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Gastronomic delights are not the only benefits of the dining room. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, more deals are brokered in the dining room than in the boardroom. Professional organizations are the dining room of small business owners. There are a variety of organizations to join, many with a casual agenda and low to medium membership fees.
The start up cost to join a professional organization is nominal and the benefits are extensive. Your biggest output is time, and it is well spent. Most organizations keep tight meeting schedules to accommodate busy members.
In return, members receive an excellent return on their investment.
FRATERNIZING. Acquaint yourself with other business owners who share similar frustrations and frequently offer clever solutions. Although your products and services may be worlds apart, business practices and customer satisfaction are just a few of many elements that you have in common with other owners. Sharing these issues can lead to camaraderie and alliances.
RECIPROCITY. Referrals from other members and to other members can help grow your business and strengthen your alliance within the organization.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS. These help you keep in touch with customer wants and needs by exposing you to the pulse of the community. We especially need to remain current on ever changing technological advances, and mini seminars are excellent for a quick overview of changes and helpful improvements.
COMMUNITY EVENTS. Volunteerism develops your network in the community and allows you to give back as you also create good will. It provides an opportunity to perpetuate name recognition both for you as an individual and your business.
NETWORKING. By joining professional organizations you will be able to network with other professionals in your industry. Especially important if you’re a business startup to establish new connections, you will be able to get your name out there while forming alliances with other businesses to help further your ventures, both now and in the future. Just make sure you stay in touch with everyone you meet so you’re networking means something.
Most businesses are caught with their guard down when a recession occurs. Business owners and management are often ill prepared to deal with the economic realities of business crises, and for those who do not learn to cope with this struggling environment, business closure is often the result. As a business there are things you can do to survive the economic downturn.
If there was ever a time when a business needs to concentrate on making the sale, it is during a recession. This is the time when you need as much cash inflow as possible and sales are your best way to stimulate this. Use clever marketing techniques and focus your key resources on sales with minimal advertising. One of the time tested marketing strategies is taking extra care of your customers to increase loyalty, even when the economy recovers.
Communicate and Negotiate
A company that has effective communication with personnel, key suppliers and customers is very likely to survive the recession. Use proper communication to negotiate better credit terms with your lenders and suppliers, shorter credit periods with your debtors and lower salaries with your employees in order to maintain healthy finances.
Build a Strong Management Team
Most businesses choose to downsize their operations during business crises by cutting down the number of employees including key management staff. Strong leadership is essential for survival in a competitive environment and you will need key personnel when the economy recovers. Use this time to enhance key people\’s skills for a strong and cohesive management team.
Measure and Improve Your Effectiveness
The decisions that you make during a recession will be instrumental in the direction your company heads after the recovery. Put in place control measures to gauge the effectiveness of decisions and identify shortfalls for correction in advance.
Running a small business is not an easy thing to accomplish, but it is not as complicated as most people think, either. In business, you need to be brave and ready to take risks. It is a fact that risk is integrated in a business, and is what allows for profits to be made. You should invest some time to read and understand the five effective quick thoughts (B.R.A.V.E. Model) that is essential in your business ventures.
Be True to Yourself. In making business decisions, the person who has the last say is YOU. Staying true to yourself means that you are confronting and overcoming the fear inside you. Trust yourself and respond to your inner voice because it will help you get and stay brave.
Respect the Reality. If you are aiming to be successful in your small business, respect the facts that are clearly evident and apparent. Do not ignore the basic principles in building a business such as the dos and don’ts. Keep in account that this is important because it will help you to stay brave.
Act As If You can boost your bravery by using mental analysis and mind setting. Try to act as if you were already successful; this technique will definitely help you identify contingencies, pitfalls and potential blind spots.
Value Fear. Most entrepreneurs are using fear to gain a substantial competitive advantage. Do not let fear pull you down; rather value it and reverse its effects because this will ultimately conquer your fears. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his inaugural address, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Ease Up. Knowing that handling a small business is a serious matter, do not fail to keep your sense of humor and make business operations your passion. Making yourself relax and eased up aids you to stay brave and be braver.
Smartphones are one of the most important tools for a business entrepreneur today. A phone well equipped with the right selection of mobile apps is like a secretary, a personal assistant and an intern all rolled into one. Especially for small business owners and start-up companies, you’ll want to extract the most value from your smartphone as possible; you’re paying for data anyway! With these ideas, you can use your device to manage tasks, keep connected to your business and keep all your material current.
Manage tasks with simple, easy mobile apps. For a basic to-do list that can be shared with collaborators, Astrid Task/To-Do list provides a great organizer function, priorities and delegating options. AnyDo is another highly rated task management application. Both have won high acclaim; check them out and decide which works best for your organization style.
Stay connected with your business no matter where you are. The ability to access your business no matter where you are can make the difference between a big opportunity and a flop. For a high-end product, check out LogMeIn Ignition. This app will allow you to access any material on your office computer or laptop from your smartphone at any time. It’s a bigger investment at $25. If you’re not sure that kind of product would be helpful, you can try an app with a similar concept: GoToMyPC is a highly rated, but simpler version that gives many of the same capabilities.
Sync your data.One of the most exciting capabilities your smartphone has is syncing material to have the most up-to-date content for use with your clients and associates. If you love using Google Docs to develop content collaboratively, make sure you use the Google Drive Android app version. This gives you access to all your Google documents and other content, as well as the ability to develop content with feedback in real time.
Starting a business is a challenge most entrepreneurs are faced with, and making a success out of it is an even bigger one. Lack of cash isn’t responsible for the failure of any business, especially a small business, but lack of knowledge definitely is. Complete knowledge and know-how is important for the success of any enterprise, and a mentor or advisor can go a long way in contributing to that success by sharing their expertise and experience required for your business. Having the right business mentor is very important for your business and its growth and success, and a little consideration can help you make the right choice.
Having a strong rapport with your advisor is very important. It essentially would mean that there are no issues with communication and understanding each other and that they are able to challenge your operations and ideas should they not agree with some of your decisions.
Choose someone with hands-on experience. Beware of someone who pitches for a new system or an innovative, untested idea. Instead rely on someone who has been there and done that. Not only can they help you with the secrets of their success, but they will also make you aware about the failures that were faced by them so the same mistakes are not repeated.
Choose someone who takes your entire enterprise into consideration. Your advisor should ideally have good tools and strategies in place for driving sales and profit and a tested framework in place for achieving that.
Choose a mentor that holds you accountable for results. Your mentor should have the right to hold you accountable for the commitments you make and also help guide you in the right direction. You, as a business owner, may not always take being corrected, well but it is valuable for your success.
Successful entrepreneurs make it to the top with a great team and the undisputable role played by a good mentor.
Good employees are an asset for any business, as they are the major contributors to its success. Hiring and retaining a qualified, efficient team is vital for the smooth running of a business and its growth. Employee retention is a key challenge in organizations today. Lets list a few tips for hiring and retaining good employees.
Communicate your vision.
To lead a successful organization, your employees need to understand your vision. This is the guiding light for all they do and it inspires them to execute your strategy. Show value.
Telling your current and prospective employees about the value you bring to the table and what you expect from them, and involving them in business planning, results in value being added to the vision and your vision turning into reality.
Share your passion.
Sharing your passion with your business employees can make a world of difference in making your team productive. You passion, when shared with conviction, can have a positive influence on your employees and on those you may consider hiring.
Encourage your employees and prospective hires to ask questions. A curious mind is a definite asset to the company and it could help you to discover information or insights you hadn’t realized before.
One of the reasons people leave their jobs is a lack of learning. Creating a learning atmosphere in your organization and encouraging your employees to share knowledge is guaranteed to make your employees more productive and more interested in their work.
Reward their work.
Employee recognition, apart from being a nice thing to do for people, communicates to your employees that you recognize the outcomes they have created for your business. When you recognize people effectively, you reinforce the actions and behaviors you most want to see repeated by your employees.
Every now and then in workplaces and office environments there are going to be work-related problems that will require the intervention of a supervisor or the business owner to bring about effective resolutions. Business owners should have an idea of certain business motivation techniques to help the development, growth and motivation of their employees. One of the most important things to do is to involve the employee in the process, where they can come forward with the problem and the owner can then look for a solution.
Here are some of the more common workplace problems and tips on how to resolve the issues.
- Continual failure to meet targets
- Too much work; too little time
- Lack of work recognition; more criticism
- Incompetence in the workplace
Stress is one of the most common and crucial problems. Stress affects the quality of work and also the employee’s state of mind. It can be caused by anything, including increased work responsibilities, personal issues and the overall work environment.
An effective solution to this is to monitor your employees and look for changes in their attitude or behavior. If you notice anything unusual, pull them aside and ask them what’s bothering them. It’s important to step in as a friend and not a superior, and its better to intervene early before it’s too late.
This could be a major problem as one person not achieving their target can put pressure on other employees. The effective solution here is to have all employees have time logs for their daily tasks, including what they’re doing and how much time they’re spending on it. That way you can assess your employees’ strengths and determine who is faster at what.
You should then sit down with your employee(s) who is not meeting their targets, discuss their work methods and work with them (the ‘with’ is very important) to find a solution. Its also a good idea to give gifts and bonuses to employees’ who are performing well, mainly to act as a motivator to work hard and produce.
This is a major concern as it affects the overall quality of work. One of the small business ideas is to take work only as per the capability of the employees. A proper solution for this is to make a list of tasks and prioritize the work. Make a clear-cut schedule for work prepared and make sure employees complete the work on time as per the schedule. This is also where the time logs I discussed above come in.
Criticism and lack of recognition makes employees lose interest in their work. The best solution is to make sure that performers get mentions for their work, and everyone receives positive affirmation at one point or the other. It’s all about staying positive and pointing out peoples strengths, and when you need to criticize, do so constructively. At the end of the day, you get more bees with honey.
General incompetence is a major concern in almost all workplaces. The solution to such a problem is to acknowledge that the problem may not always be due to incompetence but because of an excessive workload, lack of motivation, etc. Business owners must use business motivation techniques to handle such problems, being nice and repeat your request in a calm and relaxed manner. Proper training is key to getting better performance. Every employee needs company specific training.
In every office environment there will be work-related problems, but with the correct steps and the right attitude, solutions can be found and you can maintain a healthy working environment.
With the economy the way it is today no one wants to, and for that matter can afford to, settle for a mediocre and average business. You want to get your name out there so your business can grow and develop into a company. The internet is a great place to start marketing and developing your business for the future. One site I came across was EnetPlace.com and this site has all the little resources to GROW your business from a startup to a legitimate company. EnetPlace.com jumps right into the thick of things as it gives you the best hosting site for your buck and all so has the real deal on wholesale products for your business. If money is a little tight right now then they also have a resource page with many free tools such as E-books, courses, advertising (which I think is one of the best tools they offer), and many more. For the free advertising link, you just post your site to their website and then it will randomly display on ALL affiliate hits2u websites. EnetPlace.com also has a today’s special just like a woot.com where there is a cheap and different resource for your up and coming business every day. For the days that I visited it has been an inventor’s handbook to a websites graphics program. All these resources, whether they are tools or courses, are all affordable or better yet free. The things you buy on the site are all wholesale price so it would be hard to beat their price. Regardless of if your’s looking into buy a website template or just browsing for a useful tool, EnetPlace.com has good resources for your growing business. Check it out EnetPlace.com
In the business world, you are going to have to take the role of a fortune teller. Is your product/service going to go over well with the public and if so, for how long is this going to last? Trends can be the deciding point for your businessâ€™s success or down fall. Businesses cater to the people and if you can see what the public wants for the next year or two, imagine how much success you and your business will have. While surfing the web, I came across this resourceful little website called SmallBizTrends.com. They have much to offer entrepreneurs of all kinds but I found the trend sections of the site most helpful. Once you go on the site you can see that they have much to choose from (Product/Book reviews, research, marketing tips, etc.). I found the product review section useful in that other sites review products to sell, yet here it is to help you. They review everything from notebooks to IPod applications to business programs. The most beneficial part of the site has to be the expert trends analyses. Click on the Small Biz Experts and you got over 50 experts who give you a trend analysis about topics such as employment, start-up, economy, and much more. Reading these articles, I became a fan of Mark Anderson who seems to give both a humorous and helpful editorial. Whether you become a fan of Mark Anderson or Joel Libava, you can narrow it down so that you can read only his or her articles. This is a most unique resource in that it gives you more than just practical business advice and says â€œLetâ€™s predict the next hot product/serviceâ€ advice. Check it outSmallBizTrends.com.
The main ingredient in achieving a successful small business is time. You need time to produce a winning recipe that has been built on a proven and established strategy. You also need time to promote that winning recipe of yours through an innovative marketing principle. With so many tasks at hand it seems as though some guidelines and resources would help you climb that success ladder in the time in no time. AllBusiness.com is an online media and e-commerce company that operates one of the premier business sites on the Web. The site has received critical acclaim and notoriety from The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business 2.0, Fortune, The New York Times, US News & World Report, USA Today, and other publications. AllBusiness.com helps business professionals save time and money by addressing real-world business questions and presenting practical solutions. The site offers resources including how-to articles, business forms, contracts and agreements, expert advice, blogs, business news, business directory listings, product comparisons, business guides, a business association and more. The section that I would like to point out is the video library section. It has a wide selection of free videos, 14 to be exact, that can help you whether you are thinking about Starting a Business or Buying or Exiting a Business it has a lot to offer while taking up about 2 to 3 minutes of your time consumed day. These How To videos are from experts in his or her field of knowledge and are extremely helpful for your jammed packed life. Time is money so check it out www.allbusiness.com