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6 Tips for Bootstrapping a Startup

With any startup company, obtaining proper funding is usually the biggest challenge. Having said that, there is a myriad of routes that small businesses can take outside of venture capital.

For the best approaches to fundraising, Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following six tips for bootstrapping a startup. Keeping these tips in mind will put you in great standing.

Find Mentors 

Seeking out mentors that can advise you on your journey is super beneficial. In doing so, be sure not to limit yourself to where you look. A mentor can be anyone from a friend or family member to even a co-worker. Ultimately, you want to find people who have more expertise than you do.

Establish a Business Plan 

You always want to think things through and have a vision. Creating an actionable business plan and following through with it will land you in a great place. Having a business plan will allow you to reach both short and long-term goals.

Track Expenses 

When you first launch your business, you want to be as frugal as possible without cutting necessities. You won’t learn the financial ropes and understand the costs that are associated with running your business. You also want to consider re-investing the money you make to continue to grow the business.

Key In On Operations

 Getting into the nitty-gritty details of your business is essential. You want to be able to lay the groundwork in order to get to where you want to be. Take the time to focus on marketing, accounting, and human resources.

Do It Yourself (What You Can)

 Yes, of course, you’ll want to outsource when you have to. Having said that, during the onset of your startup you’ll want to complete as many tasks as you can on your own. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also learn the indispensable ins and outs of your business so you can properly train people later. Trust us when we tell you that doing things on your own (initially) will benefit you so much later on.

Assemble an All-Star Team 

As a new small business, you’re going to want to surround yourself with great employees who share a similar passion and vision. You want to hire people who buy into your mission and understand the importance of multi-tasking. Ultimately, your team is the component that will take you to the promised land. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com

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Five Techniques to Enhance Your Blogging

It’s no secret that online blogging and other forms of published content can prove to be a critical aspect of your marketing strategy. Having said that, it takes a lot of strategic thought and preparation to make online content supplement your business goals. In order to help you improve those efforts, Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following five tactics.

Identify Optimal Keywords

 In order for your target audience to stumble across your blog content organically, you must integrate relevant and applicable keywords. While this can certainly be challenging, it’s up to you to invest the time and energy into researching the best keywords. Trust us when we tell you that you won’t regret it.

Get More Subscribers

So, you post your blog and you see that it hasn’t been viewed as many times as you’d like. Now what? To ensure that people actually read your blog, it’s helpful to offer an email subscription option. This will put the new blogs directly in their inboxes. What could be better?

Utilize Your Blog to Augment Your Reputation

Whether it’s via blogging, reviews, or social media, it’s absolutely imperative to not only monitor, but also constantly improve what is being said about your company online. Ultimately, your reputation can make or break a potential customer’s decision to buy into your business.

Personalize Your Content

Think about it – which will draw more interest: generic or personalized content? You got that right. Generic blog content will not yield the positive results you are looking for. Rather, take the time to publish personalized and relevant content that is specific to your target audience.

Make Your Content Shareable

One of the best ways to widen reach your reach is to optimize your content and make it more shareable. The more your content is shared, the more people you will reach.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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HR Software For Your Small Business

Instead of devoting so much time, resources, and energy on time-consuming HR tasks, the savviest of small businesses use the right HR software for their venture.

HR software makes admin tasks much easier, which frees up your time to focus on running and growing your business.

Let’s take a closer look at what our Corporate Business Solutions experts consider to be the best HR software for small businesses.

Despite the fact that the HR software market is growing and, with so many products available, which HR software is right for you? Here are four of the best HR software programs out there.

BambooHR

BambooHR is HR software explicitly designed for small businesses. With this relevant and effective HR app, you will find the best candidates for your company faster with applicant tracking. You’ll obtain quick and precise HR insights through HR reporting and time tracking. You’ll also be able to create custom workflows and support employee self-onboarding.

What could be better?

If you’re truly interested in utilizing BambooHR to take care of your admin tasks, you’ll have to fill out your information online in order to get a quote.

HR Direct Smart Apps

HR Direct Smart Apps is a streamlined and smart HR software program that is not only affordable but also highly effective. This program will provide your company with a free employee record keeping app which allows you to both monitor and manage employee information.

From there, you can also decide if you want to exploit the additional features, such as software that makes it easier to complete I-9 and W-4 forms, managing employee attendance, and allowing employees to handle their PTO.

Gusto

You can simplify the chaos that comes with HR by using Gusto. Gusto makes the entire HR process easy, including managing benefits and running payroll. From sending out communications to onboarding new employees, you can make the whole HR process seamless and enjoyable with Gusto.

Furthermore, advice and support are provided by HR experts with Gusto. You’ll be able to choose the right plan for your business and budget.

What could be better?

Zoho People

Zoho People allows you to manage and track all of your HR activity from one location. Zoho makes it easy for employees to update their personal information, which saves you a great deal of time. Furthermore, it includes seamless time tracking, performance reviews, and automated workflows.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Understanding the Intricacies of Leads

Are you on cloud nine after obtaining leads from your last event? Do you feel really good about yourself and you’re ready to take the sales world by storm? Fantastic! But don’t get ahead of yourself. The most critical aspect of attaining a lead is ensuring it becomes an opportunity. So the question becomes, how can you enhance the quality of leads?

That’s right – do your research.

Corporate Business Solutions experts understand how using marketing automation solution and a CRM can help you understand your leads and grow your business. Ultimately, you’ll want to discern the ins and outs of your leads in order to make effective business decisions. Here are three reasons as to why knowing your leads can really help.

Understand Your Customer

When you know your leads, such as where they’re located and what they’re interested in, you can ensure that leads passed down to you fit your ideal profile.

Tip: consider CRM integration.

With the right CRM, your marketing department can efficiently create newsletters, ebooks, and white papers to keep up with the demands of business. Strong marketing efforts will create a high volume of leads, where prospects can fill out forms in order to access content.

You might also want to utilize Pardot, a marketing automation solution that helps you see your leads as they progress through the prospect journey.

Grab Hold of the Right Leads

Have you ever heard of “lead grading”. If not, now’s the time.

Lead grading lets you literally “grade” your lead on a scale of A to F so you can determine who the most qualified candidates are based on the attributes of a lead’s profile. These characteristics include job title, company size, or industry.

Ultimately, you want quality leads. Lead grading allows you to access that.

Track and Nurture Your Leads

Similar to many small sales teams who wear marketing hats, it’s important to manually nurture leads. You should do this even if you’re not sure whether or not it will turn into an opportunity.

With a concrete process within your marketing automation solution, you’ll be able to nurture in an impactful way to help your sales counterpart.

It’s not necessary to play a guessing game with your leads. With the correct data and procedures, you’ll be able to understand the intricacies of your leads in no time. This will help you secure more sales and grow your business.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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How Employee Perks Can Help Your Business

It’s no secret that the right employees are a business’s most valuable asset.

With attractive perks, business owners can provide their hard-working employees with the appropriate work-life balance that they so desperately need. These non-monetary benefits are a major opportunity for companies, and if you’re not taking full advantage of them, you ought to rethink your company culture.

Consider this: it is noted that roughly 50% of job-seekers put a large premium on company benefits and perks in the decision to select their next job.

According to a recent survey by Clutch, the most coveted perk amongst the workforce is flexible hours. Ultimately, this will translate to greater productivity, happiness, and engagement. With flexible work hours, employees feel trusted by their companies to get the job done.

It’s important to understand that this applies just as much to small business as it does larger corporations. Companies should do their best to make their employees feel valued. Things like complimentary coffee/snacks, company retreats, or the option the work from home show employees that their wellbeing is at the forefront.

Respondents from the survey spanned a wide range of industries and companies, including both large and small. The largest group of respondents came from small businesses. Conclusively, while just over 40% of respondents noted that they didn’t have employee perks, the [over] 50% that do have perks asserted that they are satisfied with them and that they improve their wellbeing.

As noted, flexible working hours led the group, with fitness/health perks, food/snacks, and professional development following suit.

According to Corporate Business Solutions experts, businesses can offer perks through health/wellness programs by covering gym membership costs, offering continuing education courses, and/or providing complimentary coffee and snacks throughout the work day.

Why Are Employee Perks Important?

Not only do perks increase productivity and improve the overall working environment for your employees, they also enhance wellbeing and life outside of the office. As a business owner, think of creative ways to implement employee perks that make your staff feel appreciated and valued. Ultimately, they will thank you for it in the end, and you’ll get some nice work out of them in the meantime.

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The Power of Ephemeral Content

It may be short-lived, but it’s highly effective.

Ephemeral (lasting for a very short time) content has a limited lifespan, but a lasting impact. Generally speaking, ephemeral content is accessible for up to 24 hours. While this may appear to be counter-intuitive, the growing popularity of “stories” on social media outlets such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook provides an opportunity for this golden marketing tool. While this should not replace your business’s traditional marketing efforts, you should find ways to add this to the mix.

Why Stories? 

Stories are photo/video compilations that can be either pre-recorded or live. To take it a step further, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook all provide ways to get creative through enhanced filters and artwork, in addition to adjusting speed and tempo of a video.

With the growing expenses of high-quality videography, many businesses are turning to the potency of ephemeral social media content. While this may be a far cry from yesteryear’s traditional marketing efforts where publicized content was permanent and recirculated in the future, ephemeral content is efficient, short-lived, and highly effective. Not to mention, with the short attention span of today’s younger generations and professionals, social media stories provide “quick hits” of content, whether it be a product or service that your business offers.

One of the brightest aspects of ephemeral content marketing is the notion that it doesn’t require special equipment or personnel. If you have a smartphone, you can exploit this growing trend. Furthermore, the beauty of stories is the authenticity that it provides your target audience. Your posts don’t have to be perfect. People like this.

The 5 Pillars of Ephemeral Content Marketing

As recommended by CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants 

  • Authenticity
  • Engagement
  • Keeping the content fresh
  • Consistency
  • Relevance

If you or your business has not yet explored the benefits of ephemeral content marketing, we encourage you to not waste any more time. Get started today and sign onto this growing trend to engage your followers on a daily basis. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to find out more.

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How to Successfully Manage Millennial Employees

By 2025, roughly 75% of the labor force will be comprised of millennials. That’s right. Millennials.

What does that mean for your business?

Well, with millennials making up such a large portion of the workplace, it’s imperative for small businesses to know how to efficiently manage millennial employees.

Let’s take a look at some of the best practices.

Embrace and Exploit Their Tech-Savvy Nature

 This is a no-brainer. As products of their generation, millennials are extremely tech-savvy. As a small business owner, you ought to promote and encourage their use of technology and social media. Rather than shutting them down, use this to your advantage. Trust us when we tell you it will help you stay competitive. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

Offer Flexible Hours 

It’s no secret that millennials love balance when it comes to managing their personal and professional lives. Thus, you ought to consider promoting flexible hours with the potential to work remotely. Once you assemble the right team, you will thank yourself in the end.

Foster a Robust Company Culture

 Most millennials are looking for meaningful and purposeful work. Furthermore, many of them do not fear authority. Thus, it’s your job to create a strong company culture with meaning in order to attract and retain loyal millennial employees.

 Embrace Collaboration

For the most part, millennials are largely social people. As a small business owner, you should make it a priority to encourage collaboration as often as possible. Not sure how? Here are some starter ideas: regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, workshops, continuing education, etc. This leads to the creativity you are looking for.

Create Leaders

Rather than being told what to do, millennials love taking the lead. You should find ways to mentor this generation with the purpose of teaching them how to create, lead, and manage. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to learn more.

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New Study Shatters Assumptions about Customer Service in 2018

Most small business owners may have kicked off the new year with various assumptions about offering customer service in a hyper-connected world. Business news has been dominated by stories about omnichannel solutions and virtual reality. According to a recent study conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO), a good majority of customers are indifferent to all this. While that may come as a relief to some small businesses, consumers do have very specific requirements for great customer service.

The study is based on a survey of over 2,000 consumers in North America and Europe, conducted last year. One highlight of the study showed that nearly half of survey respondents said they would abandon a business or a brand if the customer service was continually poor or frustrating. Clearly, even in our digital, self-help age, customer service remains crucial to attracting and retaining buyers, says Corporate Business Solutions consultants.

While consumers have high expectations for customer service, their specific criteria for judging a service boils down to three critical aspects: response time for requests, helpfulness of the provided assistance, and whether the overall experience was positive. Interestingly enough, less than 10 percent of respondents said social media communities for brands “always on” service, and multiple touch point transactions were important for great customer service.

The study also found that consumers were not looking for fancy tech channels to communicate. A good majority said a phone number, an email address or an online form were sufficient to connect with a brand or a business. It’s notable that what really concerned customers was response time. As long as it was fast, most respondents felt satisfied with the overall service.

The CMO study’s findings should put customer service into perspective for small businesses. There’s little need to complicate the process with hip new tech. Focus on response time, contact channels, and offering assistance that is helpful. To find out if your small business’s customer service strategy meets these goals, contact us regarding Corporate Business Solutions Reviews.

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Essential Skills Modern Executives and Top Managers Can’t Do Without

In the past, the gung-ho manager that looked after the company’s bottom line would have been considered effective. But the modern workplace is a significantly different environment. Companies aim for survival in the long-term, so a crass leadership style that focuses solely on immediate gains is no longer in vogue. Here are several essential leadership skills small business owners, executives, and top managers need to cultivate for long-term survival of the brand, according to CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants:

Emotional Intelligence – Forget the “Mad Men” style manager. The modern manager is highly emotionally intelligent. This typically means that the manager is capable of empathizing with the employees he or she is overseeing. Consider this scenario for example; an employee requests a day to work from home because their child has been taken seriously ill. A manager in the past would have flat out refused to grant permission. The skilled modern manager would empathize and accommodate the request.

While some minor inconveniences may occur because an employee decides to work from home, the long-term benefits are numerous. The continued success of any business depends on how invested each employee is in the brand. And if employees are happy, they are more engaged and productive in the workplace.

No More “Gut Feeling” Decisions – In the past, executives didn’t hesitate to boast that they made decisions based on their “gut feelings.” This type of reasoning doesn’t fly anymore. Top-level managers are expected to make their business decisions based on hard data. Even small businesses are encouraged to collect data to gather better insights regarding factors like the target demographic. Managers and executives should refer to this data when making decisions. Ultimately, the top-level players will have to explain business decisions using data-backed evidence.

Collaboration – The biggest businesses today are the result of enormous amounts of teamwork. Business success is no longer celebrated as the sole effort of a highly-placed visionary. Companies do credit their workers, particularly teams, for getting work done. Therefore, modern managers are highly collaborative and actually value teamwork. It simply would not be possible to oversee important projects otherwise.

Do the decision-makers in your small business embody the above qualities? Go to CBS-CBS.com to find out how your small business could improve its leadership.

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Google’s Approach to Establishing a Strong Team

 

Surprise, surprise. Google loves data.

Isn’t this something we knew? Maybe, maybe not.

What you likely didn’t know, however, is that Google often puts a great deal of effort into helping YOUR business operate at an optimal level. In doing so, Google has assembled some pertinent information on behalf of what is essentially their HR team. They sought to address the question of what makes a Google team successful.

Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this.

The Research

In seeking to understand why certain teams excelled and others did not Google examined more than 180 teams. They also conducted interviews and compared a myriad of characteristics/attributes between the high-rising teams and the ones that were falling short.

Conclusively, Google determined that the individual make-up of each team mattered much less than the person-to-person interaction and the composition of their work.

Ultimately, they determined that there are four critical components that separate the good teams from the great ones:

  • Psychological Safety
  • Dependability
  • Structure and Clarity
  • Meaning

While all of the elements are important, Google found that psychological safety played the largest role.

Psychological Safety

Essentially, this comes to down to one critical question: as a team, can you take risks that won’t lead to insecurity or embarrassment?

While risk-taking may seem routine on the surface, it actually carries with it a tremendous amount of emotional weight. When employees don’t feel secure about asking a question or contributing to an idea, they are less likely to partake in creativity and innovation. This is due to the simple, albeit IMPORTANT, fact that they do not want to be perceived in a negative light.

Employees that feel safe are much more likely to embody a sense of empowerment and subsequently will take risks and innovate. This leads to better collaboration and greater effectiveness. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

Dependability

As we know, nobody likes to work with an unreliable employee. This can lead to a myriad of issues. Thus, it’s critical that all members of the team submit their work on time and up to standard. Take the time to address the importance of dependability with your team.

Structure and Clarity

It’s essential for employees to understand exactly what their role is within the team at-large. If this is missing, people have a hard time pinpointing responsibility within the tasks. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to learn more.

Meaning of Work

As a team, you want to do your best to foster a sense of personal connection to the business and/or work that is being done. When this is the case, employees are more likely to deliver high-quality work.