How Your Small Business Can Effectively Use a Virtual Assistant: The Small Business Owner’s Guide

One of the first things to tackle when you want to improve productivity as a small business owner involves effectively delegating duties you don’t need to do yourself. And with so many tasks required to run (and hopefully grow) a business, getting good help is critical. Not all business owners, however, want or need the cost and commitment of a full-time staff. For many productive small business owners, virtual assistants (VAs) can shoulder the burden of regularly required tasks, freeing up time to work on activities that grow their businesses.

If you’re looking to get more done right away but don’t have the budget or desire to take on new employees, consider hiring one—or more—virtual assistants. Here’s the lowdown on why you should get a VA, what they can do for you, where to find one, how much they may charge, as well as what to watch out for.

How We Badly Used Email Marketing Services at My Company

For the past seven years my company has been running an email marketing strategy. Sometimes we help our clients set up theirs too. There are many good email marketing services – MailChimp, JangoMail, AWeber and others – we use Constant Contact. We’ve been very happy with the service and have had no reason to switch. We’ve learned a lot about email marketing. We’ve also made a lot of mistakes. Let me share five big ones.

Four Places to Network for the Busy Business Owner

I spoke to a business coach recently who told me she goes to four or five networking events a week. I cannot even imagine doing that. It would kill me. I’m not a great networker. But I get that it’s important for any business. You can’t just hole up in your house watching Game of Thrones, as much as you’d like to. To run a successful business you have to be out promoting it. Not four or five times a week like that crazy person. I think a couple of times a month is plenty. And if you’re going to get out and do this, here are four suggestions that have worked for many of my clients.

10 Ideas to Grow Your Small Business in Uncertain Times

Every small business goes through rough patches where business growth sometimes must take a back seat to “just getting by”. Maybe you lost a key employee, maybe family concerns have eroded your laser focus on your business, or maybe the economy is going through an uncertain time. But growth may be possible even in tough or uncertain times. Actually, down times can also be the perfect time for making positive shifts that will benefit your business later. These 10 tips can help you position your business for future success.

My 10 Favorite Quotes on Small Business Leadership

A lot of people like to share inspiring quotes. And there are many about leadership that have inspired me. But why are they inspirational? Here are my reasons.

5 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring Someone

For most small business owners, the decision to hire their first employee is not a small or easy one. Many small business owners are hesitant about adding a new hire to their team, according to the 2014 Small Business Success Study. It’s understandable. It’s a big decision and there are a lot of things to consider. We thought we’d help with the process by offering up five key questions to ask yourself before deciding to add a new member to your small business family.

7 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated

When you work for yourself, and have to juggle all of the demands that come with running your own business, it can sometimes be hard to stay motivated. You might get tired, lose momentum, or even feel discouraged by everything you have to do. Staying motivated can be one of the toughest challenges that a sole proprietor faces, because there’s no one else around to give you a pep talk. It’s just you. You have to become your own cheerleader and drill instructor, capable of inspiring and pushing yourself to keep going.

Here are seven simple ways you can keep yourself motivated, even on the toughest days.

Is Your Small Business Prepared For a Lawsuit?

Business owners must be keenly aware of their financial risks—and the threat of being sued could be larger than you realize.

The financial hits of litigation can be far more damaging to small businesses than to large ones, which often staff in-house legal counsel and devote a portion of their budget to legal defense. According to a Small Business Association Office of Advocacy report,the cost of litigation for small firms can range anywhere from $3,000 to $150,000. And it’s not uncommon, in fact, a 2013 poll found 43 percent of small-business owners reported having been threatened with or involved in a civil lawsuit.

Why Irritating Employees are Good for Business

They grate on your nerves and set your teeth on edge, but certain types of employees can benefit your small business. If you want to boost business and grow your company, you’ll have to learn how to deal with “annoying” employees. Here is a list of the five most irritating employees and how they can be some of your company’s best assets.

5 of the Worst Company Party Incidents

Everyone loves a good party. But holiday gatherings, company picnics and other employee social gatherings aren’t always fun and games. In fact, they can be uncomfortable, socially awkward gatherings used to judge your ability to maintain professionalism in a social setting. When office parties get out of hand, it can lead to some professionally disastrous situations—even lawsuits.

How can you make sure you’re not ruining your professional image or risking your job when attending a work social event?

Here’s a look at some of the worst missteps people make at company parties, and how to avoid them: