Start-up culture has taken the business world by storm, with stories of scrappy app developers and industry disrupting technologies tempting many into entrepreneurship who would have otherwise been content to pursue careers in the world of established corporations. That said, not every business is aiming to disrupt an industry or revolutionize the way people think about their products. Even in the case of a business that adheres to a more or less standard business model, there is room for taking some of the more successful aspects of start-up culture and applying them to business growth. Embrace the ability of technology to streamline your business processes. Business owners can no longer afford to ignore the positive roles technology can play in their processes, since if they refuse to integrate tech, they will be giving their competitors an advantage that is almost certain to widen into a serious gap over time. You don’t have to be a computer genius to utilize new technology in running your business, in

Company culture is part of your business’s intangible assets, which, while intangible in name, are a very real part of what makes your company valuable in the eyes of a potential buyer or business appraiser. Therefore a positive company culture where people get along together, feel free to contribute their thoughts and skills and are invested in their jobs is not just a nice to have, it’s something that can greatly add to the value of your business. In many ways, smaller businesses have advantages when it comes to fostering a healthy company culture. Given their small size, everyone is likely to know each other, and are likely to interact with each other in a business context as well. This allows for plenty of room for the creation of strong relationships that can contribute to efficiency in the workplace. The bureaucratic layers of policy that can be added to a corporate environment over time tend to have a sour effect on morale unless actively worked against

The art of communications is exactly that; an art form, and one that deserves to be practiced in multiple mediums as opposed to ignored and addressed only when it is convenient. Being attentive to incoming communications, as well as proactive in order to keep key relationships strong is something that every business owner needs to be able to handle, but what about those times when you want to go a little bit further? Old school communication, meaning a face to face meeting, a physical letter, or an actual phone call, are a lot less glamorous than the slew of digitally based communication technologies that are now available to small business owners, but in a pinch they can show that you are really invested in the health of a relationship that means a lot to your business. A physical thank you note sends a strong positive message. Even more so if it written by hand. The reason is because it is a gesture that implicitly communicates that

Management is a skill, and a skill that primarily hinges around the ability to communicate. Without clear communications, tasks cannot be expected to be reliably completed in the way that they should be, and the less that your employees understand what you are trying to get across, the more likely that seemingly simple projects will get protracted into much longer, arduous ones. Communication is not only a business skill, it is also a life skill that can have benefits for business owners whether they are in the office or off duty. Since communications are such an elementary part of our everyday lives, it can sometimes seem as if certain people are good at them and some people just aren’t, but in reality, like most skills the more you put in to working on it the better it gets. Communication is both verbal and written; ignore one side of the equation to your own detriment. Being a strong writer is an amazingly helpful skill that comes in

Team building exercises don’t have to be awful to bring people together. In fact, the more fun that your team building activities are, the more effective they are likely to be, since all that took place during the exercise is much more likely to be remembered and brought up between employees. Here are a few suggestions of team building activities that your employees are sure to remember and enjoy much more than a seminar. Paintball. The great thing about paintball is that there are many venues to play it, outside of urban centers and in suburban and rural areas as well. Another thing about paintball is that is a highly exciting and team oriented, but since a paintball gun does not require physical strength to use, anyone can participate, provided that they wear adequate protection. Paintball makes a big impression, especially in a relatively young office people tend to get very excited at the prospect. Rafting. Rafting is similar to paintball in that it is an adrenaline

Meetings are an interesting phenomenon of the business world. When used appropriately, they can be powerful tools for creating team based strategies, but more often they get a bad rap as time sinks where employees and managers will talk in circles in order to avoid losing face or seeming like they aren’t engaged. Then more useless meetings employees are dragged to, the less engaged they tend to become as the point of meeting becomes diluted by the routine postures adapted by participants. Small business owners should avoid calling in meetings constantly, instead only bringing their whole team together when it is actually necessary. Here are some strategies for avoiding calling in unnecessary group meetings while still ensuring that productivity is kept at high levels. Use a wider range of communication tools. Communications during meetings are valuable because of both the immediacy of face to face communication as well as the ability of and entire team to participate and engage. However, team members can use communication technologies

Bad credit on the part of a small business owner makes many aspects of a running a business more difficult, including hiring and employee management. Human resources functions within a growing business are often handled directly by the owner of the business, with no room for a managerial department dedicated to HR without financing on top of strong cash flows. Without a separate entity handling human resources concerns, it falls to the owner of the business to ensure that employees are contributing on the level that they should be. Here are a few ways that bad credit businesses can stay on top of their HR, even if they don’t have the benefit of a centralized HR department. Ensure that there are strong protocols in place for communication. The communication quality within an organization that has no HR department needs to be carefully protected and preserved. Ideally, a forum for open communications within the business should exist as well as other communication channels that can be used

It may be a small world, but for small businesses, tapping in to global markets can mean big profit potentials and a major boost to their overall growth. Still, it’s not easy to get involved in a global dialogue if you don’t know where to start, and a business that must carefully allocate its assets due to cash flow constraints, bad credit or simple prudence might be hesitant to throw their hat in to the ring without first carefully considering their positions and capabilities. That being said, there are many strategies that can lead to overseas awareness of a business, most of them based on strong organizational competency as well as a good foundation of communication skills. Here are a few ideas that small business owners can try in order to expand the borders of their businesses. Create brand awareness among global influencers. Small businesses will often lack the ability to create vast artificial reach through large marketing budgets, but they can still ably compete by

One of the main challenges of managing projects with remote employees and contractors is the fact that face to face communication is not always an option, yet it is through face time that many breakthroughs are able to happen. Often, a project will be broken up between people who communicate with a project manager, but rarely with each other. Unfortunately, that can often lead to a slower rate of progress due to a need for revisiting and tweaking results. Imagine assigning a team to assemble a puzzle. Each team member is given a number of pieces and told to meet up again when they have finished putting their share together. The problem is that each team member is both removed from the insights of the other people on the project and they also will have a harder time envisioning what the fully assembled picture will look like. The metaphor of separate rooms with puzzle pieces represents the challenges faced by a team of remote workers.

Before describing the traits of an undesirable business partner, it’s important to point out that even if someone does exhibit some of these traits, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should disqualify them. Ultimately, the person you choose as your partner needs to be able to complement your skills and the way that you do business, so there is the potential out there for someone who wouldn’t classically qualify as a strong partner being your optimal counterpart. That being said, in general if a prospective business partner falls into one of these three categories, then you should seriously evaluate the potential for inviting them into a partnership that will determine the course of your business’s success or failure. The Spendthrift. If your prospective business partner is the type who treats resources like they will never run out, then that should be a major red flag. Business capital is a finite resource, and business owners can’t afford to assume that things will work themselves out in regards to

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