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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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4 Traits That Signal Bad Leadership

If your employees avoid you at all costs, don’t make eye contact with you when talking, and you can see how nervous they are when you come around the corner, chances are there’s an issue with your leadership style.

Poor leadership quickly can be the downfall of any business, no matter the size. If your team does not respect you as their leader and manager, it will be difficult to not only keep them on board with your plans but to keep them employed altogether. Poor leadership is noted as one of the top reasons employees quit their job.

If you want to avoid this scenario or fix it if this sounds like your office already, you’ll need to evaluate your leadership style and see if anything needs changing. Corporate Business Solutions (CBS-CBS.com) has some of the top traits that signal bad leadership.

Poor Listening Skills

If you never listen to your employees, how do you expect to gain their respect? A good leader will take the time to listen to all of the employees he or she has. Not only will this help improve the employer to employee relationship, but you may also find that they have ideas that could benefit the company.

No Honesty

A quick way to turn into a bad boss is by lying to your staff members. The lack of transparency from management will ultimately lead to the lack of trust and respect from the staff in your company.

Being transparent as much as possible with employees helps develop a positive and trustworthy relationship. It shows that you care enough to include them in what affects them. Transparency brings everyone onto the same page, which will help foster a strong team.

Ego Gets in the Way

Ask yourself this – how often do you take responsibility if an issue arises, or do you often find yourself asking someone else why this problem occurred? A visible sign of poor leadership is when the manager won’t take responsibility and lets his or her ego get in the way.

When there is good leadership in the office, the manager knows when to take responsibility for issues that are out of their employee’s controls. If he or she makes a mistake, they own it, learn from it, and move forward. Also, a good manager knows when it’s time to recognize his or her employees so that the spotlight isn’t always on them.

Lack of Understanding

Proper leadership knows there needs to be a balance between empathy and being understanding, and knowing when you need to be stricter. If you don’t have compassion towards what your team goes through on a daily basis, as well as any challenges they face outside of the office, you’ll likely notice a negative atmosphere in the office.

Empathy is essential in management. Quite often the word empathy correlates soft management. However, the lack of empathy actually corresponds to harsh management in the employee’s eyes. Showing a bit of understanding towards your employees will help foster a sense of trust and that you care, which will help grow your relationship with your employees.

Consider these four traits and compare them to your leadership style. Can you confidently say, and know your employees would agree, that you listen to them, are honest with them, takes responsibility when needed, and shows empathy? If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your leadership style.

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4 Reasons Why You Should Start Saving for Retirement Today

Are you contributing to your retirement fund? If not, ask yourself why not? There are many reasons why someone holds off on saving for retirement – they have debts to pay off first or don’t make enough money right now, or want to treat themselves while they are young.

It’s easy to come up with an excuse to not put money aside for decades down the road. The truth is, though, you should start saving for retirement as soon as possible. The earlier you start saving, the more money you will have when you need it the most.

Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has heard many reasons why people wait to save for retirement. However, we want to give you a few reasons why you should start saving today.

Live Life Financially Free

When it’s time to retire, you should be able to walk out the doors of your job and not have to worry about money ever again. You’ve worked hard for the majority of your life to get to that point. Imagine, though, that you couldn’t pay the bills, travel to see your grandkids, or have to move in with your children.

Your retirement years should be the chance for you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, and spend time with those you love. However, if you do not have the money for it, you won’t have a very happy retirement. So, start putting aside money today so that your future self can have that financial freedom you’re likely dreaming of already.

Start Earning Interest

Depending on where you are putting your retirement money, you could earn a large amount of interest by the time you retire. Each year you have money in a retirement account you’ll have a return on your investment. Although it may be small at the start, over the years, your annual return will continue to grow along with your retirement fund.

Reach Retirement Sooner

Wouldn’t it be lovely to retire sooner rather than later? If you start saving for retirement as soon as possible, you increase your chances of being able to retire at a younger age. The more money you have in your retirement fund, it allows you the option to choose when you want to retire, and not have to continue working longer than planned.

Won’t Need to Work

How often do you hear someone say that he or she cannot afford to retire yet, even though he or she’s at the average retirement age? Chances are, if they would have started saving earlier on in life, they may have been able to retire when they wanted.

If you can start saving money now and build up a large retirement fund, you also won’t have to go back to work. Many retirees go back to work because they have to. Instead, have a well-funded retirement account in which you would get another job only because you want to.

The bottom line is that the sooner you start to save for your retirement, the better off you will be at that time. You’ll have worked hard to get to the point of retirement. Don’t let it be shadowed over with the fear of not being able to afford retirement.

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Why Your Business Needs Teamwork to Succeed

Running a business is great and all, but if you don’t have a solid team behind you, it will be hard to take that business forward. A successful company has not just good management and a concrete business plan, but it also has a handful of team members that are fully supporting the idea.

As a leader, there is only so much you can do on your own. As the company grows, there will be more tasks to accomplish in one day. If you spread yourself too thin, you may achieve everything but not to the best of your ability. However, if you bring on a team, they can take over some of the load, and everyone will excel at his or her assigned job.

Corporate Business Solutions knows just how essential a team is to their company. Here are four reasons to emphasize the importance of teamwork.

Teamwork Brings New Perspectives to the Table

How often do you find yourself staring at the computer screen with a blank mind? Maybe there is a challenging task that you cannot figure out the best way to approach it. Running out of ideas can happen to the best of leaders.

Having that team provides new perspectives to not just the challenging parts of running a business, but to the simple everyday tasks as well. One member may have done one job a different way beforehand that was very successful while another member may find what a more efficient solution to what you’re currently doing.

A solid team can brainstorm off of each other to come up with new and innovative ideas that sometimes cannot happen on your own.

Teamwork Provides a Support System

When you have a team that can work together and enjoys each other’s company, you develop a support system that everyone can rely on. These relationships allow members to lean on each other when they need it the most.

The support system from a team is also an excellent motivator. The cooperation between everyone can help drive one another to push themselves a little harder than if they were by themselves. Some teams even excel from friendly competition that only comes from having a group.

Teamwork Improves Productivity

Early we mentioned how trying to do everything on your own will spread yourself too thin. Well, by having that team, you can delegate tasks to everyone which allows you to focus on the things that matter most to you – running the company.

When you delegate tasks to members who have the best skills for the job, you’ll start to see an increase in productivity. More people can do more things than one person alone. Especially when they all work together, the team turns into a well-run machine that can continue to accomplish everything asked of them.

Teamwork Provides Learning Opportunities

When you bring together a group of people to work side-by-side, it will turn into learning opportunities in two ways. The first is by brainstorming different ideas that other people may not have thought about.

The other learning opportunity is through errors. Mistakes are inevitable. However, if dealt with properly, the team can someone’s mistake as a way to avoid them in the future.

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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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6 Ways to Help Keep Your Best Employees Around

Business owners and managers can probably agree that trying to keep their best and brightest staff members around is highly important. You go through the process of scoping out the perfect employee and train them, all in hopes that they will stay loyal to your company.

Having to replace key staff members can be fairly pricey for the company. You can expect to pay at minimum, 20 percent of the positions wage trying to fill it. That is not a process you want to go through very often.

That is why it is crucial to the success of the company to maintain a steady team. Corporate Business Solutions recommends implementing the following tips to help keep your best employees around.

 

Trust and Respect Your Employees

One of the best things you can do for your staff is to show them that they have your complete trust and respect. Why? When team members feel respected in the workplace, and know that their manager trusts them to do their job as they see fit, it’s an empowering feeling. That is a feeling that will keep staff members happy.

Be Their Support

If your team doesn’t feel like they have your support, whether it be in workplace conflicts, client/customer issues, or even at home problems that are affecting their daily work, how likely are they to stick around? Having support from upper management is a key step in maintaining your top employees.

Talk to Them

Open communication between staff and management is critical. If your team doesn’t know what your expectations are, or they cannot talk to you, there’s a good chance you’ll be hiring new members soon. Communication, both private and in meetings, is essential to keep the work on track and to support your employees.

Listen to Them

Just as communication is important, so too is listening to your employees when they talk. Even if it is about something you prefer not hearing, it could be valuable to improving your relationship with them. They may also have excellent ideas to help the company.

Have a Competitive Wage

Loyalty to a company is only part of what will make employees stay. They also need to be able to support their family. Having a competitive wage that is fair for the work they do will help staff members be happy with where they are at.

Show Flexibility

It can be challenging for employees to remain happy and loyal to their company if there is no room for flexibility. Family emergencies will come up, stress days will need to be taken, or taking on a task in a different way that is better for the employee. You don’t want to fold over to every request, but you should show that you can be flexible and accommodating.

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10 Reasons Why Employees Stay With Your Company

As you know, retaining top talent and unique employees is key to long-term productivity and team effectiveness. Thus, knowing what makes people happy at work is important. Corporate Business Solutions experts lay out for us the 10 most common reasons why employees stay with your company.

Benefits and Incentives

Some of the most effective benefits and incentives are more workplace independence, development opportunities, healthcare, commuting assistance, and performance-based bonuses.

Satisfaction with the Environment

A clean and organized workplace with a lively atmosphere, ample space, and sufficient facilities is essential to maintaining employee morale. People are also integral components of the environment. Opportunity to socialize and collaborate is a big part of workplace synergy.

Financial Compensation

Payment for work, complete with bonuses and incentives, provides tremendous stability. Being open to the possibility of raises in the future with long-term tenure and continued good performance is also a motivating factor.

Inspiration for Working Smarter

You should always encourage and foster working smart rather than working just to be busy. Ultimately, this is more productive and rewarding. This approach must be present in managers who supervise without micromanaging.

Great Relationships with Leadership

Those who seek to prove themselves every single day should be praised for their work ethic. Those who may be falling behind should be offered help from management to improve their performance, which may include such things as retraining, help with skill development, or clearer performance standards as to what is expected from the employee so that goals can be achieved. Positive efforts by management to help an employee improve can help foster the internal motivation that the employee needs to perform better. Forming relationships is an important factor in a harmonious workplace.

Challenge and Excitement

People want to be engaged with challenging work that piques their interest and employs their technical and interpersonal skills. Being able to complete projects with a dynamic and well-balanced team is encouraging.

Mentorship

Learning from more experienced members of the company can make things seamless for new and less experienced employees. Mentorship is conducive to learning on the job.

Recognition

It goes without saying that everyone likes to be respected and recognized for their hard work.

Career Development

Most employees don’t want to be trapped in dead-end jobs with no prospects for advancement and doing the same thing for years. Being engaged includes new challenges to overcome and new skills to learn in order to develop as employees and people.

Work-Life Balance

Excessive overtime hinders productivity. A reasonable amount of sick leave and vacation time is motivation to take quality rest and recovery time. This ensures that employees go back to work with a rejuvenated sense of purpose and excitement to perform.

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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5 Awesome Content Marketing Strategies

While some companies use content marketing as a way to increase brand awareness, others use it as a way to generate sales or leads. Regardless of its purpose for your business, Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following five strategies for improving your content marketing.

Identify Your Target Audience

As expected, content works best when its targeted for a particular audience. Rather than aimlessly creating content without considering who your target audience is, spend time identifying your target audience and think about who will benefit most from your products or services. This will ensure the content you create on your site is more engaging and relatable for your target audience.

Use Great Visuals

The old adage of “a picture tells 1000 words” certainly carries truth today. This is particularly true in the world of content marketing. Combining the use of great visuals, whether it’s pictures, videos or infographics, with quality text, is one content marketing strategy for your website that should not be overlooked.

Having said that, one image placed at the top of a blog won’t suffice. Rather, the content on your website should be accompanied by stimulating imagery. In other words, throwing a stock image at the top of an article will not cut it. You should add relevant images throughout the article to try and keep the user’s engagement high throughout the entire piece.

Create Shareable Content

Another critical aspect of content marketing is to make the content you create on your small business’s website shareable. In other words, you want to aim to make it go viral. Generating content that encourages others to share it will inevitably drive higher volumes of traffic to your website. As you know, higher percentages of traffic results in greater leads and sales.

Create a Content Marketing Plan

Successful content marketing campaigns should always begin with a content marketing plan. This essential content marketing strategy for your small business should include mapping out potential blog titles and topics for the upcoming weeks and months. You’ll also want to include any guest blogging targets and where your content gets posted on external websites to help your small business reach a wider audience.

Share Your Website Content On Social Media

Rather than simply writing a new blog and publishing it on your website or creating a new landing page and forgetting about it, share your fresh and creative content to as many followers as possible. In addition to using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, post regular content on multiple social avenues, including LinkedIn and Google+.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.