Email Etiquette Tips for the Small Business Owner

For the small business owner who is consumed with running and working at their own business, balancing their own books, maintaining and training employees, and servicing customers, email may be very far down the list of priorities.

If you are going to use email as an effective way to communicate with your current customers, and want to retain their business, there are some basic email etiquette tips that you should follow.


Take the time to follow these tips to best utilize the communication tool of email without the risk of annoying your customer base.


7 Email Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners


Email Etiquette Tips for the Small Business Owner: 1. Permission-Based List


The e-mail list you use to send out notices about the business should be based on email addresses which were received directly from the customers themselves.


Do not purchase lists of local email addresses and blindside people will potentially ill-obtained email addresses.


This tactic can backfire on you and turn current and potential customers away from your small business. People do not take kindly to unsolicited emails.


Email Etiquette Tips for the Small Business Owner: 2. Use the BCC


The biggest mistake small business owners make when sending out emails to their clientele is to forget to BCC the addresses. Using the BCC protects the privacy of your customers’ email addresses. When the BCC is not used, everyone you send an email to will see the email addresses of your other customers. Some people are very sensitive about unauthorized distribution of their email address, even when it was unintentional.


Email Etiquette Tips for the Small Business Owner: 3. Spell Check


Spell check every single email you send out of your business. After you have use the spell check, proof read the email. When possible, have another employee proofread the email as well. Even if the email is short, it needs to be checked.


Email Etiquette Tips for the Small Business Owner: 4. Get it Right the First Time


When sending emails to your customers, get the information correct the first time out. When the email includes dates, prices, events, or other important information, be sure the information is right the first time you send it out. You donnullt’ want to have to send a correction to all of your customer because you forgot a decimal point or typed in the wrong date.


Email Etiquette Tips for the Small Business Owner: 5. Lose the Caps


This is basic email etiquette that everyone should know by now but they don’t. Do not use all capital letters in the subject line or anywhere in the email body. IT IS ANNOYING AND LOOKS LIKE SCREAMING.


Email Marketing Tip for Small Business Owners: 6. Do not Forward Email


Never forward a personal email to your customers. This applies to all “scam” alerts, chain letters, and jokes. Just don’t do it. It is unprofessional.

Email Marketing Tip for Small Business Owners: 7. Do not Send Attachments


Also do not send email attachments to unsuspecting customers. It is different when you are working with someone and they are expecting an attachment. Do not send attachments of photos or flyers. Find a way to instead to include the flyer information in the email text. Photos can be posted on a web site.


Follow these email etiquette tips so customers don’t put your small business emails on their spam or junk email lists.

Anatomy of an Online Home Based Business Owner

I have not been happy with my full time jobs. You may not have been either. Being of sound mind and judgement you may be on an adenture to change your fortunes. You wonder to yourself about the prospects of starting an online home based business. What led you to this decision and what course of action do you take to increase the chances of being successful online?

Let’s start with me and see if you can relate to my circumstance.


I started working when I was twelve years old. Didn’t make much money and spent what I made on anything I could get my hands on. I worked for fast food establishments as a teenager, because that is what we all do at that age for the most part. It is hard work. There is not much appreciation at the workplace. You can be replaced easily even though you think you may not be able to be replaced. Keep working hard and you may keep your job.


This just sets the precedence for the rest of your life. I joined the military in my early twenties. They pushed the concept of NCO (No chance outside) telling you that you have the best job available for your skill set…for about half of what you would make if your were to do the same thing in a civilian job. Even so, you join their clubs and socialize (in the 80s we called this drinking).


I got out of the military and finished a B.S. in Computer Science while unloading trucks, and setting records, for the largest employer in the United States. I’m a big guy. I have worked on training applications for a sister company to a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company, data collection applications for the largest vending and food distribution company in the United States, and cardiology computer systems for one of the largest employers in the Carolinas.


I continue to work for these companies and find myself broke, stressed out, disenchanted, and desperate. Being computer literate, and having used the internet for about 15 years, I asked myself the question why have I not tried to start an online home based business? Len, you are smart enough to do something like this and you are not happy doing what you are doing now, why don’t you try to do something different?


So I did do something different, part time. I love this online home based business so much that my biggest hope is to make it a full time venture. My market is other people who want to do the same and who are asking lot’s of questions about how to do it. I give them the same answers in this article.


I spend most of my spare time, about two hours a day, researching and writing articles. You can find them all if you search hard enough (Hint – search for my name in Google and look at the top). I do not have a lot at this point. I am still pretty new at this. The results of my efforts are evident though; because I am already on page one of Google and MSN for some of my keywords after only 5 months of work. I am sure that I am making some of the other online home based business owners very angry because now they have to work a little harder to maintain their placement in the search engines. Oh well!


I do not get real fancy about marketing my online home based business. I am not spamming with email because I do not do any email marketing. I don’t do it because I don’t like any of the spam I am currently receiving or asking for at least half the time. I am more likely to stop an e-zine subscription just because I am receiving the same message over and over again (Hear that Allen?). I have not been able to figure out the science of Google Adwords, so I do not spend any money on ads.


That is for later when my business is more profitable than it is and I can afford it. I have never been able to generate the kind of traffic with Adwords that I get from articles anyway.


Here are the things that I do on a routine basis so far:


  1. Articles – Write original content for the article directories and use Article Submitter Pro to submit them.


  1. Search Engine Optimization – Brad Callen’s SEO Made Easy is a guideline to optimize articles and web pages(online and

offline optimization).


  1. Linking Popularity – Research external link partners and link to as many as is humanly possible. I also do a lot of internal linking.


  1. Blogging – This is a great source for content and internal linking. I always link my posts back to all of my web pages.


  1. Article Directory – Owning an article directory is the fastest way to get internal back links. Every article contains a sponsor link back to the main web page.


  1. Directory Submission – Directory Submitter has hundreds of internet directories for both one way and reciprocal links.


  1. Forum Posting – Here it is again with the one way links. I think the search engines just like to see the online home based business owner engaged regularly.


  1. Looking at junk email. Sorry if I step on any toes here, but I made the mistake of submitting my website to the FFAs (Free For All). They sent me a thousand emails in one day! I didn’t know! This has tapered off now. Something about reporting it as spam to Yahoo (Oops!). I got banned from one of them, but that is OK. I don’t like it when someone emails me saying that my ads are not working. I wish spam would go away.


  1. Take lot’s of pictures – Used effectively in the article directory profiles and your own web pages is an extraordinary introduction!


  1. Relax and enjoy it – My main web page got 399 visits yesterday. The trend is up. My Alexa rank is down, which is a good thing.


  1. Start thinking – you know, this might just make it!


Expect no support from friends or family. Look at the surprise on their faces when your web page shows up on page one of the search engines. The online home based business owner looks for a rescue that can only come from within and is expressed in the design of something like a web page or an article. That and their friends in the forums who are going through the same thing. Relief from the markets of drudgery and slavery could be just around the corner with all of that help.


Leonard Bartholomew, B.S. Computer Science. Satisfy your craving for a home based business opportunity of your very own.

Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies

One of the many tasks that business owners face is establishing workplace rules and policies. Business owners are responsible for making sure that their workplaces are safe, happy and ethical environments where everyone is protected by certain guidelines. Some business owners choose to follow the examples set by other companies in their industry, while others set out to create their own guidelines for employees to follow. Regardless of your mindset, here are a few tips for establishing workplace rules and policies.

Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Cover Legal Ground First


Your primary concern when it comes rules and policies should be covering your legal ground. Just because there is a law about something doesn’t mean that all of your employees are familiar with it, so it is in your best interest to integrate employment laws into your own rules and policies. For example, you should write company or corporate policies on sexual harrassment, wages, hours, benefits, drugs and alcohol. Those are topics that should be well-versed among your staff.


Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Don’t Be Vague


One of the problems you might encounter when writing rules and policies is that many people are too vague because they don’t want to offend anyone. Your workplace guidelines should be crystal clear because if they aren’t, your employees will walk all over you. Further, you won’t have any legal ground on which to stand if a lawsuit or other problem were to arise. For example, don’t say, “ABC Company frowns upon intra-office dating.” If you are prohibiting something, say so.


Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Internet Use


Businesses of today must change with the times, and one of the largest issues facing employers is the Internet. If you provide Internet access to your employees, make sure you write clear rules on how and when it is to be used. For example, you could say that, “the Internet is only to be used for the purpose of company business, and not for personal use.” You can also write a policy on e-mail and instant messager use because those issues are just as viable.

Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Performance Evaluations


Employees will want to know when their performance will be evaluated, so set a policy for performance evaluations: When they are to occur and what happens as a result. For example, you could schedule performance evaluations annually, and base salary increases on a ratings system. This allows your employees to see that evaluations and raises are fair and distributed without prejudice.


Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Hours


Your workplace rules and policies should include the normal business hours for employees, but should not limit the workweek unless you have a definite opening and closing time. Defining yours hours as a Monday through Friday, nine-to-five job will allow employees to call it quits if their work exceeds those defined hours. Instead, simply state that employees work 40-hour weeks, after which overtime pay is provided.

How to Succeed at Running Your Own Business or Practice

Running your own business can certainly be hard work. I hear and read in newspapers and magazines how small businesses and self practitioners are going out of business everyday because large chain stores are driving them out. I’m not going to lie and say that running your own business and being the CEO isn’t tough. In fact it is downright grueling. However, with some key tips and advice, you can be on your way towards maximizing profits and watching the money come rolling in.

First, the key is location, location, location. You want to set up your store in an area that has a growing and large population. Ideally, the best place to look for is a store that has the potential for expansion while being located in a populated part of the town or city where people go to shop or buy goods on a daily basis. The next step is to think about the cost of rent and how much you want to pay. Price is an issue and even if the location is great, you can be deterred from setting up shop because the real estate prices are simply too high in that area. A good place to look for is one that is slightly falling apart and has some wear and tear but can be fixed with some manpower and effort. Landlords are hesitant to clean up their properties because they don’t want to put their own time and effort into it. As a result, they often sell these types of properties for lower rates.


The next step once you have agreed on a contract deal for rent for the store and the length of contract for the store is to hang an awning or banner with your store name. Even before you start banging away with a hammer and nail your store name should be in plain sight for people to see. People get excited when new stores come into a neighborhood and your sign should also contain hat type of business it is such as a bakery, appliance store, music store, etc.


Then you will have to hire a construction company to make repairs to the store and to decorate it accordingly. Make sure you have a front desk with a cashier for purchases and to meet with people depending on your business. You should also go to the local bank and try and hammer out a line of credit with the bank. Get the lowest possible rates that you can. Most small business owners take out loans to pay for the construction of the store which is a good idea. When you are having the workers install various items into your store, make sure that you carefully research the prices of tables, chairs, counters, glass windows etc. While you want to cut costs, at the same time you want quality items that will attract people to the store. Furniture that easily breaks will turn away customers which are bad for business.


When you first open shop you should hand a banner on all of the windows of the store that says “Grand Opening.” Make the sign in big capital letters with a bright color to attract people to the store. Also come up with a catchy title of your company or store. Offer discounts on certain days or times during the week. You should also take out a couple of ads in the local newspapers telling people about the opening of your store. Offer people rebates for bringing their friends to the stores and referring them.


As for employees, you could start with hiring family members to work at your store. I also recommend getting young people who are eager to work. Offer incentives for a certain amount of revenue sold so that they are eager to sell more of your company’s products. If an employee is simply making an hourly wage, then they know they will get paid the same amount no matter if they do a great job during their shift or a poor job.


Have your store open early in the morning and late at night. During the first couple of months for your store you will need to have long hours during the day to attract as many people as possible to the store because it is new to the neighborhood. Once your store is recognized and well known, then you can alter your work hours.


Having amenities at your business is also a great idea. If it is an office where your company is offering a service such as a law office or doctor’s office, have magazines and newspapers in the lounge area where the people wait to be called on. In addition, having vending machines is another great idea. You can generate some extra revenue as well.


Business cards can be very helpful as customers usually want to remember a store that they liked. You can print out flyers pretty cheaply and distribute them throughout the town to attract customers. Having a delivery service is not a bad idea but sometimes it is a luxury to have because it might not necessarily result in profits since you will have to pay for a delivery boy.


Finally, the best advice I can give is to watch out for your competition. Look at the prices that competing stores are offering for their goods or services. Look at which products that company is selling and try and offer different items to customers that they can’t find at that other store. Make sure that your competition does not drive you out of business. Raise and lower your own prices and offer specials and discounts frequently.


Remember, if you work hard and put a lot of effort into your business, you will be sure to succeed.

Basics of Corporate Fidelity Bonds

In today’s convoluted business world, companies are looking for new and interesting ways to improve their profitability. With that in mind, many corporate executives are looking towards different types of bonds that can serve as insurance policies in case something goes badly wrong. In a past article, I wrote of the merits of a surety bond in regards to companies with government contracts. In this article, I will discuss a different, but similar type of bond. If your company is in the private sector and you need to insure yourself against internal mischief, then consider a popular fidelity bond. These bonds can help save your company precious funds in the case that something awful happens.

By all accounts, most business professionals would recommend an ERISA bond for companies who are looking to insure themselves against internal mischief. This bond, which is derived from its name, takes out somewhat of an insurance policy in the amount of ten percent of the total value of a company’s insurance pension plan. Since the passing of important pension plan information in the last thirty years, there is greater protection for workers who used to have their pension plan eaten up by dirty executives.


If you are in charge of making the big risk management decisions for your company, you may also want to consider something known as a criminal insurance bond. This bond is a straight fidelity bond that protects against intentional mischief from one of your not-so-trusted employees. While nothing will take away the importance of good hiring practices, this is one way to make sure that your company has all of their bases covered.


Company fidelity insurance bonds are well worth the cost for companies. Not only do they serve as a safeguard against illegal corporate activity, they also add a stiff backbone to any company’s employee punishment plan. By design, these type of bonds punish all of the folks who take advantage of your company by stealing products or cash and punish them accordingly. These type of policies do not discriminate based upon whether the crime occurred in the warehouse or in a board meeting room by one of the white collar higher-ups.


There are many different types of corporate fidelity loans and even more companies that are willing to provide them. Choosing the one that is right for your corporation will go a long way in determining your company’s success. Even if you think you are hiring good people, you can never be too careful when it comes to safeguarding your company.

Maryland Business Property Tax: Some Key Items of Interest for Small Businesses

I had a meeting with an accountant and some financial business advisors. They were all quite informative as we prepared for the upcoming tax season. I’d heard recently from a friend in business that I must be sure to pay my Maryland Business Property Tax. I assured him that my rental property business taxes were paid. I informed him that my mortgage company paid it through my escrow account. He informed me that because you are a Maryland Business you must pay a Business Property Tax just to be in business. I could not believe it.

Annual Business Property Tax Grace Period


I started my business and never once paid this tax in two years. Honestly the first year I really didn’t do much with the business. I had the idea and just did nothing for about a year. I had basically no revenue and no expenses. My friend’s statement to me about the Business Property Tax put me in an awkward position. I thought surely this property tax did not apply to those in business without property. I was informed that the Maryland Property Tax was for all business with or without property. I wondered what would happen and what the penalty would be for not paying the tax for two years. I thought about it a few times after speaking with him later. However, I completely forgot about it in less than a month.


During the 2007 tax season, the Maryland Business Tax was mentioned again at my meeting with the accountants and others. In this case, I met with state officials during a meeting in Baltimore. We were discussing the MBE and DBE differences. The MBE (Minority Business Enterprise Program) and the DBE (Disadvantage Business Program) have a joint application process. We were going over the filling process with the sate. The MBE is a state program. The DBE is a federal program. As a whole, I was learning what is required to complete this lengthy application process. During this meeting I was informed of a 1 year grace period that every business gets from the Maryland Business Property Tax. When you start your business you do not have to pay the Business Property Tax until the following Tax year.


Reason for Maryland Business Property Tax


As we gathered information on getting our various certifications we were given and opportunity to see all the fees associated with starting a business. We were also tax planning with the consideration of the proper corporate structure. When we brought up taxes, a state official reminded us that we must be sure to pay our business property tax. From what I understood at the meeting, this is a tax that every business must pay just to stay in business. If you have a business you must pay the state of Maryland this annual tax on business property.


My question was “What if you don’t have any property”

Department of Labor License and Regulation officials’ response “You still must pay the Tax. This is a business tax levied for you to simply stay in business”


The Way the Maryland Business Property Tax Works


I was amazed that I had not heard of it before now. However, as I learned more about the tax, it appears that everyone that was in business more than 2 years appeared to know about it. The way the process works is that the first year you are in business you do not have to pay the tax. If you start your business in January you have the most benefit from this situation. However if you start your business in December, the very next year you must start paying this business tax.


From my meeting, I gathered that this tax is based upon the amount of business property the company owns. The property could include furniture computers and anything that is of value owned by the business. If there are not many assets owned by the business, the fee still remains roughly $300. So year one in business, you do not pay the tax. Year two in business and every year there after, you must pay the annual tax to the state.


What happens when you do not pay the Maryland Business Tax


If you do not pay the tax, the state will seize funds from your business to pay this tax. The state normally will seize these funds from any return your business will file. If a return is in order, the state will take its money from the return. If the return is not in order the state might have take a tax lien against the business. In the grand scheme of things, it is simply better to pay the business tax when it comes.


In addition, my friend in business let me know that the state in some cases informed the licensing agencies that you have not paid your taxes. This process would not allow you to renew the various licenses required for you to remain in business. He said that not paying the tax is more headache and costly than paying it regularly.


From my understanding, it comes in a colorful envelope. The state made it a colorful envelope to ensure that it gets notices. They also make it obvious to ensure that they get paid.


So be aware of the business property tax. Pay the tax on time and avoid any later trial and tribulation.

Another Way of Thinking Outside the Box in Today’s Economy

I had the privilege of talking with Cheryl Moore, owner of Our Place Bakery Cafe, a new bakery located in a historic suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Moore and I met recently when, upon passing through just looking for a place that served ice cream so I can treat my nephew, we unintentionally strolled into her store. Immediately, the look and atmosphere of this cafe made a positive impression on my nephew and I. After treating my nephew with two chocolate chip cookies, Ms. Moore and I began to talk about her store, entrepreneurship, and life in general. She has a very intriguing personality.

Upon leaving, I asked her for an interview. Without hesitation, she agreed.


A week later, I came to her cafe and here is our conversation:


How did you get started?


Our Place Bakery Cafe has been open for a year now. I’m a real estate developer. I bought the building….and rented it out. Tenants have put me through changes.


I decided to open a bakery because there’s not another bakery in College Park (Atlanta, GA). I just wanted to have a place where, from kids to old folks, can feel comfortable, relax and gab, like a melting pot. People can sit down and have a treat because we have treats in here from 75 cents on up. So everybody can take part in the experience.


What separates Our Place Bakery Cafe from the competition?


First of all, we bake everything on site in our open-air kitchen and use 100% butter with our salads. Our chicken is [cooked] in olive oil. Now we make and bake our own breads. Subway bakes their bread but doesn’t make it and the [bread] is frozen. We do the same with out pastries and pies. We also deal with a lot of local vendors and business’ around such as Arden’s Garden and Jake’s Ice Cream.


We’ve just added on two local roasters for our coffee, One thousand Faces, who is organically environmentally conscious, and Viazza’s, which is Italy’s finest coffee.


What really sets us apart, besides our treats, is our decorum and atmosphere. We have a down stairs (area) for live entertainment, spoken word (sessions), etc. It is equipped with audio, visual, and band. We’re really looking for that progressive type of people here.


We’re open everyday and have free Wi-Fi. We’re trying to bring back that same sense of “community-based” with different perspectives.


How long have you been an Entrepreneur?


All my life.


You were raised as an Entrepreneur?




What do you say to people who are looking to go the entrepreneur route, especially in today’s economy?


Be willing to suffer. The more you suffer, the bigger the reward, you know, and never give up…With the way things are going now, conventional is out the door. So you might as well live your dreams, you only have one life. Do and be all that you can be.


Are you originally from around here?


No, I’m originally from Norfolk, Virginia and relocated here around 16 years ago. A local now, living in [nearby] East Point for over 8 years now.


The reason I gravitated to this particular area is because it’s going through a tremendous revitalization, with the urban sprawl. It’s near the airport and metropolitan (Atlanta) area. The store showcases the metropolitan [style] but still preserves the nostalgic with how I feel about College Park.


Where do you see Our Place Bakery Cafe in the next 5-10 years?


A couple more outlets with the same premise in mind: that no matter what, we will never get too big. Our slogan is “Serving A Piece of Home One Customer at a Time.” We want anybody that comes in here to feel like their at home.


What’s Your Signature Dish or Dessert?


Well our signature cake is our Caramel Cake. I actually got the recipe from Memphis (Tennessee).


I got to get a piece of that Cake!


You got to, I’m telling you right now! You got to get you some…. (I point to the cake) Exactly! That is our second [caramel] cake. We sold a whole one this morning.


Our Bread Pudding is a showstopper. In addition, we offer hummingbird,red velvet, and pound cakes. We also do custom cakes for weddings. We have a ‘Customer Design’ chef on duty here.


We also offer vegan, sugar free desserts and that has really brought a new dimension and kind of people into our place. This really enforces what we’re trying to do because it makes it more interesting to have different [types of] people.


Our Place Bakery Cafe is located close to the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, in the heart of downtown historic College Park, Georgia. The address is 3387 Main Street, College Park, Georgia 30337. Operating hours are Mondays, 8am to 7pm, Tuesdays to Fridays, 8am to 9pm, Saturdays, 10am to 9pm, and Sundays, noon to 7pm.


Wine tastings are every third Wednesday of each month. Live Entertainment happens first Thursday of each month. Spoken Word poetry readings are every fourth Wednesday of each month. Finally, Chicago-style stepping classes each Sunday.


Call (404) 767-3181 or email: for more info.


Read more about Our Place Bakery Cafe in the recent article posting “Decadent Desserts: Bakery brings ‘sweet’ addition to historic College Park” on the website,, in the ‘South Fulton Neighbor’ section.

20 Influential Business Women and Women in Business

Business women and women in business are powerful, influential and inspirational, they may be in your country or even your place of work, wherever they be, they are everywhere – and a good job too!

Starting a business or being in business requires strength, determination, networking, risk taking and delegating to name but a few things.


Here is a list of 20 business women and business women in no particular order you may find interesting and want to find more out about.


  1. Michelle Obama
  2. Jacqueline Gold
  3. Kavita Oberoi
  4. Hillary Devey
  5. Condoleezza Rice
  6. Susan Chambers
  7. Ofra Strauss
  8. Deborah Meaden
  9. Kanya King
  10. Hillary Clinton
  11. Madonna
  12. Rachel Elnaugh
  13. Cathie Black
  14. Anne Lauverergeon
  15. HoChing
  16. Delphine Arnault-Hancia
  17. Martha Stewart
  18. Delia Smith
  19. Natalie Massenet
  20. Michelle Mone


These are just some of the inspirational women out there at the moment making a difference and you can do it to. Here are some top tips to help you be an even more successful women in business or business woman:


  1. Never give up on your dreams and ambitions – you are the only one holding yourself back.
  2. Remember that if you can dream it then you can achieve it.
  3. Always be confident. Confident in what you are doing and where you are going.
  4. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.
  5. Remember to delegate tasks and so on, this will free up more of your time to work on other things.
  6. Remember that you can have it all, a family, a career, a business and whatever else oyu desire.
  7. There will always be hurdles to jump over and mountains to climb but with determination you will be successful.
  8. Always remember that if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.
  9. Remember to set goals, targets and aims and to surpass them.
  10. Networking can help you meet new people, new suppliers and new contacts.
  11. Remember to take some time off.
  12. Always have a business plan for things you are doing or would like to do, a business plan will act as a guide and will help guide you to success.
  13. Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight it takes patience, effort, hard work and sometimes a bit of a struggle.


I hope you have found this article both useful and helpful, good luck with your businesses or in business

What You Need to Start Your Own Business

A successful entrepreneur can tell you that a good business owner plans every step in the creation of a business to avoid mistakes. According to a report entitled “The Small Business Economy: 2010” published on the Small Business Administration website, approximately 15.3 million Americans were self-employed in 2009. In order to join the millions of self-employed people in the United States, you need to understand how to start a personal business.

Idea A good personal business starts with an idea. Get a pen and a piece of paper and write down every kind of business you think that you would like to start. You can begin eliminating businesses that you do not feel confident about, or that you know you will not be able to apply the proper time and resources to. What you have left is a short list of businesses that you feel you could dedicate time and money into to get started.


Research You need to narrow your short list down to just one business idea, and you do that through research. Start reading books on the businesses you are considering starting. Find out how the businesses work, the kind of experience you need to be successful and the materials you will need to get started. Get out and visit companies that already exist so you can see first hand how it works. If you are able to, you should work for a couple of these companies just to get an intimate idea of whether or not you want to start that kind of business.


Experience and Education


When you were deciding on a businesses, part of your research dealt with determining the experience and educational needs of the industry you have chosen. If you are lacking in the necessary educational background, then take the time to fill in what you are missing. Take classes at the local community college, or go back to school full-time to get the degree you will need. When you’ve completed the research, you need to get experience in your field. You can start working for an existing company through a full-time job, or spend a summer as an intern learning the business.


Mentor Once you have decided on the kind of business you want to start, you need to find a mentor to help you get started. You may find a mentor working full-time for an existing company, or you may know someone already in the industry you want to work in. You are unlikely to find a mentor working in your industry of choice in your own geographic area. You will be seen as competition by those business people. But reach out to people that you would not be in direct competition over the phone or the Internet, and see if you can find someone that will help you to understand what is needed to start your business.


“Starting and Managing a Business,”

“How to Start Your Own Business and Keep Your Sanity,”

“7 Tips for Part-Time Business Owners,”

Process for Employee Participation

Employee participation is hugely important for business success. Success of the business requires that each employee work toward the greater good of the organization. One of the ways in which a business can help employees make a solid contribution is to develop formal processes that help foster increased participation, exposure, and accountability. Some strong ideas are as follows:

1.) Product Teams: Product teams should be designed to ponder improvements for any product or service. Improvements to products or services should not be conducted in a vacuum. Such improvement requires the input of marketing, customer services, operations, sales, and workers. In other words, simply improving a product that doesn’t increase its marketability or can’t profitably be produced doesn’t make sense. Without various input from multiple stakeholders the product might be a “flop”.


2.) Recognition Programs: Recognition programs should be designed to recognize exceptional work throughout the organization. It is not enough for a person to receive a thank you while some people in the organization are receiving much more. Strong employees that are an example to others should receive formal recognition. This formal recognition helps them feel proud of their accomplishments and sends a signal to others to follow their example.


3.) Formal Idea Submission: Great ideas for improvement to the organization should not be ignored even if they are coming from the most entry level employees. However, such programs should be given a formal structure and a formal review process. Simply ignoring these suggestions means you are not tapping your employees potential and knowledge. Thus submissions should be placed in a formal format, include documentation, a formal review, and a reward process. Such improvements could even be recorded and catalogued.


4.) Promoting From Within: Some companies hire all of their managers from outside of the organization. However, when this happens employees begin to believe they have no future outside of their current job within this organization. Therefore, it is necessary to occasionally promote and train exceptional employees to further the knowledge but also to send a positive impression that good work will be rewarded.


5.) Management Relationship Training: Something as subtle as poor management skills can change the dynamics by which people work. A bully in the workplace is likely to only receive compliance and workers aren’t going to share their great ideas for fear of chastisement or rejection. In addition, poor managers also do not produce any loyalty to the company and this can further problems with retention of strong talent.