• Guest Posts

    Posted on July 24th, 2014

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    When Building Your Team, Delegate Recruiting but Hiring is Your Job

    When Building Your Team, Delegate Recruiting but Hiring is Your Job

    As a leader, you know that delegation is key to being effective. But  you also know that your judgment, experience and bird’s-eye perspective on your organization’s priorities plays a huge role in creating results.

    Especially when it comes to an investment as high-risk/high-reward as hiring, it can be stressful and downright scary to turn control over to others. Some elements of the hiring process can be delegated safely and others are sacred territory for you, the hiring manager to oversee every time.

    Here’s what you need to know, starting with the parts of hiring you should never delegate:

    Final approval on job descriptions. You need to know what prospective employees are reading about your organization and the role(s) that you have open.

    Final selection of a top choice candidate from a set of finalists. You need to personally talk to and understand each of the top two or three  finalists. At the end of the day, the decision needs to be yours so that you have buy-in from yourself and your team about the choice. Hiring decisions by committe[...] Read More...

  • How to Cut Your Summer Electric Bill Now

    How to Cut Your Summer Electric Bill Now

    You don’t have to replace your entire air-conditioning system to lower your summer electric bills. Maybe a higher-efficiency system is in your future. But until then, take these eight steps right now to reduce your electric bill right away:

    1. Install a programmable thermostat. Raising the heat a few degrees in your home is a no-brainer when it comes to saving on electricity. The warmer you let your home get, the less work your air conditioner needs to put in. But who has time to mess with the thermostat every hour?

    Instead, install a programmable thermostat. Pick up a basic model at your local hardware store for 30 bucks. Or splurge on a self-regulating model, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, which learns your home-and-away patterns over time.

    2. Only use ceiling fans when you’re under them. Ceiling fans are more efficient than air conditioners, but leaving the[...] Read More...

  • Guest Posts

    Posted on July 18th, 2014

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    Why Impatience is a Virtue: Stop Planning and Start Doing

    Why Impatience is a Virtue: Stop Planning and Start Doing

    Many impatient people feel guilty for the way they are. They see their haste as a character flaw. But the truth is,impatience is a virtue, not a vice.

    People who don’t plan are rock stars. They live confident, fun and happy lives and rarely have a problem making big life decisions. Obsessive planners are the opposite. This is because obsessive planning and waiting to take action erodes your confidence and decision-making abilities.

    Life is better when you think big and take action. (Click here to tweet this quote.) But not everyone feels this way. A lot of people rely on obliga­tion, passivity and herd mentality to get things done. As a result, they don’t get things done.

    They set up systems saturated with meetings and committees until all any employee can see is an endless string of plans and plans to make plans. This death-by-committee lifestyle is what turns action-taking employees into wait-and-see rodents.

    Human or lemming?

    Business and individuals who plan obsessively by defau[...]

  • Finance

    Posted on July 16th, 2014

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    7 Salary Negotiation Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

    7 Salary Negotiation Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

    Getting a new job offer or making a new business deal is exciting — but negotiating? Not so much. The process ofnegotiation can be nerve-wracking, and it’s easy to make mistakes, especially if you haven’t had much experience negotiating. Before your next negotiation attempt, make sure you watch out for these seven common negotiating mistakes.

    Lacking confidence

    “Many people think they need to show a certain kind of confidence, like being loud, bold or brazen, to successfully negotiate a deal. Others think that a lot of experience is required to be a good negotiator. Most of the time, it merely takes tenacity and good old preparation to ensure you are aptly equipped to assert mutually desirable terms, anticipate objections, and discern what … motivators or ‘hot buttons’ will resonate with your opponent,” said Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, CEO of consulting and training firm Dynamic Vision International and author of “Think Like a Negotiator” (Amazon Digital Services, 2014).

    Lewis-Fernandez added that projecting confidence also means having a heart, which can make the opposition less defensive and more likely to agree with your stipulations. However, it’s also important to back up your confid[...] Read More...

  • Marketing

    Posted on July 14th, 2014

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    Is It Time for Your Business to Bail from Facebook?

    Is It Time for Your Business to Bail from Facebook?

    I almost found myself starting this article with the phrase, “Poor Facebook.” I quickly realized that those two words should never be used in conjunction with one another, considering its $160-plus billion capitalization value and Mark Zuckerberg’s $19 billion net worth.

    However, the social media behemoth has hit some bumps along the digital superhighway lately in the form of a bonehead “study” that caused some bad press and perhaps an even worse business decision. It’s the business decision we need to discuss here, but I have to at least mention the controversial study.

    Rigging Facebook News Feeds

    You probably read that Facebook was manipulating news feeds to see how positive and negative posts would affect viewers’ attitudes. The study was conducted without any approval from those subjected to the tainted feeds. The troubling aspect of this is that it’s only one step away from using posts to control people’s thoughts and emotions.

    Of course, that would never[...]

  • 3 crucial money decisions for every decade of life

    3 crucial money decisions for every decade of life

    You know the saying, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint”? Well, it’s actually a good money mantra too.

    Translation: All too often, we race through the nitty-gritty details of our finances and neglect to focus on crucial to-dos in the process — like saving for retirement long before those golden years approach.

    But if you adopt a marathon approach to money, it can allow you to take a more holistic look at your overall financial picture to see how decisions that you make in your 20s and 30s can impact your 40s, 50s, and beyond.

    Of course, no matter how old you are, financial health usually boils down to the same three basic goals: paying off credit card debt, growing your emergency fund, and saving for retirement. But the way you approach these tasks — and other money priorities — may change as you age.

    That’s why we tapped Natalie Taylor, a CFP® with LearnVest Planning Services, to help make it simpler for you to begin taking more of a marathon tact with your finances by highlighting three of the top m[...] Read More...

  • Tips for Collecting on Invoices

    Tips for Collecting on Invoices

    One of the worst things about running a business is getting delinquent customers to pay. For small business owners it’s made worse because unpaid bills can quickly spell a company’s demise.

    “During the first five years of the life of any small business effective cash flow management is one of the biggest necessities and stressors of the business owner,” says Scott Rumley, owner of BookKeeping Express Franchise in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “For many organizations the possibility of having to close their doors is a reality they face if their customers are slow to pay their bills or if they chose not to pay at all.”

    You may bristle at the thought of having to chase customers down to get paid, but it is a reality that happens all the time. The pain can be alleviated somewhat by laying out the payment policy upfront, billing quickly and often — and by offering incentives to pay early or even on time.

    According to Marley Majcher, chief executive of The Party Goddess!, an event planning company, to figure out the appropriate incentive to offer customers first determine how much it costs you to chase down a late client. Take the average cost of the last three late clients and then decide what discount you are willing to offer to avoid the hassle in the futur[...] Read More...

  • Real Estate

    Posted on July 3rd, 2014

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    Why the All-Cash Buyer Still Rules the Real Estate Market

    Why the All-Cash Buyer Still Rules the Real Estate Market

    Even as the share of all-cash sales falls in many areas, it’s pretty clear that cash is still king, especially at the lower end of the market. This makes it more difficult for traditional buyers to compete with cash offers, especially in a tight inventory environment. So who are these cash buyers, and where are they located? Here are answers to some of your questions.

    Why is this happening now? It’s happening now for a couple of reasons. Lending standards are still very restrictive, and buyer competition is intense, particularly in markets with lots of demand and not much supply. The thinking is: If I pay with cash, I’ll get to the front of the line and have a leg up on the competition.

    Where is this trend most prevalent? This trend is nationwide, and while the share of cash sales is higher than “normal” in many parts of the country (even in rural heartland states that never had a housing bust), it’s most prevalent in Florida and Midwest markets. In the first quarter of this year, Miami ha[...] Read More...

  • What Are the Most Common Mistakes New Managers Make?

    What Are the Most Common Mistakes New Managers Make?

    What are common mistakes that new or inexperienced managers make? What are three things (more or less) you would have done differently managing your team during your first few weeks on the job (i.e. politics, control, motivation, etc.)?

    Answer by Ian McAllister, general manager at Amazon.

    Below are some mistakes I made as a new manager or have seen other new managers make. Experienced managers still make some of these mistakes, though hopefully fewer.

    Performance management

    Being slow to deal with performance issues: Smoke becomes fire. If you take note of performance issues early, you can give gentle, corrective feedback. If you’re too slow to notice, you’ll have to give stronger feedback, and the performance issues may be harder to reverse.

    Not documenting poor performance: Documenting poor performance via email helps employees understand the gravity of the situation (“This email summarizes the discussion we just had”), and it is also helpful to have on hand if it comes time to terminate the employee.

    Not documenting good performance: Documenting good performance via e[...] Read More...

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