We’ve all been there; the feeling of distraction, the doubled amount of bathroom breaks and staring into space that can accompany a Friday afternoon, however, when in a small business environment, that type of distraction can really impact a business’s ability to produce. In order to mitigate the potential for lost productivity, small business owners should put practices into place that can refocus both their own efforts and those of their staff. Use your time to plan if producing is out of the question. If you aren’t able to produce or finish a project, and your employees would otherwise be procrastinating, then you can still make an effort to recoup the time that would otherwise be lost to you. A good way of doing this is to plan the attack for when you come back to work on Monday, evaluating priorities and setting up what processes you can in order to save time and maximize effectiveness at the start of the week. Since Mondays are another

Small business owners should value their employee relationships as the keys to their business’s future potential. Promoting a strong sense of community, as well as grooming leadership potential in your staff creates a line of continuity for you business and can reduce the negative effects of employee turnover and the hiring process. When creating morale boosting perks for your employees, a few things need to be kept in mind. Whatever you propose, the rewards offered should not create antipathy among your employees. Try to ensure that your rewards are commensurate with the performance that you are able to get from your employees, and you should consider creating some runner up awards as well. You should also not promise anything that goes outside of the reasonable bounds of your business’s budget. Luckily, there are many ways that you can reward your team without throwing your small business financing plans out of whack. One of these ways is by inspiring them with a contest in the spirit

As in many things, confidence in business goes a long way towards helping business owners achieve their goals. Confidence is what allows you to put yourself out there, whether it is while pitching your business to a prospective partner or investor, creating a new product line or marketing strategy, or showcasing your successes at an industry event. Cultivating confidence in yourself and your organization takes some time and thought, but raised confidence is a truly powerful motivator and in most cases is well worth the effort, especially when paired with other management strategies, such as the addition of some employee benefits or hands on training events. Set goals for your business and your employees. Goals are important not only because they help keep your business on track, but it also can help to raise your confidence levels as your team sets them up and knocks them down. Planning your goals effectively requires some give and take with your employees, so make sure you understand where they

It’s the last day of the month, and in New York, it’s raining, with grey clouds shifting across the sky like gridlocked cars. Despite the inconvenient weather, there is an overwhelming sense of relief in the Horizon office, since May is so close to being here. May is associated with the definitive change of the seasons and the arrival of reliably warmer weather, a welcome shift for business owners across a diverse range of industries. Still, finally shaking off the polar vortex doldrums calls for a true acknowledgment of the potential this new month holds. Here are some ways that your business can mentally prepare for the arrival of May. Celebrate your Winter high points.  You’ve worked hard to get through the Winter, and it’s likely that you had to enact some pretty clever fixes to keep things running smoothly. Yes, you should have your primary focus set on the promise of the near future, but you should still take the time to give your

Small business owners have strong entrepreneurial instincts, and often, a lot more ideas than can even be fit into a single business. Expanding your operations into a side business can be a great way to bolster your incomes from your primary operation, or to pursue a passion that your other business is able to support. Like many other aspects of running a business, the key to ensuring that your secondary business is able to be successful is highly reliant on both the time you put in to planning it as well as the time you are able to allocate to managing it. If you are not able to commit to doing it the right way, a secondary business has the potential to drain your cash flows and jeopardize your primary business. Keep the cash flows of your businesses as separate as possible. Not only is it important to keep the cash flows of your businesses separate because of the potential for funds to go missing or

As small business owners face a dearth or small business loan options, Federal regulations, the new healthcare market and a slew of industry related concerns, they are also growing and adapting to an increasingly internet reliant commercial world. Because of the heavy emphasis of internet based communications in modern business, small businesses will generally need an IT staff after they hit a certain point in their growth. Knowing when this goes from a nice to have to a need to have is an important part of managing your small business, considering that not only is IT a powerful resource and business accelerator, but also a potential major pitfall when mismanaged. Here are some signs that can indicate to small business owners that they should seriously consider making the time and capital investments required to secure a full time IT staff. Do you have tech savvy employees who wind up helping others a large amount of the time? If you have a multi-generational staff in particular, it

In the course of running a small business, you are extremely lucky if you never have a bad employee experience. That being said, bad employees are a lot of the time good employees with bad habits, and throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, may not be the best answer for every infraction. Knowing what classic signs of bad behavior are is important, but it’s also important to be able to differentiate between an unfixable problem and something arising from a lack of coaching. Here are three simple suggestions that you can use to check up on an employee with an issue and diagnose what the appropriate action should be for dealing with them. Ensure they have the resources they need to be productive. A lot of the time employees who appear to be slacking are just not sure what they are supposed to be doing, or lack a tool that can enable them to be efficient. It may be that they are

The internet has limitless applications, allowing a single sentence to be read thousands of times by people across the entire world, under the correct circumstances. This effect means that small business owners should develop and adhere to some internet etiquette, and if they are letting their employees represent their brand through social media and posting in industry forums, they should also be appraised of your standards. A social media policy is currently a necessary part of a small business internet policy, but knowing how to set standards in the first place can take a little bit of thought independent from this larger task. Here are some suggestions for creating appropriate posting habits on the part of yourself and your employees. Double check your posts before you confirm them. It’s annoying, it’s another step, and it can wind up saving you a ton of headaches if you get into the habit of doing it. Had the social media employees at US Airways double checked their now infamous

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