Well, we just all got through the elections and they may or may not have gone the way you had hoped. Regardless of the outcome, we are all hopeful and optimistic that the future of businesses will continue to prosper and grow, especially for small business entrepreneurs. After all, entrepreneurship is part of the American Dream! It is through entrepreneurial optimism that business owners are finding business and personal success. One way for small business owners (and the larger ones too) to remain positive and optimistic is to remember the things we have to be thankful for in our companies and careers as we start this Thanksgiving holiday week and move forward right into the holiday season. Below is a list I found created by AllBussiness.com of the top ten things small businesses can be thankful for.
So here they are….I hope you enjoy them and give thanks for them this holiday season. The top 10 things small businesses can be thankful for this holiday season and throughout the year:
10. The economy really is getting better. No doubt about it, things are still tough for many people, but there are more and more positive signs out there, boding well for companies large and small. The major stock market indexes have shown surprising strength, credit card issuers report that delinquencies have slowed, and U.S. retail sales currently stand at their highest level in more than two years. That’s all good news for small businesses, especially consumer-facing firms. Even as most prices small businesses pay remain low, some small businesses are reporting that they’ve been able to increase profits by raising prices.
9. The Internet and social media. From Facebook to Twitter to eBay to email marketing, the Internet’s impact on small business is impossible to overstate. The Internet has made it possible for even the smallest companies to sell their products and services around the world, to work with suppliers and employees in remote locations, and to inexpensively market to millions (or billions) of people at once. On the Web nobody knows you’re a small business — in many ways you’re competing on a level playing field with the Fortune 500. And that’s not all. The Web also makes it easy to get the information you need to make your business successful — not to mention network with your peers for advice and support.
8. John Boehner is one of us. No matter what your political persuasion, it’s not insignificant that the incoming Speaker of the House comes from a small business background. Boehner often speaks in emotional tones about his experiences tending bar and mopping up the floors at his family’s small business, Andy’s Cafe, a pub in Carthage, Ohio. Before entering Congress he also worked as a salesman for Nucite Sales, a marketing firm for plastics manufacturers. It remains to be seen if Boehner’s real-world experience will prove a boon to small business once he takes the helm of the lower chamber — but the opportunity is there.
7. Small businesses can expect some relief on health care. The Obama administration is relaxing health care regulations so businesses can jump to another insurance company without having to conform to new coverage mandates. The biggest beneficiary of the recent ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to be small employers, which were just hit with a big rate increase.
6. Great employees. Small business owners have the privilege of leading some of the most dedicated, resourceful, productive workers in the world. And unlike large multinational corporations, small businesses often get the opportunity to work directly in cooperative teams with their employees, free of much of the bureaucracy and red tape that hobble bigger organizations.
5. It’s easier than ever to hire new workers. One positive side effect of the economic malaise is the creation of an employer’s hiring market. Small businesses that are hiring have access to better, more qualified workers than at any other time in memory. And many of these exemplary employees are happy to work for reasonable wages.
4. New financing options. Traditional bank loans and venture capital may be hard to come by these days, but we’ve also seen the emergence of innovative new ways to raise money. Small business grants and microloans, for example, are increasing in importance and availability. Angel investors are also taking on new importance. Perhaps even more important, if you can land a loan, interest rates continue to remain at historic lows.
3. Small is the new large. Revolutionary changes in technology– including the increasing consumerization of business tech, the rise of cloud computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) are dramatically cutting the cost of equipping a business and building a computing infrastructure. Best of all, these trends seem tailor-made for the needs of small businesses — especially startups — not saddled with the legacy systems that can hinder many older, larger companies.
2. America. Small business owners like to carp about overregulation, taxes, and other problems. Those are all very real issues. But compared to most other countries, the good old USA still represents a unique combination of freedom; relatively low taxes and non-intrusive regulations; a skilled, diverse workforce; an entrepreneurial culture with unlimited opportunities; rich and varied sources of capital; and a transparent and consistent business culture maintained by rule of law, not connections, bribery, and influence. Really, where else would you want to run your small business?
1. You are your own boss! The best part of running a small company has always been that you’re in business for yourself, not someone else. So go ahead, take Friday off — the boss won’t mind.
Development Associate-Special Events
Child & Family Center
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I came across this book called “How To” Strategies and Practical Tips For Leaders at ALL Levels” by Eric Harvey and Paul Sims. It appealed to me as a refresher to those of us who have been in management for a long time as well as a training tool for people just beginning in that arena.
I’ve copied some pieces of their message below:
“If you’ve been in management for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly come to realize that it’s a multi-faceted profession – a somewhat complex calling that includes the classic and academically described duties of “planning, directing, controlling, etc.” … and much more.
Like a coin, leadership has two sides. There’s the proactive side – the actions you initiate to positively affect people and their performance. And there’s the reactive side – the actions you take in response to unanticipated issues and situations. The key to these equally important sides is ACTION. And the way we see it, in order to act properly and effectively in these fast-paced times, your management “toolbox” needs to be filled with solid nuts and bolts techniques.
Here are some “How To” tips that should help:
- Address Performance Problems Early. One of the surest ways to demotivate employees is allowing people to do sub-par work. When that happens, others have to pick up the slack. You owe it to the rest of the team to address an employee’s deficiencies as soon as you become aware of them. Waiting only increases the intensity of everyone else’s bad feelings.
- Think “Development.” Make developing the members of your team (and yourself) one of your top priorities. Besides providing formal training, pursue opportunities for building skills, awareness, and confidence that require minimal time and resources (e.g., watching videos, distributing industry publications, mentoring).
- Always Give the “Why.” A combined lesson from Human Nature 101 and Common Sense 101: There’s a much better chance that people will be motivated and give their enthusiastic support if they understand the reason behind a goal, assignment, or decision. So, always follow the what with the why!
- Teach Business Literacy. One powerful way to get people motivated is to teach them the business of the business. The more people understand how a successful organization is run, the better they’ll be able to contribute to your overall mission and the bottom line … and feel like they truly are a part of your success.
- Let your employees lead. Help others on your team develop by letting them take the lead on certain activities and projects. Most of us like “being in charge” – at least some of the time. It’s a great way to build skills, commitment, and responsibility.
- Involve them in Decision Making. Have an important decision to make? Let employees decide! Or at least ask for their ideas and suggestions. They are, after all, the ones who will feel the impact the most. Besides, you’ll probably end up with a better decision – one that your people will be inclined to support because they helped make it.
- Keep them informed.Hold regular “state of the business” meetings to keep everyone informed on what’s happening within the organization (future plans, new products or services, planned purchases, etc.). Make sure people do NOT feel “kept in the dark.
- Spread the wealth.Rotate the drudgework so that everyone shares part of the load. Likewise, spread around the high-profile assignments so that every person has an occasional opportunity to strut his or her stuff.
- Respect their time. If you expect employees to believe that their work is important, you have to believe it, too. More importantly, you have to behave like you believe it! Don’t expect people to drop whatever they’re doing every time you need something. Instead, ask if they have a few minutes to chat. Better yet, ask for a time when they’ll be available to meet with you.”
All of these are very solid tips that can help all of us become and/or remain better leaders for our businesses.