4 Ways To Improve Productivity Through Employee Recognition

With the stress of increasing workloads mounting in many offices across the country, the idea of adequate employee recognition in the workplace is especially important to keeping spirits high amid particularly turbulent times. Luckily, it’s one aspect of management which is virtually impossible to overdo.

People love praise and this seems to hold even truer to the younger generation of workers who might be entering the workforce for the first time. For perspective, most workers of all kinds see very little positive feedback at all.

The practice of handing out annual reviews which is now becoming culturally ingrained in our business world might be useful for providing employees with a standardized way of comparing performance levels over time, but lacks the element of value and reward that gives good work the admiration it deserves.

If you aren’t convinced about the importance of dishing out some degree of proper recognition, consider the effects it has on your organization’s bottom line. A 10-year study that appeared in The Carrot Principle found that among 200,000 people, efficiency and return on equity were sometimes three times higher for companies who implemented recognition programs. (more…)

3 Simple Ways To Save Your Business Money

If there’s one thing all start-up business owners want, it’s this: to save your business money. Since most small businesses won’t profit for at least three years, owners in the early stages are eager to pinch pennies wherever possible.

Where, though, is it possible? Certain expenses are simply unavoidable. You need an office, some sort of equipment, most likely an ad campaign and at least a few employees. And you can’t exactly cut corners here. So you have to get creative.

Whether you’re a start up owner in your second month or a business veteran ten years in, you can save your business money with these 3 strategies: (more…)

3 Financial Metrics To Continually Monitor

spring time

If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely experienced moments where things just seem to be going well. Maybe your employees seem extra energized as of late or you’ve heard positive buzz about your latest product. It may even be that the long-awaited arrival of spring is what’s reassuring you that things are shaping up.

Be wary of these feelings. Delight in them, of course (I won’t begrudge anyone for welcoming the sunshine) but don’t derive a false sense of security from them. While employee morale and positive reviews are indicators of a healthy company, they aren’t proof of one.

The only way to know for sure what state your business is in is to look at the cold, hard facts, the financial metrics that, though at times unforgiving, never lie.

Sometimes even bringing yourself to look, let alone analyze, your business metrics can be draining. For that reason many companies keep a close eye on one, key metric—profit—and pay little attention to the rest.

This is a trap you do not want to fall into. Profit is an undeniably important metric, but it is only tells you where your business sits at a single moment. High profits one quarter don’t guarantee gains in the next.

If you want to predict the long-term health of your company and spot warning signs of potential obstacles, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Here’s where to start: (more…)

First Quarter Check In: Are You Where You Want To Be?

We’re ten weeks in to the New Year, and while you may have reneged on your personal resolution, you’re hopefully holding strong to your 2013 business plan.

Of course you want to be; there’s too much at stake to “go with the flow” where your business is concerned. But keeping your business on track requires more than willpower. Changing demand and unexpected expenses can pop up at any time and keep you from moving forward.

If you’ve been hit with these forces already this year, don’t despair. It may seem your plan is shot—“If this is how the first quarter is shaping up, what can we expect come December?” But, it is in fact better to encounter problems now (when there’s still time to make adjustments) than eight months in.

The sooner you take action to boost sales and revenue, the better. You want to give yourself as much cushion as possible to prepare for unforeseen slowdowns.

This five step plan from Brad Feld at Foundry Group will show you what to do now to make your first quarter a success. (more…)

How To (Really) Tell If Your Company Is Healthy

One glance at my bank statement and I know the state of my finances. One simple figure (most often smaller than I’d like) tells me all I need to know; pretty straightforward. But I’m not running a business. If I was, I’d need to see a lot more than a number to know how things were going.

scale

Just as a number on a scale doesn’t reflect a person’s overall health, a balance sheet can’t provide a comprehensive insight of a company’s financial state. It indicates profitability, sure, but is only one measure of a company’s health. Look at your balance sheet and you’ll know where your company stands today. To know where you’ll be tomorrow and ten years down the road, you need to take a look at several other—perhaps less evident—factors. (more…)

4 Steps To Securing A Loan

If you’ve ever been denied a loan, as many small business owners have, you’ve experienced a feeling of unworthiness. Why am I not eligible? What have I done to damage my credit? Why don’t I deserve this money?

dejected

Chances are, you do. In fact, you may have flawless credit history and the most noble of intentions, and still find yourself facing rejection. This is because, contrary to what we may believe, banks are not overflowing fountains of wealth. Even their funds are limited, and they can’t always provide—even to those most deserving of clients.

As if securing a loan wasn’t difficult enough. Not only do you have to worry about being worthy of it, you have to set yourself apart amid a crowd of individuals who are. Here’s how to do so: (more…)