4 Tips for Staying Organized as a Freelancer

If you’re a freelancer, then you know the many perks that come along with the lifestyle. The freedom to build your schedule and work around your own day, being able to work from home (or anywhere else you want, really), and having the joy of relaxing without the stress of an office, are all some of the many benefits of working as a freelancer.

You also know, then, that there are some downfalls to being a freelancer as well. One of the most major downfalls is staying dedicated and organized to get the work done.

You don’t have a boss hanging out near your office ensuring that you complete your workday. Instead, it’s all up to you. That is why it’s crucial to stay organized as much as you can to keep on top of the game.

At Corporate Business Solutions Reviews, we know the importance of organization. So, here are four tips that will help any freelancer stay organized.

Know Your Limits

Especially when you’re first starting, it’s hard to say no when jobs come up. Money tends to be tight at the beginning, making it more appealing to work as much as you can. However, taking on more than you can handle will cause unnecessary stress in your life.

Have a Consistent Schedule

Consistency is essential for freelancers. If you get in the habit of waking up whenever you want, scheduling in appointments and errands in the middle of the workday, it gets hard to stay on top of your work.

Having a consistent schedule will not only help you stay organized and keep track of all the different projects you have going on, but it will also help you maintain a life. It’s easy to get caught up with work every evening and into the weekend.

A way to build a consistent routine is to schedule out your week in advance. Make a note of all your appointments, deadlines, tasks, and other projects on the go, and allow yourself a realistic amount of time for each. Always leave wiggle room for things taking longer than planned, and unexpected projects or issues popping up.

Prioritize

Prioritization is key for success as a freelancer, and it will help you stay organized as well. If you start your day off with a project due at the end of the week but ignore the one that’s due tomorrow, you’re setting yourself up for a stressful evening. Stress can cause chaos in our lives, and that will only lead to feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. So, when you plan out your week, start with the high priority jobs and work your way down.

Have Steady Work

Part of what makes freelancing a challenge to organize is all the one-time jobs and random assignments popping up. It’s hard to feel secure in your work when you can’t guarantee you’ll have an assignment coming your way.

Building a relationship with your clients to maintain long-term work will help ease the stress of the unknown. You won’t feel the need to take on more than you can and say yes to any unnecessary jobs just to make ends meet.30

If you’re a freelancer who struggles to stay organized, consider implementing the above four tips. You’ll find that after adjusting to them, you’ll stay more on top of your work and feel better about your daily schedule.

Starting Up a Business? 5 Tips to Find the Perfect Location

Are you in the process of starting up a business? You’ve gone through all the details, including outline everything in your business plan. The funding came in, and all that is left is to figure out where you’ll set up shop.

Finding the perfect location for your business isn’t an easy decision. You have many factors to consider, all of which can either make or break your start-up.

To help you find the best location for your new business, Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has a few tips to help you out.

Do Some Research

Before you even begin looking, you want to do some research to come up with a few options. When you research, you want to look at different areas of your city. Consider the main demographic around to what your target audience is. You wouldn’t want to set your business up in a retirement neighborhood when your target audience is young adults.

Consider Other Companies in the Area

If you want to be in a popular area, there will be other businesses around you, and that’s okay. Being around those that compliment your service or product can actually work in your favor. A customer may be at one store and realize that they could use something from yours.

Look at Your Competitors

As you look around, make a note of where your competitors are. There are a few reasons behind this. To start, if you and your competitor are side-by-side, it could be hard to grow your customer base, especially if your competitor already has many loyal customers.

Secondly, if you’re setting up your business in a larger city, going to a different area from where your competitors are could open up more customers for you. If people have the option to go to a store closer to where they live, they’ll likely choose yours over your competitors.

Think of Growth

Although you want to find a spot that works for you right now, you do want to consider what the future looks like too. This is when your business plan comes in hand.

Do you plan to expand your business as it grows? If so, do the locations you’re looking at allow you to expand, or would you have to move to a new spot? Your company will likely look a lot different five years down the road than what it is now.

Do You Buy or Rent?

A question to ask yourself is whether you should rent a building or buy. Each option has its perks and downfall. When you rent, you have less responsibility for the building. The landlord typically takes care of a lot of the maintenance, freeing up time and even money on your end. However, you have to go through your landlord for any changes you want to do.

Buying a building is a more expensive option. If you end up moving or shutting down, you’ll have to sell the place. When you buy though, the building is yours to do with however you please.

Where you set up shop is important, especially for a start-up. You want to go to an area that you’ll be noticed, without breaking the bank though. Do the research ahead of time so that you can find the best location for your new business.

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.

4 Awesome Tools To Come Up With Blog Ideas

Content marketing is all about helping small businesses generate website traffic, online visibility, and sales leads. As known, a business blog is a key to content marketing. But if you’re like many in a small business, you may find yourself wondering what exactly to write about.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following four tools to help generate ideas for blog posts.

Google Keyword Tool

The entirely free keyword tool from Google AdWords is great for finding out what people are actually searching for on Google on a day-to-day basis. You can use the tool even if you’re not advertising through Google.

Of note: look for keywords that get a significant number of searches (for example, 50,000 monthly searches), but have low or medium competition. Take note of  “local monthly searches” if you specifically want to target readers in your region or area. You can also change the location to determine how keywords are performing in various regions.

Netvibes

Netvibes allows you to create a personalized dashboard so you can monitor RSS feeds, social media accounts, and even analytics for your own blog and website (all in one place). You’ll be able to add RSS feeds for your favorite blogs and news sites and check it daily.

You can add as many feeds as you desire to get vast coverage of topics. Then, you can simply scan the headlines for something in the news that triggers a blogging idea or serves as a launching point for your own piece.

Alltop

Alltop is an amalgamation of the best blogs under hundreds of topics. You can easily come up with blog ideas by browsing through the current post titles that are shown under each topic. For example, if you write on technology, there are a myriad of technology posts from which you can learn. You can also search for related topics for each heading.

Quora

Generally speaking, a good blog post often answers a burning question that many people have. Quora is a great place to identify the types of questions that business people want answers to. Quora is particularly good for business-to-business topics.

Questions are grouped under topics. Look especially for questions with a significant amount of interactivity and comments. This is generally a signal that the topic will be engaging.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

Creating an Effective Budget for Your Business

So, you’re running a highly successful small business. Fantastic! However, things aren’t as ideal as you want them to be. While things are going well, you’d like to see greater profits.

But how do you achieve that?

The answer may be by managing a more effective business budget.

As you know, every successful company needs a budget for knowledge and insight in order to minimize waste and increase profits.

If you’re wondering where to start, you’re in the right place. Corporate Business Solutions experts offer the following steps for creating a budget for your business today.

Understand Your Revenue

It’s nearly impossible to create a budget if don’t know how much money you’re earning. Thus, you’ll need to figure out, at the very least, a monthly average of your revenue.

If your business is already up and running, all you need to do is look at your sales numbers.

Separate Recurring Income and Expected Income

You should always separate your revenue into two separate categories: recurring and expected income.

Recurring income is the regular and reliable revenue the business generates from the likes of contract work and client retainers.

On the flip side, expected income is a prediction of future earnings. Expected income, for the most part, is a financial forecast for your business.

Determine Fixed Costs

What monthly expenses does your business have? This may refer to salaries, IT expenses or even travel costs. If you’re a start-up, you likely have to pay for a lot of initial expenses, such as technology marketing efforts.

When creating your budget, determine what your fixed business costs and how much they run you each month. 

Pin Down Variable Expenses

In addition to fixed costs, small businesses have what are called variable costs. These expenses don’t have fixed priced tags and are a little more random than fixed costs.

For example, if you outsource work or use a freelancer, those costs can vary from month-to-month.

Depending on the performance of your business, variable expenses can increase or decrease. If your business is healthy and thriving, for example, you may have the more disposable cash to invest in variable expenses in order to grow your business for the long-term.

Create a Variance Report to Track and Manage Trends

One of the most critical components for keeping control of expenses and managing for a positive cash flow comes from developing a variance report that shows the difference between what has been budgeted and what is actually spent. This variance report should be set up so that a report can be run at any time to see the variances.  The variance report allows you to have an early warning about negative trends that you can then address with corrective action so that you can protect your pre-planned profits as a percent of the expected revenue.  There is a dollar for dollar impact of your bottom line profits for every increase in expenses for what has been budgeted.  The variance report is a necessary management tool to control expenses and helps create a managerial-based accounting system that is designed to give business owners more control over their business.

Whether they are fixed costs, variable expenses or one-off payments, use your budget to see where you can save money. Ultimately, you want to make your business as efficient as possible in order to increase sales and profits.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

Could Employee Retention be a Problem for Your Small Business?

Employee retention is back at the forefront of business issues. According to a new study published by Kronos and Future Workplace, nearly 87 percent of business executives called employee retention a critical priority within their companies. The reasons can be obvious. The unemployment rates are considerably low, especially when compared to the years following the Great Recession, and there’s vibrant marketplace activity. Employees could be scrutinizing new positions and might not hesitate to leave for better pay or a better workplace.

Small businesses usually suffer the most because of high turnover rates, warn CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants.  Keeping managers, developing loyalty to the company, and allowing low-level employees to grow into management positions is extremely important for the long-term survival of a company and its brand. Small business can struggle to retain employees due to several reasons. A reason that is not often discussed is how the company approaches the problem. At a small venture, no one may want to “take ownership” of employee retention.

It’s worthwhile to stop and ask which personnel or department is actually responsible for retaining employees. It often falls to the HR and top management of the company. It’s easy for the blame game to start here, with executive managers blaming lower-level managers who interact daily with employees or blaming HR for not ensuring employee wellbeing.  It’s important to establish a structure where the personnel dedicates time for monitoring employee turnover rates and possible reasons. Large corporations, for example, are already appointing “retention specialists” and “employee experience directors” just to watch the retention rate.

Small businesses may not need to resort to creating new job titles for keeping employees in the company. However, designating the responsibility to managers or the HR department should happen. It’s important to also monitor annual employee retention rate. Corporate Business Solutions Reviews could help small businesses understand internal workings better, particularly with regards to how employees view their job experience.

In addition, making sure that employees are satisfied with their jobs by collecting feedback, offering perks, and being flexible when possible will also improve retention rates. If your small business has high turnover rates, it will affect the growth potential of the company. Therefore, do keep an eye on the employee retention rate and seek ways to improve it.

Small Business Financial Responsibility Tips for 2018

It’s still the start of a brand new year, so now is the perfect time to start thinking about small business finances for the rest of the year. Most business owners do worry about how the market will fare as new year dawns. If the market suddenly took a turn for the worst, could your small business survive? There’s also a new federal tax plan that will surely affect small businesses when quarterly taxes are due. As new challenges await small businesses in 2018, CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants highly recommend adopting new ways to remain financially responsible. Here are some tips owners can easily follow:

Stop Relying on Banks for Funding – Is your business heavily funded through bank loans or other types of debt? Debt issues can be the main source of cash flow problems for small businesses. It’s common to see small business owners struggle to repay loans even when the business is actually doing fine otherwise. Business loans are hefty and often carry high interest rates, so regular cash flow may not suffice to repay loans and make payroll. Therefore, be cautious when borrowing. It’s recommended for small businesses to have a savings repository to use when the creditors come knocking.  But more importantly, business owners need to develop a positive cash management system that will allow them to pay their obligations without the need for borrowing.

Formulate a Sound Tax Strategy – The tax law has changed. Do you know how it may affect your business? Small businesses should seek out professional tax advice on how the new tax law will affect them.  At the same time, CBS-CBS.com consultants can perform an in-depth review of your small business to ensure that you are well positioned to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you in 2018, including the changes in the tax law.

Analyze the Revenue – A good amount of targeted marketing and promotions that your small business undertakes in 2018 will require data for justification. This data comes from analyzing your company’s overall cash flow and revenue. Design a highly effective marketing plan and engage in cost-effective projects by doing a proper analysis of the company’s revenue streams.

Start the New Year with a (responsible) bang by putting the above pieces of advice to practice.

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.

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.

How Famous Businesses Create Great Company Cultures

If a small business wants to retain its top talent, increase employee morale, commitment and productivity, then the business must have a great culture. Company culture is a term that pops up a lot in business-related news articles. It refers to the internal environment of a business and the rules and procedures that drive employee, manager, and customer relations. A good company culture is essential for long-term business survival.

So, exactly how can a small business create a good company culture? Let’s look at some examples of famous brands that have managed to create truly excellent company cultures (selected by Corporate Business Solutions consultants):

Twitter – Twitter has managed to avoid some of the major pitfalls tech companies faced by developing a good company culture. The workplace is highly team-oriented with an emphasis on motivation and inspiration. Twitter also offers other benefits like free lunches, yoga classes, and even unlimited vacations for select employees. Those are only some of the reasons why Twitter employees cannot stop boasting about the company.

Warby Parker – Warby Parker is a major prescription eyeglasses brand. The company ensures that the internal culture is positive by arranging numerous events that drive positive interactions between employees. For example, working at Warby Parker means attending fun events, going out to interesting lunches, and overall socializing with co-workers a lot.

Zappos – The online shoe brand does not tread slowly when it comes to company culture. Zappos is heavily invested in providing great customer service. But the customer is not the only focus here. Zappos has 10 core values that all employees must learn. Zappos believes that happy employees lead to happy, and loyal, customers.

Squarespace – Squarespace is a highly successful startup that was once ranked as the best place to work in NYC. Why? Well, the reasons are many. The company has a “flat” hierarchy where the management level between the employees and the executives are few. Squarespace is actually applying a common startup tactic to a much larger company. Also, the company offers amazing benefits to employees like full health insurance coverage, pleasant workplaces, in-office stocked kitchens, and flexible vacation periods.

There are many things small businesses can learn from the above examples of creating a great company culture. CBS Corporate Business Solutions also want to include the importance of taking steps to reducing the incidents of verbal abuse and sexual harassment at the workplace if a company wants to create a truly great culture.