5 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Borrow Now


06/10/2019
Chatbots are all the business buzz – and for good reason.

They give customers of any-size business critical answers to pressing questions quickly.

They can:

Boost your average order value.
Accelerate the buyers’ journey.
Reduce your customer service costs.

complete article

06/07/2019
A new report finds that a good number of small businesses (29%) are spending somewhere in the sweet spot of  ($750-$2499) monthly to get the data needed for good online advertising results.

WordStreams Online Advertising Landscape in 2019 report also found that only 10% of the respondents had a monthly advertising budget less than the low end plateau for effectiveness of $750 monthly.

complete article

06/05/2019
People have a lot of opinions when it comes to debt and borrowing. At one extreme, some believe that all debt should be avoided and there’s no room for argument on the subject. Others perhaps borrow a little too freely, taking out new financing with little thought about whether doing so will be a benefit or a hindrance in the long term.

complete article

06/03/2019
Cybersecurity remains one of the most challenging issues for small business owners. And the problem leads small business owners to seek out managed service providers to present them with solutions.

But a new report from Continuum says the state of cybersecurity among small businesses in 2019 still needs to improve. The data suggests great opportunities for service providers who offer cyber security as part of their package.

complete article

05/31/2019
It is hard to start a profitable business in a competitive landscape. No doubt, business starts with a primary goal of making profits. Getting these profits from the phase of no client to multiple clients is a period of learning, falling, getting through and finally managing to sustain.

complete article

05/29/2019
Ranking a business website higher enhances its chances of gaining a lead that could ultimately turn into a new business sale. To rank, a website higher needs quite a few steps and does not happen overnight. Let’s figure out the five most common and impactful professional SEO tips that a CEO insists upon.

complete article

05/27/2019
Spreadsheets have long been an important tool for businesses. You can use them for just about anything. This includes budgeting and planning out important marketing campaigns.

No tool seems more synonymous with spreadsheets than Excel. Microsofts tool allows you to easily fill in spaces and create tables. But it also takes advantage of some more advanced features. However, starting from scratch will not give you a productive business.

You may want to take advantage of all that Excel has to offer. But maybe you don’t know exactly how to get started. So templates become a great option. Check out some sources for Excel business templates that can help you in 15 different areas of business operations.

complete article

05/24/2019
As any entrepreneur will tell you, owning a business comes with a lot of demands, pressure and hard work, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Thanks to an impactful conversation with an old friend and fellow business owner several years ago, I realized that I was wasting a lot of money by just having one credit card to pay business expenses.

Multiple credit cards can provide big bonuses.

Credit card companies are fighting a turf war, and they all have enticing offers to get us to sign up with them. My rationale is, why be exclusive to one bank? Why choose only one credit card? Why not enjoy the benefits from multiple banks?

complete article

05/22/2019
Owners of small businesses should consider hiring their children.

A young person whos claimed as a dependent on their parents return can still have $12,000 of wages in 2019 and pay no income tax. The Standard Deduction offsets the wages.

The parents probably provided more than 50 percent of the basic support of the child (housing, food, clothing, medical and transportation expenses). The parents can still claim the exemption for the child, but dependent exemptions are no longer done (allowed). If the child is younger than age 17, the parents do get a Child Tax Credit of $2,000. That credit directly offsets income tax of the parents.

If the business is a sole owner business, a single member LLC or a partnership owned only by the childs parents, there are no payroll taxes for the child or the employer to pay on the wages.

complete article

05/20/2019
As a (new) small business owner myself, I am very much talking from experience with these stay sane tips. You will find that you can never prevent work from piling up but you can lay down some strategies that will help you manage the work.

You need to consider your own state of mind and do what is best for you. Whatever your goal is in a business, your dream will eventually turn into an illusion when you become overwhelmed. There are a few secrets to staying sane by breaking up stress. Here are a few tips to get you started.

complete article

05/17/2019
Owning and operating a small business is challenging in today’s market. And common issues that small business leaders often must handle on their own are the countless HR tasks and responsibilities that take a significant amount of time and energy to properly manage.

The frustration and stress involved with modern HR has resulted in an increase in the use of outsourcing solutions. But one in particular can prove to be valuable to small employers: professional employer organizations (PEO).

complete article

05/15/2019
A Small Business can be identified as a being a privately-owned corporation, partnership, or sole proprietor that have fewer staff and less annual revenue than a regular-sized corporation. The European Union (EU) defines a small business as one with under 50 employees.

Small business or as they are sometimes known, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute 47% of revenue to the U.K. economy. They have a key role in boosting productivity but need support to expand activities and increase their economic impact.

complete article

05/13/2019
Smart companies are not just those that have intelligent leaders. They also have systems, tools and proper planning in place that allow every department or function to run together seamlessly. To become a smart company, you need to integrate smart ideas into every facet of your business. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community.

Manage Your Website Effectively
Your website is one of the most important tools your small business has. To manage it effectively, you need access to the right tools. In this WP Buffs post, Brenda Barron provides a full explanation and walk-through of GoDaddy Pro, so you can see if it may be helpful for your business.

complete article

05/10/2019
SBDC Centers offer free consulting and free or low-cost training. (Find yours here.) Their results speak for themselves: SBDC clients grow sales by an average 18.1%, which is 4.3 times the national average. March 20th is SBDC Day, and to celebrate, we assembled some tips from their experts.

complete article

05/08/2019
Small businesses can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than larger companies because they often do not have sophisticated and comprehensive systems to protect themselves from hackers, viruses, malware and whats called ransomware. And owners who are focused on customers and employees may not ensure that their defenses are up to date.

But there are things small businesses can do to improve cybersecurity.

complete article

05/06/2019
Whether you are an entrepreneur plotting to launch a startup or a CEO strategizing where to put another office, knowing where the next hot city is would be a game changer. Should you expand to Raleigh? Would you attract better talent in Austin or Atlanta? With the new Surge Cities Index, Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome crunched the data to score and rank the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven key indicators–from early-stage funding metrics to job creation. Finally, here’s the smartest way to answer the age-old question: Where should you go next?

complete article

05/03/2019
We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of deep-seated habits etched into our minds through years and years of repitious behavior. Those very same habits either help to propel us forward or to hinder our progress in life. In fact, the state and quality of our lives right now is a direct reflection of our daily habits.

Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life.

complete article

05/01/2019
Big companies often have big perks. That is especially true in the technology Opens a New Window.  space, where free meals, gyms, and even day care are quite common. Even more traditional large companies that do not offer those kinds of benefits still have things that smaller businesses Opens a New Window. do not — there are more opportunities for advancement, more training opportunities, and maybe even the option of transferring to another location.

complete article

04/29/2019
The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees.

This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce sites to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do  the heavy lifting.

Some small businesses have already created a digital presence. And the job of sales and marketing generally goes to in-house staff. This job often goes to employees with the necessary skill sets or to someone learning on the job. But remember how important these positions figure in the company’s growth.

complete article

04/26/2019
Billing your customers is, of course, vital — but even more critical is getting paid for those bills. Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, there are more payment tools and platforms to choose from to help find the perfect option for your business based on how many payments you receive, the type of business you have and your budget.

complete article

04/24/2019
Ever wonder how people get chosen to speak at TED? Well, it is curator Chris Andersons job to weed through the thousands upon thousands of possibilities and choose who will appear on the events prestigious main stage. Clearly, the guy is amazing at separating the wheat from the intellectual chaff.

Which is why TED fans (or anyone looking to make themselves smarter and more aware in easily digestible 20-minute chunks) should pay attention to Andersons picks for the 10 best TED talks of 2018. Touching on topics ranging from astronomy to social justice to artificial intelligence, they are guaranteed to change how you think about the world.  

complete article

04/22/2019
Switching careers can feel intimidating, but you have got to make some moves if you’re spinning your wheels at your current job. Tech industry jobs are hot right now, and you can make great money once you’ve got the know-how to compete with other tech candidates. Here’s a breakdown of the fields with the best opportunities.

complete article

04/19/2019
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.

complete article

04/17/2019
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.

complete article

04/15/2019
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:

1. Aggressive Marketing

It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.

complete article

04/12/2019
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.

complete article

04/10/2019
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.

But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.

complete article

04/08/2019
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.

complete article

04/06/2019
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.

Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil

complete article

04/04/2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.

1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.

complete article

04/02/2018
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.

Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.

complete article

03/29/2019
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

complete article

03/27/2019
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.

Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.

complete article

03/25/2019
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.

complete article

03/22/2019
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.

But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.

complete article

4 reasons you should work for a small business


05/13/2019
Smart companies are not just those that have intelligent leaders. They also have systems, tools and proper planning in place that allow every department or function to run together seamlessly. To become a smart company, you need to integrate smart ideas into every facet of your business. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community.

Manage Your Website Effectively
Your website is one of the most important tools your small business has. To manage it effectively, you need access to the right tools. In this WP Buffs post, Brenda Barron provides a full explanation and walk-through of GoDaddy Pro, so you can see if it may be helpful for your business.

complete article

05/10/2019
SBDC Centers offer free consulting and free or low-cost training. (Find yours here.) Their results speak for themselves: SBDC clients grow sales by an average 18.1%, which is 4.3 times the national average. March 20th is SBDC Day, and to celebrate, we assembled some tips from their experts.

complete article

05/08/2019
Small businesses can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than larger companies because they often do not have sophisticated and comprehensive systems to protect themselves from hackers, viruses, malware and whats called ransomware. And owners who are focused on customers and employees may not ensure that their defenses are up to date.

But there are things small businesses can do to improve cybersecurity.

complete article

05/06/2019
Whether you are an entrepreneur plotting to launch a startup or a CEO strategizing where to put another office, knowing where the next hot city is would be a game changer. Should you expand to Raleigh? Would you attract better talent in Austin or Atlanta? With the new Surge Cities Index, Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome crunched the data to score and rank the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven key indicators–from early-stage funding metrics to job creation. Finally, here’s the smartest way to answer the age-old question: Where should you go next?

complete article

05/03/2019
We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of deep-seated habits etched into our minds through years and years of repitious behavior. Those very same habits either help to propel us forward or to hinder our progress in life. In fact, the state and quality of our lives right now is a direct reflection of our daily habits.

Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life.

complete article

05/01/2019
Big companies often have big perks. That is especially true in the technology Opens a New Window.  space, where free meals, gyms, and even day care are quite common. Even more traditional large companies that do not offer those kinds of benefits still have things that smaller businesses Opens a New Window. do not — there are more opportunities for advancement, more training opportunities, and maybe even the option of transferring to another location.

complete article

04/29/2019
The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees.

This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce sites to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do  the heavy lifting.

Some small businesses have already created a digital presence. And the job of sales and marketing generally goes to in-house staff. This job often goes to employees with the necessary skill sets or to someone learning on the job. But remember how important these positions figure in the company’s growth.

complete article

04/26/2019
Billing your customers is, of course, vital — but even more critical is getting paid for those bills. Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, there are more payment tools and platforms to choose from to help find the perfect option for your business based on how many payments you receive, the type of business you have and your budget.

complete article

04/24/2019
Ever wonder how people get chosen to speak at TED? Well, it is curator Chris Andersons job to weed through the thousands upon thousands of possibilities and choose who will appear on the events prestigious main stage. Clearly, the guy is amazing at separating the wheat from the intellectual chaff.

Which is why TED fans (or anyone looking to make themselves smarter and more aware in easily digestible 20-minute chunks) should pay attention to Andersons picks for the 10 best TED talks of 2018. Touching on topics ranging from astronomy to social justice to artificial intelligence, they are guaranteed to change how you think about the world.  

complete article

04/22/2019
Switching careers can feel intimidating, but you have got to make some moves if you’re spinning your wheels at your current job. Tech industry jobs are hot right now, and you can make great money once you’ve got the know-how to compete with other tech candidates. Here’s a breakdown of the fields with the best opportunities.

complete article

04/19/2019
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.

complete article

04/17/2019
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.

complete article

04/15/2019
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:

1. Aggressive Marketing

It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.

complete article

04/12/2019
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.

complete article

04/10/2019
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.

But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.

complete article

04/08/2019
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.

complete article

04/06/2019
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.

Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil

complete article

04/04/2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.

1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.

complete article

04/02/2018
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.

Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.

complete article

03/29/2019
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

complete article

03/27/2019
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.

Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.

complete article

03/25/2019
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.

complete article

03/22/2019
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.

But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.

complete article

03/20/2019
Get out your pink paint. Or your coral, or yellow or teal. By the time you finish reading this column, you’re going to be painting one wall of your small business a color that will pop on Instagram.

Why? Because Instagram is today’s powerhouse social media site for consumer businesses. And if you give customers an inviting way to post to Instagram, they’ll advertise your business for free.

A few years ago, if you wanted to reach retail consumers, the social media site of choice was Facebook. While it may still work for reaching certain demographics, many consumers – especially female Millennials – love Instagram.

complete article

03/18/2019
A new report is saying that almost half of people recently hired (41%) used an online job board to find work and 61% flagged automatic job alerts as helpful. What is more, a full 14% found their present job using social media. The findings from How Do People Find Jobs? published by the B2B research firm, Clutch, highlights how today’s candidates are connecting with small businesses and vice versa.

complete article

03/15/2019
How did life lead you to entrepreneurship?

I have been in the technology industry for 25 years. I am a business-facing technologist, which basically means I have a background in finance and business. However, I stumbled into being a software engineer early on in my career. This resulted in a passion for data and solution creativity.After hitting the 20-year mark of working for enterprise-size organizations, I decided I needed a change. I experienced some life-threatening health challenges–all while taking care of my two sons with their own unique needs. A culmination of it all really made me stop and reflect on what I really wanted to do on a daily basis and the people I do it with.

complete article

03/13/2019
Step 1: Set meaningful goals.
People do nott achieve goals unless the goals are meaningful to them. Sure, every seller has a quota for this year, but so what? If you want to maximize your motivation to achieve the goals, you must know why achieving it is important to you. To do that, go beyond your one-year quota-focused goal.

complete article

03/11/2019
Are you making big changes to your small business?

Whether you’re entering a new market, eliminating services that your clients love but no longer work for you, or changing the structure of your business entirely, follow these three tips to shake up your small business without losing revenue or hurting your reputation.

complete article

03/08/2019
Most working class Americans are employed by companies that either require or offer retirement savings options in the form of a 401(k), 403b), or pension plan. Because these contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck, saving for retirement tends to be a rather painless process. Over time, the cumulative effect of regular monthly contributions leads to a nice sized nest egg that can be used in the retirement years.

But for entrepreneurs, the story is a little different. With no steady paycheck or employer-sponsored plans, many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement contributions.  And though it may not seem like a big deal in the early years, this misstep can prove to be dangerous and irresponsible as entrepreneurs age.

complete article

03/06/2019
Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you have been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this does not mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

complete article

03/04/2019
Being a leader can be a difficult, and sometimes thankless, job. You work long hours, make tough decisions, and try your best to make your employees and your customers happy. But things don’t always work out the way you hope.

Every leader can use a bit of inspiration and humor every once in a while. Adding some fun to your day can make it all come together and, at the same time, perhaps even put a smile on your face.

The next time you feel down, here are 17 funny leadership quotes to perk you up.

complete article

03/01/2019
Procrastination is an odd compulsion. Everyone has experienced it, but the underlying reasons can be tough to pin down.

After all, procrastination delays the very activities that bring people closer to their goals — whether that is building a thriving business or stronger triceps. So why do not humans just sprint toward that brighter, fitter future?

The science.
Scientific studies of procrastination have spiked over the past 20 years. Researchers once considered the issue a basic time-management problem, but they now view it as a complex and highly individual phenomena.  

complete article

02/27/2019
Not every step you take to move your business forward will be a big one. But sometimes, even small steps can make a large impact on your future. Here are some recent tips and insights from members of the online small business community about big and small steps you can take to really make an impact on your business.

complete article

02/25/2019
Like departments and agencies throughout government, the Air Force is tuning its acquisition methods to get closer the speed of technology, and will be holding its first live pitch day in March, with an available funding pool of $40 million.

The Air Forces Small Business Innovation Research program has issued a call to start-ups and small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—to offer pitches on innovative technologies for secure communications, down-range battlefield operations and digital technologies.

complete article

02/22/2019
I am pleased to bring you my top five tricks for disconnecting – and at least temporarily escaping the job stress.

1. Make the business case.

Taking time to recharge is not just good for your mental and physical health — it is the smart thing to do for your business. Studies have shown that increased stress leads to reduced productivity, while decreased stress levels lead to increased productivity.

complete article

3 Reasons Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces

coworking

By Michael Haapaniemi

Overbearing bosses, office politics, and strict policies are all common reasons people dread going to work. Imagine a workplace where those things don’t exist. A space where like-minded people have the freedom to collaborate, work independently, or take a break and share a beer.

Working in a traditional office comes with harsh fluorescent lights and caged cubicles, hardly the type of space that promotes ingenuity and collaboration. When it comes to working for yourself or working remotely, it seems the only options are home or a coffee shop. Home can pose the issue of isolation which can stifle creativity and productivity. Coffee shops offer a more social environment but can quickly become overstimulating and distracting. All of these options set limitations on work. The solution to reaching full potential is coworking.

A simple definition of coworking is a working environment shared between a community of independent professionals and small businesses. These places are quickly becoming the most desirable way to work, but they aren’t just an update to modern furniture and shared office space. Coworking spaces offer just the right balance of freedom and structure and a culture of collaboration and community.

Flexibility One of the key components that coworking offers, that a traditional office or coffee shop doesn’t, is flexibility. The earliest coworking spaces were created in hopes to foster communities of non-competitive professionals who were encouraged to work independently or collaborate at will. This flexibility continues to be a core value of coworking spaces.

There’s no forced interaction which means if an introvert thrives in a busier environment like a coffee shop but needs just a touch of the structure that offices provide, they can confidently use a coworking space without the worry of socialization. On the other hand, if an extrovert needs socialization to be productive, they can be positive that they’ll find a similar professional to share a conversation with.

Membership choices are also accommodating to all types of professionals, offering anything from come as needed, bullpen-style options to private office spaces all under one roof. Everyone has a style of working that is just as unique as them, so placing professionals into a rigid working environment and expecting high productivity from every member is counterproductive. Coworking offers an adaptable space where everyone’s needs can be met.

Networking Fortune 500 companies are modeling their offices after this coworking concept and they’re reaping the benefits. Some companies will even send their employees to work out of coworking spaces. The biggest value for these companies lies in the networking opportunities available.

Since there’s such a variety of professions working out of one space, there is little need for competition and more opportunity for networking. Different levels and areas of expertise all in one place lends itself to an ideal network of supportive individuals helping each other succeed. If someone is struggling with a section of their project, they may just need a second opinion from an expert in a different field who could very well be sitting across the room. Instead of spending valuable time searching for this help, professionals can take advantage of the community they’re a part of.

Due to their diversity, the networking opportunities that lie in coworking communities are endless. Potential clients, new talent for a start-up, business partners, mentors, or even just an equally ambitious friend can all be found without leaving the building.

The non-competitiveness that surrounds coworking culture is another reason why people thrive in these environments. Individuals can come to work without having to put up any sort of front for competitive reasons. No one is trying to impress the boss or compare accomplishments to seem more successful. This promotes a more relaxed environment most suitable for sharing ideas and creates a comfort that leads to being more productive.

Balance Freedom to work when, where, and how someone wants is one of the most appealing aspects of coworking that allows individuals to thrive. However, there is such a thing as too much freedom and coworking strikes the perfect balance between the abundance of freedom from working at home and the almost nonexistent freedom of an office.

Too much or not enough freedom can influence productivity. Having a place separate from the home that is designated as a workspace, creates just the right balance of routine to keep productivity up. On the other hand, too much routine can stifle creativity and create mental blocks. Allowing the option to leave the office and work out of a coworking space gives enough freedom to boost productivity and new ideas.

Essentially, the culture of flexibility, freedom, collaboration, and community that surrounds coworking is what allows people to thrive in these spaces. It provides the ultimate balance of freedom and structure that humans need to succeed and a network of ambitious individuals ready to help each other prosper. Coworking is for the next generation of purposeful workers who are ready to reach their full potential.

Michael Haapaniemi is the President at Ranch Office, a Texas-inspired space for coworking in Houston, TX. Michael is a proud Northwestern University Wildcat, with a degree in Industrial Engineering, and an undergraduate Certificate in Managerial Analytics from the Kellogg School of Business.

Coworking stock photo by rvdw images/Shutterstock

5 Reasons Why Kindness Has Become the Key to My Happiness, Both in Business and in Life

One small act of kindness, even just a conversation in a parking lot, can make such a powerful difference.

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to a Cigna study, 46 percent of surveyed Americans suffer from feeling alone. In the work world, despite all the focus on employee engagement, many employees are still unhappy. We live at a time when we are more connected than ever digitally, yet loneliness and unhappiness abound. Where are we missing the boat?

After working with leadership teams and organizations for over four decades, I believe I have found the answer. The answer is not about greater employee engagement — rather, it’s about greater human engagement.  

How I uncovered the happiness secret for myself

In the darkest moments of my life, a wise mentor told me that the greatest antidote to fear, anxiety or frustration was to go help someone else. After a rough 2018 on a personal level, I found this sage advice to be a game-changer. Here’s how it all began.

At the end of every year, I find myself feverishly searching for client holiday gifts. In the past, I would send gifts such as leadership books, audiobooks, inspirational mugs, journals and charitable contributions just to name a few. This year, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to give back in the most compelling way possible.

I remembered a nonprofit organization with whom I connected 10 years ago about random acts of kindness. I revisited their website and was so inspired by reading their kindness stories, I could see enormous possibilities. What if a company were to build small random acts of kindness into its daily culture?  What impact would it have on its employees, customers, reputation, competitive advantage and bottom line?

That question inspired me to gift 1000 smile cards — like business cards, but which you leave behind after a random act of kindness to act others to pass it forward. Plus I set up each client company’s first 21-Day Kindness Challenge. My ultimate goal was to generate so much excitement, inspiration and heartfelt connections from simple acts of kindness, that they becomes contagious within the organization. 

The more I focused on kindness programs for my clients, the more I became addicted to random acts of kindness in my own life. I now wake up every morning, wondering, What simple act of kindness can I do today? Whose life can I help? How can I be kind to myself?

In a digitally driven world, it’s easy to forget that we all need connection as human beings to thrive in this world. All the texts, Facebook likes or tweets will never substitute for one real human moment where, even if only for seconds, we matter in someone else’s eyes.

Within weeks of performing daily acts of kindness, my life was altered in profound ways. Here’s here’s how my kindness practice got started.

It took just one smile and a thank you to get me hooked.

It was the middle of December last year. The stores were crowded. The parking lots were full.  You could feel holiday stress in the air.

As I walked to my car with a cart full of groceries, I noticed a young male approaching me to return my cart back to the store. As I was unloading my groceries, I made small conversation asking him how his day was going. He seemed rather startled although smiled, as if I was the first person in his day to make a human connection.

For whatever reason, I asked a simple follow-up question: “Do you spend your entire day chasing the carts?”

He replied, “Most of the day I spend chasing the carts. The rest of the time I am in the store getting yelled at by my supervisor.”

In that moment, my heart sank. Working with leadership teams and organizations that strive to treat their employees with respect and appreciation, I was reminded of the harsh reality that some businesses still mistreat their employees.

Yet his smile and his eyes said it all – the gratitude for genuine human connection, even if just for a few moments.

One small act of kindness, even just a conversation in a parking lot, can make such a powerful difference. Here are five reasons why it makes a difference in my life.

1. I get a shot of exhilaration for the entire day. 

One simple act of kindness — or merely thinking about kindness — excites me throughout my day. After a single act, I feel less pain and stress, greater well-being and even a rush of euphoria, just like a runner’s high without the sweat. Plus, friends even tell me that I look younger!

2. I experience more gratifying relationships.

Kindness acts have inspired me to reach out more frequently, especially to long distance friends and family.  Even if for just a few moments, I want them to know that I care.

I find myself expressing that same caring attitude to people I barely know, signing my emails with such words as “hugs” or “lots of love.” Since performing kindness acts, those words have greater meaning now.

I’m also kinder to myself. Having grown up in an alcoholic family, I am keenly aware when kindness is missing in my life. Being kind teaches me to be a gentler, more-nurturing parent towards myself than my family of origin was ever capable of.

3. I see more beauty and good in the world.

Kindness acts teach me to see the beauty in myself and others. As I look into a person’s eyes now, I know they matter. My life is richer because of them. The more I focus on kindness, the more kindness I see around me.

I also spend more time reading kindness stories, rather than listening to the fear-driven news of our day. Such stories give me hope for a better world. They inspire me to keep asking, Whose spirits need lifting? How can I change someone’s day for the better?

4. Kindness is the new disruptor in my business. 

In today’s zero-sum-game mentality, where somebody wins and somebody loses, kindness acts remind me that there can be another way, even in business. There’s no such thing as being too kind to a customer or to an employee. With kindness, everyone profits! 

Kindness acts have become my go-to strategy in building a thriving business. I love connecting every day with a prospect, client or business associate simply because I care. Kindness is not a weakness, as many think. Kindness requires integrity, courage and the willingness to go against the norm. 

Kindness acts also guide me in handling difficult business conversations in a more harmonious way. I now find myself asking such questions as, How can I be kind in this situation, yet still speak my truth?

5. I am living a legacy I can be proud of.

Maya Angelo said it best: “Your legacy is every life you touched.” Since kindness has become a daily way of life, I am forever humbled how even the smallest act can impact a person’s life in big ways. I’ve witnessed emotions change from sadness to happiness, from depression to engagement, all because of kindness. 

Kindness acts heal. Given all the wreckage from my past, such acts have become a way to make amends for past wrongs toward others. They have a long-term rippling effect beyond my immediate reach. 

When performing kindness acts, I know I am doing my part to make our world a nicer, more caring place. I get to be the change I want to see – and experience! — in the world. That’s the world I want to live in!

Plus, such acts inspired me to write this article and share its power with you! Hope you enjoyed it!

7 Reasons To Start Your Own Company in Your 20s


04/19/2019
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.

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04/17/2019
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.

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04/15/2019
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:

1. Aggressive Marketing

It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.

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04/12/2019
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.

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04/10/2019
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.

But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.

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04/08/2019
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.

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04/06/2019
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.

Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil

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04/04/2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.

1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.

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04/02/2018
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.

Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.

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03/29/2019
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

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03/27/2019
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.

Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.

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03/25/2019
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.

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03/22/2019
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.

But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.

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03/20/2019
Get out your pink paint. Or your coral, or yellow or teal. By the time you finish reading this column, you’re going to be painting one wall of your small business a color that will pop on Instagram.

Why? Because Instagram is today’s powerhouse social media site for consumer businesses. And if you give customers an inviting way to post to Instagram, they’ll advertise your business for free.

A few years ago, if you wanted to reach retail consumers, the social media site of choice was Facebook. While it may still work for reaching certain demographics, many consumers – especially female Millennials – love Instagram.

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03/18/2019
A new report is saying that almost half of people recently hired (41%) used an online job board to find work and 61% flagged automatic job alerts as helpful. What is more, a full 14% found their present job using social media. The findings from How Do People Find Jobs? published by the B2B research firm, Clutch, highlights how today’s candidates are connecting with small businesses and vice versa.

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03/15/2019
How did life lead you to entrepreneurship?

I have been in the technology industry for 25 years. I am a business-facing technologist, which basically means I have a background in finance and business. However, I stumbled into being a software engineer early on in my career. This resulted in a passion for data and solution creativity.After hitting the 20-year mark of working for enterprise-size organizations, I decided I needed a change. I experienced some life-threatening health challenges–all while taking care of my two sons with their own unique needs. A culmination of it all really made me stop and reflect on what I really wanted to do on a daily basis and the people I do it with.

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03/13/2019
Step 1: Set meaningful goals.
People do nott achieve goals unless the goals are meaningful to them. Sure, every seller has a quota for this year, but so what? If you want to maximize your motivation to achieve the goals, you must know why achieving it is important to you. To do that, go beyond your one-year quota-focused goal.

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03/11/2019
Are you making big changes to your small business?

Whether you’re entering a new market, eliminating services that your clients love but no longer work for you, or changing the structure of your business entirely, follow these three tips to shake up your small business without losing revenue or hurting your reputation.

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03/08/2019
Most working class Americans are employed by companies that either require or offer retirement savings options in the form of a 401(k), 403b), or pension plan. Because these contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck, saving for retirement tends to be a rather painless process. Over time, the cumulative effect of regular monthly contributions leads to a nice sized nest egg that can be used in the retirement years.

But for entrepreneurs, the story is a little different. With no steady paycheck or employer-sponsored plans, many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement contributions.  And though it may not seem like a big deal in the early years, this misstep can prove to be dangerous and irresponsible as entrepreneurs age.

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03/06/2019
Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you have been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this does not mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

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03/04/2019
Being a leader can be a difficult, and sometimes thankless, job. You work long hours, make tough decisions, and try your best to make your employees and your customers happy. But things don’t always work out the way you hope.

Every leader can use a bit of inspiration and humor every once in a while. Adding some fun to your day can make it all come together and, at the same time, perhaps even put a smile on your face.

The next time you feel down, here are 17 funny leadership quotes to perk you up.

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03/01/2019
Procrastination is an odd compulsion. Everyone has experienced it, but the underlying reasons can be tough to pin down.

After all, procrastination delays the very activities that bring people closer to their goals — whether that is building a thriving business or stronger triceps. So why do not humans just sprint toward that brighter, fitter future?

The science.
Scientific studies of procrastination have spiked over the past 20 years. Researchers once considered the issue a basic time-management problem, but they now view it as a complex and highly individual phenomena.  

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02/27/2019
Not every step you take to move your business forward will be a big one. But sometimes, even small steps can make a large impact on your future. Here are some recent tips and insights from members of the online small business community about big and small steps you can take to really make an impact on your business.

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02/25/2019
Like departments and agencies throughout government, the Air Force is tuning its acquisition methods to get closer the speed of technology, and will be holding its first live pitch day in March, with an available funding pool of $40 million.

The Air Forces Small Business Innovation Research program has issued a call to start-ups and small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—to offer pitches on innovative technologies for secure communications, down-range battlefield operations and digital technologies.

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02/22/2019
I am pleased to bring you my top five tricks for disconnecting – and at least temporarily escaping the job stress.

1. Make the business case.

Taking time to recharge is not just good for your mental and physical health — it is the smart thing to do for your business. Studies have shown that increased stress leads to reduced productivity, while decreased stress levels lead to increased productivity.

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02/20/2019
The benefit of working for a large company is gaining access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) – a critical tool that helps millions of workers save for retirement.

But if you are a small-business owner, you should know that you have several tax-advantaged savings plans at your disposal that allow you to sock away substantial funds for your golden years.

Better yet, the annual contribution limits for all of these plans increased in 2019, so now’s a better time than ever to start funding one.

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02/18/2019

The beginning of the year is a great time to make resolutions for your small business. Whether you’re launching a new product or implementing a new technology, you are setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The New Year could also be the perfect time to fix internal issues that are holding you back from success. Below is a list of common business hurdles that arise in small business and how you can overcome them.

Hurdle #1: Trying to do everything yourself

There are a lot of tedious tasks involved in keeping a small business running smoothly – like running payroll, approving time off requests, and so on.

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02/15/2019
Rising interest rates and high levels of corporate debt have lots of investors concerned. Should small businesses be worried?

The majority of small businesses (in most industries) are able to pay their bills on time. According to Experian/Moodys Analytics Main Street Report, overall delinquencies for businesses with fewer than 100 employees were slightly down in the third quarter of 2018. Credit utilization rates were also down slightly.

At the same time, that same research has found that rates for delinquencies of 31 to 90 days rose slightly. While it is not yet a cause for concern, the report points out that the period of consistent declines in delinquency rates for small businesses may be near its end.

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02/13/2019
Owning or running a small business comes with a special set of challenges that larger companies do not face. Major national brands have a lot of advantages, with the biggest one being that a single misstep probably won’t derail a business.

That is not always true for owners of small businesses, where the distance between success and failure can be precarious. Sometimes seemingly small decisions can send a smaller company on a course that can’t be corrected.

In some cases, however, it is possible to plan ahead to avoid certain pitfalls.

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02/11/2019
As we welcome 2019, attention is shifting to what’s on the horizon for small businesses in the year ahead. The reality is that the nature of work is evolving. During my more than 25-year career, I have held a number of leadership positions. Early in my time in the health insurance industry, compensation reigned supreme among my employees, while health and wellness were perceived as a nice-to-have benefit.

Now, workplace norms are beginning to align more with employee wants and needs and new rules about conducting business are being established — particularly when it comes to employee health and wellness. I believe this shift, which I have witnessed within my own team, will continue to dominate work environments across the nation in the new year.

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02/08/2019
Establishing a strong social media presence can mean big business for your small business. But if you don’t have dedicated resources to devote to it, or you don’t have much time to spare, you might find it tough to gain traction. Use these nine social media tips to boost business and grow your brand.

Set Clear Goals

No matter how eager you are to start using social media for your business, take the time to set clear goals before you begin. Try setting SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely — to guide your social media strategy.

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02/06/2019
On one hand, year-on-year improvements are what makes companies great; on the other, firms can’t control many of the factors that dictate whether, say, revenue rises or not.

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02/04/2019
When Mandy Bass speaks to business leaders and professionals who want to improve sales, productivity, teamwork, customer satisfaction and profitability she consistently finds that they are working way too hard to achieve the results they seek. With that in mind, for the New Year she has compiled a list of seven small or low-cost things that could get small business owners, solopreneurs and sales professionals big results in 2019.

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02/01/2019
The 2018 holiday season is in the books, and small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) sold big on Amazon. In fact, SMBs had their best holiday shopping season ever.

The e-tail giant itself had a record-setting holiday season as well: More items were ordered worldwide on Amazon than ever before.

But it was not just corporations like LEGO that benefitted from all this shopping. More than 50 percent of all items sold came from small and medium-sized businesses.

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01/30/2019
A healthy economy means many small businesses are thriving — but they’re also having a hard time hanging onto employees. A good 24% of small businesses lost at least one employee in 2018, while 11% of small businesses lost 10% of their workforce, according to Bank of America. Not only that, but 58% of businesses had trouble finding qualified candidates for open roles, and 25% said it took more time to fill open positions in 2018 than it did in 2017.

And there lies the problem with a strong job market: When employment is plentiful, workers have more options to choose from, so getting them to join or stay with your team becomes more challenging for companies across the board, but particularly for small businesses with limited resources.

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3 Reasons to Stay Easily Reachable to Your Customers

customers

By Sneha Mittal

In this hyperconnected and competitive environment, keeping your customers satisfied is non-negotiable. According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 providing great customer experience and building long-term relationships will be a major differentiator for your business overtaking price & product features as the key differentiating factors.

A relationship becomes strong only with trust and openness. Your relationship with your customers is no different. Staying accessible, being easily reachable to customers and engaging with them at each stage of their customer journey is the first step to building trust with your customers. Here are a few important reasons why you should care about being reachable to your audience:

1) Convenience for customers and prospects

Convenience is a critical factor which impacts the customer experience and their purchase decisions. Imagine yourself from the customer’s perspective. When you’re looking for a specific product or service, how would you evaluate similar businesses? One product’s website offers answers to FAQs, an easy-to-navigate website and a responsive support email ID/contact number for support while the other website offers great content and online experience, but chooses to hide all their contact information making it impossible to reach out to them. Undoubtedly, you’ll choose the first product over the second, not because you have any issues or questions regarding the product now, but because when you do have any questions in the future you always have the option to reach out to them.

Staying easily reachable and sharing contact information on relevant pages of the website gives the idea of perceived convenience and can work wonders for your business. Figure out areas where customers may have questions about your product/service and brainstorm ideas on how you can reduce/eliminate those questions with ease.

Highlight how your products/services provide more convenience over the competitors and stay easily reachable to them using a free appointment booking system like SuperSaaS. Set aside some time from your daily schedule to connect to customers and allow them to schedule a time directly to the schedule. The system sends you automated reminders before the scheduled time so you don’t forget to connect. We recommend you to customize the automated follow-up emails to share relevant business information with your prospects.

2) Adds credibility to your business profile

Every single customer interaction impacts your brand perception, and your business wants to stand out as credible and trustworthy. Your website is your online workspace where the customers interact with you and should reflect your brand values. First, start by sharing your relevant contact details on the website. Make sure your contact information is easy to find and give links to multiple platforms to reach you, for example, links to social media pages.

Second, build your credibility by sharing reviews from existing customers. You do not manage a business in isolation, so it’s not possible to build your credibility just with your own actions. Use a combination of tools like testimonial pages and links to product/service review websites to allow the prospects to see how your existing customers perceive your products/services. Reading reviews (including negative reviews) boosts your credibility in customer’s eyes and also helps in proving that your business is a real business that is easily reachable in case of any real issues. We recommend you to take ownership of your profile on these multiple platforms and respond to the reviews to show your prospects that you’re always there to hear their feedback.

3) Improve your brand equity & bring value to your clients

According to a recent study, it’s proved that emotion trumps reason when customers are making a purchase decision, even in a B2B scenario. Hence, it is important that your business and your brand are perceived in a positive light by the customers. One way to build a positive brand perception is to include website elements requesting feedback from prospects and customers. This can include engaging elements like pop-up customer surveys, feedback buttons, live chat options, opinion polls, forms asking their requests or requirements, etc. This will help you remove the guesswork from your marketing activities, bring value to your customers and will aid in further improving the business experience.

According to a study by Stella Service, a dissatisfied customer tells between 9-15 people about their experience, and negative interactions with a business are spread to twice as many people as the positive ones. Engaging and being easily reachable to customers reduces the probability of a negative experience left unattended and improves the chances of growth for your business. And for prospects visiting your site, it’s a direct signal that you’re always reachable when they have feedback to share.

Make your customers feel that you really care about them and value their feedback. The product/service you offer is not just to make a profit for your business, but to provide value to your end customers. When they truly believe that, you will observe long-term loyalty and sales growth in your business.

Sneha Mittal is a passionate digital marketer who works as the Marketing and Customer Service Manager with SuperSaaS Online Appointment Scheduling System. She is passionate about food & travel and in her leisure time likes to write on her blog Mr & Mrs Sachdeva. She has an extensive experience of working with startups and small businesses and helping them scale up their marketing teams.

Contacts stock photo by Mathias Richter/Shutterstock

7 Reasons Why SEO Matters for Every Startup

No matter how lean your startup, you can at least afford do-it-yourself SEO.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For entrepreneurs, SEO is an integral part of building a successful startup from the ground up. Despite this, many founders neglect this low cost, high reward business strategy, according to digital growth expert Scott McGovern.

A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is a powerful tool for any startup — and doesn’t have to kill the budget. There are six reasons why optimization needs to be a priority for every business owner, according to McGovern.

1. SEO delivers customer behavior data to startups.

SEO uncovers significant data. The more search engine optimization research a startup does, the more data they have about what potential customers are searching for.

“When a founder is just beginning their business, they don’t have much data about their audience,” says Scott McGovern. “SEO helps accumulate that data over time. They can continue to benefit from it long after they’ve launched their business.”  

Some of the best SEO tools to help you rank higher in Google have free trial versions. Startups can see which words their target customer audience is using to conduct searches. A founder can also conduct their own Google search and input words that pertain to their business.

From there, Google will auto-fill those terms based on how often people search those words.

Related: 7 Best SEO Tools to Help You Rank Higher in Google

2. SEO results in higher traffic and conversions.

SEO helps startups get traffic that can yield conversions and revenue.

Instead of spending money on social media advertising and other marketing tactics, McGovern recommends building out SEO and staying current with Google’s best practices.

“Maybe you’re installing a product or you’re a publisher and you’re trying to get impressions,” explains Scott McGovern. “If you can rank particular keywords that don’t have high searches and aren’t very competitive like some long-tail keywords, then you can start driving organic traffic.”

“It’s been proven that organic traffic — traffic that comes from a search like on Google — converts 400 percent better than any other type of traffic besides email marketing,” he added.

3. It’s free.

SEO can be free — along with many of the tools necessary to use it, like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

With Google Analytics, it’s possible to see what users are doing on a website or platform. Google Search Console shows a founder exactly what was searched and how visitors landed there. Broken links or 404s, which are bad for SEO health, can also be identified.

“All it takes is time versus money,” says Scott McGovern. “As a startup, all you have is time. You can go through Google’s platform and learn how to set up the entire process whether you use Shopify, WordPress, Magento, or whatever you are using.”

For businesses looking for professional help, there are also ways to keep costs low when choosing your next SEO firm.

Related: 5 Tips for Choosing Your Next SEO Firm

4. SEO helps startups make informed business decisions.

The same data that helps a founder understand customer behavior can be used for other critical startup actions. The information can be applied to an overall business strategy to shape the decisions a founder makes, leading to successful launch and growth stages.

“Once you figure out the consumer, you can decide how to convert them. Then you can vertically integrate that by creating specific clickfunnels geared toward those specific users,” says McGovern.

“For example, you can say, ‘my user is a 24-year-old male who typically lives in this part of the country.’ Then you can create content specifically geared toward that particular user.”

SEO data can also inform other business decisions.

“If one keyword is doing really well, then you can create other keywords off of that which aren’t searched as much,” McGovern explains. “Or, there might be other long-tail keywords which you can also drive other traffic for greater conversions.”

5. Optimizing for Google strengthens consumer trust and value.

SEO helps startups build relationships with potential customers with minimal effort. When a business shows up fairly high on the search results, it builds customer trust. From there, the company can work toward building respect and credibility, which are necessary for a new brand relying on digital channels for conversions.

“The last company I did it for, we collected 180 thousand emails from organic traffic,” McGovern explains. “Whether people sign up for a newsletter or they want alerts about discounts, when they see your search results in Google, it automatically builds intrinsic value for the consumer that they can trust your business.”

6. SEOptimization builds a long term audience.

Paying for advertisements delivers short term results for a high price.

SEO helps businesses provide their visitors with the content they want. Instead, of having traffic tank the moment an advertisement runs out, SEO will build an audience over time.

“The better and more popular your content is, the stronger its SEO will become over time as other sources link to you and Google rewards you for providing quality information, not spam,” Mcgovern explains.

Of course, SEO requires constant upkeep.

“Google is constantly updating its algorithms, which may or may not affect your business,” he adds. “Search isn’t a one-time solution but a constant process of staying up to date.”

That’s why it’s important to stay up to date on SEO marketing trends in 2019.

Related: 6 SEO Marketing Trends in 2019 That Entrepreneurs Should Know About

7. SEO delivers results for startups.

Building a digital presence is crucial for any startup, no matter the industry. The best way to gain awareness, brand equity and traction is through SEO. Optimization tools give businesses easy access to data about their audience. Beyond that, search engine optimization is the cheapest way to build a customer base and inspire consumer trust.

For startups and established companies that don’t want to spend on large scale advertising campaigns, search engine optimization is the best way to build a brand.

5 reasons Microsoft Invoicing is a smart choice for your business

Keep the payments coming

Getting paid is naturally the lifeblood of your small business. Without reliable income from customers, the lights won’t stay on for long. This is why a dedicated invoicing solution — such as Microsoft Invoicing — can be incredibly useful.

Microsoft Invoicing is a natural extension to the rest of the powerful Office 365 suite.

In this post, we’ll look at Microsoft Invoicing and discuss five reasons it can be an invaluable tool. Let’s get started!

Related: Habits of business owners who get paid on time

Why you need a dedicated invoicing solution

There are a number of reasons why a dedicated invoicing solution makes sense.

Microsoft Invoicing With A TabletPhoto: Microsoft Office

Receiving prompt payment for the products and services you provide is crucial to maintaining your cashflow. At the same time, invoicing can become a significant hassle. While you can create invoices manually or use a standard Office app such as Excel, there are better ways to streamline the process and save yourself a lot of time.

Want to get paid fast by creating invoices and estimates in minutes? Check out Microsoft Invoicing in Office 365 from GoDaddy.

Microsoft Invoicing is one such tool, offering a single interface that handles a lot of the work for you. It’s a full-featured solution that ensures you can track, bill and receive payments seamlessly. As such, it’s worth a look for just about any small business.

5 reasons why Microsoft Invoicing is a smart choice for your business

So, what is it that makes this particular tool so useful? Let’s take a look at five of the top reasons to choose Microsoft Invoicing, starting with the developer itself.

  1. Invoicing can be done on-the-go.
  2. Your entire invoicing process can be centralized.
  3. Customers have an easy path to payment.
  4. You can create professional-looking invoices quickly.
  5. Stability is important in money matters.

As you can see, there are quite a few reasons why Microsoft Invoicing might be the right call for your business. Let’s dive a little deeper.

1. Invoicing can be done on-the-go

Microsoft Invoicing On The Go

Running a small business requires more flexibility than ever before, which is making cloud-based solutions a must. Thankfully, Microsoft has recognized this fact and come up with the Office 365 suite of tools.

This suite takes all the classic desktop apps and makes them cloud-based — including Microsoft Invoicing. As a result, you can create and send invoices and handle payments regardless of your current location or situation. This system also means that it’s easy to hand off invoicing to another team member quickly if needed.

2. Your entire invoicing process can be centralized

One drawback of the traditional spreadsheet approach is that Excel and Outlook contacts aren’t inherently linked. Of course, you can set that system up, but a fully integrated solution will save you a lot of time and trouble.

Microsoft Invoicing is a fully-featured management app, offering a wealth of functionality.

You’re able to create invoices, add whatever information you like, and then customize their look completely. What’s more, you can send them from the same app, and handle payments as they come in (either via your desktop or the cloud).

3. Customers have an easy path to payment

Often, the biggest issue you’ll have when it comes to invoicing is actually getting customers to pay on time. A smooth and easy process is vital, since the simpler it is for a customer to pay, the quicker you’ll likely receive your money.

We already mentioned that Microsoft Invoicing can handle customer payments, but it’s worth reiterating what a useful feature this is. You can even include one-click payment options on the invoices themselves, via all manner of different gateways (such as PayPal).

For your customers, this means all they have to do is double-check the invoice and press a button. This is essential if your finances rely on fast payments.

4. You can create professional-looking invoices quickly

Even though it may seem unnecessary, design matters, even on invoices. If a client receives an invoice that looks unprofessional or confusing, they may be hesitant to pay, or unable to decipher what it contains.

The good news is that Microsoft Invoicing offers a number of templates and styles, so you can create documents that match your vision. You can also add your own personal branding, which helps your invoices stand out.

Microsoft Invoicing Professional Design

5. Stability is important in money matters

The technology landscape is littered with the remains of small companies that have closed their doors. Microsoft is a popular standby when it comes to software. As such, you can rest easy knowing Microsoft Invoicing is something that won’t fall by the wayside in a few months or years, but is likely to grow with you over your business’s lifetime.

Where you can find Microsoft Invoicing

If any of the benefits we’ve discussed sound appealing, you’re likely wondering where you can find the Microsoft Invoicing software. The good news is that you don’t have to look too far!

GoDaddy has partnered with Microsoft to offer Office 365 packages to suit the needs of entrepreneurs everywhere.

Upon subscribing to a Business Premium plan, you’ll get Microsoft Invoicing and a whole host of other benefits included. Of course, the Office classics are also represented, with online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more ready to roll.

You’ll also get up to 1TB of secure cloud storage. This means you can leverage the power of the cloud to your advantage, without worrying about running out of space.

Related: 13 hacks to get the most out of your Office 365 subscription

Closing thoughts on Microsoft Invoicing

Invoicing can be a stressful task, so having a powerful invoicing solution to help you out is vital. Microsoft Invoicing could be just what your business needs, especially given GoDaddy’s partnership that provides the most essential Office 365 apps at a cost-effective price.

In this post, we’ve looked at five reasons Microsoft Invoicing is a smart business move. Let’s recap them:

  1. You’ll have peace of mind, knowing you’re using a rock-solid tool from Microsoft.
  2. Invoicing can take place in the cloud, for maximum flexibility.
  3. The whole invoicing process is effectively centralized.
  4. Customers can pay directly from their invoices, meaning you’ll receive payments quicker.
  5. There are plenty of easy ways to make sure your invoices look stylish and professional.

Here’s to all your invoices getting paid right on time, and hearing that cash register ring.

Marketing: 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ignore Custom Stickers & Labels

The power of a promotional sticker is invaluable. They’ve been around for many years and they keep gaining strength as a promotional tool. With the emergence of social media, many people tend to focus too much on the technical side of marketing and forget about the golden oldies. Stickers never go out of fashion, they are long-lasting, attractive and cost-efficient.

Custom stickers on laptop

Here are 6 reasons to pay attention to sticker and label marketing to ensure you don’t miss out:

1. Versatility

In the beginning, stickers were used mainly as bumper stickers and for kids to stick on their school binders. You’d see huge, white bumper stickers plastered across car bumpers as you made your way around the city. These types of promotional stickers are starting to disappear from our vehicles as labels start to take on new forms and advertisement brands in a range of different areas. If you are planning on purchasing custom labels in Melbourne, you can have them tailor-made to fit on all kinds of items such as:

  • Laptops
  • Water Bottles
  • Windows
  • Equipment
  • Clothing
  • Phones

The material they now use when printing stickers or labels ensures they aren’t affected by the elements. You can buy plastic labels for freezers, UV over-laminates for outdoor use, or on various types of chemical resistant plastics. The sticker industry has become highly sophisticated over the years and they can make creative, striking labels that will survive in almost any environment.

2. Cool, Trendy & Original

Stickers are similar to social media advertising, they are an offline method which will attract both younger and older customers. Stylish stickers and labels have never gone out of fashion. They are an excellent marketing tool for young, old, and everyone in-between. People were using stickers to market their brands or make a statement long before anyone was liking, pinning, or tagging online.

Trendy promo sticker

3. Word of Mouth

Many business owners underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing, they believe that online marketing is the way forward. But research suggests that word of mouth gains people’s trust the most. Tools such as stickers and labels are used to encourage offline marketing campaigns. If you want to raise brand awareness and improve your business through word of mouth, don’t forget to focus on labels and stickers.

4. Advertising Mistakes

Advertising and marketing have become so complex that sometimes your message is simply lost in translation and potential customers don’t know what you are trying to say. Marketing campaigns sometimes go completely wrong, and online videos go too far away from their message. People who watch the videos tend to get confused about your goal as a brand. This doesn’t happen with stickers. When displayed, they are seen as brand endorsements rather than advertisements. When people see them, it looks like the business or person is promoting the brand for free using stickers or labels.

5. Promotional Gift

Stickers are often seen as a gift rather than promotional advertising, when handed out to the public, they are used on personal items and other objects. Unlike promotional products, they are harder to throw easy because most people will stick a label somewhere instead of throwing it in a bin.

Person sticking sticker on lamp post

6. Branding Products

Stickers don’t always have to be given away to customers for free, they can be used to brand all sorts of products from packaging to signage. They are a cost-effective way to raise awareness of your brand.

Conclusion:

Marketing your brand can be difficult. Especially if you don’t have the budget to pay for expensive campaigns. Stickers can be used to promote your brand and increase recognition from the buying public. They can be placed in strategic locations at little cost to your business.

The key to successful marketing is to encourage connections. Stickers and labels are perfect for doing this. To use sticker marketing effectively, you must plan appropriately and set attainable goals.

4 Reasons Not to Grow Your Small Business


04/19/2019
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.

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04/17/2019
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.

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04/15/2019
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:

1. Aggressive Marketing

It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.

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04/12/2019
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.

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04/10/2019
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.

But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.

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04/08/2019
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.

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04/06/2019
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.

Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil

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04/04/2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.

1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.

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04/02/2018
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.

Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.

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03/29/2019
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

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03/27/2019
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.

Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.

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03/25/2019
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.

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03/22/2019
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.

But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.

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03/20/2019
Get out your pink paint. Or your coral, or yellow or teal. By the time you finish reading this column, you’re going to be painting one wall of your small business a color that will pop on Instagram.

Why? Because Instagram is today’s powerhouse social media site for consumer businesses. And if you give customers an inviting way to post to Instagram, they’ll advertise your business for free.

A few years ago, if you wanted to reach retail consumers, the social media site of choice was Facebook. While it may still work for reaching certain demographics, many consumers – especially female Millennials – love Instagram.

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03/18/2019
A new report is saying that almost half of people recently hired (41%) used an online job board to find work and 61% flagged automatic job alerts as helpful. What is more, a full 14% found their present job using social media. The findings from How Do People Find Jobs? published by the B2B research firm, Clutch, highlights how today’s candidates are connecting with small businesses and vice versa.

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03/15/2019
How did life lead you to entrepreneurship?

I have been in the technology industry for 25 years. I am a business-facing technologist, which basically means I have a background in finance and business. However, I stumbled into being a software engineer early on in my career. This resulted in a passion for data and solution creativity.After hitting the 20-year mark of working for enterprise-size organizations, I decided I needed a change. I experienced some life-threatening health challenges–all while taking care of my two sons with their own unique needs. A culmination of it all really made me stop and reflect on what I really wanted to do on a daily basis and the people I do it with.

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03/13/2019
Step 1: Set meaningful goals.
People do nott achieve goals unless the goals are meaningful to them. Sure, every seller has a quota for this year, but so what? If you want to maximize your motivation to achieve the goals, you must know why achieving it is important to you. To do that, go beyond your one-year quota-focused goal.

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03/11/2019
Are you making big changes to your small business?

Whether you’re entering a new market, eliminating services that your clients love but no longer work for you, or changing the structure of your business entirely, follow these three tips to shake up your small business without losing revenue or hurting your reputation.

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03/08/2019
Most working class Americans are employed by companies that either require or offer retirement savings options in the form of a 401(k), 403b), or pension plan. Because these contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck, saving for retirement tends to be a rather painless process. Over time, the cumulative effect of regular monthly contributions leads to a nice sized nest egg that can be used in the retirement years.

But for entrepreneurs, the story is a little different. With no steady paycheck or employer-sponsored plans, many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement contributions.  And though it may not seem like a big deal in the early years, this misstep can prove to be dangerous and irresponsible as entrepreneurs age.

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03/06/2019
Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you have been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this does not mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

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03/04/2019
Being a leader can be a difficult, and sometimes thankless, job. You work long hours, make tough decisions, and try your best to make your employees and your customers happy. But things don’t always work out the way you hope.

Every leader can use a bit of inspiration and humor every once in a while. Adding some fun to your day can make it all come together and, at the same time, perhaps even put a smile on your face.

The next time you feel down, here are 17 funny leadership quotes to perk you up.

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03/01/2019
Procrastination is an odd compulsion. Everyone has experienced it, but the underlying reasons can be tough to pin down.

After all, procrastination delays the very activities that bring people closer to their goals — whether that is building a thriving business or stronger triceps. So why do not humans just sprint toward that brighter, fitter future?

The science.
Scientific studies of procrastination have spiked over the past 20 years. Researchers once considered the issue a basic time-management problem, but they now view it as a complex and highly individual phenomena.  

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02/27/2019
Not every step you take to move your business forward will be a big one. But sometimes, even small steps can make a large impact on your future. Here are some recent tips and insights from members of the online small business community about big and small steps you can take to really make an impact on your business.

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02/25/2019
Like departments and agencies throughout government, the Air Force is tuning its acquisition methods to get closer the speed of technology, and will be holding its first live pitch day in March, with an available funding pool of $40 million.

The Air Forces Small Business Innovation Research program has issued a call to start-ups and small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—to offer pitches on innovative technologies for secure communications, down-range battlefield operations and digital technologies.

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02/22/2019
I am pleased to bring you my top five tricks for disconnecting – and at least temporarily escaping the job stress.

1. Make the business case.

Taking time to recharge is not just good for your mental and physical health — it is the smart thing to do for your business. Studies have shown that increased stress leads to reduced productivity, while decreased stress levels lead to increased productivity.

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02/20/2019
The benefit of working for a large company is gaining access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) – a critical tool that helps millions of workers save for retirement.

But if you are a small-business owner, you should know that you have several tax-advantaged savings plans at your disposal that allow you to sock away substantial funds for your golden years.

Better yet, the annual contribution limits for all of these plans increased in 2019, so now’s a better time than ever to start funding one.

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02/18/2019

The beginning of the year is a great time to make resolutions for your small business. Whether you’re launching a new product or implementing a new technology, you are setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The New Year could also be the perfect time to fix internal issues that are holding you back from success. Below is a list of common business hurdles that arise in small business and how you can overcome them.

Hurdle #1: Trying to do everything yourself

There are a lot of tedious tasks involved in keeping a small business running smoothly – like running payroll, approving time off requests, and so on.

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02/15/2019
Rising interest rates and high levels of corporate debt have lots of investors concerned. Should small businesses be worried?

The majority of small businesses (in most industries) are able to pay their bills on time. According to Experian/Moodys Analytics Main Street Report, overall delinquencies for businesses with fewer than 100 employees were slightly down in the third quarter of 2018. Credit utilization rates were also down slightly.

At the same time, that same research has found that rates for delinquencies of 31 to 90 days rose slightly. While it is not yet a cause for concern, the report points out that the period of consistent declines in delinquency rates for small businesses may be near its end.

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02/13/2019
Owning or running a small business comes with a special set of challenges that larger companies do not face. Major national brands have a lot of advantages, with the biggest one being that a single misstep probably won’t derail a business.

That is not always true for owners of small businesses, where the distance between success and failure can be precarious. Sometimes seemingly small decisions can send a smaller company on a course that can’t be corrected.

In some cases, however, it is possible to plan ahead to avoid certain pitfalls.

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02/11/2019
As we welcome 2019, attention is shifting to what’s on the horizon for small businesses in the year ahead. The reality is that the nature of work is evolving. During my more than 25-year career, I have held a number of leadership positions. Early in my time in the health insurance industry, compensation reigned supreme among my employees, while health and wellness were perceived as a nice-to-have benefit.

Now, workplace norms are beginning to align more with employee wants and needs and new rules about conducting business are being established — particularly when it comes to employee health and wellness. I believe this shift, which I have witnessed within my own team, will continue to dominate work environments across the nation in the new year.

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02/08/2019
Establishing a strong social media presence can mean big business for your small business. But if you don’t have dedicated resources to devote to it, or you don’t have much time to spare, you might find it tough to gain traction. Use these nine social media tips to boost business and grow your brand.

Set Clear Goals

No matter how eager you are to start using social media for your business, take the time to set clear goals before you begin. Try setting SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely — to guide your social media strategy.

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02/06/2019
On one hand, year-on-year improvements are what makes companies great; on the other, firms can’t control many of the factors that dictate whether, say, revenue rises or not.

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02/04/2019
When Mandy Bass speaks to business leaders and professionals who want to improve sales, productivity, teamwork, customer satisfaction and profitability she consistently finds that they are working way too hard to achieve the results they seek. With that in mind, for the New Year she has compiled a list of seven small or low-cost things that could get small business owners, solopreneurs and sales professionals big results in 2019.

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02/01/2019
The 2018 holiday season is in the books, and small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) sold big on Amazon. In fact, SMBs had their best holiday shopping season ever.

The e-tail giant itself had a record-setting holiday season as well: More items were ordered worldwide on Amazon than ever before.

But it was not just corporations like LEGO that benefitted from all this shopping. More than 50 percent of all items sold came from small and medium-sized businesses.

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01/30/2019
A healthy economy means many small businesses are thriving — but they’re also having a hard time hanging onto employees. A good 24% of small businesses lost at least one employee in 2018, while 11% of small businesses lost 10% of their workforce, according to Bank of America. Not only that, but 58% of businesses had trouble finding qualified candidates for open roles, and 25% said it took more time to fill open positions in 2018 than it did in 2017.

And there lies the problem with a strong job market: When employment is plentiful, workers have more options to choose from, so getting them to join or stay with your team becomes more challenging for companies across the board, but particularly for small businesses with limited resources.

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