When you are building a business, the case may be that the only think you think about is growth, and where the business can be if your planning and hard work pays off. Rarely does the idea of an exit strategy cross the mind of business owners who are in the midst of building a business that they feel passionate about, but that may be a mistake that they wind up paying for in the event that they build their business around themselves and find that they are in an irreplaceable role in the future when they begin to think about retirement and turning the reins over to someone else. Do you know what kind of buyer would look at your business? If you aren’t sure what type of person would buy your business from you, you should do research to find out. Odds are that a competitor, a skilled person looking to purchase a business of their own, or a company looking to acquire new

The economy is showing signs of improving, and while it is a rocky road, it’s still improving during a time when the global economy has been doing even worse. Add to that improving stats in almost every area, according to a recent Small Business Trends article, and you would think that self confidence would be on the rise. This is not the case, and as the article goes on to cite, a 6% drop in self designations as “extremely” or “very successful” has taken place since 2009. This is alarming, considering that if there was ever a time for business owners to feel like they are doing well, it should be as they persevere through an economic down turn and begin to see faint light at the end of the tunnel. Part of feeling successful is being able to perceive your achievements. While small business performance indicators are returning to pre-recession levels, business owners are apparently not perceiving themselves as successful, potentially because of their innate

Research studies at the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways indicate that employees who ate healthy meals and exercised regularly showed higher job performance and lower absenteeism. Workers who maintained a healthy diet throughout the day were 25% more likely to perform better on the job. Those that exercised for at least 30 minutes three times a week were 15% more likely to be more productive at work. Carter Coberley, vice president of Health Research and Outcomes at Healthways, noted that well-being is gaining recognition as an important measure that relates not only to the quality of life for the individual but also to financial measures that are important to businesses. This is seen in the direct correlation between the health and well-being of employees and employee absence and job performance. The study was based on data collected from geographically dispersed US companies and was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. What

Vision refers to something that goes beyond the ability to plan for the next month, and far beyond the normal day to day routine of your business. It’s the ability to project the values and role of your business in your community into the future, and knowing what those values are. Successful businesses are often able to grow not only because of the practical business knowledge put into their development, but also because the vision behind the business is big enough to grow beyond being important to a single entrepreneur and involve a whole team, then eventually a whole community. Even if your vision is to simply create a place in your neighborhood that will be there for future generations to appreciate, that vision should factor in to the way that you manage your business and set goals in the short term. What is the vision that you have for your business? Where do you see yourself in five years from now? If the answer is

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

A bottleneck refers to a choke-point in your business’s efficiency. While a certain part of your operations may be humming along, if another aspect of your production is not able to keep up, then serious imbalance can build up, with departments beginning to resent each other and communication breaking down alongside of efficiency. There are many reasons why bottlenecks in production can occur, as varied as the industries and components of each small business, but in order to get at the more specific reasons why there is an issue in your business, you need to determine the root cause of the problem and then address it from there. Too much going on. It can sometimes be the case that a business is trying to do too much. This can be hard to self diagnose, since small business owners will often blame themselves if they aren’t able to handle the ambitious workloads they lay upon themselves. That said, it’s important to realize when you are simply trying

When it comes to making progress on goals, having a deadline is necessary. However, all too often the art of setting  a deadline that is both reasonable enough to account for the unexpected and strict enough that things actually get done is ignored and deadlines set in a haphazard manner. While sometimes this is fine, and the deadline will be met without any problems, on other occasions a poorly planned deadline can create issues such as customer complaints, disorganization when synchronized processes don’t line up, and in the worst case, major waste in budgets or missed opportunities. Planning a deadline that makes sense doesn’t take much time to do correctly, and as business owners get a better sense of how long it takes their team to do certain things, they can arrive at a much stronger ability to create deadlines that allow for the most effective use of time. When creating a deadline for a project, account for the potential for issues to arise. Even a

As the Fourth of July weekend draws near, independence is a theme which demands recognition, in particular among small business owners. An independent group by nature, business owners responding to a Manta survey listed independence as the number one draw of being a small business owner an impressive 52% of the time, highlighting the power of self direction for bringing people into the fold of independent entrepreneurship. Self direction is also a powerful small business equalizer. Business owners may realize the personal benefits of small business ownership, but the independent nature of a small business also brings a significant edge when reacting to changing market conditions and innovative technology. Since a larger corporate competitor to a small business will have multiple levels of managerial authority as well as a human resources department that has sway over certain aspects of how change can occur, the turnaround time from the formation of an idea to its approval and realization can be much larger than in a small business,

It can be tough to know what the best way to gather and sort customer information is, but given the fact that the more you know about your customers, the better you are able to make sales, it’s an important area for small business owners to work on. What can they do in order to keep track of who they are working with? Here are a few ideas for gathering and cataloging information on who is driving your sales numbers. Create a follow up to your lead forms. A lead form should really only collect the essentials, since the longer and more complicated that it is to fill out, the harder it is going to be to get visitors to the site to take the time to fill it out at all. One solution to this issue is to make extraneous fields non-required, but even the site of a long and daunting lead form can deter people from taking the time to fill it out. You

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.

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