The way that a business works in the modern day is pretty much the same conceptually since the first business. Ideally, you will provide a good or service to your customer, and if they are happy with what they get they will tell others about it, which, combined with your own efforts, will bring in more business. Straightforward and familiar as this concept is, the tools that are being used to effect this result have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, with the ubiquity of the internet and the rise of mobile technology and social media effecting the basic communication habits of the majority of the population. Social media is the number one activity on the internet, and mobile continues to grow in use and importance to marketers. If your small business is not taking advantage of technology and social media (which is usually free), then you are missing out on a whole lot of potential, but beyond that, you may be allowing your

  A recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek assessed the situation in the US regarding maternity leave and other benefits for expecting mothers in the workforce. The situation is not great, with Papua New Guinea the only other country with no guaranteed leave for the care of newborn children, and only 5% of American companies offering fully paid maternity leave, according to the article. When it comes to small businesses, even less is being done, since businesses that are under 50 employees technically don’t have to provide maternity leave at all to their employees. Are business owners overestimating the value of maternity leave? The value of maternity leave in terms of hard currency may be less than the positive value that comes with being flexible. In an environment where many businesses are reporting having problems finding and keeping top tier talent, playing up the flexibility advantage that comes along with a smaller business setting is a prudent move. It is better to plan in advance to cover

Small business owners fight hard for their customers, and because of this, they often develop strong personal relationships with them that can last for years. However, one error that small business owners sometimes make is assuming that their customers will support them indefinitely, slacking on their efforts to attract new business and build the reach of their brand. Falling into the trap of working with a single big customer to the detriment of others is something that can befall business owners when they are trying to win a large client with great service, and in the same way that can happen, a group of regular customers can diffuse a business owner’s resolve to acquire new clients. If you lose a major customer, how much of your revenues would disappear? Look at your numbers and determine just how big a portion of your business is represented by your best customers. The larger the share, the more important it is that you cover yourself by attracting more. A

Vision refers to something that goes beyond the ability to plan for the next month, and far beyond the normal day to day routine of your business. It’s the ability to project the values and role of your business in your community into the future, and knowing what those values are. Successful businesses are often able to grow not only because of the practical business knowledge put into their development, but also because the vision behind the business is big enough to grow beyond being important to a single entrepreneur and involve a whole team, then eventually a whole community. Even if your vision is to simply create a place in your neighborhood that will be there for future generations to appreciate, that vision should factor in to the way that you manage your business and set goals in the short term. What is the vision that you have for your business? Where do you see yourself in five years from now? If the answer is

The Fall season continues on, with the specter of colder temperatures ever approaching and the memory of last Winter’s polar vortex fresh in the minds of many small business owners all over the country. While the thought may be grim to some, business owners have no choice but to prepare as best they can to meet with unpredictable business patterns ranging from glacially slow to unpredictable boom. In an article on northjersey.com, a few case studies were looked at, from an auto-body shop preparing for a surge in accidents on icy roads, to a gym planning on opening new locations as well as a home healthcare service planning for sever weather in advance. Business owners need to account for the possibility of greater demand, or on the flip-side being forced to remain productive while snowed in. Review the numbers from last Winter. What happened last Winter is a likely indicator of how things stand to go this year assuming that there is a similarly enduring cold

When running a business with bad credit, making something out of nothing is a skill that can come very much in handy, especially when it comes to marketing which can be very expensive when left to third party agencies. Bad credit business financing means knowing where you have to spend and where you can scale back, and fortunately for small business owners, there is a lot of functionality that they can tap into without tapping into their cash flows if they know where to look and what to do with what they have. Be open to potential new technologies. In order to begin adopting new free technology, you have to know how to find it. Millennial employees are often a great source of ideas pertaining to a business’s use of technology, since they are usually pretty well acquainted with the use of tech in their daily lives. One example of a technology that was popularized by millennials becoming a platform for savvy marketing is Snapchat, a temporary

Millennials are the newest generation entering the workforce, and thanks to their unique perspectives on everything from social issues to technology, they represent a potentially powerful force for managers to harness towards greater business productivity. While some ideas that millennials have, such as what is more important, business or the time they spend on themselves, have managers wary, by re-framing the relationship between millennial employees and their work, business owners can ensure that they get the most out of their employees in terms of productivity and the high energy that young staff members bring to a team. Ask them what more they could be doing. Millennials are just beginning their careers, and are generally eager to please as well as learn new skills and take on challenges. Leaving a millennial employee in the corner with a stack of papers is a surefire way to have them become disengaged, but by contrast, giving them a clear directive with instructions then making space for them to execute their

In in article from Newsfactor.com, the trend of employees leaving their job was looked at in relation to small business. The article presented a case study of a business fighting to keep an employee who represented over a quarter of the business’s revenues. In the end, the owner of the business made their employee an offer to come aboard as a partner in order to avoid the potentially catastrophic loss of their top performer. Know what’s going on with your employees and where they picture themselves going with your business. If you have a great employee on your team, but they don’t feel like they are being challenged, it is likely that they will seek out a new environment that gives them opportunities that are on par with their skills and ability to learn. In order to avoid losing an employee because they want to do more, make sure that you are keeping tabs on your top performers and communicating with them regularly so that they

The NFIB National Small Business Confidence index went down last month, continuing to essentially remain where it has been for months, hovering under pre-recession levels and subject to the turbulence of the US economy and other external factors. While small business owners remain optimistic that the economy will get better down the road, factors including the difficulty that many experience when applying for capital and a reported lack of qualified talent when hiring has seen actual business expansion lag behind the desire to expand. According to a Reuters report on the findings, business owners expected less profits and sales in the months to come, though they also anticipated positive development in the next six months. Essentially the needle has not jumped one way or the other, and small business owners continue to carry on doing what they can while hoping that conditions will improve to the point that they are able to pursue the plans they are siting on. How can small business owners prepare

  While your customers aren’t on your payroll, they still represent some of the best salespeople you could ask for, provided that you treat them right and reward their loyalty. It can be good shorthand to think of your best customers as being a part of your business, since this not only reinforces their importance for your long term small business success, but also reminds you that you need to work for and reward them for their loyalty in the same way that you would for a star employee. At the heart of customer sales power is word of mouth via their personal relationships and social media activity. The reason why your customers have such an important role to play concerning your business’s ability to make sales is because of the strength of word of mouth, which is one of the most reliable types of marketing out there. In the same way that a salesperson can inform a customer about a product that they think they

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