The holiday season is one that can be bittersweet for small business owners. While it represents one of the best times of year for sales, and can be the difference between make or break to a business owner’s bottom line, there is no debating whether or not all that pressure can add up to some major stress, not only on business owners themselves but on their staff as well. While it’s not a time to turn back the dial unless you are truly trying to do way too much, in which case hiring some temporary workers might be in order, that’s not to say that you should ignore the signs of stress you and your employees are feeling and push ahead without making an effort to manage it. Start the day with a reminder of your goals as a team. While every staff member is working on getting what needs to get done taken care of, people’s moods can start to rise and create the fuel for

While your calendar doesn’t have to be in the shape of a whimsical panda, that choice is up to you. What is important is that you lay out the crucial dates that your business needs to juggle in an easy to read format that can allow you to better stay on top of what needs doing. More importantly, it helps prevent dates from sneaking up on you, especially if you are a person who is prone to distraction or if your business environment is more casual. The holidays are expected to be particularly busy this year, and business owners consequently have even more on their plates than usual. Even if you are person who has managed to get things done without a calendar in the past, consider trying out this simple but effective tool. First, add major sales days to your calendar. Review your historical data to determine if there are any non-holiday days that are particularly busy for you, then add on established sales days

When running a business you will ideally be working with complementary personalities, and during the hiring process you can screen for qualities like attitude and fit within your organization. Even so, you still might wind up with two equally effective employees with personalities that don’t mesh very well. The ability of your business to function smoothly is contingent on employee cooperation, and when you need something to get done and must rely on your business’s version of the odd couple to take care of it, some management finesse may be in order. In general it is better to create a framework of cooperation that can help you avoid employee disputes, since taking the time to resolve an open conflict can be a serious time-sink. Clearly delegate responsibility and stay open to communications. People will often begin to squabble when there is a lack of clarity surrounding what they are working on, which is why goal setting followed up by open communications is the key to getting

The Ebola virus possesses qualities that make it a potentially major threat if not contained. According to the World Health Organization’s fact sheet on Ebola, it is a virus transmitted from wild animals to humans which then becomes transmittable from person to person via body fluids. There no known cure for Ebola, and the fatality rate for the disease can vary greatly by outbreak, from 25% to 90%. While Ebola has not become a major issue in the US, it has already killed many people in the current outbreak in East Africa, and with individuals who are either sick with the virus or have come into contact with it being reported in major cities including New York and Dallas, the media and the American public have taken a major notice of the virus, affecting small businesses and their employees in turn. Understanding the true nature of the virus is important both for prevention and for maintaining order on a community level. Through education on the real

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 tools that your business’s employees use to do their jobs will vary greatly depending on the type of business that you are running, but where they share common ground is in their ability to cause major issues when they don’t perform the essential functions that they are supposed to. From software to cloud storage to trucks or forklifts, if a tool that your employees need to do their jobs is either broken or not up to snuff, you need to know so that you can effectively replace it as quickly as possible, however sometimes employees are reticent to speak up, misidentify issues, or may be used to a system that is in need of upgrading. Like many things involved in running a business, it will pay off for you to know how to identify symptoms of equipment based constraints for yourself so that you don’t wind up confused as to why there is a bottleneck being created in your business. Firstly, do your employees

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 Fall is just around the corner and despite all the reasons to love it, from the holidays, the seasonal produce (and products), and the simple beauty of the season, the flu that can come with it can be a real drag on business owner’s ability to be productive. Whether you get sick or one of your employees, the impact of missing work days can be quite palpable, especially when it forces you and your team to be productive while short staffed. Health should be considered as an asset to your business, both in terms of physical health and mental wellness. Get vaccinated. Getting your flu shot is a simple and effective way to avoid getting sick during peak flu season. A vaccine can be gotten at your doctor’s office, but you may even be able to get vaccinated at your local pharmacy. In terms of simplicity and effectiveness, getting your flu vaccine may be the most beneficial step to take, but if you don’t like

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

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