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Finding Work-Life Balance as a Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the everyday tasks of work and forget to make time for at home. For your small business, it’s quite likely that you are not just the owner, but also the employee, the maintenance staff, and the customer service. You are everything to your company.

The problem, though, is finding a healthy balance between work and life. You don’t want to spend every waking minute of the day thinking about work or being at the office. However, you also need to dedicate a lot of your time for the business to succeed. How do you find a balance between the two?

Corporate Business Solutions Consultants understand the difficulties of maintaining a balance between the office and the home. We have four tips that will help you find that balance.

Ask for Help at Work

One of the first things you can do is to ask for some help around work. Whether that means giving a trusted employer more responsibility or hiring more staff, lightening up your workload will free up some time at home.

Some of the tasks that you could hand to someone else would be running the social media accounts and website, dealing with customer support, filing, bank deposits, or cleaning up the office.

Ask for Help at Home

If you cannot afford to hire additional employees at work, then ask for more help around the house. Many working families still have other tasks they need to complete once they get home. By asking for more help around the house, it will free up more time for you when you get home to do the things that matter the most to you and your family.

Some of the tasks that you could get help from family members include general housecleaning, grocery shopping, maintaining the yard, taking care of the family pet, or starting laundry.

Set Boundaries for Yourself

Setting boundaries for yourself not only will help you free up time for at home, but it will also prevent you from overworking yourself too. You could make a rule that after a certain time in the evening, work must stop. It could be as simple as keeping your personal phone number private from work.

Brainstorm boundaries that would prevent you from being at home. Include your family in this as well to have a different perspective. Once you have your list, keep it visible as a reminder.

Be Consistent

Once you become okay with asking for help around the office and at home, as well as setting those boundaries that stop you from working too much, you then need to be consistent with them. All of these steps will only do so much if you don’t maintain it.

If you have that trusted employee taking care of some additional work, don’t micro-manage them and get involved. You’ll just be putting yourself back to square one. The same goes for at home too. You need to trust the people you asked that they will get the job done.

As for your boundaries, if you are not consistently following them, they will never become a habit. Once it’s become second nature to put the phone or computer down at a certain point, you’re less likely to forget about it. Also, if an emergency comes up that requires your time at work that breaks your boundary, you know that it is an okay exception.

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How You Can Turn a Passion into a Small Business

Do you have a strong passion for something? Maybe it is a hobby that allows you to build things or have a love for animals that could open up different paths for you. Either way, many people will take their passion for something and turn it into a business.

Have you ever heard people say to do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life? That old saying can definitely ring true for those who follow their passions and make a career out of it.

If you truly love something and won’t lose that passion over time, here are a few ways to help you turn that passion into a small business.

Have a Vision and Stay Focused

It’s one thing to be determined to succeed. It’s another thing to stay focused on a clear vision and develop a plan. Coming up with that initial business plan may be one of the hardest parts of getting your business going. Narrow down your vision into something that is feasible for where you are in life right now.

Don’t Dive Head First

One thing you don’t want to do is dive right in before testing out the water a bit. Being a bit cautious could help save you a lot of money, and save you from losing this passion. Develop a business plan and ensure that it will honestly work. Speak with business professionals, like Corporate Business Solutions Consultants, to see if what you have in mind will succeed as a business.

Make Sure the Timing Is Right

Now, you don’t want to wait around forever to start your business. However, you do want to make sure that the timing will work with your current life situation. If starting your small business may lead you to bankruptcy, it may not be a bad idea to wait a bit. That doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your passion. It just says that you are thinking clearly about your decision and want to set yourself up for success.

Understand You Won’t Love It All

Even though you are passionate about what your business will focus on, that doesn’t mean you are going to love every part of it. When you start a small business, there will be things behind the scenes you will need to do. They won’t always be as exciting, but they are essential to the success of your business.

Find a good balance between doing the administrative duties and focusing on what got your business idea going.

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4 Challenges Many Small Business Face

Starting up and successfully running a business is not an easy task. There will be hardships and tough days, some worse than others. However, the owners that can keep their business moving forward through those challenges are the ones that are likely to succeed in the business world.

If you are a small business owner, here are four challenges many businesses like yours will face.

Exhaustion

Starting up a business is exhausting. Unless you can afford to have a large team helping you out right from the start, small business owners tend to have to put in the most amount of work with the longest hours.

It can be scary to leave your business in the hands of someone else for you to go home, especially at the start. So, quite often the owner will spend the majority of their time at work to ensure everything runs smoothly. All those hours can really run you down and lead to exhaustion.

Managing Money

The finances of starting a small business can be frightening. Will you have enough money to keep the doors open, or is your business close to bankrupting you? It may not always be easy. However, with good money managing skills, you can quickly get yourself into a position where there is enough income coming in for you to relax.

Building Up Clientele

At the start, a prominent challenge business owner’s face is building up their clientele. When you first start out, chances are it will be your close family and friends that know about your business. Expanding past them is difficult.

Although you want to grow your customer base, you want to do so at a speed your business can handle. Growing too fast and you may lose sight of the customers who helped start your business. However, expanding to slow and it could be difficult to make ends meet.

Losing the Passion

Quite often there is a burning passion behind the business owner that got them to start their company. It is really easy, though, for that passion to fade as the hours get longer and the work gets harder. That is the time, however, that you want your passion to really shine through. That is what will help keep you motivated to keep pushing through any obstacles that get in your way.

Every business owner will face a challenge at some point in their life. How you handle them, though, is what will keep your business thriving. As a small business owner, you can expect to have some difficulties come your way. By getting the help you need, you’ll be able to push through them. CBS-CBS.com is here to help.

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5 Reasons Why Your Employees May Want to Quit

Do you find yourself having to hire and train new staff members on a regular basis? If so, there is likely a reason why your employee retention rate is low. Whether it be from management, a different opportunity, lack of interest, or something entirely out of your control, employees will have their reasons for quitting.

When you can start to narrow in on those reasons, you then can make any adjustments needed to retain your current staff. Corporate Business Solutions Reviews came up with five top reasons why an employee may quit.

Bored and Unchallenged

Having a dull day at work will make time go by quite slowly. Employees want to be challenged and be passionate about coming to work. If they aren’t, it makes it quite tricky to get out of bed in the morning.

Check in to make sure your employees are happy and feel motivated to do their job.

Workplace Relationships

One of the biggest reasons an employee will quit is due to having a poor relationship with their boss. No one says everyone in the office has to be best friends. However, having a positive and civil relationship helps ease tension and create an environment that employees are happy to be in.

Lack of Independence

Your employees want to be empowered. Doing so means you must trust them and let them perform their job as they see fit, as long as it is within the parameters of their description and the company. Showing staff that you trust them to do their job will go a long way.

Acknowledgement

How would you feel if day by day you put in your best effort, and it never gets noticed? After a while, it becomes demoralizing and can lead to you wanting to go somewhere else. If employees never receive recognition for what they do, how will they know they are doing a good job?

Acknowledging your staff can be anywhere from a pat on the back to rewarding them for beating their targets.

Company Culture

It could be that the company culture is no longer in line with the employee’s values. That isn’t to say the company culture is bad. It could just mean that the employee had a shift in what they want out of life and it is time for something different. However, if it is because of the way the company is running, then it may be time to take a step back and re-evaluate your business plan.

It’s important to have meetings with employees who express frustration or are walking out the door. When you know why they quit, you can then make the changes required to keep the rest of your staff happy.

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11 Genius Ways to Enhance Your Curbside Appeal

You guessed right. Curb appeal IS critical to the success of your store.

Nearly 95% of customers say that the external appearance of a store is one of the primary influences on their decision about where to shop.

Having said that, how exactly do you improve the appearance of your store? Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following 11 tips to boost your small business’s curb appeal.

Add Some Greenery

Hanging flower baskets or planters at either side of the door adds elements of color and greenery to the entrance and makes the store look well-maintained.

Invest in a Welcome Mat

A tiny, affordable change that makes every customer feel super welcome.

Rebrand

If you’re revamping your storefront, maybe consider refreshing your branding at the same time. This is the perfect way to signal a new start for your company.

Refresh Your Signage

Peeling paint and faded colors show your customers that nobody cares about the store. As a result, why should they care about it? Invest in a new sign and change that impression.

Add a Splash of Paint

Akin to replacing your store sign, repainting walls and window frames give your store a new lease on life. It makes it look brand new, cared about and fresh, which customers will love.

Sweep the Front Sidewalk on a Daily Basis

This task should be part of every store owner’s daily routine. It takes just a moment, but instantly makes your store that much more appealing and desirable.

Inject Some Color

What better way to make your store stand out from the others from the street? Make your storefront vibrant and colorful.

Change Your Window Display(s) Regularly

Changing up your window displays can keep passers-by interested in your store and eager to see what the display will be next.

Make Your Business Clear

Any walker should be able to tell immediately what the purpose of your business is. If your signage or display doesn’t communicate this, you may need to think it through.

Remove Clutter

Clutter always looks unkempt and can be confusing for the customer. Take time to de-clutter and take out or down anything that detracts from the appeal and message of your storefront.

Clean the Windows

Every store owner should have a consistent cleaning schedule for their windows. Clean, sparkly windows make an enormous difference to the appeal of your store.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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4 Email Marketing Phrases to Avoid

Marketing professionals have to be prudent when generating emails to avoid having them be marked as spam. Marketers should send out bulk emails on a consistent basis to leads, opportunities, and customers in an effort to show people why their business’ products/services matter.

Corporate Business Solutions experts break down the following top four spam trigger words to avoid in your emails.

Multi-level Marketing

MLM refers to the practice where businesses hire people to go around and try and sell someone a product, then have that person recommend the product to others. At times this is a legitimate practice. Most of the time, however, it’s comparable to a pyramid scheme. Any business practice connected to a pyramid scheme should be avoided like the plague. Even searching “multi-level marketing” brings up suspect results, so it makes sense that any emails with the term in it will be triggered as spam.

Increase Sales

This is both surprising and not surprising. It’s hard to picture a business-to-business marketing team generating an email for thousands of potential clients and not using this phrase. However, that’s exactly why it’s often noted as spam in the first place. Context DOES matter here. This phrase will eventually come up in an email, but there are ways around it. For example, don’t use the phrase in the subject line. Also, steer clear of trying to look spammy and try these techniques instead to increase sales.

Web Traffic

If you received an email with “Web Traffic” in the subject line, would you think it’s legitimate? Increasing web traffic for an online business is absolutely critical for the success of that business. Ultimately, the more traffic your website garners, the more likely you’ll convert that traffic into sales. Spammers and scammers exploit this term because it’s something all online businesses are researching.

Free Consultation

Not many things in today’s world are actually free. Thus, this phrase immediately jumps out to just about everyone. Even if the consultation is free, there’s always a catch, and if there’s a catch, that means your marketing team isn’t being transparent to its targeted audience. Unless you’re truly offering a free consultation for potential buyers, do not advertise it as free. Plain and simple, to avoid being marked as spam, don’t put “Free Consultation” in the subject line.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Enhance Your Content Marketing to Drive Sales

Content marketing can accomplish different things for different businesses. While some businesses use it as a way to increase brand awareness, others may use content marketing as a way to generate sales or sales leads.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend taking the following steps toward content marketing that generates sales.

Create a Content Marketing Plan

Not having a content plan in place is one of the largest mistakes marketers make when trying to drive sales. Sure, you’re aware that you need to create content and you want to boost sales. However, that’s not enough. You need to generate a strategy for finding and reaching your target audience to get them to convert to customers.

Understand Your Target Market

In order to produce effective content, you need to know who you’re creating that content for. Have a clearly identified target audience and speak directly to that audience through your engaging content.

Know Your Customers’ Common Concerns

Customers who are reading your content rather than buying your product or service are probably doing so because they’re undecided. To help them make their decision, it’s imperative for you to answer their questions and alleviate their concerns. Fortunately, you can do that with your content, if you know what your customers’ most popular questions and concerns are.

Listen to Your Customer Feedback

Coming up with those questions to base your content around can be as easy as simply listening to your current customers. If people consistently email you with the same questions or issues over and over again, those are likely things that would make for effective content.

Take a Look at Keywords

You should always consider the keywords and searches that bring potentials customers to your website. People will often enter questions into search fields if they can’t find an answer easily. Thus, if you see common themes there, that could be another source for your content.

Make a List of Questions

You should always go one step further than just simply keeping an eye out for common customer concerns. The very first thing to do is to create a list of the top 20 questions consumers have when deciding to purchase your product or service and subsequently create content to answer all of these questions in detail.

Take a Look at the Buying Process

When generating those questions and other topics for your content strategy, it can be helpful to put yourself in your customers’ shoes through each stage of the buying process. Spend the time to really familiarize yourself with the journey people take to purchase your product and then create the content to make it easy for them to purchase.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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5 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

In today’s day and age, freelance work can earn you money in a variety of ways. Whether you’re doing it for the money or as a labor of love, Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend considering the following five ways to successfully market yourself as a freelancer,

Start With Blogging

Blogging is a tool both freelancers and any other small business owners with a digital presence can use to drive traffic and increase sales.

Your blog will give you valuable information about you, your knowledge and your work as a freelancer. By generating high-quality content on your blog, you can build credibility and awareness of your brand and also give your potential customers a valuable resource.

Use Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the best ways to increase your customer base. In fact, it can bring in nearly $40 for every dollar spent on an email marketing campaign. If you don’t happen to have the necessary funds, you can start with a free MailChimp account and grow from there. The free version of MailChimp will provide you with up to 2,000 subscribers, and 12,000 emails, which should be more than enough to begin.

Social Media Is a Must

With billions of people using social media day in and day out, it is no surprise that most experts recommend freelancers use this tool to market themselves as well.

Freelancers should identify the platform their potential customers use the most and start engaging with them on that channel.

Interact On Q&A Websites

Doing this helps to establish your authority in your field. With 200 million visitors every month, Quora alone can significantly boost traffic to your site. What could be better?

Don’t Forget About SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential tool in marketing your freelance business. While SEO can get somewhat complicated, it is an effective way to optimize your digital presence online. The more optimized your site is, the more seamless it is for search engines and users to find you online.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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8 Ways to Get Your Content Found

Content marketing can be a tough strategy for small businesses to master. Not only do you need to create effective content, but you also need to push that content out to potential customers. SEO and social media can both be effective strategies in this area. Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following eight ways to get your content found online.

1-Use Instagram Hashtags for Business

Once you create content on Instagram, hashtags can effectively help you get it in front of more potential customers. Having said that, it’s imperative to have a logical strategy in place so you actually get found by relevant people.

2-Understand LinkedIn Hashtags

LinkedIn recently added an update that includes the ability to add hashtags. The new feature is in beta mode and could potentially help you reach more users.

3-Save Time on Content Curation and Collaboration

Collaborating with others in your content strategy is a great way to get your message in front of new eyes. While curating content and collaborating with others can be time-consuming, there are some tools out there to help you save time. Take time to do some research in this area.

4-Overcome Link Building Blockers

When it comes to building links to your content, there are some routine challenges and mistakes keeping content creators from making as strong of an impact. Do some research to understand these link-building blockers in addition to how to overcome them.

5-Remain Authentic

Sure, it can be difficult for a lot of marketers to find a healthy balance between creating authentic content and creating a performance that gets results. Having said that, it’s critical for your business to remain as authentic as possible.

6-Drive Sales With Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

The overarching goal of your content marketing strategy should be to boost sales for your business (both directly and indirectly). Make sure you are effectively using Instagram to increase sales for your company.

7-Learn the New Ins and Outs of Facebook

Part of using social platforms like Facebook to gain visibility for your content is keeping up with novel features. Since Facebook is constantly evolving, you want to make sure that you are always learning.

8-Use Mentoring to Increase Your Odds of Small Business Survival

According to research, mentoring can help small businesses survive for longer. Don’t be afraid to find mentors and use them as a helpful resource.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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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.