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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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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.

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7 Great Tips For Your Email Newsletter

Establishing and building your brand is a key component of any small business. Accordingly, an email newsletter is a great tool to use to help you get there. Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following eight tips for optimizing your email newsletter.

Inform Subscribers About What They’ll Get    

You want to make sure that everyone knows what to expect right when they sign up. Tell them the type of content they’ll get and when they should expect newsletters to arrive in their inboxes. This transparency establishes a good tone and helps to build a strong relationship.

Make It Mobile-Friendly

As you know, it’s important to keep in mind how important mobile is to get your target market to read your newsletter. Reading on a smaller screen is always different than the desktop, and you’ll need to make the changes to optimize your newsletter for the iPhone and other smartphones.

Buttons should be large enough so they are easy to click and the content must be short and sweet. It’s important to keep in mind that people are reading from their smartphones on the go.

Create Engaging Subject Lines

By creating excellent subject lines, you’ll drastically improve your open rate. For example, letting them know they’ll be getting 10 useful tips on a relevant subject is a great start.

Nonetheless, keep your subject lines short and simple.

Add VERY Interesting Content

You likely already know what interests your target market the most. Thus, you should capitalize on that and include interesting content in your newsletter that doesn’t include a lot of hard sell ad copy.

In other words, you should include 90% educational content and 10% sales copy to maximize your opportunities.

Include That Personal Touch

Chances are very high that the people receiving your newsletter delete more emails than they open.  Thus, adding the first name at the beginning of your newsletter can and will make a significant difference when it comes to optimizing your open rates.

Offer Cool Stuff

Special offers are one of the biggest draws to improve your open rates. Offers can include coupons or even discounts that are only available to your email subscribers.

The special offers that you offer will go further if you only include them with a subscription to your email newsletter.

Consistency is Key

As routine-oriented organisms, people like consistency. This type of routine includes your email newsletter. Thus, it’s important to make sure that you send out your newsletter on the same day at roughly the same time.

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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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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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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Small Businesses will be Affected by Facebook’s Newsfeed Change. Here’s What to Do About It.

Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook would be making some significant changes to how content is viewed on the platform’s Newsfeed. In a Facebook post on January 11, Zuckerberg specifically pointed to “public content,” which are posts from brands, businesses, and media, as “crowding out” personal posts. Facebook is making a major shift to mainly show posts from friends on the Newsfeed, as opposed to promotional material.

Small businesses can expect this change to hit them the hardest. Smaller brands are the most likely to promote Facebook posts. This year, this strategy will require drastic changes. Here are several tips suggested by CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants on how small businesses can get around the Newsfeed change:

Produce High-Quality Content—Facebook users are mostly annoyed by spam posts that are blatantly pitch products. To keep your posts on Facebook, start producing better quality content. Meaning content that is highly relevant, timely, and interesting to the target audience. Avoid clickbait and misleading headlines. Invest in articles or video that the target audience would genuinely be interested in.

Consider Paying for Facebook Ads—If Facebook is essential for marketing to your company’s target audience, then seriously consider paying for Facebook ads. The ads will be strategically displayed alongside the Newsfeed so the new change doesn’t affect ads.

Create Content based on Engagement Metrics—The content that is most likely to be successful on Facebook is the type of content with the highest engagement rating. If the videos your company is posting on Facebook is generating high engagement numbers, then it’s safe to continue producing the same type of content. Facebook issues an “engagement rate” for each post your business profile submits. Use this rate to measure which content is becoming popular on the platform, and the continue to make more of it.

Ask Users to Allow Posts—Facebook has a feature called “see it first” that allows users to prioritize content seen on Newsfeeds. Users can click on the “see it first” button for your brand’s profile so that the content you produce won’t be filtered out with the rest of the public content. So conduct a campaign to get Facebook followers to make this change.

There are also alternatives to Facebook marketing your small business can try. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to find out more.