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. Continue reading

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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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Making Sure Your Brainstorm Isn’t a Brain Fart

People either love brainstorming, or they hate it. There seems to be no inhabitable middle ground when it comes to that type of group work. But, more often than not, those who hate brainstorming have had to live through session after session of forced meetings, with managers who shoot down any idea that doesn’t fit in with what the executive order has already thought up. What other option remains to a bored employee have in that type of a meeting than to try and beat their high score on Angry Birds?

However brainstorming CAN actually be useful – those in charge just have to structure their sessions properly. So if you’re planning on getting everyone in your department together for a little session, remember to: Continue reading

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Guest Post: What It Takes to Run a Business

By David Nilssen, CEO & Co-founder, Guidant Financial

Before you make the leap into business ownership, it’s a good idea to ask yourself some tough questions to make sure you’re up to the job:

1) Are you self-motivated?

2) Are you organized?

3) Are you proficient in finance, accounting, sales, marketing and customer service?

4) Are you willing to put your business first?

If your answer to any of these questions is a firm “no” you may want to re-think your plans for entrepreneurship. If not; keep in mind there is more to starting a business than enjoying the excitement and joy of potential success. Continue reading

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Pixarian Wisdom: 5 Quotes From Pixar Films That Apply to Business

With January slinking away behind us, and the whole new year to look forward to, we thought it would be a good idea to end the month on a high optimistic note. And we couldn’t think of a better place to look for optimism than Pixar, the plucky little animation studio that could. Business owners can already learn a lot from Pixar simply by looking at its transformation from the small group of animators that Steve Jobs bought for $5 million back in 1986 into the $7.4 billion animation powerhouse that it became. But we thought we’d take a step away from looking at the financial strengths of the company to see what its creations can teach us about the business world. Little quips from beloved characters like Carl Fredericksen and Edna Mode can go a long way for entrepreneurs to embrace and embody as a standard for their business- sometimes it’s the smallest words that make the biggest impact! Continue reading

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