Etiquette is an interesting subject, especially in regard to business. While some industries observe relatively rigid dress codes and have high expectations surrounding the way people should behave, others are extremely casual bordering on entirely informal. However, regardless of the industry in which a business owner works, a certain level of etiquette should be observed when meeting partners and creating connections as a matter of appearing professional. In 2014, dress code isn’t as important as appearing put together. A formal dress code nowadays isn’t generally a given when it comes to small businesses. The standard idea of business casual has crept beyond the confines of “casual Friday” and taken over the everyday modes of dress for many. For others, there isn’t any type of dress code in their business, and every employee is able to wear what they choose. Instead of focusing on wearing something specific, business owners should make sure that they appear put together and not sloppily dressed. Maintaining a clean and collected

Running a business requires a wide range of skills and aptitudes, one of which is the ability to keep learning and developing better processes and new talents as you go. Business owners will often find themselves in a s situation where they find that they require additional knowledge in order to keep expanding their business, but one of the challenges associated with the continued management and financing of an enterprise is finding the time needed to improve. In order to gain a new skill, business owners have to make the effort to find time to work on it, and this will usually mean making some changes in your routine. Here are tips for fitting in the learning of a new skill that can open doors for the growth of your small business. Commuting time is valuable learning time. The time that we spend each day commuting is often regarded as precious moments that are essentially wasted in the name of overall productivity. In reality, taking back

Not every day is a slam dunk day, where things seem to get done almost effortlessly, your coffee tastes like liquid inspiration and your team only gives you good news. Still, there are ways that you can tilt the odds in your favor, setting up routines that allow you to get to work in a good mood, feel productive during the day, and then get some rest afterwards. The business day can be broken down into three major pillars, all of which support the wonderful ceiling of that ideal day every entrepreneur wants to recreate. Pillar One: The Morning. We’ve written about doing the Morning the right way before, but it cannot be stressed enough how important getting a good start to your day is for small business owners. Whether or not you choose to wake up with some coffee, you should make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast. Fruit is a good choice to include in your meal, since the natural sugars that it contains

The force of habit  is a powerful thing. It causes us to act in ways that can either help or hinder, and even when a habit is understood to be a bad one, it is not so simple to break. Likewise, a good habit, once adopted, can allow you to excel without seeming to apply effort. That’s why small business owners should do their best to support some positive habits. Remind yourself of good habits you are trying to start. It’s pretty tough to get a habit started, commensurate with the effort required to break it. That’s why it’s a good idea to set reminders for yourself, at least when getting started creating a positive behavior. There are many organizational apps out there, and you can find one that suits your taste. You may want to try any.do, which is a favorite in the Horizon office. Create some realistic goals. The problem with goal setting is often that it is easy to do, but tougher to get

Work is essential to the realization of your entrepreneurial goals. There is a lot that small business owners are willing to give up or do without in order to reap the satisfying rewards of running a successful business. But one of the things that can supersede the desire to push forward is a need to spend time with family members and other loved ones. It’s part of what allows us to keep working and making progress towards our dreams, and maintaining a connection to your support network should not be allowed to fall to the wayside while you run your business. Managing a work life balance calls for some strategic compromise. It will be unlikely that you are able to take off as much time from work as you would like to, just as it is unlikely that there won’t be any work related tasks that can wait for a little longer. The trick to making sure that you can have both is learning to identify

Let’s face it, we love our employees, but when cash flows are tight, it can be tough to find extra ways to show them how much we appreciate them. Fortunately, it’s often the thought that counts when it comes to providing employees with extra on the job benefits, and with a little creativity and a positive attitude, you can make a little budget go a long way. Some of the benefits of providing additional fun for your employees are more dedication to your company, as well as potentially more hours spent on the job bouncing ideas off of each other. This can lead to much more creative solutions coming from your team, as well as a better atmosphere in the office for communication. Many start ups and high growth companies make it a point to have many employee perks, and seeing as how a large number of them do quite well, it’s not a bad idea to inject the same level of excitement into your

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

While the last bit of nippy weather is finally fading away, small business owners everywhere are waking up to the promise of Spring, and a brand new busy season for many industries. Even as volume picks up and orders for seasonal products and services start to roll in, it can be helpful to get you and your employees energized and in a different frame of mind in order to make the most of the new season. An overhaul of your company culture isn’t necessarily in order, but doing something to celebrate the season and inject a sense of excitement into the office can be a good idea, especially if there have been morale issues on your team due to slow business, the cold, or both. Here are three simple ideas for greeting the Spring season that any small business owner can do. Try a classic activity, such as hosting a company picnic. Sure it’s cliche, but a company picnic is both simple to organize, low cost,

In a perfect world, nobody would need to let go of staff, but unfortunately from time to time firing an employee becomes a necessity. It’s not always because of a failure to do their jobs. Sometimes you simply can’t afford to keep someone on staff and the decision to let them go is forced. No matter what the reason is for letting an employee go, you should try to be as diplomatic as possible in these times. Professionalism should not disappear in stressful situations, rather it should become even more apparent. The true test of a diplomatic business owner is how well they are able to perform in the worst of times. You never know when you will be glad you didn’t burn a bridge, but courtesy and a positive influence on your community should come standard regardless. Keep the firing between you and the employee. In most situations, it will eventually become obvious that the employee in question is gone. You don’t need to trumpet

Small business owners aren’t always solo flyers. It’s quite common for two or more entrepreneurs to get together in order to pool resources insights and business planning talents in order to achieve more together than they ever could apart. When business partners are working well together, it is a force to be reckoned with, making it tough for competitors to gain the edge as problems are being attacked from multiple angles at all times. However, when there are two people who are in equal management roles who don’t agree on something, there is a lot of head butting that can ensue with potentially very negative consequences for the business in the end. It should be considered part of small business management training to learn how to effectively compromise and communicate with your business partner. neglecting this important aspect means that, if and when something goes wrong you can be blindsided by serious problems. Recognize each other’s strengths. In order to avoid problems altogether, it can be

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