• 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...

  • Guest Posts

    Posted on June 27th, 2014

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    10 Tasks to Delegate to Employees

    10 Tasks to Delegate to Employees

    When it comes to running a business, your plate is full — fuller than full, actually. And while you might feel like you’re the only one who can adeptly handle the tasks on your to-do list, that’s probably not completely true.

    Delegating work to your employees or third parties can help you free your time to focus on more important tasks. It’s simply a matter of identifying those tasks that absolutely require your expertise, and those that would be better handled by someone else.

    1. Marketing. Marketing your small business is a necessity, but it’s not necessarily a task that can be best done by you. Instead, leave it to the experts and hire an employee with extensive marketing expertise, or work with a consultant or marketing firm. These experts will better understand the best strategies to help you find new customers.

    2. Design. If you’ve ever attempted to design a logo when you’re not creative by nature, you know it can be time-consuming and frustrating. And what’s the result? If it’s not 100 percent professional and appealing to your audience, you’ve wasted a lot of time trying to tackle a task better left to the experts. A graphic or web designer knows about color choice, style, and layout, and can bu[...] Read More...

  • Guest Posts

    Posted on June 25th, 2014

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    Trademarks 101: Your 10 Biggest Questions, Answered

    Trademarks 101: Your 10 Biggest Questions, Answered

    For a startup, intellectual property is often the most valuable asset. Yet, IP isn’t just about patents and inventions. It can also include your brand assets — everything from the company name to the logo and product tagline.

    Trademarks help keep your brand ID safe, with the idea that no one else in the market can come in and use your brand or trademark for a similar thing. But how much do you understand about the trademark process? Here are the answers to 10 of the most frequently asked questions surrounding trademarks:

    1. If I trademark my company/product name, does that mean nobody else can use it?

    The main purpose of a trademark is to prevent confusion in the marketplace, ensuring that consumers will know who is behind a certain product or service. That’s why trademark protection only applies to a particular category of goods and services. Nike Inc. owns the mark on a variety of shoes, clothing, sporting goods, etc. But there’s also a Nike Corporation that’s involved in hydraulic lifting jacks and other heavy machinery. There’s really no[...] Read More...

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