How to Train a Small Business Staff

Four Tips for Training Small Business Employees

Every business owner knows that having a well-trained staff is the key to a company that operates smoothly and turns a profit. It is important that when new employees join the team, even for small businesses, there is a process in place to make sure they are trained effectively. Many companies will have weekly or monthly training sessions to keep all employees up to date on their training and skills and it is important to keep in mind that training, even for veteran employees, is an ongoing process.

Set Training Goals

Every aspect of a business needs a well-vetted plan and a training program for employees is no different. Setting training goals is an important part of having a successful training program, and there is no point in setting goals if you do not give yourself a way to measure employees’ progress. Start by taking the time to discuss with employees what types of training they may want as well as what goals they wish to achieve to help keep them engaged. Then, decide how you will measure progress.

Employee Good Training Professionals

Depending on what type of training your employees need, it may be necessary to look outside of your business to find the appropriate trainers. Using professional trainers is an important part of making sure employees get the education they need to do their jobs correctly and effectively. A good professional trainer will be the subject expert on whichever field the training is on and will present the materials to your employees in an engaging, meaningful way. Always check references and consult with other businesses professionals when hiring trainers – this will help to indicate who is a great trainer.

Encourage Learning

All business owners have been in the position of announcing a training session and hearing the moans and groans from their employees. In some cases, training can be a real pain for employees, be encouraging them to continue learning can often make a huge difference. Employees who love to learn and improve their skills often become better, more educated workers. This goes back to speaking with your employees about what types of training they want to see – if you provide them with training sessions that are relevant to their jobs and engage their interests they will be more willing to learn.

Utilize Online Training

It can be very difficult, especially for a busy small business, to get all the employees in a room for a few hours to train. While this environment is important, there are other ways for employees to get the training they need without having to all be in the same room. Think about using online training courses as part of your overall training program – this will allow employees to go through the training sessions when they have time and at their own pace. This may also be a great alternative to traditional classroom training for those businesses who have people in the field more often than they are in the office.

You should also consider one-on-one training with employees. This serves two purposes:

    1. The employee gets dedicated training to specifically address his or her shortcomings instead of addressing something with the group as a whole. If the employee is struggling to pick up one particular aspect, you can spend more time with them on that in this setting rather than holding up the entire staff in a group setting.


  1. Employees feel more appreciated and less intimidated. By this we mean they are more likely to ask questions or admit shortcomings in a one-on-one setting instead of bringing it up in a group. In addition, it brings management and/or ownership to a more personal level, making the staff member more willing to open up.

Starting a Business – How to Get to the Business Plan and Why?

OK, it’s time to start your own business – way to go! It’s a big decision working for someone else who takes care of everything; accounting, payroll, taxes, inventory, and most likely, a huge bunch of other departments and responsibilities necessary to control their own company. But, running your own business has its benefits, as well.

Now, I must mention, please keep in mind, one can be fully fulfilled and inspired while having the job of their dreams also. It all comes down to attitude and personal motivation. If you are working in a field that you are fully inspired by, congrats and be sure to appreciate it as going your own way also has its risks. But, having said that:

The main train of thought is you are your own boss, work the hours you choose and which days to work, and, unfortunately or fortunately, you are purely responsible for the entire success. It’s a wonderful way to release yourself from the rat race of 9-5, if you choose, as well as being involved in doing what you love, what you might have a passion for, but you have to begin by asking just a few things:

1. Do you love what you are doing or is it something you are good at? A dream of escaping the normal way the world works can be very inspiring to work for yourself, but you must be motivated to work every morning to do what you have chosen to do for a living.

2. What is it that you believe you would like to do? What interests, area or industry is it going to be? Do you believe there is a market for what you can provide? Have you thought whether the area can handle another entry?

3. Do you have the talent or technical skills required? Just because you feel you are able to do a skill that you consider special, it could possibly not be a strong item to convince customers or investors that it is a valuable purchase or a strong financial investment.

4. What, where and who are the competitors in this area and what separates you from the rest? Why should investors or potential prospect customers choose you? What differentiates you from what everyone else does?

OK, When you’re finally satisfied that your answers to these questions are solid, it’s decision time, of what business structure works best for you. Is it a sole proprietor, responsible for every area and the entire authority to run the business? Will you have a partner, share the cost, workload and responsibility but also the ideas, profits and every business decision from the get go? Or maybe your decision is to incorporate, including all the financial safety’s and securities but way more involved, complex and a costly structure?

This is when you must seek legal advice! Seriously, it is strongly recommended, mainly because it is for you to completely understand all the advantages, disadvantages and to be sue the setup is proper and that you are fully aware of your chosen structuring plan. Most attorneys will offer a complimentary or a discounted-rate initial consultation. Once the decision and plan is decided, a formal name for your new company should be chosen. Make sure it is easy to remember – be sure to not use initials or single letters (A & B & C Limited could be challenging to remember for clients or associates). Also, make it say something about what the business does or what it offers (“Joe’s Shoe Specialists” is much easier to spell and remember).

Now comes the real sweat equity work, a business plan. This is the real beginning of your baby, it is the most important part in creating all these topics and proposals in a modernized and easy to follow format; fancy designs do not help your future baby succeed. A strong business plan acts as a formal statement for the financing needs and plans, goals, overall structure and all the initial legal considerations. Think of this as a corporate “resume” to potential lenders or investors and is the main documentation that will be used to calculate if your business could be a worthwhile investment. It also offers the proprietor(s) a opportunity to evaluate and see the operational details of your new company on paper.

A basic business plan should contain a balance sheet, income statement (also known as a Profit & Loss) and a statement of cash flow. Adding in a proposed financial budget for the first year, or as long a period as necessary if a year is impractical is a highly recommended course of action also. There are many formats and structures for business plans and many templates are available online or through formal providers who can assist or guide you along the way.

If you follow these quick tips, and the outcome looks promising you might be able to plan for success. Just remember, as much as this dance of being your own boss and owning your own company sounds exciting and positive, always remember, it will take work and dedication. Not only will you need a strong commitment but it will also serve you well to have a support community around you. Your family and friends can be a huge part of your success. So be sure to evaluate who you have around you and how to involve them and motivate them to join your team and become cheerleaders.

Also, as mentioned earlier, be sure to not discount employment for a solid company that offers future potential and is in the area or industry that fulfills you and connects with your beliefs and passion.

Does Your Business Have Gaps or Weak Spots?

Picture this; Molly is a vibrant business coach who has enjoyed a reign of success in her coaching business for many years. She could do her job on auto-pilot, and most days, that’s exactly what she does. She enjoys the income and freedom her professional success allows, and happily spends her days “doing what she’s always done.”

Eventually, however, she starts to notice a big drop in both clients and sales. While she is stumped about the reason for the sudden drop, she does nothing to correct the problem and opts for a non-proactive “let’s just wait and see” attitude. It doesn’t take long before Molly’s once successful coaching business is in dire straits.

It’s natural for our businesses and our client’s businesses to morph and change over time; so when we are busy “doing what we’ve always been doing,” we often miss the boat and fail to see opportunities and trends that will help our businesses continue to grow in a positive manner rather than getting stuck, stale and off track. Business professionals who are in a position of complacency tend to take the biggest hit when changes in life or economy occur. All entrepreneurs and business owners need to continually adapt, evolve, and re-evaluate. Roll with the punches, so to speak. They need to adjust, regroup and grow… or get left in the dust.

It’s natural for businesses to morph and change over time. They need to adjust, regroup and grow, or get left in the dust.

Molly’s main issue was that she started taking her once loyal client base for granted and ignored the need for change in her professional life and business. After years of coaching one-on-one from behind a computer screen, and never really making the effort to network or become visible in the social media world, or support her business by attending offline events relevant to her target market or industry, she found herself becoming invisible; lost in the noise and hustle of coaches who offer similar services. The difference was that her competitors were the ones willing to be seen and heard online, as well as hustle and engage face-to-face with potential new clients. Molly had become as elusive as Bigfoot. Her clients knew she was “out there somewhere,” but the sightings were few and far between. Soon her clients succumbed to the lure of something bigger and better… elsewhere.

Does Your Coaching Business Have Gaps?

Not unlike Molly’s, most businesses have “gaps.” Gaps are the areas or weak spots in your overall business plan for success that have been overlooked or neglected. Maybe your “gap” is a lack of social media presence and powerful relationships with your clients, or like in Molly’s case, both social media and the opportunity to actually be seen and physically accessible not only to potential new clients, but to her existing ones. The lesson to be learned here is; when you have gaps of any kind in your business, you are opening a door and making it easy for the competition to slide right on in.

So, what are the gaps, or loopholes, in your brand or business? Is there room for improvement? Are there things you could be doing to excite your clients and solidify relationships? Now is the time to identify your gaps and what you need to do to change with the times. If your “gaps” are areas caused by limited time and knowledge to effectively maintain and grow your business, take the necessary steps to get the help you need to close up those loopholes ASAP.

There are times when we all have to take a step back and take stock of what we are doing and where our businesses are going (or not going). Sometimes life events force us to change quickly, while some changes are more gradual. Some changes are good, some are bad. But in the long run, change should always challenge us and make us take a closer look at our businesses in a new light.

5 Things to Avoid When Choosing a Courier Service

1. But, they’re the cheapest!

As the old adage goes, the cheapest is the most expensive. I mean, it’s old, and an adage for a reason, it’s true! The cheapest companies often have a revolving door of unsatisfied contractor employees- not the guys you want to trust with your precious paperwork, critical items or anything else. More reputable services are usually priced accordingly. Some extra spending is worth its weight in gold when your critical items and reputation are on the line.

2. They answer the phone with a “yeah, hold on.”

This isn’t your local pizza place. Being dismissed before you even get to “hello” is probably a sign of the direction of your future business relationship. Phone skills are just one aspect of customer service. But you can be sure if talking on the phone is a chore for them, they won’t treat the delivery of your item much differently.

3. Their idea of a half hour is really 3 hours.

Nobody likes lip service, well, of the business kind at least. Don’t you wish more companies would realize that a little honesty goes a long way? Sure, not many will complain when a half hour is actually 45 minutes, but any more than that and they’re pushing it. Time is money- a well-worn cliche for a reason.

4. The car they pull up in looks like it came back from the future after barely surviving World War III.

Reliability is a big deal here. And if they don’t care enough to run a decently operating vehicle, they probably don’t care much at all. Some people run their businesses and vehicles by a thread and hire contractors that do the same. Their lack of vehicle maintenance can wind up costing you money, time, or an important client that you just can’t afford to lose. Make sure your courier runs updated and varied vehicles.

5. Their name starts with “A” or even better yet, “A-A-A.”

This isn’t the early 70s anymore, when sticking an “A” in front of your name was a bona fide promotional tactic to get in the front of the Yellow Pages. Okay, attacking a generic business name choice isn’t the be all end all of arguments, but not caring to even try to update to something that shows a modicum of effort just shows laziness and lack of creativity. Couriers might be called many things, but “lazy” should never be one of them.

A courier service is an extension of your company, and choosing the right one is an important choice. By heeding these tips from the inside, you’ll have a head start in knowing what to avoid, and less headaches next time you order a rush delivery.

Anticipating Trouble for Your Lawn Care Business

When a person is in the planning stages of a new business, it is like preparation for vacation or a wedding because sometimes the process is full of idealism and optimism. And that is healthy because when you set out to start your own lawn care business, it is up to you to show that confidence and optimism that you know how to make this new business spring to life and how to make it a success every step of the way.

So when you read the title to this article, you may have thought it was unnecessarily pessimistic. It isn’t. You can expect trouble that may come to your lawn care business and still have an ambitious, aggressive and optimistic plan for growth and success. In fact, making plans for when trouble comes is part of your success plan because you are acknowledging that trouble will come but you are getting ready for it so it does not derail your plan for success.

Insurance is a good example of planning for trouble even though you are living your life with a plan for success. We live in a world where things go wrong. It takes maturity and experience to start a new lawn care business and that maturity and experience things go wrong. By having a contingency plan to go to when there are problems, you take the teeth out of trouble because it is anticipated. When problems arise, you simply execute your plan and accommodate the trouble so your ability to give service to your customers is undisturbed.

After all, lawn care is a very physical business. You have workers and machines at work and things can go wrong. You work out-of-doors where weather can get in the way. You work with nature and just about anything can happen even when working on the yard of the most civilized yard in town. Nature doesn’t care how refined the grounds are so you should be ready if nature decides to get underfoot.

Equipment failure is not something that might happen in the life of any lawn care business. It will happen. So be ready to do emergency repairs while on a job site. It is also a good idea to go to each job site with back up equipment. That may mean having a reserve lawn mower and other tools so that if a breakdown threatens the crew’s ability to complete the job, you can pull the damaged equipment off of the job and put your reserve equipment in to finish the project.

Being prepared for weather interruptions is a matter of knowing your schedule and being ready if you have to bring crews in during a sudden rain storm. You should have a contingency plan with your customers so if you cannot do their yard care on a specific day, you can make adjustments to the schedule to get the job done as soon as the weather clears up.

You can even be ready for injury to a worker. First of all, hire experienced workers who know how to work with the equipment so the chances of injury are small. But keep proper first aid equipment on hand and either you become knowledgeable in first aid and CPR or make sure someone is so if there is a medical need on the job, you can respond to it. You should even go over emergency preparedness with your crews so, God forbid, if someone is injured so badly that they need to go to the clinic or hospital, you have someone delegated to care for the injured worker while the rest of the crew finishes the job. It’s all part of being prepared for when trouble comes so trouble can come and go and not disturb the ongoing success of your business.

Small Business Owners: Improving Profits in Daily Operations

When you own a small business, there are dozens of people and projects vying for your time and attention. It can get hard to figure out where to focus your resources and easy to become overwhelmed.

Furthermore, in my years of consulting what I have found to be the difference in success or failure of a business was not the amount of money, a business owner had on hand, nor the education level of the management team. It was his or her daily habits and beliefs, that determined success or the lack there of.

What is profit? It is simply, how much money the business makes after transaction and paying taxes is over.

Traditional thinking about profit says, Revenue – Expenses = Profit. However, this method fails to measure lost opportunity.

What is lost opportunity?

First, business has people performing activities each day. The lost opportunity is in not measuring, managing and leveraging those activities on a real-time basis.

Management fact, your company profitability depends on how well your people consistently perform specific activities minimizing errors.

The following are 12 tips to help your business increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition.

1 – Living a balanced life

A. Work and business are not the be-all and end-all of your life. Learn to have fun! Spend more time with your family. Take a vacation once in a while. Engage in activities that will rejuvenate your spirit and your life. Take care of yourself, and your health, exercise and eat fruits and vegetables. Your productivity and focus will improve if you are stress-free and healthy. Bad health and divorces has destroyed more businesses than I have room to write about in this article.

2 – The Destination: Goals, Themes and Vision

A. Go find your business plans and update it. Since your business’ inception, a number of factors must have changed – from the overall business climate to your product line. Take all those changes into consideration, consider the business and economic climate, factor in your and your family’s goals, and get a clear assessment of the direction of your business. Get in touch with your business coaches, if any. What is your overall vision of your business? What are your goals 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now? What is your business theme and brand to your customers? Is it relevant to your business and memorable and fun for your customers?

B. Setting Team Expectations

1. Small business owners need to insure all managers and employees are on the ‘same page’ daily. Setting proper team expectations and accountability, is the most impactful thing you can do to insure the success of your business. Have weekly meetings with management teams to discuss accomplishments and challenges.

3 – The System: Starting your day off with motivations

A. Take a notebook (or a laptop or tablet) and jot down your thoughts and plans for the day. Whether you prefer doing this in the morning or in the evening, it is always best to take a step back, review what happened during the day (or the day before), and think of ways how you can do better. Take time to review your profit scorecard, in order to find quick hits and losses. Send out an email where you see outstanding work, done the previous day.

B. Figure out the 20% of activities that are producing 80% of desired results. Eliminate activities that are keeping you busy but not producing results, daily.

4 – Understand Customer Needs

A. Write down ideas, whether for your marketing strategies, product lines, or new projects that you want to take on. List your ideas on how to expand and energize your business. Only through innovation and continuing adoption of relevant new products and ideas can your business improve its competitiveness and profitability.

B. Take time to tap into your customer database and get in touch with your existing customers. Whether by phone, email or letter, contact your customers to greet them and remind them that your business is ready to serve them again. Get their opinions about what they think about your business (and make getting customer feedback a part of your business processes). You need to constantly look for ways to encourage repeat business. Although marketing and advertising are important to get more customers, quality, service and customer satisfaction are what keep a business successful in the long run.

5 – Understand the Profit Formula in your day to day operations

A. What are the critical success factors in your business, daily and monthly targets to meet or exceed annual profitability?

B. Develop an executive dashboard for monitoring operational progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

C. Compare the employee time documentation with information gathered from your operational monitoring process. If productivity is not meeting or exceeding goals, look at employee time logs where time is not being used as effectively as possible and make adjustments to that employee’s job role. If operations are running on track with goals, consider elevating goals by small increments until you reach a point of break-even.

6 – Keep employees involved, motivated and trained

A. Good employees are hard to find; yet they are an important element in your business. It all comes down to choosing the right person and personality type for each role so that no one is doing tasks that they resent. Forget coaching weaknesses (too time consuming), focus on leveraging strengths and passions. Check to see if they are getting what they need and make them part of the team. Help them understand the importance of their role in your business and how their job impacts the business as a whole. Review your relationship with your employees and find ways to keep your relationship happy and avoid costly attrition.

B. Hiring the right leader, someone who owns the operation from start to finish.

1. The small business owner needs to hire a operations leader to own the operation from start to finish. This person should be obsessed with the details, the metrics, and the numbers. They should be elated to hit their goals, inspired by business coaching to do better when they miss it. They love the success of your company; it’s not a job but an adventure to them.

7 – Keep an eye on new opportunities, markets and products

A. Start the year by exploring new markets for your business. Whether you are looking at targeting a new demographic or getting your business up on the web, take time to plan how you can expand your existing market. Look for ways to improve your marketing, whether by winning easy publicity, arranging an open house or preparing direct mails.

8 – Find Ways to Operate efficiently with lower cost

A. Motivate employees with production goals and ask employees and managers what they need to improve workplace operations. If suggestions seem practical and are within budget, consider implementing them. Example, only scheduling 30 minute meetings unless subject requires extra attention.

B. Documenting your Processes

1. Document the workflow of every operation within the business, with policy and procedures and special customer instructions. Yes, this is a time-consuming, tedious, boring exercise, initially. However, if you are able to provide clear and concise documentation to your team, it leaves very little room for things to be miscommunicated. Documentation makes it easier to onboard new employees, saves business from being reliant on any one person and allows the business to continuously improve and innovate operations, without having to waste months and money, researching and gathering workflow procedures from inexperience contract workers. Documenting helps to avoid ‘lost opportunity’ of being slow to change operations in the marketplace.

9 – Use Process Improvement initiatives to your competitive advantage

Six Sigma methodologies is a tool that can be utilized to improve process, people and profits. By establishing performance measures for key processes, asking the following questions.

• What is the purpose of the key process?

• What is the expected deliverable?

• How will the process owner know if there process has succeeded?

Six sigma benefits for small businesses are

1. Provides a road map and tools to determine root causes and solve problems

2. Reliable facts for decision making, improved metrics and measurements

3. Improvement in order accuracies and on time delivery

4. Improvement in labor efficiencies enterprise wide

5. Increased customer confidence and profitability (customer buy more better quality)

As a business owner, it is vital that you understand how ‘technology’ helps me to make more money by eliminating errors, overhead expenses and attracting more customers.

Invest in new technology that will help streamline operations and improve productivity, after processes have been documented. This could include new computers or equipment related to your industry or designing more efficient work stations and telephone systems. Provide training for new hires to ensure they are aware of how to effectively perform the functions of their job. If seasoned employees are underperforming, send them for training refresher courses.

Documenting processes, installing six sigma and implementing technology improves the customer experience with your business, making your profit planning measurements more transparent to employees throughout the enterprise.

Implementing an employee recognition system and recommendation process, continuously improves operations aligning performance with corporate vision, mission, performance measurements and corporate profit scorecard. Quality improves your customer emotional attachment to your business. Loyal customers are repeat customers which will recruit others to your business, increasing profits.

10 – Identify and Resolve Weak Spots in the System

A. Take stock of all aspects of your business operation and list down the areas that you want to improve. If your list of delinquent receivables is longer than Santa’s list, find out how you can improve your billing and collection process. Perhaps you need to improve your record keeping to help flag you on delinquent accounts

11 – Keep an eye on your competition

A way to get the inside edge on your competitors is by asking your customers for help. This need not be especially difficult or complex. Simply ask your customers (in the form of a survey or follow-up call) if there’s anything a competitor does (or sells) that they wish you did. Now, the idea isn’t that you’ll necessarily turn on a dime and honor every request that comes in.

Own a share of stock in their publicly-traded competitors. This alone entitles you to detailed financial information about the company each and every year. But what if you and your competitors aren’t public companies? The basic idea is the same: any financial data you can get your hands on is worth having. You want to know as much as possible about what their costs are, who their suppliers are and how you stack up in comparison.

If there is a trade journal or research study about your industry, now is the time to subscribe – and digest what it contains.

In addition to using your competitor’s products, you should go through and closely study their sales funnel. Every successful business has a system for attracting, educating, selling and following up with customers. Whether it’s via direct mail, Internet marketing or the telephone, this is the infrastructure that actually turns their prospects into buyers. How do you know if your sales funnel is performing at max capacity if you don’t compare it to the competition?

12 – Go Play Golf: Network, Network, Network

Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for your business.

Join business associations to meet other business owners, you might be surprised at who will assist you towards your success or what ideas you hear that can solve your current dilemma.

Join your areas Chamber of Commerce and participate in community service events. Get involved in your community by volunteering, donating to and/or sponsor local events. It gives you the opportunity to network with other business owners and maybe cross promote with others. These monthly meetings let you know what going on economically in your area.

4 Tips to Help You Reach Business Success

My oldest son is a sophomore in college and recently joined the TRIO program. This program is designed to help him get through college successfully. It’s a federally funded program that helps students in four areas which include academic, financial, career, and personal/social. They sent him an article related to study tips, so he sent it to me to read. I read it and was amazed at the tips and how they not only are geared toward studying, but also to life in general.

Here is what I learned from that article.

In everyday life we can become overwhelmed when we have too many things on our plate. What we don’t think is that it’s possible to get everything done on time and in an efficient way. Of course, the only way that will happen is if we learn how to manage our time and organize our day. Here are several tips that will help you to manage and organize your day.

1. Plan

You may plan every day, but if you don’t give yourself enough time to get everything done, you’re setting yourself up to fail. If you’re not sure how long it will take to complete a task, then the best thing to do is give yourself more than what you think it will take. That way if you complete it in less time, you’ll have more time for other things.

2. Time

Working your business at the same time every day will help you to develop a habit. Daily routines help in developing a habit, but you won’t develop it if you don’t work your business the same way every day. It typically takes 1-2 weeks to develop a habit, so if you force yourself to work your business at the same time every day the habit will be formed.

3. Free Time

While working your business really hard is the only way you’ll reach success, free time is also important. Depending on how much free time you have and how you want your business to go, you may be able to do “me time” daily. It’s important to utilize your free time to your business advantage as well. If you find you have multiple hours a day where you have nothing to do, try spending a quarter of that time marketing your business or learning something new to help you grow. You’ll find your free time may go away, but the success you’ll have will be priceless.

4. Breaks

While you may think the only way you’ll reach business success is to work every waking minute of the day, but if you do you may become burnt out if you don’t take breaks. When you work a job for someone else, you are entitled to breaks during the day; you need to do the same for your business. Take a 15 minute break after a couple hours and don’t do any work during that time. Take a lunch or dinner break and don’t work during that time. This will give you a chance to not think about your business and you’ll find you will be less stressed.

While these four tips are important and should be done daily, it’s also important to know it is OK to deviate from your plan on occasion. It happens and there is nothing wrong with it. Sometimes it’s needed in order to deal with a personal situation or to get away from everything and clear your head. You may find when this happens you go back to your business with better intensions than you had before.

Most Successful Small Businesses Do This Each Year

A reality check is what most successful small businesses do year in and year out.

Whenever you become a business owner, you will have a strong passion to be successful. Should the desire to be successful was everything that you need to open a winning business. The world would be filled with lots of success stories.

Nevertheless, desire by itself will not keep you from failing and you might have experienced numerous setbacks on your current entrepreneurial journey.

What you should do is always take a step back and take a look at what precisely you have been doing which has not worked well for you.

Once you can easily determine what’s not working and exactly what you’re struggling with, you may then discover successes through changes. You truly need to comprehend what has gone wrong in spite of your very best efforts.

Is Fear of Failing Your Issue?

Are you aware that it isn’t really failure that keeps people from trying? Society is rife with good examples of folks that failed many times but yet eventually discovered success. There exists something even worse than failing! It’s called fear of failure mainly because often, fear of failure will keep you from even attempting anything.

There are a few solid reasons for having a fear of failure. Nobody disputes that. You may be not wanting to put yourself out there because you happen to be worried that folks are likely to laugh at your business idea.

Just keep in mind that people laughed at Henry Ford. Yet he became a well-known success story designing and building the first assembly line for vehicles. You have to get over the concern that you might end up failing and could possibly be humiliated. If there was no risk everybody would be building a small business. Some businesses you risk a lot of money and some you risk your time, effort and reputation.

Another top reason for not being successful is frustration with repetitive and technical tasks.

Sometimes opening a business can get your head spinning because there is so much to do. You have to make sure the orders are placed, you have to find leads, you have to maintain website, you have to update your CRM and the tasks go on and on. Opening a business can get very overwhelming. Taking a step back to make a business plan on how to move forward is the smart way to go. You will get faster as you do tasks over and over again freeing up more time to do other things. If you keep building on the free upped time your business will start to grow.

The top reason for people to have the most successful small businesses is they are doing what they love. Maybe you picked a home based business you’re not passionate about. To be successful you have to believe in your product and its worthiness. If you’re not passionate about your current home business opportunity, then start looking for one that makes you excited.You should easily find one that you can be passionate about.

These are three of the top reasons people fail. So to start your New Year off right take a moment and think about why you weren’t successful in the prior year and use it as a spring-board to develop an action plan starting in the new year.

6 Yearly Housekeeping Tasks for LLCs and Corporations

New business owners form business entities, either corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs) to protect themselves from liability for the company’s debts. In order to keep that limited liability protection, you need to create certain documents and do certain filings every year.

1. If you are a corporation or an LLC, you need to file an annual report with the State of New Jersey Division of Revenue or other state in which you incorporated. In New Jersey, it must be done online and is due by the end of the month in which you originally incorporated. For example, if you incorporated or formed your LLC on January 15, 2015, you must file your annual report by January 31, 2016. The filing is done to keep the Division of Revenue up-to-date about the company’s mailing address, the officers and directors or members, and the name and address of the registered agent. There is a filing fee that must be paid when you file your annual report. If you are authorized to do business in more than one state, you need to file your annual reports in each state in which your company is authorized to do business and pay the required fee.

2. In addition, all corporations must have annual meetings of their shareholders and board of directors. Even if you are the sole shareholder and the sole director, you need to have these annual meetings and should have written minutes of each meeting to prove that it took place.

If your business entity is an LLC, you are not required to have annual meetings of the members but it is good practice to do so. You want to show the world that the LLC is separate and apart from you personally, so the more actions you can take to prove that the company is being run by you or your partners in a way that is different from a sole proprietorship or partnership, the better your chances of not being personally sued if your business is sued. Again, even if you are the sole member, create written minutes of a “meeting” that you have to ratify the actions of the “managing member” in the previous year and keep the minutes with your other business formation documents. Having written minutes of your meetings is very helpful if the company is sued.

3. You should check your stock ledger once a year to make sure that all stock certificates that should have been issued have been issued, all stock certificates that reflect a transfer of ownership show those changes and the stock ledger is current. That way, anyone looking at your company’s books knows who owns the company.

4. If your company is in an industry that requires licensing, make sure that everyone that needs to be licensed has a current license. There is great liability to your company if an unlicensed person acts on behalf of the business.

5. Make sure that your company has workers compensation insurance. If your business is a corporation, even if there are no employees and you are the only director or officer, the company must carry workers compensation insurance. Workers comp is not required if your company is an LLC, has no one performing services for the LLC except you as the sole member.

6. Finally, make sure that your company files all of the necessary tax filings. Check with your accountant to learn if you are required to collect and forward sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any other kind of tax.

Keeping your company in good order and up-to-date with all of its requirements keeps your business from incurring unnecessary fees and liabilities. You will need good documentation (kept in a place where you know where everything is located) if you are getting financing, getting audited, selling your business, or if you need to be away from your business for a period of time. If you need help with these tasks, consult with a professional.

Online Business Directories – Are They of Any Use for Local Businesses?

1.) Online business directories are very beneficial for small businesses. You just have to know how they work.

An online business directory is a website submission service that allows your small business’s website to be added to a specific category where it can be searched for by interested visitors. These searchable online directories allow their visitors to search for websites and businesses that they find interesting or that they want to learn more about. Listing your small business on an online directory increases your website’s visibility on the web and helps to create inbound links to your business’ website. Online directories make it easy for people to find what they are looking for. All they have to do is jump online, which means that people could find your business’ website from their home, office or even while traveling.

2.) Want to know how online business directories work?

The concept of online directories is actually a pretty simple one. Online directories are very similar to the printed Yellow Pages in the real world, only these listings are only online. (Actually Yellow is now also one of the biggest online directories as well.)

An online business directory is just a listing place for a number of websites. Any type of website could be listed in an online directory. Some online directories are huge and cover every topic that someone could create a website for, while others are very small and specific to a specific niche. This means that online directories will direct you to just about any website that you want to find. All you have to do is perform a search in the online directory for a specific topic, or browse through the various categories until you find the type of websites you are looking for. When you perform a search you will be given a list of all of the websites that relate to your search term. You will be presented with a number of links to these websites and each link will have a short description of what you are likely to find on the website. You can read the descriptions and choose to click on the website that best suits you.

3.) Being listed in an online business directory can give your small business more exposure!

Exposure is important for all business marketing strategies. After all, the more people who are exposed to your business the more people are likely to utilize your business’s services. If online viewers aren’t able to see your website, they likely don’t even know it exists and they probably aren’t going to purchase your products or services. Listing your business’ website in online directories helps your website to gain exposure. Thousands of people use online directories every day to find things they are interested in. These are people who are actively searching for websites that are directly related to your products or services. They are already looking- all you have to do is make it easy for them to find you. Online directories will expose your business to more online visitors, which could increase traffic to your website.

4.) Being listed in an online business directory can also boost your SEO efforts!

Online directories offer several search engine optimization, or SEO, benefits as well. Firstly, these online directories offer you more inbound links. When an online visitor sees your website link in an online directory, they will be able to click on it and be instantly re-directed to your website. This is a great way to increase traffic. It is a great way to improve your status in the eyes of search engine crawlers, too. The more backlinks that a search engine crawler can find, the higher they will rank your website. This is especially true of authoritative online directories. Being linked to a major online directory, such as Google My Business, will give your website more relevancy in the eyes of Google’s search engine crawlers. This will result in a higher page ranking on the SERP. As you know, a higher search engine result page rank you get, the more people are going to click on your website link.

5.) Where’s the best place to start looking at online directories you should be in? Start with your competitors!

You will probably want to consider listing with the top 10 online business directories, as these will be used by a lot of people and will offer higher relevancy and authority in the eyes of search engines. Google My Business is a large general-interest directory that you will want to list your small business with. If your website sells tangible goods, you may also want to consider listing it in comparison shopping websites and product listings directories. Studies show that 42% of consumers will look at a comparison shopping website before they decide to purchase a specific product.

The best way to figure out which specific online directories your small business should be listed in is to start with your competitors. Take a look at your local and niche-specific options and figure out if your competition is already listed. If they are, you need to be listed too. If they are not listed, you want to list your website anyway as a way to beat them to the punch. In some situations it may not make sense for you to have a listing in a specific online directory, even if your competitors are listed in it. Your goal should be to be listed in every relevant and niche-specific directory you can find as well as many of the major directories, but not so many directories that you appear as spam.

6.) Listings are important, but they’re just the beginning. You also want to make sure you have reviews!

Local listings in online business directories are a great way to market your company and get the word out about your business and what you do. However, if you don’t have any positive reviews within those local listings they can do more harm than good. This is because when reviewing all the different businesses within your industry or category, users will always look to the reviews to give them a better idea of the service and quality of product they can expect. And if you don’t have any reviews but your competition’s page is filled with positive reviews, you’re sending customers directly to them instead of to you. You can get more reviews by using surveys, providing incentives, having a tablet with the review site already up to hand over to customers, responding to reviews already up, and by knowing when and where to refer customers.

7.) Remember that once you’re listed you need to track, track, track!

It will probably take some time to see the results of listing your small business’ website in so many online directories, but eventually you will see results. The best way to find the perfect combination of online directory listings for your business is to use some sort of tracking or analytics system. You will want to be able to see how many people clicked on your website links from within the directory and if your website has shown increased traffic since then. You will want to stop wasting your time with online directories that are not producing results and increase the time and effort you spend on online directories that are productive.

In summary, here are 3 critical reasons why your business must take advantage of the top online business directories to help you get more customers.

    1. Maximize Exposure: Every day potential customers are searching for businesses in your area to help solve their problems. And more times then not they’re finding these businesses on online directories.


    1. Social Proof: When prospects find a business online they read reviews to make sure they’re making a good decision. Having customers post positive reviews on your listing will build tremendous credibility and prove to everyone that you’re a reliable business that can be trusted.


  1. Low Cost: Most of the top online business directories are free to use. Making it one of the best marketing values your business can have.