Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Top 10 Tax Deductions for Small Businesses (Video)

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

If you’re like many small business owners, your thoughts are already turning towards preparing for tax season.

And an important part of that preparation should be looking for ways to potentially save your business a lot of money: namely deductions!

Need a refresher on what’s deductible? Then watching the video above on the top 10 tax deductions for small businesses should help.

These Deductions Can Really Help Your Bottom Line

When you deliver your files, receipts and spreadsheets this year, make sure to schedule some time with your accountant to discuss tax deductions that could save your business vitally important revenue. You may be aware of many of them already, but here’s a refresher course just in case.

For example, you probably know that while your salary is a non-deductible draw in many cases, you can deduct the salaries and wages you pay your employees. And speaking of wages, you can also deduct the fees you pay to professional service providers such as accountants, lawyers and perhaps even your tax preparer. Yay!

Many ongoing business fees are actually eligible for deductions. Those include your insurance payments, rent on business facilities, items used in a business (e.g., cleaning supplies for a cleaning service), and the electrical utilities that keep your facilities running.

Some of the available deductions may surprise you. One example is your home office. Did you know if you use your home as a principal place of business you can claim some of your personal expenses as deductions? That includes mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs and depreciation. This is the case whether you use your home as a place to meet or deal with clients or customers or for some other business activity. And, of course, if your company owns property that’s used exclusively for business purposes, you can deduct many of the costs — including mortgage interest.

Finally, don’t forget to deduct your ordinary advertising costs. This is an important one t keep in mind.

So this tax season, don’t forget to ask your accountant about these top 10 tax deductions for small businesses and more. The results could really change your bottom line.

And for more, be sure to check out the full list of top 20 tax deductions for small business.

Tax Deductions Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Top 10 Tax Deductions for Small Businesses (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Meet Instantprint’s New Startup Hub for Small Businesses

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Need Small Business Advice? Visit the New Instantprint Startup Hub

If you’re thinking about starting a small business, a company specializing in printing services for businesses of all sizes may have one solution. InstantPrint recently launched Instantprint’s Startup Hub for startup businesses.  The hub offers articles for small businesses like  Startup Market Research: Everything You Need To Know, Start Up Success Stories and How to Write a Business Plan.

Instantprint Startup Hub

Besides the usual business advice, the site provides a wide range of resources for new businesses including free guides and downloadable templates.

“Helping small and micro businesses grow their business is at the heart of everything we do. Marketing materials and promotional print make up the core of our business, however, we wanted to offer support in all areas of running a business,” Instantprint’s co-founder James Kinsella explains in a release about the new feature. “Startups.instantprint.co.uk is a great platform for new businesses looking for advice whatever stage of the business journey they’re at.”

Once a startup itself and now one of UK’s fastest growing businesses, Instantprint has drawn upon its own experiences and is now using its hub to share the lessons that the company has acquired over its growth.

Now a part of Bluetree Group, the company provides round-the-clock printing of flyers, stationary, posters, business cards, posters and leaflets for businesses of all sizes.

The company also collates and dispenses information about business influencers from around the world.

Besides launching the startup hub for small businesses, Instantprint also works extensively with small business owners, and was responsible for sponsorship of the 2015 inaugural Inspirational Business Awards.

Image: Instantprint

This article, “Meet Instantprint’s New Startup Hub for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Rolling Up Your Sleeves To Create Live Video

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Even the best livestreaming tools won’t help you if you’ve never heard of them. In this installment of Livestreamed Livelihoods, we talk with Rob Hix, co-owner of Enlightened Audiovisual and co-host of the weekly Brand Matters Show. He shares the recent “who’s who” — or rather the “what’s what” — in branded livestreaming choices and more.

Rolling Up Your Sleeves To Create Live Video

Rob Hix is a life-long small business owner with a passion for live video production, commercial audiovisual systems and broadcasting. Considering innovation and out-of-the-box solutions as his “sweet spot”, he is “an employer, employee, executive and janitor all wrapped into one amazing career.” Hix adds that he lives life in his own self-interest, to the benefit of his employees and clients, working best with those who place a premium on their lives and exchange value-for-value to achieve their goals.

* * * * *

Small Business Trends: Now more than ever, there seems to be many more livestreaming third parties and techniques. This could get overwhelming, I feel. Can you give us a sampling of some noteworthy brands seeing growth or gaining buzz?

Rob Hix: We haven’t deviated much in the past year and a half with the products and services we use for livestream collaboration and broadcasting. We use Zoom Video Conferencing to bring in remote guests and Telestream Wirecast to live mix the on-screen participants with mixed media such as lower-thirds, graphics, videos, etc. Our focus for the past ten years has been to provide highly reliable and scalable end-user collaboration systems that include conference rooms, training rooms, lecture halls and broadcast studios. Because we work with enterprise organizations with hundreds or thousands of employees, there is a greater need for consistency over what may be the latest trends. Enterprise organizations and brands focus on business outcomes rather than compartmentalized widgets and gimmicks.

As for noteworthy brands, I would say Zoom Video Conferencing is one to watch. They have an established base of over 400,000 companies using their cloud-based conferencing service and they will be introducing Facebook and YouTube integration within the next two months. For social media platforms, I believe YouTube will remain dominant in the video space, especially within the live video space. Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter have the current buzz, but YouTube dominates among search and discoverability.

Small Business Trends: What are the best channels to connect with you?

Rob Hix: On Twitter, I’m @rob_hix or @Enlightened_AV. I’m also on Facebook and on LinkedIn. My email is rhix@enlightenedaudiovisual.com

Pictured: Rob Hix, Jennifer Quinn
Images: Rob Hix

This article, “Rolling Up Your Sleeves To Create Live Video” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Coach! Introduces a Process for Better Business Decisions

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Considering a Business Coach? You Might Need One More than You ThinkWhat exactly is business coaching? We usually only hear about it in two scenarios, a highly-paid executive who hires a Yoda-like coach to solve their problems or a person being “coached” because their job is in danger. Not surprisingly, the field of coaching isn’t one with which a lot of ordinary people are familiar. Coach!: The Crucial, Deceptively Simple Leadership Skill For Breakaway Performance was written to provide a better introduction to business coaching for those who wonder if coaching could be a good fit for their situation or a future career.

What is Coach! About?

Coach! is focused on two audiences, prospective clients and prospective coaches. For the first audience, author Andrew Neitlich breaks down what coaching is (and is not) as well as how coaching can be used to achieve results at a lower cost and time investment than other forms of support (like therapy or consulting). Coaching is a specific, focused and interactive activity that guides a client through discovering a “problem area” or weakness and developing a plan of attack to conquer it. It involves a clear process that is distinct from other ways of passing knowledge in the workplace (like mentoring or teaching). Coaches don’t waltz into a situation and solve it. They help clients develop the internal and external resources to solve it themselves.

Neitlich, in particular, focuses on a specific type of person who needs business coaching, the high-achieving individual. The book shines a light on high-achieving individuals because they have the most to gain from coaching but often are the last to consider it. (Think about a healthy person who waits until the last minute to get a routine check-up). Neitlich does his best to explain why this group needs to consider coaching and how coaching on an individual level connects to the entire business.

For the second audience (prospective business coaches), the book offers a general overview of business coaching, what should happen to clients as a result of coaching and how to deal with some roadblocks along the way. Neitlich discusses coaching from his viewpoint often giving insightful tips in the process. In addition, the book shows prospective coaches how they can make the case for coaching to future clients.

Aside from writing the book, Neitlich is a consultant and founder of The Center for Executive Coaching, an approved training provider for the international Coach Federation. His organization has trained thousands of coaches who have gone on to work at companies like FedEx, Microsoft, Apple and the U.S. military. Besides his professional duties, Neitlich enjoys playing a lot of tennis in the sunny state of Florida.

What Was Best About Coach!?

The best part of Coach! is its focus on fundamentals. The book begins by providing a crystal-clear definition of what coaching is and how it differs from similar activities (like mentoring or consulting). It then provides a comprehensive look at the coaching process. Coach! doesn’t provide a full-fledged textbook on coaching but it does provide a broad overview of how the process works from the client’s and coach’s perspective.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Although the book’s main purpose is to explain what coaching is to prospective clients and coaches, more attention should be directed to developing a viable coaching business. To be specific, the book could devote a little more attention to providing advice on how coaches can get started in the first few months. Some information is given on how to approach and work with clients but there is little advice on how to turn that insight into a viable business.

Why Read Coach!?

Coach! is a guide to the process of coaching for those who either aren’t familiar with or only have a limited or vague sense of what it is. For people considering coaching, the book helps readers understand what it is and what it isn’t. It also looks at how coaching can help you move closer to your goals. For prospective coaches, the book provides an overview of the fundamentals of the coaching process written from the perspective of a coach who founded an organization dedicated to certifying and training professionals in the field.

This article, “Coach! Introduces a Process for Better Business Decisions” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Online Event DIGIMARCON Puts Digital Marketing at the Forefront

Saturday, January 21st, 2017


If you want your business to get more attention in 2017, you need to use digital marketing.

And if you want to learn more about using digital marketing to benefit your business, you can do just that at the DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference. The online event takes place in November and offers a number of different tips and methods for helping attendees enhance their digital marketing efforts.

But that’s just one of the upcoming business events that can help you learn more about marketing and other essential aspects of running a small business. You can read more about DIGIMARCON WORLD and other exciting business conferences and events in the Featured Events section. And then check out even more upcoming business events in the list below.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

SYMPOSIA Conference for Women EntrepreneursSYMPOSIA Conference for Women Entrepreneurs
January 27, 2017, San Francisco, Calif.

Skyrocket your business with two days of inspiration and lessons learned from 7 powerful women entrepreneurs who have found the courage to follow their dreams and build 7+ figure businesses with perseverance, determination and grit! #symposia2017


SCORE’s 2017 American Small Business Championship (ASBC)
February 13, 2017, Online

SCORE is looking for the best small businesses in America. SCORE and Sam’s Club celebrate these businesses through the American Small Business Championship and the SCORE Awards. Share your unique story to win $25,000 or other amazing prizes. Entering is easy. Answer the question, “What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?” through a video of 30-60 seconds, or with a photo and written response of 1,500 characters or less.


LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017
March 20, 2017, Las Vegas, Nev.

If finding, nurturing and converting quality leads are essential to your business’s growth and success, then LeadsCon is perfect for you. 5000+ people rely each year on LeadsCon (Las Vegas & New York) for unparalleled insights and access to marketing leaders. The opportunities to do business at LeadsCon Las Vegas are going to be greater than ever before – so don’t miss out on the connections and knowledge that will give you an advantage on the competition. Secure your spot at the premier gathering of performance marketers and lead gen professionals from around the world.


EntreLeadership 1-DayEntreLeadership 1-Day
April 11, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Grow yourself, your team & your profits! At EntreLeadership 1-Day, you will learn the six essentials of business: leadership, people, money, time, team, and higher calling. Dave Ramsey will be joined by business experts Chris Hogan & Christy Wright.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ10 ($10 off)


TECHSPO Toronto 2017TECHSPO Toronto 2017
May 18, 2017, Toronto, Ontario

TECHSPO Toronto 2017 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. TECHSPO Toronto brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Toronto 2017 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will be joining.


Secret KnockSecret Knock
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.


Sales World 2017Sales World 2017
November 08, 2017, Online

Sales World 2017 takes place November 8th to 9th, 2017, Online; Live and On Demand. It is the largest Sales Industry Event in the World and will be attended by over 10,000 Sales Professionals. It’s the one sales event you can’t afford to miss!


DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 – Digital Marketing Conference
November 14, 2017, Online

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference takes place November 14th to 16th, 2017. Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools.


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Image: DIGIMARCON

This article, “Online Event DIGIMARCON Puts Digital Marketing at the Forefront” was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships Online

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

To grow a successful business, you need to be able to market to customers online and then communicate with them effectively. There are plenty of methods you can use to improve your online customer relationships. Here are some top tips from members of our small business community.

Keep These CRM Influencers on Your Radar

If you want to improve your relationships with customers, then you need to have the best information at your disposal. That means you can benefit from following the CRM influencers listed in this Salesflare post. Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell is honored to be included.

Use Social Media Emoji to Humanize Your Business

When attempting to really connect with customers online, it helps if you can humanize your business. And using emoji on social media can help, as this post by Aleh Barysevich at the Social Media Examiner explains. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Get These Marketing Tools for Local Business Owners

Marketing a local business can require a unique set of skills different from those needed to market  other kinds of businesses. But there are plenty of tools out there to help you market your local business to the right customers. In this Mobile Marketing Helper blog post, Kevin Cortez shares some essential tools for local marketers.

Go Online to Benefit Your Brick and Mortar Business

Even if you have a store or business that only sells to customers in person, you can still benefit from getting online. You can find some potential benefits for brick and mortar businesses going online in this Revel post by Caitlin Stanley.

Learn About the Cost of Google AdWords

Google AdWords can be a really helpful tool for businesses looking to expand their online reach. But you need to learn about the pricing structure if you’re going to take advantage of it. Gary Shouldis of 3Bug Media discusses more here. And BizSugar members chime in with their own thoughts too.

Amp Up Your SMB’s Performance and Productivity

If you want to connect with more customers, increase sales or otherwise improve the chances of your small business succeeding, you need to find ways to improve your business’s performance and productivity. Itai Elizur details some tips for doing just that in this post on Smallbiztechnology.com.

Build Links Without Creating Content

Content marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses. But it’s not the only way to increase your reach online. This Marketing Land post by Andrew Dennis explains how you can build links without creating your own content.

Define and Create Your Brand Voice

You need to have a consistent brand voice in order to effectively communicate with your customers over time. And you can define and create the right voice for your brand using the tips in this post by Jomer Gregorio on the CJG Digital Marketing blog. You can also see input on the post from the BizSugar community here.

Take These Steps for SEO Strategy Success

To get your business found online, you need an SEO strategy. But some business owners might not know where to start when creating that strategy. For five steps to a successful SEO strategy, check out this Search Engine Journal post by Sergey Grybniak.

Grow a Site to 10,000+ Visitors a Month

If you want to reach more customers for your small business, you need to get them to your site first. In this post from Basic Blog Tips, Anil Agarwal details how you can quickly grow your site in terms of visitors each month.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Online Customer photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships Online” was first published on Small Business Trends

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50 Small Businesses to Start in Your Backyard

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

50 Backyard Business Ideas

For entrepreneurs who want to start a business close to home and maybe spend some time outside too, a backyard business might be the right choice for you. It might sound like a strange concept, but there are actually plenty of businesses that you could potentially run right from your very own yard.

Of course, you’ll want to check your state and local zoning ordinances to make sure it’s allowed in your area. But if owning a small business sounds like something that would interest you, here are 50 backyard business ideas for you to consider.

Backyard Business Ideas

Gardener

50 Backyard Business Ideas - Gardener

There are a variety of different plants you can grow in your yard to sell to local consumers. Or you could even offer your services to other homeowners and spend time working in their yards as well.

Backyard Nursery

Or you could start a nursery business where you grow potted plants and sell them in a nursery environment.

Florist

You could also specialize more in flower products and start a florist business in your backyard.

Herb Grower

Or you could grow herbs in your yard and then harvest and package them for sale who want fresh herbs for their food.

Vegetable Farmer

If you have a little bit more room to work with, you could also grow and harvest vegetables for sale in your yard.

Seed Sales

For those who want to offer smaller products and help other growers start their own gardens, you could harvest seeds and package them for sale.

Canner

50 Backyard Business Ideas - Canner

There are also plenty of different food items that you can grow and then preserve and can to sell to buyers who want some longer-lasting products.

Farmer’s Market Vendor

No matter what kind of food or other products you grow, you can work to collect and prepare those items in your yard and then set up a booth at your local farmer’s market to sell them.

Firewood Sales

You might also find that you have a fair amount of trees or sources of wood in your yard. If that’s the case, you can potentially parcel out that wood and sell sections of it to local consumers to use as firewood.

Compost Sales

If you don’t mind getting a little messy, you could also collect waste and other materials to make your own compost and then sell it to local farmers or gardeners.

Fertilizer Sales

Likewise, you could make and sell more specialized fertilizer products for homeowners in your area.

Landscape Designer

Your backyard might also provide you with some inspiration that you can use to work with other clients as a landscape designer.

Party Rentals

50 Backyard Business Ideas - Party Rentals

If you want to work with clients in your area to provide rental items like tables, chairs and electronics for parties, you could use your backyard, garage or shed as a storage facility for those items.

Small Poultry Farm

If you’re looking to work with animals, you could potentially start your own small poultry farm and have it fit into your backyard.

Rabbit Rearing

Rabbits also don’t take up too much room. So you could start your own rabbit rearing business in your yard.

Fish Farmer

If you have waterfront land or room enough for some large tanks, you could get into the aquaculture game and start your own fish farm.

Shrimp Farmer

You could also opt to raise shrimp instead using many of the same methods and equipment as fish farmers.

Snail Farmer

Snail farming is another farming business opportunity that doesn’t take a lot of room.

Beekeeper

Or you could start your own bee colony to raise bees for honey production or other purposes.

Goat Rentals

If you want to rent out your animals, you could raise goats on your property and then lend them to local property owners for lawn mowing purposes.

Fiber Spinning

If you have sheep, alpacas or similar animals, you could sheer them and spin fiber out of wool or other materials.

Dog Trainer

You might also want to start a business where you work with other people’s pets as a dog trainer.

Laundry Service

You could also start your own laundry service where you wash, dry, iron and provide other services.

Candle Maker

If you want to create your own handmade products, candles are something you can easily make in your yard.

Soap Maker

You could also gather all the necessary supplies to make your own soap and package it right in your backyard.

Christmas Tree Farm

If you have a fair amount of space to work with, you could plant some evergreen trees and start your own Christmas tree farm.

Petting Farm

Or you could raise animals on your land and invite people to visit with them in exchange for a small fee.

Corn Maze

You could also set up corn fields and then create mazes that people can pay to visit.

Hay Rides

If you have a tractor or similar vehicle, you could also offer hay rides to visitors on your property.

U-Pick Service

For those who grow items like apples on your property, you can start your own U-Pick service where people can pick their own items off trees or other plants and then pay you for them.

Car Detailing

If you want to work on vehicles, you could start your own car detailing business and have people bring their cars to your yard so you can clean and detail them.

Electronic Repairs

You could also start your own electronic repairs business where people can bring their computers, smartphones and other tech devices to your yard for service.

Photographer

For those who want to pursue a creative business opportunity, you can take photos outside and even set up a photo studio and editing station in your yard.

Videographer

Likewise, you can shoot videos for clients or various other purposes right in your yard.

T-Shirt Printer

Screenprinting is another creative activity you can do in your backyard. You can set up a screenprinting space to make a variety of items including t-shirts, tote bags and more.

Web Designer

You could also set up a small office space in your yard to work on a sort of virtual business. For example, you might set up a space where you can design websites for clients.

Graphic Designer

Or you could start a business as a graphic designer and use your yard space to inspire your designs.

Blogger

Bloggers can also potentially work from anywhere – including your backyard.

Ebook Author

You could also commit to writing your own e-books and publishing them online from your backyard office.

How-to Classes

If you have a skill or hobby you could teach to others in your backyard, you can set up a business offering how-to classes.

Tutor

Or you could work with students in a more one-on-one setting as a backyard tutor.

Online Course Creator

You could also create your own courses that you can set up in your office and sell online.

Yoga Instructor

Yoga is a fun activity that you can potentially practice outdoors. You can even offer your own yoga classes to students in your yard space.

Personal Trainer

Or you could work with individual clients who want to improve their fitness habits as a personal trainer.

Massage Therapist

If you want to create an outdoor oasis for massage clients, you could also start your own backyard massage therapy business.

Airbnb Rentals

For those who have backyard getaways like treehouses or garage apartments, you could even start your own business by renting out those spaces on home rental sites like Airbnb.

Carpenter

If you’re a skilled woodworker, you could also start your own carpentry business and work on projects from your backyard.

Furniture Upcycler

Or you could purchase antique or secondhand furniture and then use new materials to update and sell those pieces.

Etsy Shop Owner

There are plenty of other potential craft items you could make right in your backyard and sell on sites like Etsy.

Recycling Service

You could also start a recycling service where you pick up items from homes or businesses and then sort those items for proper recycling in your yard.

Gardener Photo via Shutterstock

Canning Photo via Shutterstock

Party Rental Photo via Shutterstock

Backyard Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “50 Small Businesses to Start in Your Backyard” was first published on Small Business Trends

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The Relationship Engine Helps Keep Humans in the Business Equation

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

The Relationship Engine Helps Keep Humans in the Business EquationRelationships are so central to business that we take them for granted. We create our organizational charts, enshrine our customer service policies in manuals, and post inspirational teamwork posters in our workplaces. Are we really getting it though? The Relationship Engine: Connecting with the People Who Power Your Business helps leaders understand the impact of not taking the “human” part of the business equation into account. It offers a new model for those leaders who are ready to proactively improve their relationship “superpowers” so they can improve every aspect of their business.

What is The Relationship Engine About?

The Relationship Engine provides one simple example to show the discrepancy between customer service and customer-focused service. That example is calling customer support for your cable or computer. The author describes a scenario in which customers is  seeking support has to enter information using an automated system and then verify that same information again. He then has to get on the floor to look in a hard-to-reach place for small numbers on the modem that was given to him by the very same company that he called in the first place.

Do you see the problem here? All of this effort is placed on the “transaction” part of customer service, not the human part of customer service.

The Relationship Engine points the blame at the way we treat human relationships in the workplace. In short, we take them for granted. We either believe that being a “people person” is a fixed trait employees either have or they don’t or that a simple customer service manual will do the trick. Because of this, we fail to develop our skills at relating to other human beings. This a dangerous cycle to be a part of especially for business leaders who literally set the tone for relationships at work in both deed and action.

Fixing this lack of real knowledge about how to deal with other human beings in the workplace requires embodying the principles in the book. The Relationship Engine uses a 5-sided model to help leaders improve the workplace culture. The author then spends the rest of the book exploring the implications of these principles on your business. Even though the principles aren’t revolutionary, they offer the potential for a powerful new way to work. That principle begins when the entire business, starting with the leaders, understands the potential revolutionary concept of focusing on relationships and not just the transaction.

Author Ed Wallace is a consultant, speaker, and President of the Relational Capital Group with expertise in utilizing human-powered relationships in the workplace.

What Was Best About The Relationship Engine?

The Relationship Engine introduces the concept of relational agility, a concept that combines relationship building with the business need for agile leadership. In books on innovation, relationship skills are often given superficial lip service. This book argues that the internal and external relationships of a business affect the whole process of innovation. To put it more simply, innovation doesn’t happen unless the right relationships are in place. That is a radically new perspective that puts “soft skills” on a higher footing than they have ever been before in the conversation about how a business should innovate.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

One area that could receive a little more attention in The Relationship Engine is the environment surrounding a leader. A leader could put all of the principles of the book into practice but the effect could be stifled in a work environment that doesn’t want to change. More information about how leaders can work with colleagues, subordinates and superiors to implement the book’s principles on a large scale might be helpful.

Why Read The Relationship Engine?

For those leaders who want to improve their relational skills, The Relationship Engine provides an innovative and proactive form of leadership capable of dealing with the volatile business world of the future. The book’s principles provide a framework or perspective that can be used to assess and improve leadership with more precision. Instead of assuming that your leaders are good at relationships, this book helps you assess how good they are and where they need to improve so they can contribute to growing the organization in the future.

This article, “The Relationship Engine Helps Keep Humans in the Business Equation” was first published on Small Business Trends

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What Your Business Can Learn From This Unique Asteroid (Watch)

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Most asteroids that have been found hurling through space have been made of ice or rock. So when you find one made almost entirely of metal, you have to check it out.

That’s the case with 16 Psyche, a recently-discovered asteroid that scientists believe is composed mainly of nickel and iron. For that reason, NASA is setting its sights on the asteroid for its next mission.

But even though the iron on the asteroid alone could be worth up to $10,000 quadrillion, this mission isn’t about mining resources from the asteroid. Some scientists believe that the earth’s core is made of some of the same metals as the asteroid. And so 16 Psyche could actually be the core of an early planet, which could potentially help scientists learn a lot more about the makeup of our own planet.

Pay Attention to Serendipitous Discoveries

It’s unlikely that your business is going to visit any asteroids in the near future. But this concept is actually one that can apply to a lot of businesses as well. When you find an anomaly of any kind, whether it’s an asteroid made of unique materials or just a strange jump in traffic on your analytics, it’s worth looking into.

In business, like in science and so many other areas of life, the lessons you learn aren’t always planned. Sometimes you run into things by accident that can be extremely helpful in getting you where you want to go – as long as you actually take the initiative to look into those serendipitous discoveries.

NASA Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Your Business Can Learn From This Unique Asteroid (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Obamacare Repeal Could Impact Self-Employed, Buying and Selling of Small Businesses Up

Friday, January 20th, 2017

As the U.S. prepares for a change in leadership, a few major economic changes are taking place. The potential repeal of Obamacare could impact small business owners and self-employed individuals more than others. The marijuana industry has some concerns about Jeff Sessions’ appointment as Attorney General. And the number of businesses being bought and sold has reached an all time high.

You can read about those changes and more below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Economy

28  Percent of Obamacare Customers are Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

If Obamacare is repealed without a replacement, two groups are likely to be upset, small business owners and more specifically the self-employed or those in the gig economy. Coincidentally, those people may be among voters who helped elect Donald Trump — an outspoken advocate of repeal — into office.

Number  of Small Businesses Bought and Sold Hits All Time High, BizBuySell Reports

If you have ever thought of buying or selling a small business or franchise, now is a good time to do so. The number of small businesses bought and sold has continued to rise steadily. According BizBuySell.com’s Q4 2016 Insight Report, small business transactions reached record highs in 2016, exceeding 2015’s annual totals by 8.6 percent and 2014’s previous high by 4.

Marijuana Industry Reacts to Trump Attorney General Appointment

President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to appoint U.S, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as attorney general has kicked up a storm in the cannabis industry. Many fear Sessions, a vocal opponent of marijuana, will come down hard on the business, even if they complied with their state laws.

Yelp Report: Is This the Year of Millennial and Minority-owned Businesses?

Millennials and minority-owned businesses are most optimistic about 2017, according to a new survey by Yelp (NYSE: YELP). Millennial and Minority Owned Business Statistics Yelp’s second Small Business Pulse survey reveals millennials expect 69 percent more revenue growth than their older counterparts for 2017. Minority-owned businesses are also feeling positive about their growth.

Employment

Could Businesses Eventually Face Overtime, Flexibility Backlash?

Advancements in technology and connectivity have undeniably swept in a new golden era for remote working. Last year, 38 percent of Americans were permitted to work from home at least one day a week (PDF) — and almost half of all professionals considered leaving their jobs due to a lack of flexibility.

Management

Food Pantries Are Getting Smaller to Better Serve Communities (Watch)

Today’s food pantries are getting a makeover. In past years, communities would rely on local charity organizations and churches to collect food and other needed goods and then wait for families in need to ask for help. But there are some issues with that process. For one, even those who have genuine needs aren’t always willing to go out of their way to ask for help.

Retail Trends

Coffee Prices Rise: Will Your Business Be Affected?

Consumers are bracing for impact after the company behind some of America’s most popular coffee brands announced plans to increase prices by an average of 6 percent. Folgers, Caf? Bustelo and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee will all be affected by global roaster and distributor J.M. Smucker, which blamed the imminent price hikes on “sustained increases in green coffee costs”.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: #getfried Fry Cafe Makes French Fries a Main Course

When you think of French fries, you probably picture them next to a hamburger or other dish. But now, fries can actually stand on their own as a main course thanks to #getfried Fry Cafe. Read more about this new spin on fries and the business behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Offers french fries with a twist.

Small Business Operations

Discord Offers Potential Business Collaboration Features — at No Cost!

Even though Discord was created to give gamers a highly-secure all-in-one voice and text chat app for free, it can easily be applied for business use to enable collaboration. Setting up Discord, the Free Collaboration Tool In as little as 10 seconds, you can set up Discord if you choose to run it on your browser.

Boxed Offers Bulk Shopping Online for Businesses

Cutting out the time it takes to actually go and buy your business supplies hasn’t been a reality until recently. But ordering your supplies from your PC or smartphone through a service called Boxed, can give you back hours you can devote to making your company better.

Technology Trends

High Tech Entrepreneurs, Take Note of This New Heart Device (Watch)

How do you treat a failing heart? That’s a complicated question, and one that doctors and scientists have worked tirelessly to answer for years. But a new innovation takes a unique approach that actually makes a lot of sense — mimicking an actual working human heart.

More Consumers Can Soon Try Grocery Delivery From Amazon (Watch)

Grocery delivery is a growing trend in markets around the U.S. But some of those who could most benefit from getting their groceries delivered, like those living in food deserts, can’t afford it. That’s about to change in a few select communities though.

Paris Wants to Mix Old and New With Eiffel Tower Upgrades (Watch)

The most recognizable landmark in Paris may be getting a makeover. The Eiffel Tower has been around since the late 1800’s. And while it’s still an iconic building, city officials in Paris feel that it could use a few updates. The proposed changes would include adding security measures, improving the flow of tourists, upgrading elevators, paint, lights and more.

SimpliSafe Home Security Service May Also Provide Small Business Solution

Securing the place we live and work in used to be a task best left for professional, but like almost every other industry, digital technology is also democratizing security. SimpliSafe Home Security lets you install a wireless security system with all the bells and whistles, without needing an expert and paying an arm and a leg for it.

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

There was heavy snowfall in and around Seattle for the first time in years, but the weather-watch didn’t stop 50-plus attendees and 10-plus speakers from engaging in Microsoft Partner Network’s 100 Days to Cloud workshop.

Why This Private Business is Heading to the Moon (Watch)

For the first time ever, a private company is heading to the moon. Moon Express got the approval from the U.S. government last year. And it recently raised enough money to make the trip. The company’s goal is ultimately to mine the moon for resources. But that could be more easily said than done.

WordPress  4.7 Reaches 10 Million Downloads, Releases New Security and Maintenance Update

Just a little over a month after its release, WordPress version 4.7 has been downloaded over 10 million times, according to the official WordPress.org blog. WordPress Version 4.7 was released to the public on December 6, 2016.

Trump Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Obamacare Repeal Could Impact Self-Employed, Buying and Selling of Small Businesses Up” was first published on Small Business Trends

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