Posts By: Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

Small Business Tip of The Week On Hiatus

Posted by in Tip of the Week


I started the Tip of The Week blog section in January, 2009 and haven’t missed a week yet– not even one! If you’re counting (which I just did), that is 8 years and 7 months and a total of 447 consecutive blog posts, including this one.

That’s a pretty good run; but all good runs eventually get interrupted, and this one is no exception. After 11+ years with PaySimple (another pretty good run), I’m taking a 3 month sabbatical. In fact, as you read this I’m already off and enjoying a much needed break. I’ll be back this fall, and regular Tip of The Week posts will resume on November 7, 2017.

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Lisa Hephner

2017 Small Business Summer Reading List

Posted by in Tip of the Week

17 picks from 17 2017 small business summer reads lists; plus the most mentioned new business book and the most touted business-related novel.

It is time once again for the annual Tip of the Week Small Business Summer Reading List. These books work as well for vacation reading as they do for weekend escapes and relaxation breaks from your busy days. Culled from several notable lists of 2017’s top titles, these selections will satisfy your every reading need from an escape into a fictional world to brushing up on your business and leadership skills.

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Lisa Hephner

Small Business Customer Service: The Importance of Getting It Right

Posted by in Tip of the Week


The title of this post is definitely loaded, and the double meaning is fully intended. Getting customer service “right” as part of your small business operations is critical to your success. That means the right hires, the right training, the right tools (from scripts to knowledgebase to CRM and ticketing systems), the right coaching, and most importantly the right mindset for not only your care team itself but the entire organization. It also means front line representatives that give correct, accurate information to customers that solves problems rather than exacerbating them.

Getting both right is not easy, but it can pay enormous dividends in terms of satisfied loyal customers who not only provide a consistent revenue stream via repeat purchases, but also turn into your brand promoters.

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Lisa Hephner

Small Business Tips in 5 Senses

Posted by in Tip of the Week


As a small business owner on the top of your game you need to take advantage wherever you can—and that includes putting your senses to work for you (as well as using your common sense) to gain a competitive advantage. The following sense-based tips will help you hone your game by perfecting the art of eye contact, improving your listening skills, employing touch strategically (and appropriately), currying customer favor with brand building treats, and keeping your company secure by fine-tuning your phishy smell detector.

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Lisa Hephner

Small Business: Red, White & Blue

Posted by in Tip of the Week


Today is July 4th; Independence Day for the USA. In honor of the holiday—a time spent flag waving, parade marching, BBQ eating, fireworks watching, and just plain celebrating what we love about our country—this week’s Tip waves the flag for small business and helps you stay out of the RED, master the art of turning blank slate WHITEspace into killer content, and conquer the BLUEs that occasionally threaten entrepreneurial spirit.

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Lisa Hephner

Resuscitating PowerPoint for Your Small Business Presentations

Posted by in Tip of the Week


One of my very biggest pet peeves is people who read their PowerPoint slides—for me that’s right up there with screeching fingernails across a blackboard to grab attention, off-color jokes that unsettle the audience, and clipart clearly imported from a 1990’s image CD, as the most cringeworthy presentation killers. And, I’m clearly not alone—the preponderance of poor PowerPoint presenters and presentations caused the coining of its very own derogatory phrase, “Death by PowerPoint.”

But, Death by PowerPoint isn’t inevitable. Remember, a tool is only as effective as you are at wielding it. These tips will help you resuscitate PowerPoint to create compelling presentations for your small business.

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Lisa Hephner

360 Performance Review Templates & Instructions

Posted by in Small Business Shortcuts

When you first started your business, you probably had only a few trusted team members, and the feedback process was immediate, ongoing and informal. However, as your company grew (or grows) a formal review process became necessary—or depending on your viewpoint, a necessary evil.

Whether you chose to do formal reviews on anniversaries (likely making them a monthly chore), or at the end of each calendar or fiscal year (to get them all out of the way at once), there are things you can do to make them more valuable to both yourself and your employees, as well as things you can do to ensure they don’t create more problems than they solve.

The following resources provide a 360 degree peek into the performance appraisal process—covering viewpoints from the employer, the employee, and the humorist. If after digesting those you still need help with creating your review process, links to sources for performance review templates are provided at the end.

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Lisa Hephner

How Now Brown Cow: Three Small Business Lessons from the Milk Survey

Posted by in Tip of the Week


You’ve probably seen the headlines: Survey finds that 7% of American adults think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. If you are now sitting and pondering the overwhelming ignorance of 7% of your fellow citizens, remember that as a small business owner these are your customers—so rather than laughing at them, you need to understand them and you need to learn how to reach them, market to them, and serve them. The Milk Survey provides some valuable lessons that will help you do just that.

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Lisa Hephner

How to Make a Small Business Employee Handbook

Posted by in Tip of the Week

When you first started your business you were likely the only employee, and were focused on doing the work necessary to get and keep satisfied customers and to grow your business. As your business did start to grow, you probably needed help and hired people to fill your gaps on a full or part time basis. With only a couple of employees, it was easy to keep things such as sick time, vacations, and workplace conduct informally regulated. However, there comes a point where even in the most friendly, family-oriented work environment, things need to be put in writing—even if only to be sure that everyone is on the same page regarding expectations and consequences.

The best way to do this is with an Employee Handbook. It can be as simple as a one-sheet set of rules that outline what you expect of your employees in terms of their work practices, office behavior, and treatment of customers and the consequences for non-adherence. The Business Owners Tool Kit provides a sample work rules sheet that you can download here. (You’ll need to provide an email address to register and download the form.) For an overview of what to consider when creating these rules, read their General Work Rules overview.

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