Technology is supposed to help alleviate the time it takes to do tasks. But now that technology is built into every aspect of our lives, the initial benefit has worn off. More than half of U.S. workers waste an hour or more a day on tech interruptions: 60% come from electronic devices and e-mails, while the other 40% come from traditional sources, such as phone calls or chats with colleagues. Limiting internet searches at small businesses and cutting down on emails does not seem to help as most have hand held devices.
Tech distractions for workers add up.
Summer is coming and so are casual Fridays for a lot of small businesses across the country. But don’t get too casual. Appearance is still critical to a company’s success. Underdress and you run the risk of turning customers and clients away with a sloppy appearance. If you own a restaurant or retail shop it is easier to require workers to wear uniforms. But if your business doesn’t lend itself to uniforms, just be clear on what you expect your workers not to show up wearing on a casual Friday.
Casual appearance can have serious impact on sales.
About 85% of small businesses/corporations are audited and sole proprietorships are almost nine times more likely to be audited than corporations. Don’t get frazzled yet, you can avoid them easily enough if your you follow these easy steps. Here are some things to be on the lookout for that can trigger audits by the IRS: claiming a loss, over-deducting, claiming the home-office deduction, doing your taxes yourself, and forgetting to sign your returns. Avoid these simple mistakes and you might keep the tax man at bay.
How to Minimize Your Chances for an Audit.
Customers will be able to spot a happy (or upset) staff one hundred miles away, so it is important to set standards among your employees.
If you earn the loyalty and trust of the people who build and represent your brand, they will do whatever it takes to get the job done–and that’s what will make the numbers sing. You need to communicate your vision for the business clearly, be willing to roll up your sleeves and show them how it’s done and you must listen and respond to employee feedback. That is the only way to establish a successful culture in your small business.
Culture Matters: Here’s How To Build A Great One.
What do these successful businesses have in common? Well, they didn’t go it alone. Here is a Top 10 List of the top franchises according to the Franchise Solutions website. Among them and to no one’s surprise is Subway as they have recently surpassed McDonald’s with the most store units. See who rounds out the top ten this week below.
Top 10 Franchises for the Preceding Week on Franchise Solutions.
Activity among first-time home buyers increased and foreclosure sales declined. But this activity was not enough to call an end to the downward trend of the housing market. Though mortgage rates have been steadily declining, new purchases are still not growing to keep pace. Low rates haven’t been enough to jump start the weak housing market. But the number of borrowers looking to refinance is now at the highest level since the second week of December 2010, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Home sales fall even as mortgage rates touch lows for 2011.
Neighborhood store providing local healthy alternatives. Local couple invested in the community. Small Business struggling to stay afloat through several economic downturns. “It has always been a challenge finding financing and capital to grow our business. Banks have been increasingly difficult to work with…we don’t have access to the same economies of scale that the larger businesses have,” says the owner of City Feed & Supply Convenience Store. For the full story, watch the video below.
Small Business and the struggle to stay in the community.
Selling directly to consumers via social-networking sites is the latest trend in e-commerce. Merchants on Facebook and MySpace are adding e-commerce stores to their fan pages, hoping users will scan lists of for-sale items and services—such as floral bouquets, hand-crafted jewelry and spa treatments—and click a button to add them to online shopping carts. This new trend requires a solid base of fans on your Facebook page, possible fees for the application for your Facebook page and customers that are willing to take a chance and trust your page/site.
Early Adopters Add Shopping-Cart Apps to Fan Pages to Sell Items, Services.
What new businesses have grown out of the recession? The Fresh Diet Company was born out of consumers need to scale back in a tough economy. As people watched their spending, they chose to stay in and not go to restaurants. Fresh Diet delivers complete healthy meals and snacks to customers doorsteps for $30-35 a day. Now it’s one of the fastest-growing start-ups in the country expected to do $15 million in revenue this year.
Road to Recovery: The Fresh Diet.
Sometimes the hardest part of conducting business is to successfully market your small business. Creating relevant and personalized communications are the most important factors for business marketing success. Direct mail, like any good conversation, should be interactive and engaging. You need to connect with your customers and let them know that they are important to you. Make sure your customers see that you know who they are, what they like, and what they can expect from you. Direct mail is an important part of the Marketing process that must be utilized and constantly improved.
Improve Your Direct Mail Marketing.