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5 Great Ways to Save Money

While there isn’t a perfect formula for starting a business. different approaches work for different people. Having said that, there’s a great deal of value in cash flowing a business and avoiding the burden of debt on the front end. In order to effectively fund your own business, you have to master your savings habits and attain a strong grasp of your financial situation.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following tips to saving money in a small business setting. Considering using these today to better improve your cash flow.

Eliminate Your Debt

Sure, nobody wants to discuss the dreaded topic of debt. While we all seem to have it, very few of us ever directly confront it until it becomes too much to handle.

Just imagine what you could do if your debts were gone. All of a sudden, you’ll feel like you got a raise. Suddenly all of that money that was going towards repaying a debt can be put towards something else, such as starting a business.

Reduce Your Discretionary Spending

One of the best ways to pay down debt on a limited income is to slash your discretionary spending and put that money towards your debts.

Between eating out and online shopping, you should be able to save a few hundred dollars per month. Over the course of a year, this can add up to a significant amount of money.

Automate Savings

It’s easy to get so caught up in spending that you don’t even think about savings. Over time, this can have some pretty traumatic effects. And while there are plenty of ways you can deal with this issue, automating the savings process is one of the smartest options.

Ask Yourself THE Question

When you find yourself in a store and before placing something in your shopping cart, ask yourself this important question: “Do I really need this?”

Most of the time, the honest answer is generally “no.” While you might not like the answer, it’s what you need to hear in order to avoid spending money on things you don’t need.

Reinvest Profits

While this may seem simple, it’s often very challenging. Sure, your natural inclination is to start spending the money you make from your new business. However, it’s a much more logical practice to reinvest your profits. This will allow you to continue growing without needing to take on debt.

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5 Things You’re Missing Out On By Using a Personal Email Account

Like many small businesses and organizations, it’s very possible you’re using a personal email account (like Gmail, Outlook or AOL) to either conduct your email marketing or communicate with a group of contacts. It’s also likely that you’ve noticed a myriad of limitations in what you can and can’t do with a personal email account.

Nowadays, having a business email account is a great idea for a number of different reasons. Corporate Business Solutions experts even recommend using a professional emailing service. Let’s take a look at five things you’re missing out on by not using a service for your email marketing.

You’re Not in a Position To Send Bulk Emails

As it is, many email accounts limit the number of emails that you can send at once. Thus, as your email database grows, you may face more problems with getting your emails delivered.

Email providers like Constant Contact work efficiently to maintain strong relationships with ISPs and establish reputations for sending permission-based emails.  Accordingly, people see more of their emails delivered to their recipients’ inboxes.

Believe It or Not, You’re Putting Relationships at Risk

When an individual joins your email list, they trust you to protect their personal information. Furthermore, they also trust that you’ll respect their privacy and give them an opt-out option.

When you send email using Outlook or another personal email account, mistakes certainly can happen. Often times, people make the mistake of exposing their entire list in the To: line of an email.

You’re Truly On Your Own

Email marketing services such as Constant Contact make it quick and seamless to conduct email marketing for your business. Trying to do everything on your own can offer many challenges.

A professional email service will give you the tools and training to help you get started.

It’s Difficult to Create Professionally-Looking Branded Emails

With an email marketing service, you’ll have the option to choose from hundreds of professional email templates that make it easy to generate awesome-looking emails.

You Can’t See Who Opened or Clicked

An email marketing service gives you access to in-depth reporting to analyze key metrics like emails sent, opened, who opened, who clicked through, and which links they clicked on. You’re also able to see important details like spam reports, bounces, and opt-outs.

If you haven’t already switched over from a personal email account to a professional email service, consider doing so today.

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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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.

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Tips for Motivating Your Employees This New Year

Do you think your small business’s managers are motivating their employees? According to a recent survey by the human capital management company Ultimate Software, a shocking 56 percent of employees didn’t think so. The survey analyzed more than 2,000 employees in North America. While the overwhelming majority, 71 percent, of managers said they knew how to motivate their subordinates, the majority of employees disagreed.

Motivated employees are crucial to the success of a small business. Employees are also most satisfied when their relationship with the immediate manager is highly positive. Motivation is most important at the beginning of a new year when everyone is looking for a fresh start at work and in their personal lives. Here are several tips for managers and executives to keep employees motivated this new year from CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants:

Hire Friendly Managers – The personality and social interactions of the manager will highly affect how employees perceive him or her. No one likes to work with bad-tempered and irascible managers. To create a successful relationship between managers and employees, hire people who are approachable and friendly. Employees should be able to communicate their workplace issues to the manager in order to solve problems. If that doesn’t happen, the productivity levels of the small business would be fundamentally flawed.

Do Ask Employees to Contribute – Managers who tell employees what to do all the time are just bad managers. They should direct teams, not dictate to them. When managers are authoritative, it leads back to the fundamental communication issue mentioned above. Dictatorial managers may never know the reality of the situation for the team. Without that knowledge, it’s impossible to make teams more productive or efficient. This type of manager also stifles innovation. Therefore, managers should be able to ask employees to contribute to projects and meetings. Employees are best for conveying what’s wrong from the working side. This information is crucial for seeing projects to completion.

Get Employee Feedback – The Company should also conduct surveys and open avenues for employees to offer feedback on their working conditions, including management styles. Ask your employees what’s wrong directly to fix the issue.

It’s the start of the New Year, so it’s wise for your small business to learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid repeating them. You can request one of our acclaimed Corporate Business Solutions Reviews to analyze your company’s management style and get feedback from the experts.

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Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

The holidays are finally here. The season typically lasts well into end of January, so small businesses should be getting prepped to stand out among rivals. Most of your employees will be looking forward to spending time with family, but the holidays are definitely not the time to take a break from marketing to clients. It’s the prime time for people to shop, even if some of the biggest holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are far behind. People continue to go on spending sprees particularly as the New Year rolls around. Here are several ideas from CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants about marketing during the holiday season:

Up the Social Media Game—The holidays are definitely the time to be on social media. Everyone is checking their Facebook or Instagram feeds, commenting on friends’ pictures and posts. This is the best time for a brand to launch a word-of-mouth campaign. Keep in mind that many other brands will be active on social media as well. So it would be important to stand out from the crowd.

Personalize All Marketing Material—Customers are bombarded with marketing messages from everywhere during the season. Therefore, to capture the attention of the target audience, personalize all marketing material. Avoid the usual “Dear Customer” and use names. If your business has compiled customer profiles, now is the time to use them.

Send Gifts—Gifting not only shows your client base that your brand actually cares about them, it also helps clients keep your brand in mind the following year. Increase your small business’s loyal customer base, and subsequently sales, by sending personalized gifts to loyal customers and important clients.

Offer Deals and Discounts—The holiday season is definitely the time for sales, so offering your customers deals and discounts is more of an obligation at the end of each year. Small businesses can get more out of these deal offerings by smartly timing them. Also, make sure customers are aware of what the company is offering, especially for the season.

It’s the end of the year, so it’s also the time to opt for one of our Corporate Business Solutions Reviews to see exactly how your business performed in the past year, and how much better it can perform in the coming year.

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Understanding Net Neutrality Rules and How Elimination May Affect Small Businesses

Net neutrality has been in the news lately. The newly appointed FCC Chairman Ajith Pai recently unveiled a proposal to repeal net neutrality rules adopted under the Obama administration. Now it may all sound like tech stuff that has nothing to do with business whatsoever. If you think that, then you are dead wrong. In fact, if net neutrality rules are repealed, it would mostly affect small to medium-sized companies in the U.S. Read below for a briefing from Corporate Business Solutions consultants on what net neutrality is and how the proposed repeal may affect your small business:

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality broadly refers to keeping internet access equal for everyone. Our access to the internet is controlled largely by broadband service providers. Your ISP can block access to certain sites (and it already does for illegal sites), control which content you see, and more importantly, throttle or control speeds for various sites.

The idea behind net neutrality is to prevent large broadband service providers from preventing free access to the internet.  Simply put, ISPs could create a “pay to play” system where some businesses can pay for better access to customers. That is to say, broadband companies can create a “fast lane” for certain businesses, where sites are speedy and then throttle the speeds of rival companies. When the net neutrality rules were initially enacted, then President Obama said: “No service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee.”

Here is a useful resource to get more details about net neutrality in general: 13 things you need to know about the FCC’s Net neutrality regulation

What Repealing Net Neutrality Means for Small Businesses

Repeal of net neutrality rules will give large internet provider companies broad control over how everyone accesses the internet. For example, a broadband provider could charge a fee to make sure a website loads in under 3 seconds. This fee may not be hefty for a large company, but for a small business, especially a one-person operation, it could be life or death for the company.

Consumers, too, would be affected. ISPs would be able to provide packages that limit video streaming data availability, for example. Consumers will no longer be able to get access to all content, which would definitely affect how companies reach their target audiences.

Internet-based companies would certainly suffer if net neutrality rules are scrapped. Not just the small companies, even large ones like Code Academy, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter and Google have urged FCC to keep the rules. The American Sustainable Business Council even released an open letter to the FCC stating that rolling back net neutrality rules will be “disastrous for the country’s business community.”

What to Anticipate

Keep in mind that FCC’s decision is still a proposal and is not yet final. However, the FCC’s chairman has been insistent that the rules will be eliminated. Even if it occurs, there may not be a reason to panic just yet. It’s not likely that broadband companies would immediately create a pay-to-play system, especially when emotions are running high. In any case, ISPs may have to await legal decisions.

If you are worried about how net neutrality may affect your business, contact CBS Corporate Business Solutions to learn more about the issue with regards to your company’s unique situation.