Should You Give Your Employees a Second Chance?

I’ve always believed that my business’s success hinges on the open and honest relationship I have with my team. I have to trust that my employees will do the job they were hired to do so I can focus on running and growing the company. However, I have unfortunately had to deal with members of my team breaking that trust in the past. And, while you should always consider giving people a second chance at the workplace, second chances also mean you should look at what they did, and determine whether what happened was a minor transgression, or a serious breach of trust. second chance

Look at the big picture

It can be really easy to focus too heavily on the employee when making this sort of decision, but you need to consider a lot of different factors. Firing someone can leave a long-lasting impact on your business, especially if other employees don’t agree with your decision. Was this betrayal of trust more personal, or professional? Occasionally we have to swallow our personal pride for the betterment of the company, and objectivity is key to making this sort of a decision. If this is an isolated incident, then maybe a second chance is in order.

Consider the impact on your business

If this employee has proven themselves to the company and has spent years working within it, firing them could hurt your business. So you need to ask yourself if the employee’s separation will actually be good for the company. Do they contribute to inter-office harmony? Are they replaceable? Will their absence help or hinder day to day operations? Being slighted by someone you trust is always a jarring experience, but it isn’t worth sacrificing your team’s dynamic to make a point. But if this employee did actually harm the company, it may be worth sending them out the door for good.

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How to Take Your Website from Annoying to Inviting

How to Take Your Website from Annoying to InvitingEstablishing a professional website is important for every business even if you aren’t selling your products online. Your website is the biggest first impression you have for potential customers searching for your services, and it will either convert visitors into real customers or send them looking elsewhere.  Make sure that your company has an updated and easy to navigate site that showcases your business in the best possible light. Here are four factors to consider when evaluating the kind of website you have.

Your website should be appealing. 

Much like the traditional retail storefront, customers want an experience with a company website that is organized, easy to use and helpful, convenient, and uncluttered. All of the necessary information should be easy to find on your website. Once customers have reached your home page, they should be able to find what they are looking for in a reasonable amount of time. If your website is cluttered with too many ads and irrelevant material, they’re more likely to feel overwhelmed and go to another site instead.

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4 Sales Tips to Lead Small Business Sales Teams to Success

How to Increase Holiday SalesThere are many critical variables for sales success, especially when it comes to small business sales. Because small businesses typically have more obstacles to overcome due to their size and lack of resources, it’s extremely important that small business leaders learn how to master the sales process. Ultimately, mastering sales skills can provide long lasting revenue. Below are a few simple sales training  tips and tricks to help small business sales teams to succeed.

Quick Tips to Remember:

  • Target: The right client means everything
  • Good Energy: Be upbeat and positive
  • Preparation: Stay prepared and continuously practice your selling skills
  • Delivery: Always deliver polished presentations

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Why Peer Recommendations Matter for Your Business

Why Peer Recommendations Matter for Your BusinessThere was a time when word of mouth was the best way to spread the buzz surrounding a service or a product to potential customers. Now more than ever, word of mouth advertising has come back into vogue through social media. By harnessing the power of tweets via Twitter and status updates on Facebook, you can inspire your current customers to make peer recommendations to their friends and neighbors, which increases the bottom line of your brand for the long term.

If your company has little or no money available for advertising or marketing, social media represents a powerful tool to get the word out about your product or service. A customer referral from a satisfied patron to his or her friends can carry far more weight than even the most persuasive or expensive advertising. Best of all, you can launch and manage highly effective social media campaigns without blowing your company’s budget.

By encouraging your present customers to spread the word about the great products and services you have to offer, you can save money on advertising, while generating trust among potential customers. As a result, you can concentrate your time, effort and money into producing the best possible products and services. With the winning combination of excellent offerings and trusted peer referrals, your company has a better chance of enjoying a healthy profit margin now and in the future.

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5 Ways to Generate Buzz and New Customers for Your Business

5 Ways to Generate Buzz and New Customers for Your BusinessWithin any type of marketing, the goal is to stand out from the competition. The hard part is when every industry in the business begins using the same tactics and mediums to communicate their message. Rather than falling into the trap of duplicating everything that your competitors do, why not try something new, to really show your audience what your company is about? It may not be as difficult as you think to do.

When you begin looking at all of your surroundings as a potential canvas for getting the word out about your business, the potential of doing something that stands out increases exponentially. You can get the word out about your business while doing things that improve the morale of the community, and the look of your neighborhood.

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Is the Customer Always Right?

Is the Customer Always RightWe’ve all heard the mantra, “the customer is always right.” You and your business are constantly geared toward making customers happy and keeping them coming back. Like many other mantras, however, that mentality can go too far.

In most circumstances, it makes sense to focus on customer satisfaction. Still, there are times when this attitude may cost you more than you expect. In situations like the ones below, “the customer is always right” doesn’t apply. In order to keep your business running smoothly, you need to take steps to keep problem customers in check. Here’s some examples of a few times when the customer is wrong:

When They Abuse Employees

People are generally kind and polite, but they can get hostile when they feel like their needs aren’t being met. Putting a thorough customer service process in place prepares your reps to address issues before they become problems. It can also help them in handling angry callers. It is extremely important to stay positive throughout the interaction. Every now and then, however, the rudeness, abuse or even threats toward employees go too far.

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How to Market With a Bang Minus the Bucks

Marketing on a budgetAs a small business owner, you understand the value great marketing has on your company overall. From positive brand recognition to customer loyalty, making the right marketing moves can launch your business in all of the right directions.

Unfortunately, you also understand that ultimately it’s the budget that rules the roost; and if you don’t have the money to market yourself, you’ll simply have to go without. But not so fast! There are some economical ways your promotions can go off with a bang, minus the upfront bucks.

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5 Easy and Free Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Small Business Website

Anthony Karibian

Anthony Karibian, CEO of bOnline

Most small businesses today have realized a website is a vital part of their marketing plan. Many have spent weeks, maybe even months, creating a professional website to convert prospects into paying customers. So why are many small business websites failing to bring in sales? In order to attract traffic to your website, it’s important to understand that the work isn’t over once your website has gone live. Thankfully, you don’t need to be an expert or a millionaire to drive traffic to your site -  here are five free and easy ways:

Master SEO

Much of your site’s traffic will come from search engines such as Google, where your success depends on how highly your site ranks for keywords related to your business. There’s no guaranteed way to the top, but you can apply search engine optimization (SEO) best practices on your site to be in with a better chance. Think about the search terms you want to rank for and ensure these keywords are included in your website, including the header and page titles (but don’t force them in or repeat them excessively). Getting links back to your site from respected sources should also give you a boost. There are a lot of rules to good SEO, but the best place to start is with Google’s very own SEO Starter Guide, available here for free.

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4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Provide Free Wi-Fi

4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Provide Free Wi-FiBy Lionel Bryant

No matter where you are, now more than ever people are using smartphones and other devices to connect to the internet on the go. If you want to further provide excellence in customer satisfaction, offering potential customers the opportunity to connect for free to Wi-Fi provided in your store location is a no-brainer. Offering free Wi-Fi not only encourages people to sit and stay awhile at your business, but there are plenty of extra benefits that the company itself receives too.

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