Category: Business Planning

Types of Software Used for Businesses

Business is a group of activities where production and delivery of goods and services are made to customers. It works as an organization where a group of people work together to achieve specific targets. Organizations typically use many software tools for automating their business processes so that they can save time to manage other important work in business. (more…)

Pushing Negative Yelp Listing Down in the SERPs

Yelp is the most popular review site on the Internet. Business reviews on Yelp are considered more genuine and useful not only by regular Internet users but also by search engines like Google. If your business has more number of positive reviews and star rating, it makes sense when your Yelp business pages occupy the top slots of search engine result pages (SERPs). The same is not true when your business page has negative reviews and low star ratings.

While getting a couple of negative reviews is common on Yelp, making sure that the page with negative reviews is not occupying the top slots of SERPs is important to retain the credibility of the business on the Internet.


Importance of Equanimity to Business Owner

To keep it simple ‘Equanimity’ means remaining calm, composed, balanced and evenness of temper at all times – good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. It is referred as a state of emotional and mental stability of a person.

Cultivating equanimity helps business owners to remain undisturbed and stay balanced in the face of life’s ups and downs. Having equanimity in stressful and difficult circumstances is an essential leadership skill, especially for business owners and managers.

Importance of equanimity for business owners and managers

  • Gives emotional stability: Equanimity gives emotional stability under stressful conditions and painful experiences. It enables a person to remain calm and balanced even when repulsed by negative feelings or attracted by desires and cravings.
  • For inner peace: The modern corporate world is full of competition. There are many challenges that a business owner/manager faces in his/her day to day life. Equanimity helps you face challenges that may have seemed too difficult to overcome. It gives inner peace and helps to maintain concentration in business/job.
  • To become mentally strong: Equanimity exhibits fearlessness and selfcentredness in all circumstances. With equanimity, a person can find purpose and meaning in even the bad things that happen. It helps you build self confidence and strength to deal with whatever comes your way.
  • To provide optimistic view: Equanimity allows you to be conscious and aware of any emotion as it arises in your experiences. It will provide optimistic view that helps you to get through the tough times.
  • To make right decisions: A person with equanimity will have emotional stability and will be mentally strong to face any given situation which will help him in making the right or at least healthy decision.
  • To cultivate patience: Business owners and managers have the authority to act. But, sometimes we become impatient, it may be because we are exhausted or overwhelmed. Equanimity helps in cultivating patience and act accordingly.
  • For effective communication: Equanimity helps in bringing self-awareness and the ability to adjust our emotions with which we will be able to engage with authenticity and communicate effectively and affectionately, even during stressful times.

How to cultivate equanimity:

  • Respond, don’t react: First know the situation. Do not react to your thoughts or feelings. The actions you are taking should be governed by your wise mind. When you feel overwhelmed and stressed, stop for a moment. Reflect on your achievements, and let yourself feel proud.
  • Practice Pranayama: Pranayama is a systematic breathing exercise. Take deep breaths, it will bring calmness and the feeling of restoration.
  • Meditation: Meditation will help you in managing your mind and your emotions to give you a calmness and refreshed mental energy that will make you ready to handle any situation – good or bad.

In conclusion, equanimity is the ability to respond to situations with a balanced and an even mind. It is through equanimity that business owners and managers will find peace and happiness.

Importance of Compliance for Your Small Business

Compliance is one of those things that many small business owners tend to overlook at the start of their business ventures. They do so because many feel it is not essential. But to meet your legal obligations and to protect your business, compliance is necessary. The concept of compliance is to make sure people follow it and act responsibly.

Small business owners should understand that compliance is important for their business, otherwise they may land into unintended expenses. According to the latest study conducted by ADP research institute, 30% of SMBs in United States have reported unintended expenses that include fines, penalties or law suits because of noncompliance with government workforce and payroll regulations. These firms that were fined reported an average cost of $91,300.

As a small business owner, you may be flooded with loads of work. Due to lack of resources, the focus could be more on project execution. Of course, it is critical to deliver projects on time, but at the same time neglecting the importance of workplace compliance, not only puts you at risk but also increases the costs to the company.

Why compliance is important for your business?
“Good compliance means good business”, this applies to every business irrespective of size or type. It protects your business from both regulatory and non-regulatory means. A good compliance will help you:

  • Avoid breaking the laws and sufferings from the consequences. Therefore, it saves your time, money and keeps hassles away.
  • Protect the health, safety and welfare of the business. (Hiring, firing, discrimination, harassment, wages, payroll and others).
  • Create a better working environment for your employees, which indirectly boosts the productivity.
  • Prevent or minimize workplace accidents (injuries, fires, damage to the property) that hurt your productivity.

What are the consequences of not being in compliance?

  • Can damage your business, reputation and brand which may result in lost revenue.
  • Frauds or breaches may range from fines to court action, work stoppage, withdrawal of license/shutdown of your business, etc.

If your business starts facing court cases filed by your employees, customers or others, your public image is damaged and people will not trust your business. By being in compliance, your business will have a positive image and will build consumer trust.

How to manage compliance in business?
You need to set rules to make sure everything is fair and safe for your business, employees and customers. For that you need to:

  • Identify: Identify the common risks that your business comes across.
  • Prevent: You can protect your organization by designing and implementing controls from those risks.
  • Detect: Regularly monitor and generate reports on the effectiveness of those controls
  • Respond: Resolve the compliance issues as you come across.
  • Other ways of managing of compliance in business
    • Clearly communicate the compliance with all the members of your organization. Example: By conducting regular training program – summarize expectations how each member of the organization should conduct themselves at the workplace, general goals of your organization, outline how tasks should be completed, the consequences of violating compliance and so on.
    • You can detect the compliance violations in your organization by audits, reviews and regular monitoring.
    • Take appropriate measures, if someone in the organization violates compliance.

What should you expect?
As a small business owner, you expect that all your employees obey and abide by the law. And you will not tolerate or entertain any violations.

With right compliance in place your business will have reduced legal issues, better public relations and higher employee retention that will lead to higher productivity and better market performance.

Innovative Management Methods from Real Life – Holacracy

The Las Vegas-based online retailer Zappos – replaced the traditional top-down hierarchy approach with a new Holacracy approach where there are no formal bosses, no job titles and where the employees set their own priorities. This innovative approach was developed by a business guru Brain Robertson with the idea to give employees more of voice and to keep the organization from becoming too rigid or bureaucratic.

This model is not only adopted by Tony Hsieh, Zappos’s founder but also Twitter co-founder Evan Williams (in his new company, Medium) and Time management guru David Allen in his organization.

Holacracy is a self-governing system that aims to organize a company around the work that needs to be done instead of around the people who do it. Job titles do not exist. Multiple circles are formed where employees have to collaborate cross-functionally to perform different functions. This helps the employees to get more exposure in learning and gaining skills that may not be possible within a single circle or team.

In the place of traditional managers, there are people who are designated as “lead links” who have the ability to assign employees roles or remove them from roles within the circle – but they don’t have the ability to tell the employees what to do. Hope this holacracy approach may empowers the employees to emerge as a leaders.

Basic Webpages a Small Business’s Website Must Have

website monitoring serviceSmall businesses need to understand that a well designed website creates a positive impression about the business in the minds of customers. For that they need to make sure that their website has the main pages such as home page, about us, products, newsroom and contact us page. In this article, we will discuss about the main webpages a small business website should have.

Homepage: This is the main page of your website that a user gets to see. In this page, you need to give general information about your company, its featured products and a navigation menu.

    • – Some tips for homepage:
    • Company description should be simple, clear and brief.
    • Don’t make the page look clumsy. Mention only few key products or services that are popular.
    • Include news and upcoming events on your homepage. As it signifies that your site is up-to-date. Make sure that content in these pages is fresh, unique and relevant.
    • The page design should not make the reader to scroll left and right to access information. Create a page with minimal graphics.
    • The navigation bar should tell the type of information your site/page contains.
    • Make it easy for the visitor to navigate your site.
    • Include some testimonials on how you have helped other businesses.
    • You may include logos of your well-known clients, customers or affiliate companies.
    • You may also include call to action buttons.

About us page: This is one of the most important pages of your website. It showcases your business and the history behind it. Moreover it is a place where you can provide in-depth information about your business.

  • – Some tips for about us page:
    • Company history: Tell how long you have been in this business.
    • Company description: Tell what your business is about, what your organization stands for, what makes your business stand out among your competitors, etc.
    • Your company’s vision, mission and philosophy.
    • Management profile: Show your key employees and tell about their education, experiences and role in the organization. Also help your customers contact them via email or social media links, this builds trust.
    • Also include awards and rewards that your business received.

Products/services page: In this page, you have to describe your company products/services in detail.

  • – Some tips for products/services page:
    • Don’t limit yourself to describe products and service information such as its advantages, standards and how they are better than others. In other words, provide all the details about the product. This helps you in two different ways:
    • Helps the robots spiders in crawling for the information on your webpages
    • Helps customers to know about your offerings.
    • Your content should be informative, educative, logical, compelling and call to action, so that the customers can easily understand what you are selling.
    • Use product images or videos on how your products work.

Contact us page: This page should have a small description about your physical location, how to get there and phone number/s. This will help your customers and clients contact you.

  • – Some tips for contact us page:
    • Organization name
    • Address – zip code, city, state and country
    • Email address, phone numbers
    • Map

Benefits of Establishing Goals and Objectives for a Business

Establishing goals and objectives is very important for every business because, they clearly tell business owners what they want to achieve. Without establishing goals and objectives, doing business is like going on a road without knowing the destination and struggling to find a place in present marketplace.

Many people have perception that goals and objectives are same. They are however not the same. Business goals are a set of things that an organization hopes to achieve during its time in operation. They are broad and unmeasurable. Objectives are the exact steps that a company must follow to reach its goal. They are measurable and quantifiable. Setting goals and objectives for small and large businesses are beneficial as it provides direction at all stages of planning, operating and building a business.

In this article, we will explain to you how goals and objectives are helpful for growth of a business.

Better understanding among employees – about the business objectives
Business owners use a variety of tools and techniques to improve their company and business operations. Setting objectives is one of the tools that creates a target for business owners to achieve. Objectives can be company wide goals, specific to the division or department and individual employee. Businesses use these objectives to measure their success and progress toward their goals. By setting objectives, every employee of an organization knows what to do to reach the business goal. All employees will have a better idea on their business objectives and while working they will have a mutual understanding between them.

Employees to work on a same phase
A business plan helps management set goals and objectives for optimal performance. It brings employees on board with these objectives. Setting personal goals and objectives for each employee and department brings everyone to work on the same phase when it comes to their expected contributions to company assignments. Inclusion on company wide assignments and plans can motivate and inspire employees to do their work best and develop commitment towards the company.

Motivates employees and boosts productivity
You cannot overestimate the business value by just looking at the employees engaging in work. However, companies with dissatisfied workers experience greater absenteeism and lower productivity as well as reduced turnover rate. Establishing a clear goal alignment can be a solution for this situation by creating greater employee ownership in company’s ultimate success.

Setting goals and objectives for each employee and department can motivate them to work on same page on company projects. Employees who clearly understand their individual goals related to company can naturally engage with their work. Once they engage in their work, it will be a direct contribution to company’s success and employee productivity, and they begin to find ways to work smarter and more efficiently. This boost in employee productivity increases company’s operating margins and profitability.

Quicker execution of strategies
Setting goal alignment and visibility allows any organization to execute their strategies quicker by enabling management team to more effectively allocating labor resources across various projects. An organization that sets goals in their company will strengthen the leadership of managers by letting them to clearly understand all duties related to goals, eliminating duplicates among job titles and focus their staff to concentrate on company’s goals.

Easy to evaluate the process
Goal alignment is a tool that clarifies job roles for individual employees and also presents to workers their ongoing value to their business. It establishes a true pay-for-performance culture at your company by rewarding the employees who are actually working to achieve these goals. When this happens in a company, every employee will do their best for company’s success.

Competitive advantages
From objectives, business owners can create a competitive advantage in the business environment. This happens when company produces better products and provides services better than other businesses. It is possible when employees get involved in their work for business success. Business owners who create a competitive environment can often increase company market share and profits. Increasing profitability enables companies to improve and expand their business operations.

Goals and objectives are, thus, important for a successful business.

Effective Ways to Address Negative Reviews on Yelp

Yelp has become the most popular business review site on the Internet. Most people today are relying on Yelp to determine the credibility of local businesses like restaurants, auto repair shops, real estate brokers, etc. Yelp is known as the most trusted source for local business reviews because of its strict standards. Yelp uses filters that can effectively figure out fake and false reviews thus makes it difficult to crack. This is the reason why people tend to believe the reviews posted on the site.

Good reviews are always beneficial for the small business owners. On the flip side negative reviews bother them. If the reviews are not genuine, it’s even more painful. Though no one can control the reviews on Yelp, by following some practices small business owners can at least neutralize the effect of negative reviews. Here are a few effective ways to address negative reviews on Yelp.

Update your account
Claim your business before you are planning to do anything on your Yelp account. This includes claiming that you are the owner of the business listed on Yelp, updating your location, contact address, profile photo, etc., so that the account looks genuine.

Responding to negative comments
If you have any negative comments on your business, you need to handle them carefully, because your every action will be monitored by people who came to read reviews on your business. Respond to the negative comments as follows.

  • Apologize publicly, and then try to resolve the issue by reaching the customer privately.
  • Be honest and open how the mistake was made, and communicate clearly what you have done to correct it.
  • Take some steps to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
  • After the problem is solved, ask the customer for a positive review.

Minimizing the effect of negative comments
Your overall rating on Yelp will be the average of all your ratings – both negative and positive. So one of the best and easiest things that you can do is get high ratings and positive reviews.

  • Ask customers who are satisfied with your service to give positive reviews. Out of fifty positive reviews, having one or two negative reviews will impact very less on your business.
  • Communicate through the social media sites like Facebook, and Twitter with your fans and ask for reviews on Yelp.
  • If you have your customer email database, send a formal email to your customers for a review.
  • Give out something to customers or display something at your business premises to encourage reviews.

Responding topositive reviews is also a good practice. The reviewers feel happy when you thank for their review.

Responding to false reviews
If there is any false review on your business, the best practice is to respond to it publicly. Explain why the review is false. Make sure that you are responding firmly and politely.

Preventing positive reviews from getting filtered
To avoid false, fake and spam reviews, Yelp uses some automated filters. Remember not all the filtered reviews are fake or spam. Sometimes similar reviews also get filtered. Yelp tries to display the most helpful messages on the main page. However, if you feel like most of your positive reviews are getting filtered, here are tips to prevent it.

  • – Ask customers and other people to vote the reviews as “useful”
  • – Add reviewers as friends
  • – Send a message to the reviewer
  • – Respond to all reviews
  • – If an individual wrote a review for the first time on Yelp, it is likely to get filtered. So, ask your customers to write more detailed reviews, rather than simply writing good place, friendly staff, etc.

What you cannot do on Yelp

  • – You cannot ask Yelp to remove the negative reviews on your business
  • – You cannot ask Yelp to display the positive reviews on your business
  • – Your business listing from Yelp cannot be deleted

What not to do on Yelp

  • – Don’t ask a large number of people to give reviews for your business on a same day
  • – Don’t give reviews from same IP address