Running a small business means that you have to wear many hats and marketing and advertising is one of the most important. Making sure your potential customers know that you exist and know what you do is essential for any business to survive. Advertising can sometimes feel like a minefield. If you’re considering spending lots of money on marketing, don’t forget to budget for legal help. Having your marketing reviewed for legal compliance can save you time and money in the long run.
Click here to read an informative article written by George Khoury. He answers five frequently asked questions from small business owners regarding advertising and gives tips on how to make sure your ads don’t cross any legal lines.
Good, timely feedback is an important business tool, but what happens when your employee brushes off your feedback? Here are some actionable ideas on providing feedback.
- Make the case. Your employee may not be aware that part of his or her job is to receive your feedback seriously and professionally. Explain the impact their resistance has on you, the organization, and their own professional reputation.
- Get curious. Don’t assume that the receiver sees his or her behavior in the same way that you do. Acknowledge that you’re expressing an opinion and want to hear theirs too.
- Use neutral language. Try to avoid words that carry negative connotations and place blame.
- Ask for feedback yourself. You may not be giving your employee what he or she needs in order to hear, absorb and accept feedback. Be brave enough to ask for feedback and then model how to receive it.
- Share a personal story. Normalize the experience of receiving feedback by sharing a personal story. Share the impact of that experience, what you learned from it, and how you’ve changed as a result.
- Secure a commitment. Make a specific request for a behavior change, be open to counter-offers, and come to an agreement on the goal.
- Acknowledge positive change. Start looking for evidence that your employee has taken your advice to heart and speak up when you notice them acting differently.
Click here to read the full article written by Deborah Grayson Riegel.
You know networking is an important business tool, but sometimes it can feel awkward. Here are ten tips to help you feel more comfortable.
- Create Your Relationship Action Plan – You need an action plan that outlines who you want to build connections with and how you plan on doing it.
- Be Interesting – A key to networking is being the type of person that other people want to interact with. To do that, you need to project positivity and be able to have engaging conversations.
- Make People Feel Special – Focus your attention on the person you’re trying to connect with. People want to feel like they matter, and to do that you need to show them that you genuinely care about what they have to say and express how much you appreciate them.
- Help Others – Once you help someone, you instantly become more likable because you relieved some of their stress and added value to their life.
- Join New Social Circles – If you can find a way to meet one person in a group you want to be involved in, you can start connecting with everyone in it.
- Become a Master Mentor/Mentee – Mentorships are one of the most valuable relationships you can invest in. There’s no better way to get ahead and expand your network than to spend time with people who have already achieved your goals.
- Be a Super Connector – You know those people who seem to know everyone? They’re known as super connectors because they’re the superheroes of the networking world. If they’re unable to help someone, they know a list of people who can, which makes them great friends to have.
- Have a Social Media Strategy – The key to fostering your network using social media is to always add value. Instead of randomly posting whatever comes to mind, consistently share relevant, funny and informative content that offers a glimpse into your life and the ideas you’re interested in.
- Diversify Your Network – Though building close relationships is essential for a happy, successful life, research shows you actually get more career related value from acquaintances you see only occasionally.
- Don’t Forget the Follow-Up – If you don’t follow-up, you will fail at networking. People are busy and if you don’t connect with them often, you’ll be forgotten. Follow up once every quarter with acquaintances and at least once per month with people you’re trying to build a closer relationship with.
To read the full article written by Vanessa Van Edwards click here.
Planning for your own retirement sometimes gets pushed to the back burner when you’re busy running a business. Take a few minutes to learn more about a valuable retirement planning option you can set up for yourself and your employees – a Roth 401(k).
What is a Roth 401(k) plan?
A Roth 401(k) plan is simply a traditional 401(k) plan that permits contributions to a designated Roth account within the plan. Roth 401(k) contributions are made on an after-tax basis, just like Roth IRA contributions. This means there’s no up-front tax benefit, but if certain conditions are met both your contributions and any accumulated investment earnings on those contributions are free of federal income tax when distributed from the plan.
Click here to read more.
Article brought to you by Altra Financial Advisors.
When an employee is injured on the job, the resulting medical costs can dig deep into your business’s bottom line. Rieva Lesonsky recently wrote an article on Small Business Trends regarding workplace injuries, including the most common workplace accidents and injuries and how to prevent them from happening.
The top five causes of accidents included: Material handling, slips, trips and falls, being struck by or colliding with an object, and cumulative trauma.
The top five types of injures included: Strains/sprains, cuts or punctures, contusions, inflammation, and fractures.
Accidents can happen with any type of job. Whether you’re using a ladder to stock shelves, moving, lifting, or carrying an item, or using a hammer to hang up a bulletin board there is potential for an accident to occur.
To lessen the risk of workplace accidents:
- Prevent slips and falls by keeping common areas clear of obstacles and well lit. Use rubber mats or slip resistant flooring when appropriate and wipe up spills promptly.
- Exercise caution when using ladders.
- Provide safety equipment.
- Educate employees about ergonomics.
- Keep up-to-date on new hazards and educate employees about how to avoid them.
- Create a culture of safety.
Workplace accidents and injuries will happen. For this reason, it is important to keep a well-stocked first aid kit on site, keep an accident report log, and have adequate insurance.
To read the full article click here.
Altra hosted the final session of a three-part Small Business Connect Event series on Business Finance Basics for business owners. Edward Jaekel from JRM CPAs joined us again to speak on the topic of business cash flow. Cash flow is one of the most critical components of success for your business. A business can be profitable on paper, but struggle because the timing of cash coming in doesn’t match the need for cash going out. This session gave attendees the tools needed to create cash flow projections, allowing business owners to make solid decisions about growth as well as taking care of existing bills. Click on the video link above to see highlights from Session 3. If you were unable to attend but are interested in watching the full presentation click here. For more information contact Altra Business Lending at 855-490-4518.
You’re invited to part three of our free three-part educational series for business owners.
Session Three – Cash Flow
Cash flow is one of the most critical components of success for your business. A business can be profitable on paper, but struggle because the timing of cash coming in doesn’t match the need for cash going out. This session will give you the tools you need to create cash flow projections that allow you to make solid decisions about growth as well as taking care of existing bills.
Click here to sign up today for a Small Business Connect Event in your area.
More companies are using the cloud for storage, software and even infrastructure services. Cloud services may be effective, but they can leave business, employee and customer data vulnerable.
It’s imperative that businesses develop basic security protocols to safely and securely deploy cloud-computing solutions.
What you can do to make sure your data is secure:
- Identify where risks exist. A business must first identify the primary function it’s trying to move to the cloud or where it already may be leveraging cloud-based resources.
- Dedicate time and resources to conduct due diligence. Make sure safeguards are used around sensitive data.
- Get specific in your service contract. Determine how your provider will respond to requests from law enforcement, regulators and third parties.
- Ask where your provider’s servers are located. Some regions may treat data access differently than others.
Click here to read the full article written by Eduard Goodman, Chief Privacy Officer for IDT911.
Millennials can be great employees, but employers may need to prepare themselves to finish the parenting that’s not occurring in many homes. There is a great article written by Susan Cramm that talks about this very topic.
In a 2007 research study Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen and undergraduate advisor at Stanford University, cites, only 16 percent of adults 18 to 25 years old felt they had reached adulthood based on self-selected criteria including: accepting consequences for actions, establishing an adult relationship with parents, being financially independent, and determining values and beliefs.
Leaders can connect and inspire young workers by tapping into their strengths and improving their weaknesses.
- Connect their work to a higher purpose.
- Learn how to develop tactical plans.
- Experience good suffering.
- Develop empathy and build relationships.
- Increase self-awareness and learn from others.
Click here to read the full article.
At some point, every business faces a challenging decision: Is this the time to hire my first employee? Learn when you should – and shouldn’t – hire in this article written by Neil Patel. Below are some guidelines he discusses that may help you answer this tough question.
- Know the points at which you shouldn’t hire. These include:
– You’re desperate.
– You don’t know exactly what you want the new hire to do.
– You take the first person who comes along.
- Hire a cofounder, at least mentally. Your first employee will hopefully be one of your longest-lasting and most knowledgeable. When hiring, look for someone with co-founder potential. These characteristics may include: complementary skills, similar vision and values, teach-ability, passion, emotional intelligence, flexibility, and honesty.
- Hire when the tasks to be done will generate money. Your new hire should at least do one of these two things: 1) make money for the business, or 2) save money for the business.
- Hire when the tasks to be completed fall under a particular skill set. Before you look for an employee, know what kind of employee you’re looking for. The clearer the set of responsibilities you lay out, the more accurately you’ll be in hiring someone to fill these responsibilities.
- Kick the tires by hiring a contractor. If you’re still undecided over whether or not it’s time to hire, test it. Instead of hiring a full-time employee, hire a contractor. If that works out well, you can either transition this person into an official hire or look for a full-time employee.
Click here to read the full article.