In virtually every industry, there will come a time when, as the owner of your business, you will be summoned to appear at a trade show or other type of industry event. These events generally serve as a way for brands to showcase their wares while meeting and networking with old clients as well as potential new ones. When you go to a trade show, you are most likely going to leave laden with an assortment of product guides, free samples and branded goodies. In the end, things can add up to be a lot to keep track of, and finding what you are looking for and remaining focused on your goals when at one of these events might take more finesse than you would have thought. Have a game plan before you get to the show. Going to a trade show will often be an event in itself, with many of them hosted in “destination” areas such as Las Vegas or New York. That’s why

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,

Following debates surrounding the federal minimum wage, small business owners are now in the center of yet another struggle regarding a proposed change in the way they must pay their employees. As reported by smallbiztrends.com, President Obama signed an executive order last month calling for an increase in the threshold of earnings over which employees become eligible for overtime pay. In plain English, the law would raise the threshold from the current $445 per week mark to somewhere around a suggested $640 and include more white collar and managerial employees in the group who would qualify for overtime pay. The rationale behind the law is to give back to those who work hard for the economy. As corporate America has begun to make more profit, the idea that these revenues should be shared with the employees who put in extra hours to make them seems like it makes a lot of sense. However, many warn that small businesses will become unintended collateral damage. While profitable corporations

Tablets are more than just high tech toys, and in fact can have many applications for small business owners who choose to integrate the technology into their business models. The wonderful thing about them is that, thanks to downloadable apps and other tweaks they can be applied to a huge range of different tasks with a little programming and imagination. Here are a few ways that business owners are already utilizing tablets to help streamline their operations. Mobile sales platforms. The more places you can make transactions the better, especially if you plan on taking your products on the road. Many businesses use tablets for this, as with simple sales management software they are able to catalog transactions as well as process credit cards and log digital signatures. Some adventurous business owners even use tablets to log transactions using bitcoins, but whether your business is ready to use cryptocurrency or just wants to branch out how and where it can accept payment is up to you. Collecting and

Small businesses bring diversity and charm to a community, but it can often be hard for them to compete against corporate chains and outlet stores, which, while they usually don’t have the same basic appeal have the resources and often the price points that allow them to siphon business away from local competition. With this in mind business owners and local governments can put together local business campaigns that can help them to raise awareness of local businesses. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons surrounding the organization of a local business campaign. It takes time to plan a local campaign. No matter what the scale of the campaign you put together, in the end it is going to take time away from your schedule to plan it. An answer to this is to try and get other local business owners on board and spread out the responsibilities involved in an awareness campaign. Ideas for supporting local business include printing posters or decals

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

Let’s face it, the office is not always the most energetic place to be. When those long and hot Summer days finally arrive, the energy in the office can often take a hit, and in the worst case this can result in a palpable loss of productivity. In order to keep your self and your staff feeling excited and ready to take on each week’s challenges, there’s a lot they you can do to keep the mood up. While turning the office from a place for work into a place for recreation is not the goal, that’s not to say that you cannot inject some fun into the atmosphere to keep people awake, on their toes, and most importantly, positively engaged with the goals that they have set for themselves. Touch base with your team. This is the most simple thing that we can recommend, and if your’e not already doing it, then start with this. Regularly keeping on contact with your employees is the strongest

Many will point out that altruism is it’s own reward, and that is certainly true. The value one gets out of helping another person is truly the unique and special feeling that it brings. That being said, there are plenty of other good reasons why a small business should consider ways of giving back to their communities, not all of them solely based on the positive moral quality of those who help others. These benefits include positive PR, networking and . There are as many ways of making a positive community impact as there are businesses, so finding a way to participate that you are comfortable with can be done with just a little thought and a few helpful suggestions. Do you run an artisanal business? If this is the case, consider holding a weekend craft demonstration. Inviting a group to check out your creative processes is a wonderful way to give back, especially to younger generations in order to inspire the next skilled craftsmen who will

Small business owners who are in the market for business to business services and products generally have social media presences put together on the biggest and most accepted networks. These include Facebook, Twitter, and G+ to name some of the first that leap to mind. However, the wider the dragnet cast for business, generally the better off you will be, and small business owners should consider the fact that maintaining a presence on just the three or four most obvious social networks is missing a much larger and more vibrant social media picture. If you are already pretty comfortable using the “big three”, then chances are you stand a lot to gain by taking the social game you’ve already honed and applying it to some other social media networks. Here are a few that you have probably already heard about, but may not yet have tried. LinkedIn. Ok, so you most likely have a profile here already, and chances are also good that you have even

Hashtags are a byproduct of the internet and it’s pervasive influence on our culture at large. They have even begun to creep into our colloquial speech patterns thanks to the hilarious lampooning of them by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. But aside from appearing everywhere and being the butt of jokes related to their overuse, what is their significance for small business owners, and how can they turn them from a cloudy concept into something useful? Let’s start simple: What is a Hashtag for? A hashtag, also known as a pound sign (#), first came into existence on Twitter by the user base as a way to quickly categorize and identify tweets on a certain topic, for example, #smallbiz pertains to small business topics and serves as a shorthand for those who are searching for related content. While the use of the hashtag began on twitter, as it gained acceptance it’s use has spread to all manner of social networks, including Facebook, G+, and Instagram to

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