Archive for July, 2009

Saving Your Data

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

virtual officeRoutinely saving and backing up important files and information ensures that your essential documents survive disaster. In an information and services based economy like that of the United States, information loss can mean financial disaster. There are many factors involved in data loss, but the most common and prominent is physical failure.

Like all things physical, hard disks and flash drives are prone to deterioration. Routinely backing up data on 2 or more alternative mediums of storage greatly reduces the likelihood of losing data. EnterYourHours.com provides an overview of their services and allows businesses to export their data for Quickbooks integration and personal backup. Successful companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Apple, all keep multiple copies of their databases.

Furthermore, all data drives are prone to electronic interference. Most, if not all, mechanical based hard drives use an ultra thin and compact magnetic platter to store data. If the platter is exposed to strong enough magnetic fields, data on the hard disk will be scrambled. Most hard drives these days, such as Western Digital’s VelociRaptor 10,000 RPM hard drive, use a steel casing that shields against magnetic interference, but the amount of shielding is not enough to protect from large magnets.

Likewise, malware can be equally destructive to data. Malware is any form of software that is developed for a malicious intent. Malware is often designed to infiltrate or destroy a computer system without the owner’s consent. Malware, such as the ILOVEYOU worm, have infiltrated businesses and caused millions of dollars in damage. In the event of a massive outbreak within a computer network, databackups significantly reduce the amount of damage and downtime caused by such occurances.

Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Day?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

time managementMost Americans work on a somewhat regular schedule, roughly 40 hours per week if they have a full-time job. For the entrepreneur however, challenges seem to defy regular work hours, sometimes increasing the work week to even 80 or more hours on a regular basis. It is important to not only spend time working, but to maximize the benefits of that time.

Efficiency is an important issue. Find ways to streamline your tasks so that they don’t consume more time than they need to. You can multi-task or do several duties in one trip, for example, rather than taking numerous separate trips across town to do separate errands. Consolidating trips can vastly reduce wasted time.

From a personal standpoint, you also need to take a personal inventory throughout each day. Check up on what you have accomplished thus far, what you still need to do, and whether anything should be shifted elsewhere in the day or re-scheduled for another day. Check your energy level and remember to eat and drink at regular times. Pump up your mood with positive self-talk that energizes you for the tasks still ahead, and make sure you don’t isolate from friends and colleagues in the process of growing your business. Keep personal and professional ties strong, as those relationships fuel your energy and motivate you to keep on working.

Time management, for the entrepreneur, often becomes an issue of not working harder, but working smarter.

Stop Wasting Money! Get Organized Today

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

organizationSo, you are in your new office space, your employees all have their designated areas in which to work, and your business is thriving…but what do you do with all the “stuff” that exists in a busy office? Getting organized should be your first priority when setting up a workspace, whether just for yourself or including several other workers.

First, organize the office with ease of use in mind. Keep traffic paths clear and do not layout desks or other furniture in such a way that it impedes the efficient flow of foot traffic. Keeping items that are frequently used close to one’s desk avoids having to go to another area to retrieve such items. Computer terminals, telephones, and relative software should obviously be on the desk, but other than those the only things that belong are those things that are used frequently throughout the workday. Avoid clutter and make sure that important items have a “home”, where they are always stowed so that they are easy to find when they are needed.

Underlying the physical aspect of organization lies the task of organizing your time. Keep a date book or calendar handy with appointments, schedules, “to do lists” and deadlines so that nothing important is forgotten. Check this list frequently to help yourself stay on track with important duties and to avoid becoming sidetracked. Staying organized is an ongoing task, one that will pay off in dividends of success if you are diligent to pursue it.

Legal Jargon Every Business Owner Needs To Know

Monday, July 20th, 2009

legal businessSmall businesses built America, many believe. Most large corporations began as small ventures backed by little cash and large dreams, but legal problems can be the undoing of even the most well-grounded companies. Certain legal pitfalls can be avoided, however, and business owners need not fear handling legal issues before problems arise. Here are a few pointers.

First, consider incorporating your business, even if you intend to remain a smaller sized company. Incorporation creates a separate legal entity for your company, so that you are not personally liable for debts incurred by the corporation. The corporation could be sued for its assets, but your personal assets are protected. Second, place all agreements in writing. Never count on a handshake to seal a deal, and never assume that others will be honest about honoring agreements unless they are in print and signed by both parties. Next, never promise employees that they will never lose their job…that’s not only poor business practice, it’s probably not honest in most cases.

Lastly, know the law and avoid litigation whenever possible. Handling issues in court is expensive and time-consuming for both parties, and often does not result in satisfaction for either side. Settle matters outside of court or at least very early in any case, if possible. Knowing the law will help you to avoid such pitfalls in the first place, so learn all you can. In this day and age, knowing the laws that apply to operating a business is simply responsible business ownership.

Turn Your Small Business Into A Green Machine

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

businessIn today’s world, green is gold. Quite literally, however, making small changes in the way and your small business use energy can turn you into a “green” energy saving business and a money making venture. Going “green” can rake in the dough for your small business.

Going green is relatively easy. You can start by replacing light bulbs in the office with energy saving bulbs. These will last longer and save energy – and money. Also, installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems could help your small business save big over the years. Going green is not just limited to heating and cooling. Any appliances found in your office could be costing you money. Replacing old appliances with new high-efficiency appliances could also help you save. Establishing or reestablishing recycling procedures for paper and other products can help your office become more environmentally friendly.

Even the car you drive and the food you eat can influence the “greenness” of your small business. Look for hybrid vehicles when considering your next company car. This will help you save on emissions and even grant you a tax break. Also, eating locally grown food helps bolster the local economy and lower emissions from vehicles transporting food into the area. For your small business, go big. Go for the gold. Go green.

Keeping Business and Personal Life Seperate

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

time moneyEveryone, at one point or another, has trouble keeping their personal and business lives separate. Despite our best efforts, sometimes our professional and home lives become indistinguishable from each other. However, this does not change the fact that home life can greatly affect the work performance of an employee. By keeping personal and work life separate, workers can avoid scandals, slipups, and drops in work performance.

Always maintain a professional demeanor while at work. A close business partner of mine, whose name shall remain unknown, lost several hundred thousand dollars in a sexual harassment suit all because of a very unprofessional employee. Apparently, one of his workers propositioned two female customers for sex. Both of which turned around and sued my friend’s business for all that they could. Rude and unprofessional employees are huge liabilities for business owners. One rude remark, one sarcastic comment, is all it takes to lose a potential customer, a job, or even worse.

Most employers are concerned with how well a job is done, not what type of person you are. Although you may have just broke up with your significant other, crying at your desk all day isn’t very productive. You may luck out by having a sympathetic boss, but not all supervisors are compassionate and understanding. By carefully managing time for projects and activities, workers can maintain satisfactory work.

With a Few Small Changes You Can Turn The Fate Of Your Business Around

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

changes businessFew businesses in today’s economy are immune to struggles brought on by a recession. Many are facing unforeseen and unwanted downturns and the fate of many businesses look grim. Your business, however, doesn’t have to end in failure. You can control your fate and right the ship before it’s too late. A few changes to your business may be all you need to keep things afloat and safely weather the economic storm.

First, be loyal to and aware of your customers. Cater to their needs. Survey your customers and see if there are additional services they need that you could provide. Research could be key to business success in these times, so you might need to devote a little more time to it. Research customers and markets to determine which markets and businesses are successful in these times. Take a look at production. Now may be the time to change things up and develop a new system. Eliminating useless and time-wasting procedures will help productivity and save money.

Also, eliminate other costs. Reducing overhead will increase profits. Look at your spending and see where you can improve. You might look for less expensive shipping options or a cheaper provider of office supplies. Any little thing can surely go a long way in savings and keeping your business alive.

Three Helpful Habits

Friday, July 17th, 2009

small business ownerStarting a business is often a very rewarding experience, but it is not always a profitable one. Some people have the guts to set up their own business, but few possess the wisdom required to be a successful businessman.  Here are a few business friendly habits that will help you along the ladder of success.

1) Commit to a plan

If you want to reach any level of success in business, it is crucial that you set goals and make plans. Planning requires schemers to understand what exactly they want and reason how they will get it. This helps provide a general overview of how to accomplish any task. Committing to a plan is the first step to controlling the direction a business is headed.

2) Focus

Successful entrepreneurs focus their attention and see projects through until they are finished. If a hunter tries to chase two rabbits, both will get away. In the same light, pursuing two business goals is much less effective than reaching each goal one step at a time.

3) Embrace Adversity

Sooner or later, all businesses experience especially difficult and challenging circumstances. How businesses deal with adversity is what determines their success.  Accepting tough challenges and pulling through are two parts to the growth of a promising business. Listening to feedback and gleaning from tough criticism will help a business improve it’s services.

Is Business Slow? Don’t Skip on Security

Friday, July 17th, 2009

security businessEconomic difficulties have forced many businesses to trudge along at an almost unbearably slow pace. Many businesses of both the small and large variety are finding times tough, and turning a profit even tougher. In the midst of struggle, however, businesses need to be aware of security needs. And we’re not talking about hiring a security detail to guard your office day and night; we are talking about cyber security.

There are a variety of threats out there that can seriously injure any business. Hackers, viruses, spyware, and much more can damage company software and cripple production. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps to follow to ensure your working environment is safe. One, routers can be an effective tool in isolating your business from potential hackers. Routers essentially separate you from other internet users. Thus, purchasing routers large enough for all of your employees would effectively safeguard your company. Wireless connections can make work easy, but can also lead to problems. Be aware of wireless connections and protect them as needed.

Also, purchase anti-virus software that keeps your computers safe from viruses. There are free editions available. There are numerous other methods to protect yourself and your company. Be aware and take necessary steps to keep your business running.

Cost Analysis

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

organizationWhen approaching a new business project, a cost-benefit analysis can aid in deciding whether the new venture is worth the investment. Many successful businesses fully utilize this simple technique. By implementing this method, you can save money.

A cost-benefit analysis is a technique used for deciding whether or not to implement change. In laymen’s terms, a CB analysis is a mathematical way of answering the question: “Is the project worth my time and money?”

A simple cost-benefit ratio consists of two measurable varables. For example, Tycoon Tim wants to know whether or not building another Lemonade stand on Bullington Avenue would be a worthwhile investment. A simple cost benefit ratio would be the cost of developing the 2nd stand subtracted from the profit gained having another business location.

However, cost-benefit analyses can be much more sophisticated.  Some analysts in attempt to simulate the real world, place a price on intangible costs and benefits. Although attaching a value to intangible goods can help simulate real world costs, the process is extremely subjective. But no matter which method is chosen, a cost-benefits analysis can greatly benefit your business.

EnterYourHours allows customers to analyze the payroll costs of each worker. The extra feature can be especially helpful when analyzing business costs.