Displaying All Posts from July, 2013

Your Biz Could Win a Big Game Ad from Intuit [Sponsored]

After helping out small biz owners for more than 22 years, Intuit wants to throw an unprecedented winning pass.

Check out this video from Intuit featuring football legend Jimmy Johnson, who explains how Intuit is giving one lucky small business their very own 30-second television advertisement that will air during football’s biggest game on February 2.

To sign up for the competition, visit the Small Business Big Game website. Just for entering, your small biz will receive the Intuit Small Business Playbook, a guide on hot topics for small businesses, and an exclusive 30-day free offer for QuickBooks Online. Your business will also be eligible for great giveaways including $1,000 business grants. The winner of the Small Business Big Game will be determined by the public (with the help of Intuit’s employees) in a few playoff rounds leading up to the Big Game.

Join the Small Business Big Game conversation on Facebook and Twitter with #TeamSmallBiz.

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Web Analytics Demystified: A Simple Calendar for Solopreneurs

Ok, you’ve done it. You’re an internet entrepreneur now. Whether you’re a freelance writer, a marketing consultant, or a UX designer, you’ve got a website you use to sell your services.

And on that website, you’ve probably already installed a web analytics application that collects data about your visitors. You know you’re supposed to “do” analytics. You’ve heard there’s a lot you can learn from that data. But there’s just one problem.

When it’s time to consider the numbers, you don’t know where to start.

Don’t worry. It’s a common lament. With a seemingly endless array of metrics to track, reports to run, and stats to analyze, analytics can easily become more confusing than practical – especially if you don’t have a team of data experts scrutinizing numbers and making suggestions.

But guess what? It doesn’t have to be so hard. Here’s a simple, one-month web analytics calendar that should demystify data collection for just about any solopreneur.
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Career Change: Are You Too Scared to Take That Leap?

It’s no secret that change, especially a career change, can be a scary (and for some people downright terrifying) idea. We tend to get into a routine and hold to it with a death grip.

Change can bring a certain level of instability in life. Change means learning new things and breaking old habits. It can mean being the one who doesn’t quite know what’s going on or trying to find a comfortable place once again. Because of this discomfort, many people choose not to make a career change, even when it is clearly overdue.

If you are considering a new career, but you are too terrified to try or feel inadequate, you can take comfort in the fact that hundreds of people, or more like thousands, make a career change every single day.

Some do this because they are moving to a new city, others because they feel they are worth more than they are currently doing or getting paid in their dead-end position. Still others just want a bit more of a challenge.

Whatever the reasoning, the reality is that people who make a change usually do just fine. They often find more success and fulfillment than they could have ever thought possible. But as you have probably heard, most things in life that are rewarding require hard work and a willingness to take a risk.

Are you willing? Here are just a few ways to push yourself to make that change you’ve been dreaming of for much too long.

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6 New Trends in Employee Benefits

I work for an amazing company that offers employee benefits I never expected to encounter in a job.

And, no, I don’t work in one of those offices with a pinball machine and a beer fridge. I work for a company that has thought long and hard about providing employees with benefits that align to its goals and values.

When I started at my job, I was immediately floored by the revelation that I got a “fitness break” (an allotted time each day to exercise—on the clock). As a working mom, my fitness regime to that point basically consisted of chasing a toddler around the house or racing to put out the garbage cans before the truck rolled up. So, when this opportunity appeared, I couldn’t believe that someone was actually paying me to take care of myself.

It seemed too good to be true, but it was real. And each day that I hopped on the treadmill or picked up the weights, I was extremely appreciative. Click Here to Read Article …

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Review: VisioTask – Task Management Made Colorful

Task management and increased productivity: if it were simple there wouldn’t be a gazillion books, apps, and seminars addressing the issue. Often the pursuit of better task management can seem like chasing a unicorn. Through a dense forest. At night. Blindfolded. You get the idea.

We live in a busy world, and although our digital existence continually promises to optimize our time, there are so many things we use to help ourselves that the tools of freedom sometimes become the shackles that enslave us. Yet there are indeed ways to actually increase your productivity. Case in point, the review you are reading right now. This review is not the solution, the application I’m reviewing is, and it’s called VisioTask.
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How to Increase Employee Motivation: Lessons From ‘The Office’

Do you remember that episode of “The Office” where Robert California tells Andy Bernard that he, as manager, needs to do whatever is necessary to double the sales? In typical “Nard Dog” fashion, Andy creates an employee motivation program to boost office morale and productivity.

Not surprisingly, none of the workers are motivated by his rewards (mostly stuffed animals and trinkets) so, also in typical Nard Dog fashion, in a moment of panic he declares he will get a tattoo on his rear end as his “bottom line” incentive if the team produces results. It takes them one afternoon.

While “The Office” has oh-so-many things to teach us, for our purposes today the lesson is simple: finding the right employee motivation can be pretty powerful in spurring a team towards a goal. All you need is that great prize to get your people pushing themselves (as opposed to you dragging them) across the finish line and moving your business forward as a result. Click Here to Read Article …

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Review: actiTIME – Web-based Time Tracker Software

Managing your hourly time with a time tracker as a freelancer is one of the most important things you can do. With the freedom of setting your own hours comes the responsibility of keeping up with things without oversight.

If you manage a team of employees or contractors, this task becomes even more of a challenge. When it comes to billing your clients however, they aren’t concerned about your problems, they just want an accurate invoice. As a freelancer you are probably on the move a bit. If you manage other contractors remotely, this issue becomes accentuated. Without having a punch-clock on the wall that employees can physically walk past and clock in and out with, how can you keep track of everyone’s time?
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How to Maximize Workplace Safety

Accidents will happen, at least that what Elvis Costello sang. It’s true, though: no matter how careful you are or how well you prepare, there will always be some percentage of slips, falls, and other different types of accidents at work that reduce workplace safety.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t minimize these accidents by taking some precautions, however. Not only can you, but you absolutely should. Want some numbers to reinforce that? Check these out, from the website of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

  • The total direct payments to workers for the worst injuries and illnesses in 2006 was $48.6 billion
  • Lost productivity from these accidents and illnesses costs companies $60 billion each year

I’ll stop there. That’s billions with a “B”, boys and girls, and you don’t want your company to have any sizable slice of those payments or losses. So what can you do? Some fairly simple things, actually.
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Can You Pass the Management Skills Quiz?

Most experts agree that you need a number of basic skills to be a good manager. Leading isn’t enough, you also need to be able to persuade people to follow you. Good communication often tops the list of must-have management skills, but that includes listening as well as giving others direction.

Being an effective manager requires not only good management skills, but the ability to put those skills into use and the confidence to use them wisely. Here’s a short management quiz to test your skills. Are you ready to be a manager? Do you have what it takes?

Answer true or false to each of the following questions, and remember: be honest with yourself. Click Here to Read Article …

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5 Secrets to Save Your PPC Campaign

Most of the time, business owners put several different marketing strategies into motion. They do not rely on any one strategy in the campaign. This is good for making it more likely that a business will reach all of its market, but it is bad in that sometimes businesses must let some components go on autopilot.

A PPC campaign is one of the most likely to be put on the back burner because the automation programs that come with so many of the campaigns make it easy to let it go without tweaking it – I am guilty of this and usually catches up to you when its too late.

Sometimes though, you may realize in the middle of your PPC campaign that you aren’t getting the results that you want. Rather than scrap the entire campaign, you can work to revitalize it so that you start getting the results that you want.
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(Infographic) What Makes a Successful Manager?

One in every 3 Americans want to leave his or her job, while 31% claim their boss makes them feel under-appreciated, and unmotivated. Overall workplace morale is low in the US. Knowing this, business owners must make a valiant effort to ensure that both themselves and their hired managers are investing their time into building up their team.

Effective management is not only important to business owners, but to employees too. Indeed, only 35% of Americans claim that they’d prefer pay raise over a better boss.

That said, managing people is certainly not for everyone. It takes an individual willing to take the time to each employee’s needs, strengths, and weakness in order to maintain a healthy, productive work environment.

Pepperdine University’s MBA Online took a look at various employee satisfaction surveys to determine which overarching characteristics make employees more satisfied and productive.

And while the term “success” is a measurement that differs among a wide range of opinions, the idea is that a self-fulfilled employee is a motivated employee, thus crediting the manager as a successful one.

Key Characteristics of Successful Managers:

  • Natural Talent
  • Interest In Helping People and Finding Solutions
  • Trust And A Good Reputation
  • Diplomacy
  • Shows Respect and Maintains Open Communication

Do you agree with their list? Find out more in the infographic below, and then share your opinions with us in the comments!


Recruitment Software Saves Time and Money

Whether you are the HR person for a company or you actually run a recruiting service which helps HR departments find good candidates for their positions, keeping track of the plethora of applicants can be a daunting task.

This becomes even more of an issue when the job market is soft, as it has been for the last few years. With the new standard for applying for a position being the submission of a resume or CV online, that stack of applicants can really become overwhelming fast. To counter this problem and make the process move smoother, many companies and headhunters have taken in recent years to using recruitment software.

Just as cloud storage has made the filing, filtering, and sharing of work documents easier and quicker, recruitment software has done the same for the massive numbers of resumes flying around the interwebs. Click Here to Read Article …