Football season is back, and while some people are busy not caring at all, others are looking at brackets and dusting off their foam fingers. Whether you fall into either camp, if you are a business owner, you should be open to the lessons that you can learn from the strategy and athleticism that goes into the game. There are many sports metaphors out there that can be directly applied to life, partially because of the fact that sports revolves around the idea of overcoming obstacles through improving yourself and learning how to work with others, which happens to be the same things that lead to success in business. No matter what the obstacle, your whole team needs to know that game plan. In the football season, one of the reasons that the action is compelling is because of the potential for major upsets when one team beats another, more heavily favored team. Often, the reason that an underdog is able to prevail is through planning a strategy

  The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard has announced an increase in the average pay of small business employees by 0.2 percent in July. Marketwatch reports that this increase is the first increase in 2014, spurred by a profitable first half of the year for small businesses. An increase in employee pay can have beneficial effects throughout both local and national economies, with more cash going into circulation as consumers are paid more. Ideally, higher paying small business jobs can stimulate a local economy, which in turn leads to growth on the part of the original small business. Should you give your employees a raise? Small businesses that have seen their sales increase leading to a more robust cash flow may choose to re-invest some of that liquid capital into their employee retention efforts. In particular, employees who demonstrate the potential to grow into leadership roles should have efforts made to retain them. An increase in salary is one of the most effective ways of keeping an

In elementary school, one of my teachers stood out, with a can do attitude and an easy smile. She would encourage us during the hardest parts of our studies, reminding us not to cheat ourselves. What she meant by this was taking the easy way out, while often a tempting option, cheats your future self of the benefits of the learning experience. The toughest struggles can stand in front of us seeming as impassible as a cliff face. It’s only after struggling up that incline step by step, pulling ourselves along as needed, that we can arrive at the other side of a dilemma with the full benefit of the experience behind us. This hard won learning usually teaches the most worthwhile lessons in our lives, and thanks to the difficulty inherent in gaining it it is also the last to be forgotten. How small business owners can avoid cheating themselves. A common deterrent to trying something new is not only the fear that things won’t

Inspiration is like a plant that can grow in any soil, no matter how rocky, but regardless, it still needs cultivation to truly flower. As leaders, business owners are in a position to truly benefit those around them with their leadership abilities as well as their ability to serve as a positive public example. Business owners may feel like they are not in industries with the exposure to make a real difference, but they would be wrong. Any business can create a positive influence in their communities by demonstrating positivity in their dealings with their customers and those around them. What are some ways that business owners can lay the framework for positive inspiration in their workplace and beyond? Here are a few standard practices for making a better and bigger impression. Embrace customer service as the key to business growth. In every business, you are going to be dealing with customer inquiries and sometimes those will take the form of complaints. Nothing can be expected

Business owners tend to wear many hats, from manager and salesperson to tech support and accountant. When their business only has a few members on staff, it’s often the case that their employees must also manage multiple areas of the business and be willing to be flexible in order to keep things moving in the right direction. That being said, at times it can get confusing for employees in a fast growing business environment to know what tasks they are expected to handle. In a worst case scenario, if no employee claims responsibility for a task that falls outside of each of their ranges of involvement then it can sit around unnoticed and not getting done up to the point that it becomes too late. In order to avoid the stagnation of workflow, business owners need to have some semblance of jurisdiction laid down so that their employees are effectively able to identify and respond to priorities that might not fall into a clearly defined

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

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