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Mind the Tide: 4 Keys to Navigating the Flow of Data for Improved Business Performance

Tides are a fluctuation – rising and falling from forces exerted by the sun, the moon, and the Earth’s rotation. Depending on where you are on Earth, sea levels are subject to any number of external forces such as wind, inclement weather, land masses and changing shorelines.  By collecting and reviewing data on tides humans have been able to navigate the globe with some level of predictability. The same holds true for business. Collecting data from many sources, compiling, and analyzing it can help improve the way you navigate through your current business environment and provide a measure of predictability as you move ahead.  Here are four factors to consider as you work towards your goal:

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Why New Software Isn’t Going to Solve Your Management Problems

When deadlines are missed and goals aren’t met, it is a manager’s instinct to identify a quick solution. What tool can we use to streamline our process, or enable better communication?

It is tempting to think that lagging productivity is something that can just be solved through technology. And it’s just as tempting to assume that these problems never stem from deeply rooted issues with employee morale, how teams coordinate, and managerial standards. (more…)

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How to Handle Difficult Employee Situations

Once you grab that great franchise opportunity and find yourself in charge of not just a business, but the people that you need to help you run it, you will almost certainly find yourself on occasion having to deal with difficult or delicate employee situations. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you sail these difficult waters: (more…)

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8 Steps to Becoming a Better Project Manager

Project management is an art which has to be understood both in terms of theory and practical application to be utilised in a successful way. There are dozens (sometimes thousands) of things that can go wrong on any project, from small integration processes to the biggest engineering projects in the world. It is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible with as little disruption caused to the project as possible.

There are a lot of good project managers, but not many great ones – how can you elevate what you do to ensure that you’re a level above everyone else working in the project management field? (more…)

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Business Basics – When do I Hire a Manager?

As you small business grows, it’s hard to pin down the best time to hire new people. Managers are especially difficult to time correctly. In many cases, they are seen as a luxury for small business and should only be brought into your management team if absolutely necessary. hire a manager But as your company grows and your job as owner changes, managers are the key to a successful, growing small business.

Overwhelmed

When you first started you may have ended your day at 6pm, then it became 7pm, and now you leave later than you ever intended. If you find that your days are getting longer because you have to fix every little problem in you company, it’s probably time to hire a manager. As Reza Chowdhury, of AlleyWatch said in an interview with Bplans, ”You’ll likely find yourself trapped in a perpetual hamster wheel, focused on tasks that are not a good use of neither your time nor skill set. At this point, it’s time to bring in the help to allow you to focus on the big picture.” (more…)

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What Do You Look For In An Intern?

Although internships are not necessarily a new idea, their rise as an essential part of the girl_in_class_studentcollege kid’s life has only occurred in the last decade or so. Employers set out every year for a new batch of interns, each with their own set of requirements. From talking to my own college intern, I can tell you that most students her age don’t have a great grasp on the specific characteristics employers look for in an intern. The issue arises because many consider interns to be their own class of employee that has very different expectations than the rest of the company. We asked some experts on what exactly they look for in an intern and, as to be expected, the results were all over the board.

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Discover the Secrets to Successfully Leading a Small Business

Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-SuiteHow does a successful top-level manager or CEO motivate employees and encourage productivity, while navigating the often-treacherous organizational waters? How do they surpass lofty expectations and deliver impressive results with pitfalls lurking around every corner?

Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite by Mallary Tytel reveals the secrets behind winning executives’ strategies for taking charge effectively of small organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit businesses. In clear, easy-to-understand prose that’s loaded with real-life examples, Vision Driven shows experienced and newly minted managers alike the dos, don’ts and don’t-even-think-about-its to take their organization to the next level.

The following are excerpts from Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite by Mallary Tytel, ©2009, 2013.

From the Introduction:

Being a CEO—or even upper-level officer or manager – is often a larger-than-life position and filled with questions that aren’t answered in an MBA education. Every challenge has multiple solutions, each of which can be right and wrong in a given situation. Therefore it is the questions and context we must pay attention to, and more often than not, that is where the learning and results come from.

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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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Member-Managed LLCs Versus Manager-Managed LLCs

Traditionally, Limited Liability Companies are treated like partnerships. Two or more people get together, found a company, form an LLC, and then start running the business. But there’s more than one way to run an LLC. Member-Managed and Manager-Managed Limited Liability Companies are run very similarly, but there are also some key differences that anyone looking to form an LLC should know.Limited Liability Company

Member-Managed LLCs

Member-Managed LLCs are, by far, the more common choice. Each member of the limited liability company is treated as equal to every other member, and everyone shares responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the LLC. (more…)

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Business Basics: Business Licenses

This week in business basics, we chose to look at a topic that has regularly confused some of our customers – business licenses. Business licensing can be a bit of a tricky topic because, quite honestly, there is no one answer for most of the questions asked about licensing. But we can try and help give a broad overview so that our readers understand what a business license actually is, and what it allows you to do.

Getting a business license is not like getting, say, a driver’s license, where all anyone has to do is pass a couple of tests and get a piece of plastic that qualifies them to drive any personal car. Business licenses are essentially permits to operate a business in your state, city, and industry – whether you actually need one depends on the legal regulations those three groups are bound by, and enforce.
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