Body Language: You Say More Than You Think | BusinessBlogs Hub: When you focus on yourself and how you react you become self-aware and see how your actions contribute to the overall end result. This is also true in how your body reacts when conversing with other people. This article goes into a few different body language positions and explains how to analyze them.
Banks Increase Small Business Lending: Looks like US banks are taking the hint to lend to small businesses and are finally doing it. The banks becoming more active in small business lending are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.
Are You Selling the Wrong Product?: When you are an entrepreneur, your business is to build your business, not to sell your product. Make sure you’re focusing on that key aspect and hiring others to sell your product.
As entrepreneurs, each of us faces myriad challenges. These challenges not only stretch our capacities, patience and ability to keep employees focused on the company vision, it also allows for alternate ways of thinking to begin creeping into our company culture. One of the most important business lessons I learned was the four-phase approach to business taught to me by my grandfather Don Pickett, a very successful entrepreneur. He taught me that every company has four phases, and your ability as a leader will be judged on how well you keep your company in Phase 1.
Contributed by Dale Williams, the owner of , a travel nurse and allied health company based in Omaha, Nebraska.
A strong corporate culture is the cornerstone of our employee recruitment and retention. It has led to major growth over the past two years. As rewarding as that growth has been, it has also led to some struggles as far as maintaining the corporate culture that got us to this point. Building this culture has involved two major components:
Hire the right kind of people Hiring the right people begins with a careful evaluation and selection process that involves at least two interviews for every position. After a manager and a team member interview the prospective employees, the other owner and I interview them ourselves. This ensures that we are always hiring people who want to be empowered at work and who fit our company’s culture.
Build a culture that empowers and excites staff
The second part of our approach is to build a culture that makes our employees excited about coming to work. We do this by knowing as owners and managers that our number one customer is actually our own employees. Over the years we have implemented several programs that have reflected this belief. Some of the things we do are what many smart companies are already doing; things like casual dress when we hit our weekly goals, a fun break room with a Foosball table and pinball machine, and employee-of-the-month awards.
Sending the Right Message – Marketing Message – Entrepreneur.com: Attracting ideal customers to your business is never easy. Even through social media your business could get drowned out by the sheer volume of other businesses, and your mission might not be clear. Kim T. Gordon discusses ways to market your business so you can attract the right customers.
While I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur per se, my experience with startup agencies has taught me a thing or two about building a successful business. I can distill my business philosophy into the “seven P’s” of a successful business.
People: The number one determining factor in the success of a business is the people involved. I’m talking about those special individuals that value the relationship and see the benefits of supporting the business. The right people may involve advisors, vendors, partners and customers. Without the right people on board, even the best ideas can get lost in the shuffle.
Product: In order for a product or service to succeed, it must be truly remarkable. Far too often, companies tend to build products they know, rather than meet a real need or solve a specific problem. When you’re considering a product, ask yourself these questions:What problem is your company solving for customers today? What problems will your customers face tomorrow? How are you prepared to help?
Process: Spend enough time up front to create a scalable infrastructure, people and systems to anticipate and manage growth. Companies (often startups) experiencing significant growth tend to lack the ability to evolve processes with the company, which leads to internal failures and can affect the product and customers.
Partners: Having the right strategic partners on board can impact all aspects of business, from sales and marketing to customer support and operations. If you have a good idea of what you need in a partner, make sure the companies you align with can meet or exceed your expectations. More importantly, view your customers as partners. The mutual trust and respect gained in a high-level, high-impact engagement leads to long-term profitability as those customers become an extended sales force.
Productivity: All companies should be relentlessly refining all aspects of the business, including people, products, processes and partners, to look for additional opportunities to increase efficiencies. No business is ever 100 percent optimized in terms of productivity. Whether terminating B talent, obsolete products or deadbeat customers, regularly evaluate and make minor (or major) adjustments to your business, and look for positive impact.
Prophecy: As a believer in good karma and keen intuition, I’ve found that success in business requires a combination of good ideas and even better timing. Create your own karma by identifying, defining and monitoring emerging trends. Position your company to be at the right place at the right time, and you may become the next big business.
Profitability: By focusing on the first six P’s outlined above, the seventh P (profitability) will naturally follow. Refined processes, strategic partners, improved productivity and a prophetic view of your industry will lead to sustained growth and profitability. Successful businesses rarely get that way by cutting costs and trimming fat alone. Successful companies have the right people building and supporting a product or service that meets the needs of their customers.
The seven P’s can get you on your way to creating and perfecting your business. So what are you waiting for?
Beware of the New Security Threat: Tabnabbers: When you open multiple tabs, sometimes you forget what you actually opened up. This is where tabnabbers come in. They can create a tab and make it look like a G-mail sign-in page, and if you sign in because you think your account just timed out, then a tabnabber has your user name and password. If you don’t remember opening that G-mail page, delete that tab and open a new one.
: It may be tempting to join the droves of businesses who are sending e-mails to everyone, creating profiles on multiple social media sites and starting their own blogs, but will it keep in tact your business and personality, or will it water it down? Social media helps you create an interaction and communication with colleagues and customers. Evaluate what you want your business to reflect, and try to replicate that online.
Contributed by Gino Venditti. He is the current Vice President of Operations for MTS, a company that sells and does service on commercial kitchens.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of lessons regarding traveling. Whether traveling for fun or for business, these tips will help you get the most out of your time and make the trip less stressful.
Use your camera for directions. Take a picture of the intersection near where you are staying so you can show a cab exactly where you want to go if you get lost.
If you like to walk around, take a hand held GPS. Spend the money and download the street maps for the region you’re visiting. You can find hotels, restaurants and tourist sites to visit, as well as other places of interest by merely typing them into the GPS.
If you don’t travel overseas often, call your credit card company before you leave and tell them when and where you’ll be going. There’s nothing worse than finishing a very expensive dinner with a potential client, only to find out that the credit card company has turned off your card because they think your identity has been stolen.
Know where your credit card will and will not work. For example, I learned the hard way that my Discover card was not accepted outside of the United States.
Know what the currency conversions are. There is nothing worse than discovering you bought a gift that you believed cost $45, but actually cost $450.
At all times, be aware of areas where pick-pocketing is common. A little common sense goes a long way.
I enjoy haggling for items, but knowing where it’s appropriate and not appropriate is important. One time I received 40 percent off the original asking price for a gift because I negotiated the cost and offered to pay with US dollars. By simply following the haggling process, I saved a lot of money.
If you pay in the local currency, it will save you money. Most credit card companies understand that we use the credit card to minimize the amount of cash we carry. With this in mind, they work to get the best currency conversion rates for themselves, and then for you. On top of that, they will add about a three-percent fee just so you can see your currency on the receipt. For most menial purchases, it does not make a huge difference. For large purchases, however, ask the cashier to ring the receipt in the local currency.
My last tip is more from leisure travel than business. Always plan a down day. It gives you a break from the constant traveling, and you can actually enjoy yourself by doing nothing.
These tips will not only save you time and money, but they will keep your trip worry-free.
: Major banks are being told to ease their guidelines for giving loans to small businesses, and many are. However, small businesses are not going after these loans, even if they qualify for them, because the economy is constantly fluctuating.
Due diligence: It’s what you do before investing in a company to ensure the deal is right, and that there are no hidden problems that will emerge once you’ve committed. But two lawyers, a mortgage broker, two investment advisors and a handful of CPAs aside, more than a year after closing our deal we were battling a perfect storm of broken promises, unfulfilled commitments and unhappy customers— and absorbing the associated costs amounting to more than our original investment.
How to Take Your Business Idea for a Test Drive | Small Business Blog: Sometimes a good idea is simply that, a good idea. But how do you turn a good idea into a business? By taking your idea to a group of people who will help troubleshoot possible problems and help you learn what to do. Learning from experienced and successful business owners can mean the difference between stumbling multiple times and succeeding in a short amount of time. So, invest in your future and train how to be a successful business owner.
Simply Business Podcast – Understanding the Challenges for Starting a Business: This podcast focuses on the challenges that entrepreneurs face when starting a business. It gives a brief overview of creating an elevator pitch, financing the business in the beginning, how to handle doing business in the recession, keeping a low overhead and the personal hurdles that come with starting a business.
Five Lessons to Learn from Web Startups: Some of the best parts of companies are found in Web startups. These qualities are nurtured through these companies to produce company atmospheres that keep employees and customers coming back for more. “1. Your company culture can be fun. 2. Work can be done anytime, anywhere. 3. You don’t need a lot of money to have a good time. 4. It’s OK to change your mind. 5. A small risk can return a great reward.”