Should You Charge Customers Extra When They Pay with a Credit Card? Gene Marks

It drives me nuts when small businesses don’t accept credit cards. In this competitive environment, how can you not offer as many payment options as possible for your customers?

Employee Evaluations: Keeping it Simple Loretta Waldman

If there’s one thing that binds business owners and their employees together, it’s a mutual disdain for the employee performance evaluation. Though they may have different reasons for disliking this annual rite of professional life, it’s unlikely anyone would be upset if it were to suddenly go away.

6 Responses to a Crisis that You Should Avoid Alexander Huls

Crises are inevitable for any small business. There’s going to come a time where something will go wrong – whether because of you, an employee , or something completely out of your control. How you deal with that crisis can have a negative impact on your company. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen, so we spoke with Taylor Griffith, Owner of Alpha Art, to collect a few key pointers on how not to manage a crisis and how to help you get through one successfully.

4 of the Most Worrisome Things About Starting (and Running) a Business Right Now and How to Handle Them Mike Kelly and Gene Marks

It’s never been easier to start a small business than it is right now. Interest rates are low. Consumer confidence is up. A new wave of technology is making sophisticated software easy to use and readily available. Almost anyone can start up a side project or full-fledged corporation more easily than ever before.

4 Major Risks Your Small Business Faces in Winter Allie Johnson

Cold, ice, and snow can pose big risks to small businesses. It’s smart to prepare ahead of time to keep your small business out of the cold.

The Best Long-Term Business Strategy That Nobody Talks About Anne Shaw

Couples who attend pre-marriage counseling are 30% more likely to enjoy successful marriages than those who do not. As an entrepreneur, you should take note. Prepare well before your launch by making sure you’re compatible with your business. After all, why build a business you plan that you’ll have to manage yourself, if it doesn’t play to your strengths and support your desired lifestyle? You’d likely end up dreading your workdays. The best strategy — one that’s often overlooked — is to plan your business, and how you run it, around your personality. By doing so, you can help ensure that you and your business are a good fit for success. If couples who attend pre-marriage counseling enjoy longer, happier marriages, why not follow their lead to help give your business a successful start? How to Build a Sound Foundation for Business Success When you plan your business to align with your personality, you not only lay the groundwork for a successful venture, but you also provide yourself with the best opportunity to be happy and fulfilled in your work. Here’s a step-by-step guide: 1. Discover your personality. It will be tough to plan around your personality if you don’t first understand your personality. This is often one of those areas where it’s best to get input from the outside. Take one, or several, personality tests. The Myers-Briggs is one of the most used and helpful. It separates people into 16 different personality types that include strengths and weaknesses — important factors to keep in mind while planning your business and building your team. But don’t let the tests speak alone. Get input from the people who know you best. Talk with your friends, family members, and former colleagues about what they have seen you excel at and where you might benefit from extra help. And be sure to ask them whether they see your business idea as being one that you’d truly enjoy pursuing. 2. Think about how your personality may affect your business and vice versa. Now that you have some objective feedback, it’s time to do some self-reflection. Keeping in mind what you’ve learned from step 1, ask yourself the following questions about your business and how it will fit with your personality: Why do I want to start this business? What do I hope to get out of it? Will this business allow me to use my strengths? Will my weaknesses be easy to overcome? Will I enjoy the industry culture? Will I be willing to put in extra hours when needed, and how will I feel about it? Will I enjoy the specifics of the work and my role as the business owner? What am I unwilling to give up outside my business? Will I still have time and energy for those priorities? How many clients will I be able to reasonably handle at a time? Will I be comfortable managing any potential conflicts, whether between employees or with a client? Am I calm under pressure, or do I need extra support during stressful times? Overall, how will I feel heading to work each morning? Once you’ve explored your responses to questions like these, you’ll be closer to understanding how to structure your own role, as well as to deciding which other people and roles you’ll need to build your successful business. 3. Identify potential conflicts and plan for solutions. Answering the above questions will help you to set up your business in a way that complements your personality, and to identify those areas where you may need additional support, once your idea becomes a reality. You can then use this knowledge to: Determine what your role will be, and which tasks and responsibilities you should assign to others Build a team that best supports you Formulate a business model that plays to your strengths Implement processes that will guard your business against your weaknesses Help ensure that you’re still able to enjoy your overall lifestyle when it comes to work-life balance As with prospective spouses in a marriage, no business owner will match up perfectly with the needs of their company. Remember though, that it’s a strength to understand your weaknesses. Another way to defend your business against any of your personal weaknesses is to find your perfect match in a business partner — one with personality traits and skills that will complement your own. Download our free eBook, Opportunity Knocks: How to Find and Pursue a Business Idea That’s Right for You, to explore whether this would be a good strategy for you and how to go about selecting the right partner.

5 Ways to Ensure that Your Business Doesn’t Swallow Your Life Julie Bawden-Davis

Whether you’re a veteran small business owner or running a startup, struggling to strike a balance between your work and your personal life is a common challenge. Mile-long to-do lists, smartphones delivering steady streams of email, and struggling to stay ahead of constantly evolving technology can make even the most levelheaded person feel overwhelmed.

Why Paying More Than Minimum Wage Is Good For Your Business Alexander Huls

To pay more than minimum wage or not to pay more than minimum wage? That can be a common question for small business owners as they’re looking to add new employees to their team, but are nervous about straining their company’s wallet. But some small business owners do decide to go above and beyond when it comes to wages.

7 Bad Management Traits and How to Fix Them Mike Kelly

It doesn’t matter whether you’re the best florist, hair stylist, party planner or accountant, your business will never grow if you don’t know how to manage employees. Take a look at this list of management traits and ask yourself whether any of them apply to you.

3 Website Tools Your Small Business Should Have Been Using Yesterday Nate Hindman

Whoever came up with the adage that “There are no shortcuts to success, only hard work” didn’t have access to an Internet connection. As a small business owner, it’s not your job to reinvent the wheel. In fact, shortcuts allow you to focus on tasks that are truly central to your company’s core product or service.