Should Your Small Business Consider a Coworking Space?


06/24/2019
Most small business owners today know that they need a website. But what many fail to realize is that their websites need to be more effective.

A website is meant to attract consumers to your business. But what do those consumers do once they land on your website? Maybe they give you a call or pop into your bricks-and-mortar location some time. And, sure, that’s all fine and dandy. But even better than that, your website itself can actually generate leads and sales for you with just a few simple tweaks.

complete article

06/21/2019
I started my first business out of my university dorm room, and like most startup business owners, I had to be resourceful and use whatever tools I could afford. Thus, I taught myself how to use Photoshop and I designed my own business cards, my own logo and all of my own marketing materials — and they looked bad. Unfortunately, friends, family and everyone who I marketed my startup entertainment business to knew that my branding materials looked bad — except for me.

complete article

06/17/2019
Grow or die.

It sounds like the title of a rap song, but its actually the business idea that if your company does not grow, it is probably not going to make it. The reality is that you don’t need to get bigger. What you need is a stream of customers to replace the ones that move, buy from you a little less, or have other life circumstances that change the level of business they do with you.

Yes, it is nice to add business and grow.

complete article

06/14/2019
As your small business grows, it will eventually become too big to run out of your home. With steady clients coming in or an expanding workforce of people you have hired, you probably don’t want to keep conducting business in your basement or at your kitchen table.

complete article

06/12/2019
There can come days, however, when it all feels the same and very old.

That is when we steel ourselves and insist on being creative.

complete article

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

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

How Many Credit Cards Should A Small Business Owner Utilize?


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

Why you should hire your kids for your small business


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.

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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.  

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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.

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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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How Mom-and-Pop Shops Can Thrive, Should You Wake Up at 4 AM Every Day?, How to Retain Your Best Employees and Other Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

business

18 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky

1—AI & Email

Incorporating AI into your email marketing can help you drive higher conversion rates and sales, although it’s worth mentioning that email marketing in the U.S. already has a high ROI median at 122%—that’s four times higher than social media, direct mail, and paid search, according to the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric.

Connext Digital explains why marketers should take advantage of Artificial Intelligence to boost their email marketing campaign in the infographic below.

2— Small Business Week Hackathon

Small Business Weeks kicks off next week and Visa partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to host a three-day hackathon at the Inclusive Innovation Incubator in Washington D.C.

Beginning May 3, local app developers, business owners and idea generators will face the challenge of mashing up APIs from FEMA, the Visa Developer Platform and business continuity planners to solve for how small businesses can restore their revenue streams, finance short and long-term recovery, establish a robust supply chain, deal with power disruptions and keep their employees on the payroll in the aftermath of a major disaster.

This hackathon is a part of Visa’s Back to Business project. Visa found 96% of affected small businesses see revenue losses after a natural disaster and on average it takes businesses $850,000 to fully recover. Visa and SBA are doing their part in helping small businesses establish recovery plans and be prepared for any disaster to strike.

For more information on the National Small Business Week hackathon, please visit the hackathon here.

3—The Psychology of Space

Do you ever think about how much your surroundings affect your mood and your productivity? At home things like unfinished projects or a paint color you really hate can grate on your nerves, adding up to an ongoing low level of stress. Marie Kondo is wildly popular right now precisely because many people realize just how much clutter affects their overall happiness. Even in the workplace your surroundings can affect your health, stress levels, and productivity.

Studies have shown that clutter and unfinished projects can trigger your stress response, and if you don’t address the problem, that stress can build up over time and keep you in a perpetual state of fight or flight. This is a difficult situation to overcome in the workplace because it may not always be immediately apparent who is in charge of taking care of small projects – building manager, business owner, or employee.

Taking back control of your space can help you feel less stressed about your surroundings, which can increase your productivity and make you feel less stressed out at work. It might make a great team building exercise to redo the break room to make it a place where your team will actually want to take breaks!

See the infographic below from The Patch Boys for more information.

4—Which Voice Assistant Has the Most Marketing Potential?

Uberall, Inc., the location marketing solution for businesses competing to attract and win local brick-and-mortar customers, released a new study about how SMB marketers feel about interactive voice technology. Interactive voice is the 2-way engagement that a consumer has with a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. People can use these assistants in many different places like smart speakers, mobile phones, and connected services at home and on the go.

Here’s what they found:

48% think Amazon Alexa has most marketing potential: followed by: “Google Assistant” (29%), “Apple’s Siri” (17%), “Microsoft’s Cortana” (3%) and “Other” (3%). Florian Huebner, Uberall Co-CEO and cofounder says, “In terms of its install base, Alexa is the most popular voice assistant today. With its rising scale and growing ecosystem, it’s no wonder so many SMB marketers recognize its potential.”

Voice isn’t a major part of most SMB marketing strategies—but spend is rising: When SMB marketers were asked how their organization’s marketing budget for interactive voice channels is changing, 35% say it’s increasing. However, of that group, only 9% say it’s “significantly increasing” while 26% say it was “slightly increasing.” Just 3% say it’s “slightly decreasing” and 1% say “significantly decreasing.” Lagging behind, 38% of SMB marketers don’t do anything with voice.

“With voice technology still in its infancy, it’s possible that SMBs are waiting until it matures—either from a scale or technology point-of-view—before making it a more prominent part of their marketing strategies,” Huebner says. “There is also a learning curve on best practices and campaign development that is likely stalling investments.”

More than half would invest in voice if they had better insight into ROI: The respondents were asked what would make their organization invest more in interactive voice marketing. Their replies: “Better insight into campaign success and ROI” (53%), “more data for campaign targeting and personalization (47%), “lower barrier to entry on the technology side (33%), “more alignment with my performance campaigns” (32%), “deeper/wider integration into the overall product ecosystem (e.g. smart fridges, smart speakers, smart TVs, phones, etc.)” (28%) and “other” (10%).

40% think they should develop their own interactive voice channels: When asked who should be in charge of developing content for interactive voice channels, 40% say “us, the brand/in-house.” Other answers include “creative/content agency” (28%), “other/I’m not sure” (13%), “media-buying agency” (9%), “SEO agency” (7%) and “publisher partners” (3%).

“This is a very new form of marketing, so developing interactive voice content in-house allows SMBs to have a level of control they might not have with third-party vendors,” says Huebner. “It also keeps costs in check. However, most SMBs are just dipping their toe into voice marketing. As their ambitions grow and campaigns become more sophisticated, they will have to outsource more of the development.”

Check out the full study.

5—How Mom-and-Pop Shops Can Thrive

Mom-and-pop shops are typically family-owned and operated businesses that have a small sales volume and limited number of employees, but their value can’t be understated. The term ‘mom-and-pop shop’ can apply to a variety of brick-and-mortar business types, from boutique clothing shops to restaurants, bookstores, and just about everything in between.

Even in the face of competition from big-box stores and online retailers, the mom-and-pop shop isn’t dead. In fact, with more consumers choosing to shop local (and not just on Small Business Saturday), independent retailers are well-positioned to grow because they offer what mainstream competitors lack: personalized, in-store shopping experiences.

Mom-and-pop shops are tasked with being flexible and creative to succeed against competitors, and understanding what customers want is a great place to start. For instance, offering high quality, specialty products that can’t be found elsewhere can set a mom-and-pop shop apart and make it more likely for customers to pay more for niche offerings.

Because mom-and-pop shops are crucial to their communities, especially in boosting the local economy, it’s safe to say that the mom-and-pop shops are here to stay.

Check the infographic below with more tips from Fundera on how to help your mom-and-pop shop thrive against large retailers.

Please include attribution to Fundera.com with this graphic.

How Your Mom & Pop Shop Can Succeed Against Big Retailers

6—3 Ways to Make the 4 AM Club Work For You

Guest post by Judith Nowlin, Chief Growth Officer, Babyscripts. You can reach her here on LinkedIn.

“Early to bed, early to rise makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin

You’ve heard it said a million times before: the early bird catches the worm, and in the opinion of many highly successful people, the phrase is much more than a cliché. The benefits of an extremely early morning routine have been touted by so many self-made celebrities that the “4 AM Club” has become a part of the public vernacular. Any web search will pull up a dozen articles with contradictory research on the benefits and downsides of the routine, along with firsthand accounts of people “taking the 4 AM challenge.”

These trials are often full of negative impressions: disorientation in the dark hours before dawn; a mid-afternoon slump that belies productivity; and by dinnertime, the inability to form coherent sentences. And then, almost as quickly as it begins, the challenge is over, sworn off forever as an unrealistic, unachievable, and borderline inhumane goal.

Yet 4 AM remains the magic hour for many world changers like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Tim Cook, and experience has taught me why. In my world, it’s a time of quiet, focus, determination and accomplishment.

My routine is not without naysayers. An 8 PM bedtime with a 4 AM wake-up call has made me the subject of much critique over the years. Many people feel uncomfortable with my choice, claiming that my practices are unhealthy and not sustainable for the long term. Yet I’ve found deep joy in the practice.

As an entrepreneur and the mother of a growing family, high-paced days at my desk and endless days on the road, are only outpaced by high-energy evenings and weekends with my family of five. My favorite use of this early morning time is for my own personal development and self-care so I can be at the top of my game during the remaining hours of the day. By waking up at 4 AM, I’m able to routinely take time for myself. I work out while listening to audiobooks, I meditate while I stretch, I prepare a healthy breakfast—and most important, I tackle my most critical work of the day while enjoying my espresso—all before 7 AM.

If this is something you’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet managed to find success in, here are a few keys I’ve found to making this routine not only possible, but extremely enjoyable as well:

Check your DNA: Have you ever referred to yourself as a “morning person” or “night owl”? We typically use these terms to indicate our preferred time of productivity—but they can signify something much more fundamental to our being. Our tendency to be productive at certain times of the day is often hard-wired in us, an internal clock that’s determined by our DNA. This genetic predisposition is called our chronotype. If you identify as a night owl, then you can stop reading now. This method is not for you and it never will be. In fact, research shows a correlation to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease if you try to force an extra early wake-time when your DNA is telling you otherwise. But if you feel like you do your best work in the morning, or maybe you’re not sure, then the 4 AM club could be for you.

Check your watch: The key to making this system work, and to sustaining it, has everything to do with getting to bed at the right time each evening, and being consistent about it. Knowing the exact number of sleep hours that support your peak performance is requisite to success—mine is eight. While I can certainly make accommodations when my schedule forces me to get less sleep, more than a few nights of that in any given month effectively compromises all the systems that work together to make me successful in my day-to-day life. Without enough sleep, my motivation to exercise is zapped, my food choices start moving in a downward spiral, and my productivity at work takes a nosedive.

Check your excuses: If you’re going to take a shot at creating a new early morning routine, you must go into it knowing that this is a no-excuses kind of practice. Follow the 21/90 rule—on average, it takes 21 days (or three full weeks) to form a habit. If the system seems to work for you, another 90 days (about three months) practice is recommended to turn it into a permanent lifestyle change. That said, you can bet your money on the fact that the first few days will be brutal. The first morning your alarm goes off at that other-worldly hour, your instinct will be to hit snooze with your inner voice pleading, “just a few more minutes.” A few more minutes inevitably turns into another hour or two, which is not getting you any closer to seeing if this system really works for you. Try combating this sleep trap by using the Rule of 5 as soon as you hear your alarm go off. When you hear the buzzer, count to five, pop up, and start moving out of bed, no matter how you feel about it in that moment. It’s totally normal to move through the motions of the first part of your morning like a zombie at first, but don’t let that stop you from making a routine of it for a least three weeks. Watch out for that sneaky 10-day slump too—for some people, the excuses come out after we feel like we’ve accomplished something, and we let our guard down.

Above all, know that every person is wired in their own way, and successful habits look different for everyone. Do not try to define yourself by what works for others — instead, let them inspire you to find your own routines that drive you toward your goals.

7—HR Focus: How PR Can Help You Hire and Retain the Best Employees

Guest post by Jennifer Vickery, CEO, National Strategies Public Relations

In HR, we know how important it is to have the best talent feel rewarded, engaged, and part of supporting your organization’s growth. Today we focus on the magic that happens when human resources meets public relations as that’s when we see a true transformation of workplace culture.

For many businesses workplace culture can mean wellness time off, healthy habit campaigns, giving back to the community, and special internal events and rewards. But when HR teams up with PR, we see dramatic change in the way employees are hired and retained through simple efforts.

Here are the top three ways public relations can influence your HR planning for workplace culture and retain your best employees.

1—Asking employees what they believe in. Many times the simple step of surveying employees is missed when developing community efforts. We often see communications and marketing departments taking the reins of designing a community outreach program. While this is great for the overall business, it misses out on the opportunity for HR to tap into the causes that current employees truly care about.

Studies show when employees get to support causes they actually care about and are engaged in through their work, they feel happier and stay longer at their jobs. Why not have HR and PR collaborate on community outreach efforts and make for a solid plan? For more tips on how to do this, read our article here.

2—Spotlight employees with human interest stories. What we’ve learned time and time again is that everyone has a story. All people experience challenges and triumphs and that is often the thread that brings us together as humans. Conversely, what we find is often HR isn’t informed enough about employees’ human interest stories and therefore leave opportunities on the table that could truly shine the spotlight not only on your organization but your employees. We’ve seen amazing stories such as an employee raising funds for their mother who received a life-saving organ donation to an executive leader overcoming a spinal cord injury. Let these stories shine!

This is where management from all departments can help with setting a protocol for people to share their stories and get to know each other on a deeper level. Then HR can pick up the lead and work with marketing on communicating those stories via social media, newsletter, website, and to local media. When an employee is featured in such a significant way, it raises their level of buy-in to the business and again retains them much longer.

3—Celebrate milestones. Typically, when someone in leadership is promoted or receives an award, we hear about the news through business announcements or perhaps even a press release. While every employee’s internal growth simply cannot be turned into a press release, for example, it’s still wise to celebrate milestones for employees who are not at executive leadership levels. These employees are your hard-working life force and simple milestone celebrations can go a long way.

Typical milestone celebrations look like an official announcement along with a photo, a group event celebrating corporate anniversaries or a commemorative gift for major milestones. But what about taking a look at the unique ways PR can help assist with celebrating employee milestones? Could there be an unprecedented time off policy incorporated, a way to give back to the community celebrating the employee’s five-year anniversary by bringing puppies for adoption into the workplace or spending the afternoon at a children’s foster home facility playing board games? These are just some ways to make an employee’s milestone from drab to unforgettable, therefore, again keeping them engaged.

There are many ways HR can capitalize on hiring and retaining the best talent and we hope these top PR strategies help incorporate a new level of engagement among your team.

8—24 Million Americans Want to Become Self-Employed by 2021

FreshBooks recently released results from its third annual study, Self-Employment in America Report 2019, which reveals 24 million Americans want to leave traditional employment to become their own bosses by 2021, but face barriers to making the leap. Check out the full report for more information.

“Tens of millions of Americans have told us that their ‘dream job’ is to work for themselves,” says Mike McDerment, cofounder and CEO at FreshBooks. “But this is a scary proposition for most because the world is in many ways not ready for them. The good news is the payoffs—both financial and otherwise—are real. It’s a big part of our job, for those just starting out and those who’ve been at it awhile, to help entrepreneurs realize their full potential.”

Key findings:

Self-employment is the new American dream –but millions are ‘stuck’ on the sidelines. What’s holding them back? 24 million Americans want to work for themselves by 2021. There is no doubt a significant mindset shift is underway; however millions of aspiring entrepreneurs say they face barriers to making the switch:

  • 35% worry about inconsistent income
  • 28% don’t have the cash to invest or need to pay down debt first
  • 27% lack a complete business plan
  • 27% worry about earning less money
  • 20% don’t want to give up health benefits

Self-employed Americans are happier, healthier and have no desire to return to a ‘regular job’ anytime soon. The study sheds light on why so many want to be their own boss. Currently, Americans who work for themselves report high levels of satisfaction and well-being:

  • 96% have no desire to return to a ‘regular job’
  • 70% say they have better work-life balance
  • 61 % would be happy with their achievements if their career ended today
  • 55% have less stress
  • 54% say they are healthier
  • 27% spend more time outdoors and travel more

Career control is the #1 reason driving people to self-employment. What is it exactly, that motivates people to abandon the security of a 9-to-5 job and a regular paycheck? The majority of people aspiring to work for themselves are seeking freedom, flexibility and control:

  • 65% want to choose when they work
  • 56% want to choose how hard they work
  • 48%t want control over their own career development
  • 47% want control over where they work
  • 31% simply don’t like reporting to others

Small businesses (and their owners) are getting younger. Two years ago, the ‘typical’ self-employed professional was a tail-end Baby Boomer, but we’re fast approaching the point where millennials become the dominant self-employed workforce. This is not simply due to changing demographics, but also because Americans are choosing to become entrepreneurs earlier in their careers. The age of new business owners in the U.S. has dropped by 4 years (from 38 to 34 years old) since 2017.

College education is becoming less of a prerequisite. Should current trends persist, we might soon see the majority of self-employed Americans thriving without the benefit of a college degree. Over the last two years, the number of self-employed professionals with a college degree dropped by 8%. Among small businesses founded in the last two years, there’s no difference in revenue comparing those with and without college degrees.

Self-employed Americans typically earn more money and are more productive after making the switch. While 63% of self-employed Americans believe money is less important than quality of life, 55% say they’re earning more working for themselves. 40%work fewer hours but are more productive.

A small business brain drain might be on the horizon. Who’s most likely to be eyeing self-employment within the next two years? Contrary to popular belief, those most eager to leave traditional work are not looking to escape large corporations or cubicle farms. Actually, the opposite appears to be true. A much higher proportion (35%) of employees working at companies with less than 50 employees want to work for themselves within the next two years, compared to only 25% of employees at larger companies. This corresponds with another key research finding: Small business owners currently struggle with finding talented staff or contractors more so than any other challenge, including finding new clients.

9—Remote Workers Missing Out

New data from Igloo Software released today shows 56% of remote employees missed out on important information due to their remote status, with more than half left out of meetings. With working from home becoming a popular benefit, are employers actually doing a disservice by offering the option?

This study finds employers still have a long way to go in order to set remote workers up for success. And these collaboration challenges go beyond remote workers, the 2019 State of the Digital Workplace Report finds:

  • 43% of employees have avoided sharing a document with a colleague because it was too hard to find
  • Email is the top method for sharing sensitive or private information (69%), with 26% using instant messaging, leaving the organization vulnerable to a breach.
  • 55 % use a non-company approved communication app because it’s less likely to be monitored or tracked.

10—Companies Still Not Supporting Meaningful Change at Work

Greenhouse, a fast-growing Talent Acquisition Suite (TAS), recently announced findings from its Workplace Intelligence Report, which identified concerning gaps in employer-based programs that address diversity and inclusion (D&I) and sexual harassment.

Created in partnership with HRWins Founder & Principal Analyst, George LaRocque, Greenhouse’s report surveyed businesses and employees to analyze the most important aspects of the workplace and uncover the trends impacting it.

According to the report, talent is often considered an important business issue, but seldom gets the time and focus it requires. While 47% of CEOs surveyed felt that talent-related matters make up their most important business problems, more 51% of managers spend merely three hours a month on people-related concerns. More startling, 37% spend only an hour a month on those same matters.

“While we’re hearing that people issues are the most pressing business challenges for companies right now, we’re not seeing that translate into meaningful change,” says Carin Van Vuuren, CMO, Greenhouse. “People and talent programs require the same rigor around process and measurement that other business issues are given. Until organizations instill that same level of focus and accountability into their people programs, we will not see the systematic changes that need to happen to address the talent challenges companies face.”

Greenhouse’s report also found a gap between what companies say they’re doing to address D&I and employees’ awareness of those measures within their respective organizations. Despite the existence of Inclusion and sexual harassment initiatives, the trust gap between employees and employers isn’t closing. For example:

  • While 55% of companies say they have a D&I program, more than 45% of staff-level employees don’t know if their employer has a D&I program in place or claims their employer does not have a D&I program at all
  • Of employers surveyed, merely 8% say their companies are addressing the #MeToo movement and 24% are addressing sexual harassment
  • 47% of employers say that D&I initiatives have a positive improvement on company culture; yet 48% of employees say their employer only handles D&I issues through grievance processes.

Greenhouse’s Workplace Intelligence Report is the first major study of its kind to look at both the employer and individual employee perspectives on the most important issues surrounding work today. The full version of the report tackles a number of additional topics, such as hiring and onboarding, the multigenerational workforce, employee engagement vs. longevity and more.

11—Employee Time Off

Whatever the reason for employees, those paid (and unpaid) days of downtime are precious to your staff. But some countries are much more generous than others.

Using data from the World Policy Analysis Center, the International Labour Organization and Globalization Partners the interactive map below shows which countries are entitled to the most time off work.

Use the toggle buttons on the left of the map to refine the results by paid/unpaid leave and gender for parental leave, maternity/paternity leave, sick leave, public holidays and vacation days.
Here’s a preview of 7 key stats:

  1. The U.S. is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee anypaid vacation.
  2. Cambodia, Iran and Vietnam have the most public holidays each year—27days in all.
  3. Bahrain offers the most annual paid leave and public holidays—49 paid days off in all.
  4. Latvian mothers can take 658days of paid maternity leave—more than any other country.
  5. Poland offers the most parental leave, with 1,792days (728 paid days and 1,064 unpaid days).
  6. Men in Kazakhstan can have the most unpaid time off—1,116
  7. Mongolia provides the most paid time off for women—3,061

There’s more to know in the infographic below.

12—Online Financing Solutions

BlueVine, which provides SMBs access to fast and simple online financing, is now making term loan financing available for business owners through its suite of online financing solutions. provides small- and medium-sized business owners with fast and simple access to financing to grow their businesses through BlueVine’s advanced online platform. More than 59% of businesses are looking for funds to grow their businesses, according to the 2017 Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey Report on Employer Firms. With a BlueVine Term Loan, business owners can quickly pursue larger projects and investments to bring their businesses to new heights.

Fast and simple term loan financing with no origination fees: BlueVine provides business owners with access to term loans from $5,000 to $250,000, without charging origination fees. It offers one simple, fixed weekly rate over a six- or 12-month term. All lines of credit and term loan financing products are issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC.

With BlueVine’s easy-to-use online dashboard, business owners can apply for a Term Loan online in minutes with just some basic information about the business owner and the business, and they can get approved in as fast as 10 minutes. Once the business owner accepts the offer, the funds are deposited directly into their bank account in as fast as a few hours.

 

13—Tech Reports

Two new reports from AVANT were recently released:

State of Disruption: Powered by AVANT’s ecosystem of Trusted Advisors, this inaugural report surveyed enterprise technology leaders to assess the rate at which disruptive technologies are replacing legacy solutions, with key findings including:

  • 74% of companies that see themselves as leaders in innovation rely upon Trusted Advisors for assistance in IT technology decision making
  • 58% of respondents cited increased agility, flexibility and scalability as the most important reason for IT decision-making
  • 74% of technology decision-makers are more likely than not to feel a cyberattack could cost them their job

2019 Cloud Channel Survey: This 2nd annual report surveyed channel sellers. AVANT compared year-over-year data to identify shared attributes and strategies among top-selling cloud partners in the channel community. Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • Sellers are expanding their focus when it comes to their offerings. The average seller is expected to expand from 4 service offerings to 6 by 2020.
  • Data Networks dominate the total volume of sales transactions (25%), while UCaaS/CCaaS services have catapulted two positions higher in sales volume and 10% greater in share.
  • The top four services that Channel Partners expect to sell in two years are Data Networks (39%), UCaaS (67%), SD-WAN (61%) and Security as a Service (45%)—with 5G and Managed IOT emerging as areas to watch for in the future.

Quick Clicks

14—Cyber Safety: 50 essential cybersecurity facts for small business owners from BroadbandSearch

15—Business Model: Do you have a viable business model? The folks at Lean-Case help you figure it out.

16—Get Happy: What it takes to lead a happy life. Great advice from Conscioused.

17—Funding for Canadian Women Entrepreneurs: Check out the 3 funding resources in this post from Lending Loop.

 

Cool Tools

18—Online Vendors Look Beyond eBay and Amazon

Amazon and eBay have long ruled the online retail marketplace. Amazon, currently the largest retailer in the world, added over a million new sellers in 2018 alone. eBay currently has 25 million sellers and 250 million users. For sellers, the competition on these two giant retail sites is huge. Therefore, every online seller, who is using online retail as a source of income, is looking for alternative ways to sell online—and among other retail sites, new leaders are emerging.

For example, Etsy currently has around 32 million active buyers. Bonanza offers over 20 million product catalogue listing. Newegg, counting over 30 million customers, is one of the biggest competitors of Amazon and eBay.

There are also online retailers, oriented towards niche products. Manomano, popular for DIY and gardening supplies, has over 1.6 million products in its catalog and operates in Europe. Houzz is an online community and marketplace for home design and currently has more than 20,000 sellers and 25 million monthly visits.

How can online vendors sell their products across multiple marketplaces in the most effective way?

Multiorders, recently launched a one-stop-shop workflow-optimizing system for online vendors, allows sellers to sell across all channels with a push of a button. Multiorders offers such features as automated stock-tracking and shipping management, easy management of purchase orders, as well as the reduced cost and creation of shipping labels.

Multiorders has integrations will all popular online retail platforms, making it possible to control inventory and create shipments for multiple marketplaces in a fast and reliable way. For example, users can change price, description and stock-list, and this information will immediately appear in selected marketplaces. Multiorders also has integrations with most popular shipping companies (UPS, DPD, Royal Mail, Amazon FBA and others), so as soon as an order is received, a user can choose one shipping carrier and the order will be sent out to the buyer. Finally, the software automatically creates all necessary tools to fulfill an order – invoice, purchase order and payments.

In the end, what do online vendors gain by using such an integration platform? There are multiple benefits, among them:

1—Immediate visibility. Selling through multiple channels will make your brand recognizable. Customers who shop on different platforms will start to notice and remember your goods.

2—Wider reach. Every online platform has a huge and dedicated following – some customers can be found only on one platform. By selling on 7 platforms all at once, you will be able to significantly expand your reach

3—Increase in orders. When your visibility and reach increase, so will the number of your orders. You will be able to reach unique clients from various marketplaces.

Business stock photo by SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock

Why Young Professionals Don’t Negotiate Salary (and Why They Should)

Getting paid what you are worth requires more deliberate planning than most employees — and entrepreneurs — are willing to implement.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Salary negotiation is a pivotal step when you’re interviewing for a new job. It’s your chance to get paid what you’re worth (or get closer to that figure), and could establish your financial trajectory at your new company for years to come.

Related: 5 Rules of Salary Negotiation

According to a 2018 survey from Robert Half, only 39 percent of people polled said they’d asked for more money upon receiving their latest job offer. In other words, more than half of all new hires accepted whatever they were offered, with no attempt at negotiation.

And that indicates that among millennials and young adults, negotiation is especially rare; in fact, only 37 percent of millennials have ever asked for a raise, according to Payscale.

So, why are so many young professionals reluctant to negotiate salary, and is that proactive move really that important in the first place?

Why young professionals are reluctant.

According to the Payscale study, there are many reasons why young people don’t negotiate salary or ask for raises, but two main reasons stand out: They feel uncomfortable in the negotiation process and don’t want to be viewed as pushy.

Discomfort is natural, especially if you’re nervous about the position, but it’s typically a byproduct of lack of exposure to an experience. If you’ve never negotiated your salary before, haven’t had education or practice on how to do it and haven’t witnessed anyone doing it, you’re bound to be uncomfortable trying it for the first time.

As for being pushy, most employers expect some degree of pushback or negotiation from new hires. And, sure, there are some ways to negotiate that can make you seem arrogant or demanding, but negotiation in and of itself is not the issue.

Related: How to Eliminate Salary Negotiation Anxiety

Why salary negotiation is so important.

So why is salary negotiation so important in the first place?

  • No downsides. Unless you’re unreasonably aggressive, condescending, or unprofessional in your negotiation, there’s virtually no downside to negotiating your salary. All you’re doing is asking for more money, and your employer can accept or reject that request. If your request is accepted, you’ll instantly get more money for the duration of the job. If it’s rejected, you face no inherent penalty. In other words, there can only be positive or neutral results — nothing negative.
  • Compounding returns. Negotiating for a higher salary sets you on a more valuable trajectory, and one that will reward you for many years to come. For example, data suggests that executives who negotiated their salary at their first job out of college stood to make at least $500,000 more over their careers, compared to those who did not. Imagine pushing for $60,000 a year instead of $50,000. Assuming proportionately similar raises in both scenarios, a person who negotiates for $60,000 would make $10,000 more each year for the remainder of his or her time with the company. That extra $10,000 would certainly be nice, but if you work at the same company for 30 years, that $10K could turn into $300,000.
  • Future salary effects. Your current salary could also play a role in how your future pay is calculated. If you change roles within a company, it may use your existing salary as a baseline for determining your new pay. If you start out higher, you’ll have room to ask for even more money, eventually. You may also feel confident asking for more money in a role at another company in the future.
  • Integrity, research, and power. Some employers may think more highly of you if you ask for more money. If you’re basing your request on objective data and research, you’re demonstrating your willingness to put in the time to conduct research properly. If you’re up-front about your expectations, you’re showing integrity. And the mere fact that you’re willing to ask for more money shows you’re confident in your abilities, which could reflect well on you.
  • Employer incentives. Remember, employers are incentivized to pay you as little as possible. They aren’t motivated to give you more money up-front, so they may expect you to ask for more money no matter what. For these reasons, employers typically offer you a salary slightly-to-moderately lower than the going rate. If you accept that figure blindly, without pushing for more, you’ll effectively be operating at a loss. Negotiation is a way to counteract this issue.

Related: Fixing the Pay Gap Starts With Your Salary Negotiation Skills

If you’re a young professional, it’s in your best interest to start negotiating for your initial salary, and if you’re looking for a raise, to do that as soon as possible. You can learn the fundamentals of negotiation by reading up on them, but if you want to feel more confident and get better results, role-play what you’ll say, in a real environment. You don’t have to start with job interviews; instead, start small, with negotiations at flea markets or in your everyday interactions.

The more you negotiate, the better you’ll get, no matter where you start the process.

4 Questions You Should Consider Before Giving Abroad

by Ted Hart

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2019
Thinking about donating to a cause outside the US? There are many good reasons for giving abroad, but before you do, consider these four questions. 

giving abroad
Image source: iStock.com

Whether you’ve traveled to distant parts of the world and were inspired by the inventiveness of the communities you visited, read about an issue in a news article, or maybe just feel a special kinship with a given place, the desire to help somehow can quickly move to the top of your priority list. Supporting the efforts of nonprofits working on issues you most care about is a great way to take action. But giving across the world can also be daunting. Luckily there are lots of resources to help make sure you’re achieving what you want with your generosity.

Regardless of whether you’re considering a one-time donation or sustained support to a charity across the world, there are a few questions you should consider before giving abroad:

1) Where would you like to donate?

There are plenty of issues around the world that could use, and are deserving of, your help. But which of those do you feel passionate about? Rainforest conservation in Brazil? Great! Schools for girls in Kenya? Fantastic! The first step is narrowing it down.

Do some research to find out which charities might align with your giving goals. A quick glance at most charities’ websites will tell you the impact the charity has had in the past and how it is working toward its mission today.

This research can sometimes be more challenging than a simple web search. Some foreign organizations have a great online presence with translations into English and clear information. However, this is not always the case. In these instances donors can rely on a few resources:

There are a number of 501(c)(3) organizations that facilitate international grantmaking and who provide extensive databases of organizations eligible to receive funding through them (see, for example, the CAF America Database).

Some countries have national registries of charities such as the UK Charity Commission and the CRA List of Charities in Canada that can serve as good country-specific resources.

2) How do you make sure you’re not breaking any rules?

As you might imagine, giving to charity across borders¾like any financial transaction¾is subject to specific regulation and oversight from the U.S. and foreign governments, which makes cross-border giving more complex than simply writing a check and dropping it in the mail. There is a complicated matrix of regulations that donors are required to follow. These regulations are designed to defend people and organizations who donate against money laundering, terrorism, and organized crime.

While you might think most of these regulations exist on the receiving end of charitable contributions, these responsibilities impact the donor—whether an individual, a corporation or an organization. The bottom line is that if you are initiating the financial transaction, you are responsible for making sure that funds are used appropriately.  This seems intimidating, but working with an intermediary grantmaker or another U.S. public charity can take the guesswork out of following the rules. An experienced intermediary organization can conduct the necessary due diligence and protect the donors’ reputations, ensure regulatory compliance and eliminate possible risks.

3) Are there tax benefits to giving abroad?

When you’re passionately looking for a solution to support the charity that impressed you with their work on ocean conservancy, getting a tax break is probably the last thing on your mind. But it is not a bad thing to consider, because a tax deduction ultimately means that more funds are available to donate and more good can be done.

Not all charitable donations are tax-deductible, and in fact, donations made directly to charitable organizations outside of the U.S. do not qualify. That said, there are several U.S. charities that can allow you to receive a tax deduction while supporting charitable work overseas. For example, you can opt to support the international projects of U.S. charities that run programs abroad. If you would prefer that your donation be directed to the foreign charity, you can opt to make your gift through a U.S. intermediary organization. Intermediary organizations are U.S. public charities that often assume the inherent risks in making donations to organizations outside of the U.S. and allow the donor to receive a tax receipt at the time of their donation. Your gift is to the intermediary; however, you will be able to recommend a specific foreign charity to be supported with your donation.

Donors should check how the specific intermediary organization they choose to work with operates, as there will be differences among them regarding the due diligence they perform, the fees they charge, etc.

4) What impact would you like to make with this donation?

Whether you’d like to effect change with a long-term impact like paying for a child’s education or in a more immediate way like supporting a community after a disaster, it is important to think about your expectations at the outset. Clarity about what you’d like to accomplish with your donation helps set expectations between you and the charity.

Giving outside of the U.S. is complicated, but luckily there are a number of organizations that specialize in cross-border giving, making it accessible for Americans to support charitable causes in nearly any country. With the assurances of a comprehensive due diligence and foresight, giving internationally can be a fulfilling experience. By considering the needs on the ground and the goals of your own good intentions, you can take full advantage of the immense capacity to do good provided by charities around the world.

TED HART, ACFRE, CAP® is the President and CEO of CAF America and brings over thirty years of experience in advising global philanthropy. He is the editor of Cross-Border Giving: A Legal and Practical Guide, Workbook Edition (Charity Channel Press, 2019). For more information, please visit, www.cafamerica.org and connect on Twitter, @cafamerica.

What Is Facility Management and When Should a Business Start Thinking About It?

Maintenance cost escalating? Trouble tracking assets? Who ya gonna call? Maybe facility management is for you.

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When you’re running a business so small it fits into one tiny office, facility management is not something worth losing sleep over. But as your business grows, that one office of yours may turn into a building and a single machine transform into a production line.

Before you know it, you’ll have a bunch of assets that need to be taken care of on an ongoing basis.

Related: How can entrepreneurs effectively manage their business inventory?

This is where facility management enters the scene: It ensures you a well-organized environment in which both your business and employees can thrive.

Facility management: the basics

At its core, facility management is a profession that focuses on the efficient maintenance of an organization’s buildings and equipment in a way that offers the best value to the building owner and users alike.

It’s also a multi-disciplinary support service that can be applied in any niche or industry. Among its many applications is that it can ensure safety, functionality and comfort in the built environment as well as compliance with existing legal requirements.

In North America, the facility management market is experiencing increased patronage from a wide variety of businesses: The Transparency Market Research 2017 report estimated a compound annual growth rate of 13.6 percent between 2017 and 2024.

Still, if you have never used professional facility management services before, you may be wondering if, or when, it should become the next step for your business. Here are the signs that it’s time for a business to start thinking about adopting facility management:

1.Your maintenance cost is escalating.

It’s an accepted fact that maintenance costs money, but these costs should not run down your business.

When you notice that repairs and servicing costs are rising inexplicably every year, some common money-wasters to check include abuse or under-utilization of existing equipment, wasteful stocking of inventory and spare parts and unused office space. Wired reported in 2013 that over the previous 30 years, the United States had added about 2 billion square feet of office space to its existing stock, which is not something today’s highly mobile workforce needs. Having more space to maintain automatically increases your maintenance costs.

Another factor that quickly adds to your bottom line is poorly managed maintenance personnel and other staffing expenses. Over a 30-year period, while the operating and maintenance costs of a building account for 6 percent of total costs, personnel costs alone account for a staggering 92 percent, according to a British study reported on by Researchgate.

If you’re running a system where you frequently call on independent plumbers, electricians, heating engineers and other technicians, the costs quickly pile up. Not to mention the fact that engaging these contractors also carries the risk of quality control issues, especially if:

  • You have a very large facility.
  • You are managing multiple locations.
  • You have no real way to track whether tasks are being carried out properly.

One of our clients, Joe Romero from Myriad Genetics, had this exact problem. He had been hired as a facility manager and noticed that his predecessor had been tracking everything manually, which meant the company had no clue whether maintenance tasks were actually being completed.

When Romero implemented facility management software, he could see whether outside contractors were doing the work they were billing for. Long story short, he had to replace his primary maintenance vendor because he found out that that vendor was not doing the work he had been contracted to do.

Related: Top 3 Upcoming Trends in the Indian Facility Management Industry

Because of these problems, some businesses form an internal team or look for a single vendor to take over their back-office responsibilities. A good example is GoDaddy, which was able to realize 10 percent cost savings by employing integrated facility services. Another interesting note in that success story was how one reason GoDaddy went with integrated facilities services provider ISS was because ISS was already operating in all geographical regions GoDaddy was planning to expand to.

2. You’re having difficulties in asset management and tracking.

Knowing that over 40 percent of small business track their assets manually or don’t track them at all is concerning. While this practice causes minimal problems early on, real issues will start popping up as soon as you start to scale.

Facility management can help you manage and track assets and inventory better if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Asset register is inadequate or doesn’t exist at all.
  • It’s becoming increasingly difficult to track the assets owned by the company.
  • The organization cannot confidently declare its asset position.
  • The current condition of any asset and its location is unknown.
  • If any equipment, machine or tool were to go missing, no one would notice.
  • You keep buying replacements for equipment only to find out later that you already had them.

Stanley Healthcare reported that a mobile solution for inventory tracking can reduce search times for needed equipment by 90 percent, as well as help a company realize significant cost savings by avoiding unnecessary inventory purchases (improving inventory invisibility) and equipment loss (shrinkage control).

3. You’re seeing a rising backlog of uncompleted maintenance tasks.

Multiple research sources, like this one from Steelcase Global, confirm how employee engagement positively correlates with workplace satisfaction. In other words, happy employees are productive employees. Without a designated facility management service, however, it is only a matter of time before they become frustrated and distracted because of leaking taps, broken light bulbs or an air conditioning unit in the staff canteen that isn’t working properly.

Even if these tasks are instructed to call appropriate services, these tasks are often put off untll later — so they start piling up. Soon, the business is faced with a considerable deferred maintenance list and very little hope of resolving everything. Research from Rick Biedenweg and his colleagues at Pacific Partners Consulting Group discovered that every $1 deferred in maintenance costs results in $4 of capital renewal needs in the future, so this is something you definitely want to avoid.

Preventing the creation of a backlog of uncompleted maintenance tasks is just one of many responsibilities of a facilities manager.

4. Recurring safety issues

Recurring safety issues are an indication that you are operating in a potentially dangerous environment. The simple truth is that improving safety at your facility is not a matter of choice — it is required by law. Every year, OSHA issues over 40 000 citations, with the most common repeated offenses being:

  • lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • absence of a hazard-communication program for chemicals
  • failure to maintain logs of accidents and injuries
  • lack of safety training

Facility management takes these factors into accounts and can help you reach and maintain the highest levels of operational safety using a combination of technology and human expertise and following these extensive Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines.

Related: 5 HR Strategies To Promote Employee Health And Safety

When it’s time for a change

If any of the above situations describes the current situation in your business, it’s clear that time and valuable resources are being wasted. It doesn’t matter if you are going to form an in-house facility management team or outsource everything to an independent contractor. The point is that you understand how facility management can result in significant cost savings, improved safety performance and better overall service delivery for your company.

Top 10 Business Credit Terms Small Business Owners Should Know

As a small business owner, it is important to have an understanding of business credit terms. Similar to personal credit, business credit determines whether your company can be trusted by the way it manages money.  Like personal credit, business credit is a reflection of how well your company manages money.

Why is business credit important?

The Nav American Dream Gap Survey, 2015 revealed of small business owners surveyed, 45% did not know they have a business credit score, 72% did not know where to find information on their business credit score and 82% didn’t know how to interpret their score.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a financial expert to negotiate the world of business credit. By knowing some key terms and definitions surrounding business credit, you can earn lenders’ trust and make your way to successful funding.

Here are the top ten business credit terms you should know:

1. Accounts Receivable – Also known as A/R, accounts receivable refers to the money owed to your business by others for products or services provided.

2. Business Credit Report – A business credit report is a detailed report of a company’s credit history prepared by a business credit reporting agency. The information contained in a business credit report provides crucial details needed to make informed credit decisions.

The data in a small business credit report is vital to getting the funding you need to successfully run and grow a business.

3. Business Credit Score – While a personal credit score is a number that represents an individuals credit history; a business credit score represents the credit risk of a business itself. Each business credit reporting agency has a different type of scoring model with scores ranging from 1-100.

4. Cash Flow – This is the cash that flows in and out of your business in a month. The cash coming into the business can come from customers & clients.  Cash going out can be from expenses such as rent, payroll, taxes, etc.

5. Collateral – Any assets used to secure credit or a loan for the business is collateral and can be tangible or intangible.  When you pledge an asset for collateral, it becomes subject to seizure by the lender if the business defaults on the terms.

6. Gross Profit – After deducting the costs it takes to make and sell your company’s products or services, the gross profit is the money that remains. The gross profit shows up on the company’s income statement.

7. Line of Credit – A line of credit for a business is an account opened with a bank, credit union or lender that lets you borrow money when needed, up to a preset borrowing limit. Each issuer has its own unique underwriting criteria, guidelines and terms.

8. Net Terms – This is a specific type of trade credit offered to businesses which require payment in full in a short period of time after a product or service is purchased. The typical net terms are net 30 and net 60 days.

9. Personal Guarantee – A personal guarantee is a written promise from a business owner to accept responsibility in the event the business fails to pay. 

10. Profit & Loss Statement – The profit and loss statement (P&L), also known as the net income statement, shows if your company is making money, breaking even or operating at a loss.

Having access to business credit is the lifeline for a small business. It enables you to obtain the cash you need to grow, cover daily expenses, buy equipment & inventory, hire additional employees and so on. With a knowledge and application of business credit, you are well on your way to creating an important safety net for your bu

About the Author:

Marco Carbajo
Marco Carbajo

Guest Blogger

Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, the SBA.gov Community, About.com and All Business.com. His articles and blog; Business Credit Blogger.com, have been featured in ‘Fox Small Business’,’American Express Small Business’, ‘Business Week’, ‘The Washington Post’, ‘The New York Times’, ‘The San Francisco Tribune’,‘Alltop’, and ‘Entrepreneur Connect’.