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Monday, October 14, 2013

5 Tips that will Get You the Most Talented Employees

Talented employees are the cornerstone of any successful business. Even in today's economy the most talented workers have plenty of choices. Here's how to make sure they join you company, not your competition. 

1. Make a good first impression

When the ideal candidate walks through your door, what does he/she see or feel? Have you created an appealing place to spend 50 to 60 hours a week? What does your work environment tell the candidate about you and your company?A bad first impression makes it very hard to entice a strong candidate to your payroll.

2. Draft WhyDocs

Every candidate will be thinking is why he/she should join your company. You should be able to explain to your candidate why the move to your firm will be in the candidate's best interest.

3. Remember it is not all about you

Avoid the temptation on spending all your time selling the candidate on how great your company is without first understanding what really matters to the candidate.

4. Get out and Hunt

When it is a critical need to fill positions, take the initiative and call key people whom you respect. Ask them for the names of top performers they know or have worked with.

5. Stay Flexible

The more you can offer, the more likely you are to win the heart of your candidate. It is never just about money. Candidates want growth, development, opportunity, recognition and lifestyle. No one wants to put 60+ hours per week and be unable to leave early on Friday to coach their child's basketball team.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Why Businesses Fail?

Starting your own business might be risky. You can succeed big times, but you can also fail hard. So, why do businesses fail? Of course, the reasons vary, but there are 7 common mistakes businesses make that prevent them from succeeding.

1. Failure to have a solid business plan
This may be the most common mistake businesses make. Too many entrepreneurs start a business without having a solid business plan. In order to succeed you should set clear objectives for your business and remain focused on those objectives.

2. Underestimating Your Costs
When you start your business, you should have a good idea of what your start-up costs will be and how long it will take for your business to become profitable. Most startups underestimate their costs and end up under-financed down the road.

3. Lack of understanding your market and industry
Researching and understanding your market is an important and necessary first step. If you open a business and no one is interested in your product or service, you will fail big time.

4. Not strong enough support system
Starting up a new business will take 150 percent of your time and attention. Surround yourself with people who support you and understand what it takes to succeed.

5. Not understanding the difference between a job and a business
Successful entrepreneurs have a clear vision of what it takes to succeed. Often, people start a business without understanding basic business concepts. So to be successful, get started on the right foot, make sure you learn the basic elements needed to build a successful business.

6. Seeking confirmation not the truth
Many fresh entrepreneurs surround yourself with “yes” people instead of “truth” people. It is important to have people who can give you a useful advice and point out weaknesses in your business strategy.

7. Not having what it takes to be an entrepreneur
Many people dream about being their own boss, but having a business is not for everyone. People who start business are risk-takers. You need to know your personality type. Before starting up the business you need to ask yourself if you comfortable wearing multiple hats or if you are able to work alone. And, more importantly, you need to know if you are a self-starter. Remember not everyone has the right stuff to be their own boss.

Do you know any other common mistakes entrepreneurs make when they start up a business? Then, make sure to share them with me by simply leaving your comments below. Your feedback is highly appreciated:-)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Most Common Social Media Mistakes that Business Owners Make



Every serious business owner knows that social media can boost his/her sales, but not many of them know how to use it the correct way and to a business advantage. 

Here are a few most common mistakes business owners make while using social media:

1. Failure to plan and maintain a productive conversation with customer, followers and fans
Too many business owners jump into social media and fail to maintain an active profile. It is better not to use social media at all than to use it poorly.

2. Inconsistent Personal Branding
The mistake business owners make is not having a consistent brand across their social media channels. If business owners took the time to fill out their Linkedin profiles completely and developed a consistent bio for Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, they would significantly  improve their personal and company brands.

3. Failure to understand your business audience
From the profile of your customers, you can easily determine the best language and words to use as a response to a customer. Don’t be lazy and do not use one-size-fits-all answer.

4. Failure to be social

People use social media to be social. Do not autotweet sales and marketing material. Be social, communicate with your audience and provide an interesting content for your readers.

5. Oversharing non- business related content
It is okay to post funny and non-business related content, but do not overdo it. It might make you look unprofessional and cause you to lose some of your fans and followers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Finance Your Dream Business



We all have a passion. It can be cupcakes baking, home decorating, gardening, diaper cakes making and etc. Whatever, your passion is, isn't it a time for you to turn this passion into a business? So, where do you start? In our previous posts we mentioned the importance of having a business plan. It is absolutely the first step in starting up your own business. While you are writing your business plan – make sure not to forget about a budget.

Thus, how to finance your Dream Business?

Often, business owners spend their own money to start up a business. However, it is not a smart move. It will lead you into a potential debt and get you accustomed to always reaching out for your personal finances for your business. Instead, you should be paying for everything business related with your business credit card. You can easily manage your cash flow with a Plum Card (http://www262.americanexpress.com/business-credit-cards/business-card-details/american-express-plum-card).

If you need a help to finance your business, The Small Business Association (SBA) can help you. According tohttp://www.sba.gov/ , the 7(a) Loan Program is the most common loan program for small business owners, which includes financial help for those business with special requirements. Another great loan program is the 504. According to SBA, the $50 billion in 504 loans has created over 2 million jobs, which help to stimulate the economy, which is good for the business, community and participating lenders.
When starting your business, do not forget about location of your business. Location is everything. It is a crucial decision, which need to be made early in the process. When picking up the space for your business:

1. Look at your demographics and who you are trying to sell to your product

2. Assess your supply chain. Is it important to be located close to them?

3. Check out your completion and how close they are located to you

4. Understand you state, county and city laws and taxes

5. Stay on budget

6. Make sure that the area you are considering for your business is business-friendly

7. Does a considered space need remodeling and renovations and if yes, how much will it cost you?


And, finally, market your business. Passing out coupons, deals and discounts isn't enough. Make sure to use social media to market to your specific demographic and customers. If you are willing to commit to blogging, the benefits of blogging are worth the investment of time. Social Media is a MUST for a Small Business to build brand recognition. It is also an inexpensive and valuable marketing tactic.

Friday, May 10, 2013

20-Minute Rule



Lately, I have been reading a lot about 20-minute rule. It seems to be online everywhere I go. Being a slightly lazy person I am thinking about adapting this rule into my lifestyle.

So what is 20-minute rule? If you have not heard about 20-minute rule yet, I will be happy to explain it to you J 20-minute rule is a simple concept and basically means that any of us can dedicate and survive 20 minutes of doing something we don’t necessary love doing that much. This rule might as well motivate you to start exercising, for instance, or finish this book you have been trying to finish for months.

Just imagine that simply 20 minutes of exercising every day can help you be healthier or 20 minutes of talking to your spouse every day might as well save your marriage. So what do you think? Does not it sound interesting and worth checking out?
Just my last advice: while using 20-minute rule please do not forget about 20 minutes of break and relaxation rule. It will definitely help you stay less tired J

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Believe in Humanity? This Video Might Change It


Today is the Victory Day for all Europe and my motherland, Russia. May 9th has always been my favorite day of the year. While growing up in Russia, I have heard many war stories from my grandparents. Today, I would like to take this chance and say THANK YOU to all Veterans of the World War II. We will always remember your sacrifice! THANK YOU for my Freedom, this beautiful blue sky and my LIFE.


While browsing online today in order to find inspirations for my new Blog posts, I have come across this video on YouTube. I think today is the perfect day to share such a video. If you lost or doubt your faith in Humanity, please watch this video. It especially warms my heart that this Video is the collected footage from the dashboard of Russian cars. Dear Veterans your sacrifice has not been for nothing!

10 Things to Consider When Selecting a Brand Name




What is the important part of opening up a new business?  Of course, picking up the right name is the first step. The right name can make people talk about your business. The wrong one can set it for failure. 
Here are the things to consider when giving your business the most effective brand name:

1. Write down all name Ideas 
When picking up a brand name, you sure will have a lot of ideas spinning through your head. The best way is to write them all down for further comparison.  Your name should represent the key elements of your business and relate to consumers. Furthermore, try to stay away from too long and confusing names. Simple, but meaningful brand names are the key to the success of the whole business. Your brand is your image and how you are seen from the outside. It should be unique and in some way different from any other existing brands.

2. Narrow your Name Ideas to Top 5
Once you made the list of all your name ideas, try to narrow them down to the most appealing and effective top 5 names on your list. Pick names that are simple, unique and easy for consumers to relate to.

3. Search USPTO database to determine availability of Top 5
Once you narrowed your ideas to Top 5 the most memorable brand names, your next step is to perform a trademark search.  You do that by doing an online search at http://www.uspto.gov/. Remember that not every business name needs to be trademarked, as long as the state government allows it and you are not infringing on anyone else’s trademark name.  To make sure that your name is the unique one and does not infringe on another’s business trademark, consider hiring a trademark attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will help you to prevent unnecessary legal battles over the trademark that might have been used by another business before your company’s existence. 

4. Think Big
When picking up a name for your company, you should always think big. It is very possible that in the near future you might decide to expand your business internationally. In this case you must be sure that your company’s brand name is not used anywhere else in the world. Thus, to keep the international expansion option always open, search your brand name for availability in other countries as well. You can obtain a lot of useful information on how to protect your trademark beyond the border of the United States of America on this website http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/ip_organizations.jsp.

5. Search availability across domain names and social media websites
After you checked availability of your brand name with USPTO, do not forget to check if your preferred website domain name and your preferred username on the social media platforms are available. You can easily check for the domain availability at http://www.godaddy.com/.  The important social media platforms where your username should be available are, of course, Facebook, Twitter,YouTube, Pinterest, Yelp, LinkedIn and etc. If your preferred name is no longer available, try different variations of the name. You can use this website http://namechk.com/ to instantly see if your desired username is still available on dozens of the most popular Social Networking websites.

6. Perform a trademark search on the mark you deemed to be available
After checking your brand names availability via trademark search and social networks search, you probably came up with the perfect brand name for your new company, which best fits your objectives and accurately describes your new company.  Just make sure to perform a trademark search again to be sure that the chosen brand name is not registered with United States Patent and Trademark Office.

7. File Trademark application and see it through
Now, you have the name for your brand new company and it is the time to file a trademark application to register your trademark name. You can file your Trademark application directly over the Internet by using the Trademark Electronic Application system (TEAS) at http://www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html  or you may either mail or hand deliver a paper application to the USPTO. You can call the USPTO's automated telephone line at (800) 786-9199 to obtain a printed form. To prepare and submit the trademark application you do not have to use an attorney, but you must comply with all trademark requirements, statutes and rules if you choose not to. 

8. Acquire domain names and Social Media profiles
Once your trademark name has been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, acquire a domain name for your company’s website by going to   http://www.godaddy.com/. Also, do not forget to create your company’s pages on Social Media networks. Social Media is a very powerful tool in attracting new customers. 

9. Perform quarterly checks on uses of your brand by others
Often, businesses create a similar brand name, logo, or other identifying feature to already existing successful companies. In order to prevent it and protect your trademark from being infringed perform quarterly checks on uses of your brand by others. You can check it by doing web research and checking Official Gazette of USPTO for pending trademarks publications for oppositions.

10. Enforce your rights - aggressively pursue those who are infringing on your rights
If you find out that some other business infringe your brand name, logo or other identifying features of your trademark, immediately enforce your rights by officially demanding the infringing company to stop using your trademark or similar to your trademarks in any its business endeavors. It is highly recommended to hire a good trademark attorney to guide you through this process. 

 
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