Starting a business is a challenge even for experienced entrepreneurs. Gaining practical knowledge about how to handle a start-up is a good way to get started. Here are four of the most recommended business books for start-ups:
- “Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less” – Sam Carpenter
Sam Carpenter shares his experience as a business owner to show the mistakes he made in the beginning. Using examples from the destructive path he took, Sam shows you why it is critical to set-up your business from the beginning. This will allow you to spend less time putting out fires and more time making money.
- “She Takes on the World” - Natalie MacNeil
Natalie MacNeil takes readers on an action filled journey packed with plenty of useful advice on how to run the business of your dreams. You will learn how to grow your business, build a team without much money, and how to get your brand on everyone’s lips. All of this is interwoven with Natalie’s experience.
- “Small Business, Big Vision” – Matthew and Adam Torren
The Torren brothers bring together practical information on starting your own business with their own experiences as successful Internet entrepreneurs. You will get instruction on how to attract investors, put together a business plan, leverage social media, and how to outsource work to the right people. With this mix of experience and practical advice, you will see what you need to make your business a success.
- “Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas!” - Matthew and Adam Torren
Okay, why is a kid’s book in the mix? This book is actually a brilliant summary of the basics of business. So many adults overcomplicate the process. A look at running a humble lemonade will give an experienced business person insights into how to run a successful company. Get back to basics and see what it inspires.
These books will give you insight into what a start-up needs to become a success. If you are thinking about starting your own business, take some time and read what the experts are saying. You will gain insights and learn how to make your business a success from the very beginning.
A study conducted in 2008 by the Corporation for National and Community Service indicated that corporate volunteerism is essential to the long-term success of large and small businesses. However, most small business owners are hesitant to participate in volunteer programs because their main priorities are to minimize their operational costs and increase their market share. Keep reading to find out why such entrepreneurs would be better off by choosing to be volunteers.
1. An Opportunity To Get To Know Your Community Better
Most volunteer programs aim to benefit the surrounding community. By volunteering in such a program, it would be a great opportunity for you to understand the community within which you operate your business. As such, you would be able to identify any unfulfilled needs that the community has and which your business can help it to fulfill.
2. It is a Step Towards Creating and Developing Your Business Culture
One of the easiest ways to create a good business culture is through teamwork, which is a vital key of all volunteer programs. By engaging in these programs, small business owners can improve their employees’ teamwork skills. Ultimately, teamwork usually improves the morale of employees and this is likely to impact on your business positively. Allowing your employees to make suggestions on which volunteer programs the business should support develops their sense of pride in the business culture.
3. It Creates a Positive Reputation for Your Business
Participating in volunteer program enables the community to get to know both you and your business better. The community will most likely appreciate your work ethic if you are willing to contribute your time towards nonprofit generating programs. When you decide to volunteer, it is important to ensure that you do a great job since this will build a good reputation for you and your business.
4. You Can Foster a Mutually Beneficial Relationship with The Community
Businesses that support their local communities are more likely to receive support from them. It is barely possible for small businesses to thrive if they operate within communities that are struggling. By participating in volunteer programs, you would be able to contribute towards building a strong and vibrant community. You can also network with other small business owners whose experiences can enhance your business skills.
5. You Can Gain Some Tax Advantages
Some volunteer programs enable business owners to donate their goods and services. If you take part such programs, you may be eligible for tax relief from the government.
6. You Are Able Get Free Advertising
When you volunteer, the organization/program you join will mention your business name during all its activities and meetings.
7. Through Volunteering, You Can Integrate Good Values into Your Business
All businesses, whether big or small, have a corporate responsibility to make a difference locally or internationally. You can fulfill this responsibility by participating in programs that solve various problems within the community.
Accents are disappearing among American English speakers. And, it’s sort of sad. Y’all hearin’ me?
As accents disappear, so goes a little of our individuality and character. We are morphing into a nameless, faceless, voiceless mass. After all, what is Paula Deene without her accent? Very, very rich!
There is a slightly discernible feature in the voice and timbre of just about everyone. But, television has homogenized the ear until persons of color, immigrants, and everyone else from every part of the country pretty much the sounds the same. It’s even harder to differentiate the voices on national radio venues.
There was a time when people from one part of the town needed subtitles to understand neighbors from another part of town. Social classes and ethnic origins were betrayed, and education only moved you from one parochial voice pattern to another.
Now, people just like us really are not people just like us. And, with the proliferation of outsourced customer service, we get down right annoyed and impatient with operators who don’t sound like Tom Brokaw or Katie Couric.
Businesses big and small should listen to their operators and receptionists. You need a personable receptionist, hand-trained in your business and products. You need the voice of credibility, not smothered with a heavy regional or in-articulate accent.
Your office can be anywhere your public voice is. A turnkey virtual office can connect nasal Philadelphians with throaty Georgians, Boston broad vowels with soft Texan twangs, backwater Virginians and Arizona Navajos.
- Let your virtual office:
- Forward calls to your phone.
- Give notice of voice-mail and fax receipts.
- Process customer phone orders.
- Schedule appointments.
- And, provide 24/7 customer service.
- And, much, much more depending on the package you like.
Now, don’t be getting your voice in a tizzy! There are plenty of wonderful receptionists out there with great phone voices – even some with accents. Some of the best even play their accents up, and many a customer loves the sweet tones they know are toying with them. But, as often as not, the caller needs clarity and understanding. They may not be confident in either with the accent of someone they don’t know.
Virtual phones offer the benefits of a local phone number as well as the convenience of a virtual office. If you own a business and are constantly on the go, a virtual office may work well for you. No matter what business you’re in, if you work with the public you know the importance of being able to communicate. By using a virtual phone system you bring your office to your customers.
One of the benefits of having this type of service is being able to have a local phone number for your customers. For example, as an independent contractor, plumber, insurance salesman, etc., your office may be in one town, but the majority of your clients are in three towns in the next county. Having a local number for each of the towns your customers reside in, eliminates the need for them to make a long distance call when trying to reach you. Having a local phone number is beneficial to your business in numerous ways. Virtual phones enhance the benefits even more.
*Local number = easy access- When customers see a local number, they associate that with your business being close to home and readily available whenever you need them. It gives them a sense of confidence in your company knowing they are just around the corner.
*No long distance numbers for customers- Customers are more likely to choose a company with a phone number that is local to their area. By using virtual phones and the services they offer, you can increase the efficiency of your business by making your business more appealing to clients.
*Convenience- Clients want convenience. With virtual phone services and phone numbers in your client’s areas, the local leads you receive from promotions, advertisements and the yellow pages can increase dramatically in just a few short weeks.
Virtual phones and offices work together you to provide you with all of the tools you need to make your business a complete success. From making appointments to following up after the close of a big deal, these services add convenience as well as professionalism to any business.
Being a realtor is an exciting career. You are always on the go, showcasing houses and meeting new clients. The only problem is your desk with all of the tools you need to do your job is in an office miles from wherever you may be. Virtual phone services sets up your office right where you need it. Using the same technology as your cell phone, you will have everything you need at your finger tips. Screen and route calls, customize greetings with a professional flair, record phone calls and meetings and work with buyers and sellers at a moment’s notice with little or no down time.
The benefits of having a full feature phone service at your disposal are numerous. Virtual phone services can make conducting business so easy, you can do it from almost anywhere there is a phone signal.
- Convenience – A virtual phone system allows you to conduct business anywhere you need to be. If you have meetings across town, connect with the virtual service and do what you need to keep your business on track. Make appointments and check the status of a pending contract with the touch of a button.
- Real time communication – Communicate with clients and co-workers on a real time basis. There’s no need to wait to get to the office to review a case and call the client. Connect to the system and do both. Whether you or at the office or on the road to your next showing, everything is within reach.
- Live Virtual Receptionist– Virtual phone services sometimes offer a “virtual receptionist” to assist you in handling your affairs if you are in an important meeting and can’t take a call. They are also available to perform other duties, such as transfer files and make sure you receive important messages.
- Immediate scheduling – Using virtual services allows you to receive a phone call, schedule a meeting and connect with clients all within a few minutes. The versatility of the service allows for fast and efficient communication between all parties.
Using a virtual phone service allows you to take your business with you precious time isn’t loss running and back and forth to the office. With the advanced technology we have at our disposal, we no longer have to remain tethered to an office to conduct business.
Increasingly, the idea of a virtual office and employees working from home is becoming commonplace among technology-minded businesses, especially with startups. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Read Write Web, 64.2% of self-employed or freelancing workers were working from home in 2010, with 25.8% part-time employees working from home. Now in 2012, “work from home” while working for a new business venture is becoming as normal as lunch breaks and vacation time.
But, why exactly is this trend of working from home starting to become so popular? And why with startups?
Several startups have humble beginnings in garages, apartments, and even at Starbucks. This brings about a different type of “company culture” at the beginning, and continues to be a normal way for new businesses to begin. Not only is it just an unspoken rule and part of the business culture, but it is also a great way to save money when funding comes and goes so quickly. And as all entrepreneurs know, cash flow is king.
An Inc. Magazine article followed the startup Dimagi when they moved from chilly Cambridge, Massachusetts, all the way to sunny So Paulo in Brazil for the winter months in a rented apartment. They had a location in Cambridge, South America, and even employees working in India and South Africa. Despite being spread across many different time zones, employees were still able to communicate through email and social networks while their work was updated via cloud computing. So its definitely doable.
Less Financial Obligations
Because of little to no responsibility for rent of a full office, and all of the staff that comes with it, Dimagi (and fellow startups that do the same) are able to expand into new markets directly as well gathering new experiences worry-free.This also enables entrepreneurs to channel funds into much needed places, such as business development, marketing, and seeking out new talent.
Productivity and Comfort
Working while in the comfort from your own home, or a co-worker’s, has been proven to produce better work according to The Huffington Post. As stated, “76 [percent] of telecommuters not only say they’re more willing to work overtime, but they’re more loyal employees because of telecommuting.”
Telecommuting, working from home, the office of “home,” is only going to continue to be a popular method for employees of all stripes to get work done. Startups embrace this culture because the world we live in today is more mobile and more connected, so by being more flexible there are ultimately more chances to grow.
With the advent of technology, it’s easier now than ever to do business with anyone in the world. Communication and connection is key to working remotely, and luckily there are several free iPhone apps that make this as convenient as possible. Now team members can communicate, collaborate, and stay organized. Here are five free apps that can help you manage your team smoothly and effectively.
Viber allows users to call and text anyone in the world–for free. It also allows you to send photos, and it is available in over 30 languages. The interface is simple and easy to use, with great sound quality and, best of all, it is completely cost and ad free!
While VoxOx does not provide free worldwide text and calls (though it is cheap), what they do provide is a wider range of services such as real-time 2-way translation into other languages, personalization of caller ID (to reflect you calling from wherever you like), ability to record phone conversations and also other great functions such as the Do Not Disturb mode, which routes all calls directly to voicemail and a call forwarding service to up to five other phone numbers.
3. Free Conference Call
This may be the original conference call app. Started in 2001, they have over three million registered users and 15-20 million connections a month. They have other services such as free conferencing.com that allows for up to 1,000 participants and Start Meeting which features screen sharing of files, spreadsheets, and other content to provide remote presentations to share via email or to be uploaded straight onto the web.
Ideapi is a simple to use and well-designed app to give users an organized and efficient way of collaborating on documents and ideas online. It can be used by creative agencies to flesh out ideas on specific projects and get client feedback, or by in-house recruiters to manage job details and candidates. There’s no doubt Ideapi will be a great tool for project management.
Vbuzzer routes your phone calls through your internet connection instead of your phone line, and can call people regardless of whether they have Vbuzzer or not! It is also a messenger client and is compatible with MSN, Yahoo, AIM, and ICQ networks as well as having its own network. The call rates are comparable to Skype.
Economist Milton Friedman once remarked that as long as a business enterprise operates within the confines of the law, it has no other responsibility except to make money. And while it is certainly true that a business cannot operate for long without turning a profit, Friedman’s dictum strikes many as somewhat overly generalized and devoid of ethics. But do ethics even play a role in the affairs of business”
Corporate enterprises are technically considered as people in the US, with all the rights and obligations extended to citizens as human beings. But certainly most people conduct their lives and relationships with others with something more than a sense of their purely legal obligations on how to navigate each interaction. So the question remains: should businesses feel compelled to do the same”
Getting There from Here
Getting There from Here
The fact is that most large corporations started out as the quite small fruit of one person’s passionate belief in a product or service. Long before a balance sheet enters such a person’s head, they have consumed themselves with the benefit their idea will bring to other people, and how best to deliver this benefit to the community at large.
Steve Jobs, when once asked to reflect on Apple becoming the most profitable company in the world, said that making money was the last thing on his mind when he started developing electronic devices. He simply wanted to build apparatuses that worked, and looked, better than any others available.Jobs perspective demonstrates that the driving force behind most small businesses doesn’t seem to reflect the view of Milton Friedman and has much more to do with the ethics of serving, rather than simply profiting.
The Key to Success
Webster defines ethics as the moral principles that govern a person’s, or a group’s, behavior. But do ethics in business pay” Business consultant Peter Drucker thinks they do. Drucker points out that most small businesses that view clients as neighbors, as well as customers, tend to survive and prosper, while those that see people simply as markets tend to struggle.
Drucker has identified two key components to small business success: provide something useful, and do no harm. Those are certainly two fundamental elements of being a good neighbor, too. The bottom line to small business success may be as simple as bringing a sense of personal ethics to the enterprise.
It sure worked for Steve Jobs.
Time is money no matter what your profession, but lawyers deal with many duties at one time. Successful multitasking is not necessarily part of the curriculum for law school. Organization is the key to improving productivity in a legal office. Time management for attorneys is paramount because the details are critical. Lawyers can use tips and tricks to improve their skills and adapt a time-efficient lifestyle.
Good Morning Sunshine
The early bird gets the legal worm, as they say. Start the day earlier to get some personal chores out of the way. Even just one hour will give you time to exercise and avoid spending part of your workday at the gym. As you sit and eat breakfast, go through the to-do list for that day and plan. Create a travel route that makes the most efficient use of your time. For example, whether you have to pick up court documents or your dry cleaning, schedule the trip at a time you will be in the area.
Organize by Assignment
Time management for attorneys means good organization skills. Create a template to help structure time for new cases. When you get a client, break the workload down by task and objective. Create lists of questions that need answers for during investigations. Develop a workflow chart that every person working on the case can refer to while doing his or her part. Add deadlines for tasks as much as possible. Even better, delegate and have a secretary or paralegal do this for you.
Don’t overbook your time. Instead, outsource work when you can. This could be case related items or just general office management. A live virtual receptionist is a cost-effective approach to managing the phones, for example. Save your valuable time for supervision and fire prevention.
Create Virtual Offices for Lead Generation
A lawyer spends years in school learning how to interpret the law, but that doesn’t bring clients to the door. Most attorneys need to spend some time looking for business, especially in the beginning. Technology offers a solution to this problem through telecommuting.
Virtual offices are the new-age way to handle time management for attorneys. A virtual office allows you to hire someone to do the legwork and marketing without spending the time or money on a physical location. Setting up virtual offices will allow you to micromanage the situation via the Internet or phone. That frees up time to deal with the actual legal requirements of the job.
Between court visits and digging up new clients, an attorney can easily end up spinning his wheels when trying to build a practice. Time management for attorneys is a necessity in the legal business world. Utilizing the modern tools available today will help lawyers stretch their time. With proper time management, attorneys increase productivity and decrease stress to balance out their lives.