know more about what makes your business unique. Having an elevator pitch that is finely tuned that you can take out at the drop of a hat is a handy trick for any type of small business owner, and is good practice for the times that you will need to convey a favorable impression of your business and it really matters. What makes a good elevator pitch? Just like a good pitch deck, there are a few areas that should be optimized as a general rule, allowing you to quickly address the main points that will loan your pitch a professional and believable narrative. Write a page summarizing your small business, then edit that page down to a paragraph. One of the keys to

Snowy weather has made its mark on small business sales in the new year, with reports of lowered revenues compared to last year’s Winter. The culprit is obvious: the polar vortex of cold air that has set in over much of the country, leading to record cold temperatures, heavy snow falls and congestion of infrastructure. When whole work forces have been stuck at home due to excessive difficulty traveling, it can be tough for small businesses with already limited cash flows to strain to meet their obligations to their employees and customers. Additionally, many of the customers that might otherwise frequent their businesses have been discouraged from spending time outside, leaving businesses hungry for the volume that they would otherwise have expected. Should small business owners slow down their plans? While small business owners have recently been reporting a heightened level of ambition and optimism, the limits imposed by the weather have some considering abandoning their expansion plans. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the

Mistakes happen, it’s simply a fact of life. What differs from case to case is the severity of the mistake, and what lessons they are able to loan to business owners going forwards. It’s important that every time something goes wrong within your business that you take the time to fully understand what caused the error and what ways you could have prevented it so that down the road you don’t make the same mistake twice. In the case of a particularly bad mess-up, business owners may not want to revisit the experience enough to properly get an understanding of what happened, yet it its imperative that they break down the problem in the same way that they would in any other case. In order to ensure that you really learn from your mistakes and extract the most information that you can from negative circumstances, here are three tips for processing failures that will allow you to think about them in the most productive way

Content is king goes the mantra, repeated countless times within different pieces of content, promoting content promoting other content. However, if something is said enough times by enough qualified people, it becomes more than a simple fad and deserves to be given real attention. Content writing should not be scoffed at as a passing craze; since when is it a fad to loan actual value to your clients and followers? Generally speaking, one of the reasons why content marketing strategies fail to produce results is because the content the is being created is either poor quality, or it does not get enough views from the right people. If you have one and not the other, you are not going to be getting the best results possible. It’s like trying to make a sandwich with only one piece of bread. You need two, otherwise it’s not a sandwich. With content marketing, you need to loan your audience quality content, and work to build that audience as

Accountability means taking responsibility for one’s self and one’s work, getting credit and recognition, but more importantly speaking up when responsible for an issue and taking the steps to fixing problems created and learning from mistakes. Small business owners can loan their employees an environment wherein they can be accountable in a few ways, but when they make the effort to promote real responsibility and transparency, they will find that their employees are not only working harder, but are more invested in the outcome of their efforts. How does accountability figure in to the workplace? To fully answer this question, imagine the following scenario playing out at your business: A new hire, eager to get started, is tasked with compiling a list of exemplary clients. By accident, they create a list of exemplary clients that contains a number from a “do not call” list. As their list is given to their supervisor, the supervisor does not notice the error and it is passed along until someone

The Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare, has received mixed reviews on the part of small business owners. For some, the new regulations on what kind of coverage must be provided to employees does not currently apply because they have a low enough head count. For others, they must work on complying with the regulations by a deadline that has been recently moved back a year to 2016. CNBC reported that there was also an announcement of looser requirements on the percentage of employees at firms. Instead of being required to offer coverage to 95% of their workforce by 2015, the quota was moved down to 70%. The official word on the less severe changes required is that in order for Obamacare to begin to take effect in a constructive way that does not overly punish small business owners, it must be phased in gradually, hence the more lax deadlines in place. The administration also pointed out that the majority of businesses set to be

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

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