A recent report released by Sageworks showed that, on average, private companies are waiting an average of four days longer to get paid than in previous years, a trend that has been growing since 2008. While firms across all industries in the service sector are being affected, accounting and consulting firms are seeing some of the biggest increases in their accounts receivable timelines.
SlideShare bills itself as the “world’s largest community for sharing presentations.” The company, acquired by LinkedIn in May 2012, claims to be one of the 200 most visited websites in the world with 60 million visitors and 130 million monthly pageviews.
SlideShare provides a platform for people to share their presentations, documents and videos with the public or with private groups. Anyone can upload their material, and content includes everything from professional product demonstrations, university lectures, how-to instructions, product reviews, as well as industry research, pedestrian humor, spiritual advice, and sports talk. You can search for presentations on a specific topic, or browse by any combination of category, popularity, media type, and language.
With such a wide range of content and quality, it is easy to dismiss SlideShare as another online waste of time. However, SlideShare gives savvy business owners the ability to learn from their competition, as well as educate themselves in areas of lesser experience. If employed strategically, SlideShare can provide significant knowledge and financial benefits to your small business. Here are four ways to use it to your advantage:
Of the many components that make up a successful small business, productivity is one of the most important. As a small business owner, you are acutely aware of the value of doing more with less. Not only does this mean stretching budgets, but it also means getting the most out of every employee. If you are lucky, you have a dedicated staff willing to go the extra mile because they are as invested in the success of your small business as you are.
That ideal state is easier to achieve when your small business is really small. But once you start to grow, it’s time to start thinking strategically about ways to maintain high productivity. Instituting a recognition program that rewards desired behavior might seem like the way to go. And it can indeed be effective, often with a relatively small monetary investment. However, recent research shows that poorly implemented, award programs can actually hurt your business by decreasing overall productivity, demotivating your best employees, and creating only moderate, temporary improvement in the laggards.
A recent Forbes magazine post, How to Demotivate Your Best Employees, summarized a Harvard Business School study that examined an incentive program that rewarded perfect attendance (download the complete study here).
Mobile is hot. According to the Mobilenomics video from Socialnomics, not only is Google mobile search up by 400% with research showing that 70% of those mobile searches lead to action within an hour, but also that iPhone sales alone outpace births, and more people in the world own a mobile device than own a toothbrush. And yes, I checked.
As a small business owner, you cannot ignore the mobile trend, but neither can you jump blindly on the bandwagon. You need to understand what mobile means to your business; you need to understand how your customers use mobile devices to interact with your company; and you need to understand the role mobile plays in your sales process. A new tool from Google helps you do just that.
Every small business owner is perpetually hunting to find a few extra hours in the day. Many claim to have the secret to everyday efficiency, but we actually do. Okay, maybe we don’t (yet) have the golden ticket to getting more done, but we can show you some of the best productivity tools out there.
You don’t need an enterprise budget or an executive assistant to make these apps work for you and your business. Sit back, relax and sign-up for these must-have productivity apps for small business.
So your small business is starting to gain traction? How exciting! Once your small business starts to thrive, you quickly realize that you cannot do everything yourself. Whether you are just about to hire your first assistant, or are the leader of a team that is growing faster than you ever imagined, the ability to locate, attract, and hire the right people is a critical component of your business strategy.
We hear a lot of news stories about the unemployment rate nationwide, but there are a number of cities where unemployment is low. Regardless of the numbers in your city, the fact remains that finding the right team member requires more than simply posting a job opening that lists required experience, job responsibilities, and compensation. Although this approach may generate an avalanche of resumes, you’re unlikely to find the perfect match for both the position and your company.
A recent inc.com post, A Job Listing Should Be Like a Love Letter, suggests a different approach.
If your small business has reached the point where you are deciding between adding an in-house marketing person (or team) and hiring an outside marketing consultant or agency, congratulations, you are on the path to successful growth. There is no arguing about the need for a well-conceived, well-executed, marketing strategy. But, there are many opinions as to how to effectively, and cost-effectively, get it done.
A recent Bank of America Small Business Community post discussed the pros and cons of creating an in-house marketing department vs. outsourcing marketing tasks to third parties. The post highlights common concerns such as whether an internal team will have sufficient objectivity, and whether an outside service provider will have sufficient dedication to your business. It also provides commentary from small business owners who have chosen different paths.
The decision you make for your own small business will be unique to your set of challenges and opportunities.
As a small business owner, you have probably realized that the one constant in your business is change. You have likely also realized that the very fact of being a small business makes your company more nimble and better able to respond to marketplace demands than your larger competitors. If you are still a one-person operation, implementing a successful change is just a matter of putting your mind to something and doing what it takes to make it so. But, once your company has grown and you’re managing a team, then you need to “manage” change.
Although change management is certainly easier in a 20-person company than it is in a 20,000-person company, the fundamentals of leadership throughout the process are similar. A new inc. post, Change: A Play in Four Acts, provides an intriguing context in which to view the process.
February is coming to an end and spring is just around the corner. That means the rush is about to begin for many small businesses ranging from accountants and tax preparers to lawn services, landscapers, house painters, window installers, pool maintenance services, camps, and other spring and summer seasonal industries. So now is the time to get ready, because indications are that you may be in for a great year.
A recent Bloomberg post cited a 5.5% rise in property values since 2011, record low mortgage rates, and a significant decrease in the number of people underwater on their mortgages, as the driving forces behind a spring hiring spree by home-improvement giants Home Depot and Lowes. Home Depot plans to hire 80,000 mostly temporary seasonal workers in 2013, which is a 14% increase over 2012. Lowes plans to boost its seasonal hiring by 13%.
Even if your small business is far removed from home-related services, you can use the same strategies the big guys do when staffing-up for your busy season: temporary workers. These workers can be people your company recruits and hires directly, independent contractors, or employees you get from a temporary staffing agency.