Data security means not only protecting the information that is vital to your business and your customers, but also making sure that in the event that one of your computers crashes or is damaged you are not left in an extremely sticky situation. Many small business owners will use the same machine for years, only to lose everything they had worked on when the computer crashes without ever having been backed up. Fortunately, preventing this by backing up your files is extremely simple and doesn’t even take a lot of time to do. The tricky part is getting into the habit of backing data up regularly, since most people will think about it once in passing and then never follow up. In order to protect your information against loss, here are a few techniques for backing up that you might find helpful. Consider the cloud. Some of the advantages to storing files in the cloud is the fact that they can later be accessed from different

Tablets are more than just high tech toys, and in fact can have many applications for small business owners who choose to integrate the technology into their business models. The wonderful thing about them is that, thanks to downloadable apps and other tweaks they can be applied to a huge range of different tasks with a little programming and imagination. Here are a few ways that business owners are already utilizing tablets to help streamline their operations. Mobile sales platforms. The more places you can make transactions the better, especially if you plan on taking your products on the road. Many businesses use tablets for this, as with simple sales management software they are able to catalog transactions as well as process credit cards and log digital signatures. Some adventurous business owners even use tablets to log transactions using bitcoins, but whether your business is ready to use cryptocurrency or just wants to branch out how and where it can accept payment is up to you. Collecting and

Small businesses bring diversity and charm to a community, but it can often be hard for them to compete against corporate chains and outlet stores, which, while they usually don’t have the same basic appeal have the resources and often the price points that allow them to siphon business away from local competition. With this in mind business owners and local governments can put together local business campaigns that can help them to raise awareness of local businesses. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons surrounding the organization of a local business campaign. It takes time to plan a local campaign. No matter what the scale of the campaign you put together, in the end it is going to take time away from your schedule to plan it. An answer to this is to try and get other local business owners on board and spread out the responsibilities involved in an awareness campaign. Ideas for supporting local business include printing posters or decals

In a perfect world, nobody would need to let go of staff, but unfortunately from time to time firing an employee becomes a necessity. It’s not always because of a failure to do their jobs. Sometimes you simply can’t afford to keep someone on staff and the decision to let them go is forced. No matter what the reason is for letting an employee go, you should try to be as diplomatic as possible in these times. Professionalism should not disappear in stressful situations, rather it should become even more apparent. The true test of a diplomatic business owner is how well they are able to perform in the worst of times. You never know when you will be glad you didn’t burn a bridge, but courtesy and a positive influence on your community should come standard regardless. Keep the firing between you and the employee. In most situations, it will eventually become obvious that the employee in question is gone. You don’t need to trumpet

As more and more people join the ranks of small business owners in the US, the diversity of languages and cultures in business continues to increase. Depending on your business, you may also have employees who speak a different first language than English, or English may be your second language yourself. The presence of multiple languages in a work environment can be a great thing, allowing you to serve more customers with stronger support and allow non-native speakers to feel more at home, but if there is a language barrier between employees at times is can create some complications. Luckily, it’s fairly simple to keep your employees on the same page regardless of a language barrier if you take the time to create some HR strategies. Post written materials in both languages. This seemingly obvious piece of advice unfortunately gets overlooked all too often. If you have two or more different languages in your work environment, why would you only post notices in one of these

As a business owner, whether you like it or not you are a public figure. As a public figure, you and your business are going to appear on the internet at some point, whether in self managed ways such as through the creation of personal and business related social media accounts, or in others, including user submitted reviews on rating and local listing websites. It’s these latter ways that things can get scary and unpredictable, and when a bad review or some negative press appears out of the ether, it’s really frustrating to think that an anonymous person has created something that can potentially damage your livelihood. Digital reputation management can be achieved by a combination of methods. There are a few components that make up your online reputation. The first is ultimately how you act and how your business operates in the real world. If you are getting a ton of complaints about an aspect of your business on the internet, you might need to face

Small business owners aren’t always solo flyers. It’s quite common for two or more entrepreneurs to get together in order to pool resources insights and business planning talents in order to achieve more together than they ever could apart. When business partners are working well together, it is a force to be reckoned with, making it tough for competitors to gain the edge as problems are being attacked from multiple angles at all times. However, when there are two people who are in equal management roles who don’t agree on something, there is a lot of head butting that can ensue with potentially very negative consequences for the business in the end. It should be considered part of small business management training to learn how to effectively compromise and communicate with your business partner. neglecting this important aspect means that, if and when something goes wrong you can be blindsided by serious problems. Recognize each other’s strengths. In order to avoid problems altogether, it can be

A website for your small business is pretty much required in this day and age. If your customers cant find you on the internet, rather than simply being a nuisance for them, it can even raise red flags regarding your legitimacy if they wonder why you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of having even a rudimentary webpage. When it comes to designing a webpage, most small business owners will hire a designer to create one for them. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. If you want your site to look good and don’t have either the time or the grasp of coding language required to put one together, it’s ultimately the only way you are going to be able to get something up. Before jumping headfirst into a web design project, however, you are going to want to have a pretty well defined idea of what you need. In order to create a list of requirements for your site, here are a

Let’s face it, the office is not always the most energetic place to be. When those long and hot Summer days finally arrive, the energy in the office can often take a hit, and in the worst case this can result in a palpable loss of productivity. In order to keep your self and your staff feeling excited and ready to take on each week’s challenges, there’s a lot they you can do to keep the mood up. While turning the office from a place for work into a place for recreation is not the goal, that’s not to say that you cannot inject some fun into the atmosphere to keep people awake, on their toes, and most importantly, positively engaged with the goals that they have set for themselves. Touch base with your team. This is the most simple thing that we can recommend, and if your’e not already doing it, then start with this. Regularly keeping on contact with your employees is the strongest

Tax season is here, and what that means for many small business owners is that they are now meeting with their CPA in order to get their filings done. For one thing, small business owners usually don’t have the time to go through their tax filings themselves, and for another, since they are (usually) not trained in tax law, they might miss some key ways to maximize their tax returns and exemptions. In the end, putting a CPA on your roster is usually worth it if you take the time to make sure the one you choose is the correct fit for your business. Ensure that your CPA works with businesses like yours. If possible, finding a tax professional who specializes in small business is the strongest move you can make. These pros will be able to get you the best return since their specialty allows them the tie and the incentive to keep up to date on changing small business law and regulations. There will

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