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

A startling revelation reported on by MarketWatch reveals that according to data from last year, 1 in 10 small businesses had employees working under the influence of drugs or other judgement impairing substances. The report emphasized the dangers posed by prescription drugs in particular, which, while legally available to those who need them due to medical conditions, nonetheless have a potential for abuse that can lead to addiction and serious health consequences, and even death by overdose. The dangers posed by an impaired employee will vary depending on their job, proximity to heavy machinery or weapons, and their level of intoxication, but in reality any case of inebriation on the job represents more than just a danger to the employee and their coworkers, and should be viewed as a serious lapse in discipline and professionalism. Social stigma aside, any substance that impairs an employees ability to do their job effectively should not be consumed before or during work hours. There are social and personal issues that

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

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 the Holidays are here, and many people are on vacation, there are still a group of people who are thinking about work. For small business owners, there is not really such a thing as being “off duty”, yet when the holiday season rolls around, commitments to family and friends need to be honored as well. How can you make it all work if you are still anxious about your commitment to your business? Here are some suggestions for doing both that can allow you to enjoy time with your loved ones and make sure that things are running smoothly with your business. Designate business time during the day. You are going to be tempted to respond to each phone call and answer each email that comes in during the day, even if it is your day off. Don’t take things as they come, you will simply get sucked in to work mode and cease being engaged with your friends and family. Instead of this, set

The value of creativity gets a lot of lip service in small business forums and blogs, however when it comes to actually promoting these values internally, it can be difficult to know where to start. The very real factors of intimidation on the part of employees who come up with new ideas, a lack of communication structure that puts new thoughts in front of decision makers and inertia in terms of the status-quo mean that implementing creative ideas can take a heavy time investment. More likely, these ideas will get brushed aside as busy people continue to do what they are comfortable doing. Another reality that must be taken into account surrounding the promotion of creative ideas in a small business setting is the fact that not all ideas are created equal. Some will be easier to put into practice than others, some will be stronger in general, and some will be a waste of time. In order to allow for new ideas to be

Branding is one of the fundamentals of growing a business. While you grow your team of employees and your ability to produce through the acquisition of new equipment, you should also be working on on creating a cohesive image for your business. What do you want to have people take away from their experiences with your company? If you asked a repeat customer to describe your business in as few words as possible, what would you want them to say? These are much more than trivial questions. You are going to develop a company image whether you like it or not, so it’s better that you take steps to claim that image rather than let it be decided for you. Refocusing efforts in your small business on branding should not feel like you are making a change against the grain. Ideally, your branding campaign will only need to highlight the great qualities that your small business already possesses. 1) Take a different approach. Your competition may

At a glance, you can tell how many people are standing in your store, as well as identify their demographics with a fairly high degree of accuracy. But what about your website? A business owner can’t simply pop their head into cyberspace and take a look at who is checking out their products, right? Actually, this level of insight and more is available for small business owners through the many web analytics tools out there. For businesses where credit issues are a concern, foregoing the use of analytics tools is foolhardy. Still not convinced? Here are seven quick reasons why analytics should be in use in your small business. 1) It’s free. Getting a basic Google Analytics account is free, and easy to set up, so if cost was a concern surrounding analytics, it shouldn’t be. 2) It removes doubt. You will have no real way of knowing how much traffic your website gets without analytics, unless you use conversions as a ballpark indicator of traffic volume.

This year has not been an easy one for small business owners, with bumps in the road from acts of nature to acts of government creating roadblocks, but there has been good news as well. For one thing, a gradual climb in optimism has been reported, with slight dips following the government shutdown. The economy is generally recovering as well, although on a bumpy, winding road. One of the biggest problems that has been holding small business owners back is the fact that there is relatively little in the way of small business financing available for all but the best credit risks from traditional banks. One the plus side, the financing gap is increasingly being filled by providers of alternative capital. Businesses without collateral, with bad credit scores, or even recently declared bankruptcy have been put between financing needs and the limitations of their cash flows. Alternative capital allows them to obtain financing with no restrictions placed on it, meaning they are free to allocate it

Small business owners are constantly striving towards a company culture that promotes high levels of productivity and at the same time keeps a close eye on a bottom line budget. One way to make your business more effective without dramatically increasing costs is through promoting a company culture of health awareness and responsible choices. While superficially this may seem like simply a nice to have, with no direct effect on the ability of your team to produce, scientifically there is weight behind the idea that healthier people are better able to contribute to a business. 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%

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