Tips for Being a Successful Employee

If you pass a guy in the street who looks like he was just hit by a truck, he probably sells digital media on the Internet. If you pass a young woman who looks like she just spent four days in Vegas and slept less than four hours each night, she probably sells digital media to pay the bills. The business of selling digital media on the Internet – whether the format is audio, video or still pictures – has been clobbered in the United States and elsewhere by a pervasive culture of piracy and increasing low-cost options for consumers driven by intense competition.

How badly has the music industry been decimated by changes in consumer habits? A quick look at the numbers for pre-packaged, hard copy music sales speaks volumes. The Chicago Tribune has reported that no less than 115,000 albums were released in 2008. Of those, only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies. Another 1,500 topped 10,000 sales, and fewer than 6,000 even managed to reach 1,000 sales.

Remember when new albums would reach “Platinum” status on a regular basis? Not too long ago, “Gold” albums were so common that popular bands were almost disappointed when new releases only reached that level of success. For an album to be considered “Gold” it needs to reach at least 500,000 sales.

How about the Internet? Are Internet download sales filling the revenue gap left by declining sales of packaged media? The problem that the music industry is facing, beyond piracy, is a glut of new legal services that are driving down the cost of downloads. Some companies like MySpace.com are even rolling out free music services.

Writing on Billboard.biz, Glenn Peoples summed it up nicely: “Give consumers a way out of spending money on music and they’re going to take it.”

At the moment, iTunes dominates the sale of music online. But when iTunes started to roll out slightly more expensive songs in 2009, at $1.29 as opposed to the traditional price of 99 cents, more expensive songs dropped on the charts immediately. 40 songs from the “Top 100” list that were priced at the new $1.29 rate lost an average of 5.3 places in just one day.

On the one hand, small drops in sales volume will be offset by the higher price point – and could still result in an increase in revenue in the short term. On the other hand, chart positions are extremely important to musicians and their individual success. Additionally, lower sales volumes could mean more consumers are switching to “alternatives” to legal download services in reaction to attempts to drive up prices. The set 99 cents price point was likely a key factor in Apple’s success in luring music fans away from illegal downloads in the first place.

Still, to date the per-song download format has proven to be the only model that has enjoyed any real measurable level of success with consumers in the online music industry. What hasn’t worked so far for music sales online is the monthly subscription model – at least, not in the United States.

Rhapsody.com is a music service backed by Real Networks, and Best Buy now owns the formerly infamous Napster.com; both services offer an “all you can eat” approach to music sales. For a monthly subscription price in the $15 range, subscribers can stream all the music they want. But according to the New York Times, both sites muster only a few hundred thousand subscribers and have seen poor growth numbers, meaning neither are a threat to iTunes and the many millions of active customers who use it.

But the Times is reporting that despite the challenges faced by music subscription models in the past, a new group of entrepreneurs are nonetheless targeting that same business model, but for new services likely to make their debut in the American market in the near future.

Do the names Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis sound familiar? They should, because they’re the principals behind Kazaa.com, the P2P file-sharing network that many music execs believe helped lay waste to their business. They also started Skype.com, the increasingly popular VOIP service that’s taking a bite out of the traditional telecommunications companies. But the duo has now turned their focus from file-sharing and voice services to legal music sales, no doubt armed with insider information about the intense popularity of music with Internet users.

And, they’re looking directly at the monthly subscription model.

What we do know about the new service is that it will be called Rdio.com, but the Times has called the startup “secretive” and Zennstrom and Friis themselves have said little. It’s website currently offers only the simple message that “Rdio is coming” plus a chance to join a mailing list to be notified as more develops. The Times has reported that Zennstrom and Friis are currently negotiating with the music labels that fought a bitter legal battle with Kazaa.com, and expect to release Rdio.com to the American market in the not too distant future – though they probably won’t beat the European-based Spotify.com to the American market.

Like Rdio.com, Spotify.com will compete for American dollars with a monthly subscription service. But Spotify.com already has a year of experience under its belt in Europe, where it offers a paid subscription service plus a free ad-supported service. The free service isn’t winning fans with the American music industry executives.

“We like Spotify as our partner in Europe, but we would like them to move more toward a paid subscription environment,” said Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business at Sony Music.

And in another indication that entrepreneurs see promise in the monthly subscription model for music, yet another new company, Berkley-based Mog.com, plans to offer a subscription service this year; Mog’s prices will start around $5 per month. Mog founder David Hyman calls it “radio without restrictions” because it allows users to create their own playlists.

Mog.com currently focuses on music-related blogs and news, but the new “all access” service should be released sometime around Thanksgiving.

All this activity should have sellers of digital media keeping a close watch on the music industry for clues about whether Internet consumers can be convinced by well funded online marketers to abandon the iTunes format and embrace a recurring monthly subscription plan in exchange for access to large quantities of digital audio content.

How to Select the Best Business Advisers

Hiring outside advisers and utilizing members of the entrepreneurial infrastructure are key strategies for operating a successful venture. Too many times such personnel are chosen because they are friends or relatives of the owner. This is one of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make. Those selected should balance out the management team, bringing in expertise that the owner lacks and the business strongly needs.

Entrepreneurs give equally little thought to selecting members of the infrastructure, lawyers, accountants, and other management professionals. Again, they usually choose people they know, regardless of their expertise and reputation. Because most start-up ventures cannot afford to take on additional employees to handle various management functions, infrastructure contacts become especially critical. They must be seasoned professionals, chosen solely on the basis of their expertise. This is the only way to build a strong management team besides hiring one. On an informal level, friends, associates, suppliers, and vendors can be good sources of outside advice.

 

Establishing a board of directors and an outside board or council is one of the best investments entrepreneurs can make to strengthen the stability and growth potential of their ventures. An outside board gives a fresh perspective and objective feedback about the operation and its strategic direction. Unfortunately, few founders seek enough of such advice. Often they neglect to establish a board of directors or advisory council because they think no one would want to serve on a board or that setting one up is too much work.

 

Smart Strategies for Using the Infrastructure and Business Professionals

 

1 – Find a lawyer experienced in small business and establish a working relationship before you ever need to hire counsel.

 

2 – To save on legal fees, complete as much up-front work and information gathering as possible before meeting with your attorney.

 

3 – Never talk to another party’s attorney without having your own attorney present.

 

4 – To reduce legal costs, use standardized forms of conducting routine business, but always have your attorney review them before implementation.

 

5 – To avoid surprises with legal bills, estimate the number of billable hours for your legal project and then negotiate a cap or ceiling on the total fee.

 

6 – Select an accountant who is also a good business adviser, one who is familiar with your industry, knowledgeable about tax planning, and committed to building and managing a sound cash flow.

 

7 – If you are considering raising venture capital or going public, contact an accounting firm that has a track record working with promising smaller businesses.

 

8 – Before you begin a small to mid-size venture, obtain a business-owner’s policy to cover all your major property and business liability exposures.

 

9 – Ask your local or national professional and/or trade association if it has a group insurance arrangement with specialty brokers or insurers.

 

10 – Avoid “I can do it all” consultants.

 

11 – Use a written consulting agreement that specifies work assignments, responsibilities, and compensation.

 

12 – Assemble a board of directors to add credibility to your venture, enhance your corporation’s assets, and obtain management expertise and advice.

 

13 – Establish an advisory board to serve as your in-house management consulting team.

 

14 – Look for advisory board members or board directors who have the specialized knowledge and skills you lack.

6 Business & Marketing Strategies in Canada

As a business entrepreneur, I always look for new opportunities to expand our business ‘” both to increase customer base and revenue opportunities. I had started my business in Australia before I moved to Canada.

Canada has many advantages in terms of business, it is a very open-minded business culture, it is less conservative, although, probably not as active as US enterprises; and best of all, Canada is a multicultural society with very high degree of racial integration; this means, it is very easy to develop international opportunities.

 

Here are 10 strategies that I have gathered from other successful Canadian businesses and also from personal experience:

 

  1. Look beyond Canada

 

With USA next door, Canada has a natural strategic advantage than other markets. When we were in Australia, it was very difficult to discuss opportunities with US clients due to the time-difference. Furthermore, the Canadian and US business cultures are very similar, you will see a lot of Canadian businesses have majority of their clients in the US.

 

  1. Source products and goods from USA

 

This is the 2nd strategy, US is the world’s most affordable market in the world in many areas. If you see an opportunity, why not bring them into Canada and sell them here? This basically means operating an importing business in Canada, lots of people are doing it already and very successfully.

 

  1. A Canadian business in USA

 

This is quite an interesting model I have learnt when I crossed the border a few weeks ago. A lot of businesses near the border are operated by Canadians; they set up simple businesses like personal shopping, delivery from USA to Canadian clients. Many Canadians prefer to deal with Canadians in the US; so you can use this psychology to make a business if you are in the US.

 

  1. Internet is a very good strategy

 

Similar to the customers in the US, Canada has a very advanced Internet / e-commerce industry. It is one of the fastest growing industry in Canada at moment. Canadian customers are also amongst the world’s highest consumers willing to shop on Internet as well.

 

  1. Social Media  amp; Online AD

 

On the same point again ‘” you can see Canadian businesses are expanding rapidly in terms of social media marketing  amp; online advertising. There has been a large number of Internet advertising companies emerging, both small and medium sized companies; this is certainly where the advertising money is at moment in Canada.

 

  1. Multilingual Websites

 

Canada is a multilingual society, with English  amp; French as its official languages. Other popular languages used in Canada include Chinese, Hindi and Arabic. By having your website in different languages, you can open up new opportunities and reach the fast growing ethnic markets in Canada. The same principal is evident in the United States, where multilingual websites (eg. English-Spanish-Chinese) have attracted significant new businesses.

Why My 9-5 Won’t Cut It

I feel like I have been working all of my life. Now that I think about it, 59% of my living years have been spent working, which is more than half my life!! No wonder I feel the way that I do!! For as long as I can remember, I held on to the belief that working, going to school, and saving would lead to retirement with a nice nest egg. Words can’t express how disappointed I was a few years ago when I realized that I was nowhere near retirement. I’d made progress in some areas related to work and finances, but something still wasn’t quite right. I began to look at those around me in comparison to those I’d read about. I was sincerely troubled by media reports of salary gaps based on gender, net worth data differences grouped by ethnicity, and where I stood in the midst of those reports. During this period of listening to media on economic conditions and reading various articles online, I stumbled across a television program in progress. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that one program had a message that changed my life.TD Jakes, said something that I’d never heard of before as he was teaching his congregation about finances. He mentioned “multiple streams of income” and I knew, right then, that my 9-5 had to go!

In that moment, working for someone else, meaning an employer, was no longer my ultimate goal. My goals needed to include having multiple streams of income in addition to phasing myself out of Corporate America. The solution for me was simple and was one that I couldn’t negotiate. I had to begin another stream of income by starting my own business. Life is uncertain and risk is a part of life, but this is something that I had to try. As I conducted research on becoming an entrepreneur, I started my plan to end my 9-5. Within the plan, I measured some of the benefits of owning a business, which include:

 

– Being your own boss; deciding what you want for your business and how to make it happen.

 

– Gaining experience in a variety of disciplines and learning about every aspect of a business.

 

– An opportunity to make more money and build more retirement value in the process.

 

– Having control over how your time is spent.

 

Because I hadn’t always thought of myself as a business owner, I began to look at those who were successful. I contacted local entrepreneurs to schedule meetings so that I could learn from them and I also read about famous business owners. I figured if they could do it, why couldn’t I?? The richest man in the United States of America, Bill Gates, dropped out of Harvard. I am not saying that Mr. Gates did anything wrong and I am not saying that education isn’t important. I am merely suggesting that you and I have more in common with Bill Gates than we probably realize. According to Forbes, his net worth in March of this year was $56 billion and this is a result of him becoming a business owner. I don’t know about you, but I’m leaning more towards Bill Gates’ blueprint instead of my employer’s succession plan for me and being an entrepreneur just might pay off!

 

More from this contributor:

 

How to Fireproof Your Career

 

Career Navigation: Your Very Own GPS

 

Are You Engaged (At Work)?

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.

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.

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,” SBA.gov

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

“7 Tips for Part-Time Business Owners,” Entrepreneur.com

Bright Ideas Are Worth Money: Creative and Innovative Ways to Earn Cash

CashSome of the most unlikely ideas can generate tremendous interest and earn their originators amazingly large sums of money, including an anatomically impossible drawing of a spider. In 2008, David Thorne of Adelaide, Australia, reportedly offered a drawing of a spider he had sketched as a substitute for payment of a utility bill for 233.95 dollars Australian.

The utility company refused the drawing, but the seven-legged sketch generated an extended email exchange between Thorne and the utility company. He ultimately offered the sketch on the online auction site eBay, where it fetched 18 bids from various countries worldwide and a winning offer of $10,000 U.S dollars, or 15,000 Australian dollars.**

Performance Art

The Chicago Bucket Boys are descended from a tradition of street performers dating back hundreds, if not thousands of years. The young men from the south side of Chicago create syncopated rhythms using a simple pair of drumsticks and plastic buckets. They are a frequent sight on Michigan Avenue during the summer months, and have performed during halftime at Chicago Bulls games.

Esmee Denters, a young woman from Oosterbeck in the Netherlands, has taken a more high tech approach, uploading videos of herself singing to the popular user driven channel YouTube. She has generated interest from promoters with major music labels. Fluent in English and Dutch, she has developed a fan base in Europe and the United States.

A Better Mousetrap

Until personal computers made typewriters nearly obsolete, the invention of Bette Nesmith Graham, Liquid Paper, originally called “Mistake Out,” was the savior of typists everywhere. The mother of Michael Nesmith, a member of the 1960’s pop group The Monkees, Bette Nesmith Graham began manufacturing the formula in her kitchen blender. Shortly before her death in 1980, she sold the company to Gillette for 47.5 million dollars.

Multiple inventor Joy Mangano’s inventions focus on household challenges such as hangers that preserve space in crowded closets or a mop that eliminates the need to wring out dirty water from a mop head with their hands. She began her company in 1991 with her first invention, the “Miracle Mop,” that allowed users to wring out the mop head without getting their hands wet. Since then, she has become a fixture on Home Shopping Network, promoting products like her popular “Huggable Hangers.”

Playing Doctor on TV

In a commercial for Vicks 44 cough syrup that aired during the 1980s, soap opera actor Peter Bergman spoke the now famous line “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Since that time, real doctors have taken positions as varied as medical correspondent for television news stations, to product endorsements for infomercials. Dr. Drew Pinsky, known as “Dr. Drew” and Dr. Mehmet Oz, known as “Dr. Oz” have each become bona fide television personalities with nationwide recognition.

Other doctors, while less famous, have also established careers on television. Dr. Stephanie Clements began her career in journalism and earned a medical degree in podiatry. She became the medical correspondent for KUSA, an NBC affiliate in Denver, Colorado and continued her medical practice. Dr. Dave David gave up a medical practice in the 1990s to become a product endorser for medical and fitness infomercials.

Put It In Writing

Web pages and weblogs, or blogs, have replaced newspapers and books for a large percentage of the reading public. As a result, bloggers such as Matt Drudge of the conservative “Drudge Report” and Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of the left-leaning “Daily Kos” have become influential figures on the blogosphere, or the Internet information arena. Commercial services such as CreativeWeblogging and and Weblogs, Inc. offer would-be bloggers a turnkey platform and paid compensation for their prose.

The Worth of a Picture

Artist J.S.G. (“Just Some Guy”) Boggs has traveled around the world, using hand-drawn currency in place of actual legal tender. He is not a counterfeiter; his works of art recreate the look of money only on one side. The back contains his thumbprint and signature. In the Internet age, Boggs has turned from hand-drawing currency to computer generated works of art.

Both his hand drawn bills and his computer currency are worth much more than face value to collectors, who pay Boggs for receipts allowing them to trace the works of art. The collectors in turn contact the recipients of the “Boggs bills” with lucrative offers. Once the art has changed hands from its original recipient to the collector, Boggs considers his “performance art” to be complete. His art is on display in museums around the world.

** No money had actually changed hands concerning the spider drawing. Patrick Munoz, the winning bidder, reportedly refused to pay the winning bid. The spider artist had reportedly not paid the original utility bill as of that date, either. An extensive search yielded no further updates.

Sources

  • Ninemsn.com.au — Man Tries to Pay Bill With Spider Drawing
  • Telegraph.co.uk — Man Tries to Pay Overdue Bill With Spider Drawing
  • Ninemsn.com.au — Spider Minus Leg Sells for Thousands
  • News Ninemsn.com.au — “Spider Man” Refuses to Pay for Drawing
  • Bulls.com — Chicago Bulls Bucket Boys
  • Reuters.com — You Tube Stars Don’t Always Welcome Record Deals
  • YouTube — Esmee Denters’ Official Channel
  • JobTips.org — Moms as Successful Home-Based Entrepreneurs
  • Liquid Paper — About Us
  • CBS News — Mother of the Miracle Mop
  • HSN.com — Joy Mangano for the Home
  • IMDB — Peter Bergman
  • Dr. Drew Pinsky — Home
  • Mehmet Oz, M.D. — Home
  • CareerLab.com — Getting a New Gig
  • The New York Review of Books — The Library in the New Age
  • From Literacy to Electracy — Writing, Reading, and Learning in the Late Age of Print
  • Beat-Tuition.com — Make Money In College –33 Ideas and More
  • The Drudge Report — Home
  • NNDB — Matt Drudge
  • Daily Kos — Home
  • Daily Kos — FAQ
  • Creative Webblogging — Write for Us
  • Weblogs, Inc. — Home
  • Economic Expert — J.S.G. Boggs
  • Young Money.com — J.S.G. Boggs — The Value of Money
  • The Art Institute of Chicago — Search Result — J.S.G. Boggs

Free Sample Employee Evaluation Form: A Performance Evaluation Checklist for Entrepreneurs

ChecklistEmployees need to know how they are doing, and performance evaluations are an excellent way to provide the necessary feedback. Yet an employee evaluation isn’t a one-time or yearly process either; it begins the second an employee is hired and continues throughout their career with the organization.

What follows is a free sample evaluation form for entrepreneurs to use and cater to their specific human resource needs, so as to provide their staff with adequate feedback and review on a regular, measured basis.

Free Sample Performance Evaluation – Data Section

Start the evaluation form with the kind of data that can be filled in before the actual job evaluation takes place, such as:

  • Employee name, number (if applicable), job title, supervisor and department;
  • Hiring or start date and the time period for which the employee evaluation is being done;
  • Current salary, along with the last salary increase date;
  • Why the employee is receiving a performance evaluation (such as it was scheduled, for a promotion or to review a potential salary increase); and
  • The date of the employee’s last performance evaluation, as well as the date the current evaluation is being performed.

Free Sample Performance Evaluation – Technical Skills Section

The technical skills section of an employee evaluation is where the reviewer can comment upon the staff member’s:

  • Knowledge of the job, including the specific skills and information requirements needed;
  • Work quality, such as their accuracy, thoughtfulness, thoroughness, concision, ability to complete projects as requested and consistency;
  • Promptness in getting the work required finished on schedule;
  • Understanding of the job and all it entails, such as the employee’s ability to learn new skills and put them into practice and follow company rules and/or procedures; and
  • Organizational skills, such as their ability to juggle projects and time commitments, and how well they prioritize crucial job-related tasks.

Free Sample Performance Evaluation – Interpersonal Skills Section

Every job requires some level of interpersonal skills, whether or not the staff member has any contact with the public. With this in mind, some of the performance review talking points could include:

  • How well or often does the employee take the initiative to get thing done, and are they able to work without supervision most of the time?
  • Is the employee respected by his or her peers, subordinates, superiors and/or clients? Do they work well with others?
  • Does the employee demonstrate concern for the client’s needs consistently and regularly?
  • What kind of attitude does the staff member bring to the workplace?

Free Sample Performance Evaluation – Personal Skills Section

The smallest of the sections in a performance review, the personal skills category merely explains whether or not the employee is punctual, has good attendance, and is attentive to customer relations no matter what their position with the company.

Free Sample Performance Evaluation – Written Evaluation Section

The written evaluation is where the reviewer can write longer, more detailed comments about the employee’s job performance, such as any general comments or whether or not the staff member met the goals and recommendations from the previous performance review.

Free Sample Performance Evaluation – Recommendation Section

This is the portion of the employee evaluation form where the reviewer or human resources professional can give a brief outline of what is to happen based on the performance review. Information covered could include:

  • Whether or not the employee’s position will remain the same, receive a promotion, be transferred or changed in any other way;
  • What, if any, salary changes or training programs are being recommended; and
  • What date the performance review was shared with the employee.

Finish the performance evaluation with the reviewers signature, the employee’s signature, and the date, along with a disclaimer such as, “I have read this employee evaluation and have shared my thoughts and comments with the reviewer. My signature does not constitute agreement, but rather an understanding of the information presented within.”

Why Buying a Franchise Might Be Right for You: For Some Aspiring Entrepreneurs Franchising Could Be the Way to Go

LogoIf you’re looking to start your own business but are worried about taking the plunge you might want to consider investing in a franchise. Starting a small business can be full of risk. You have to develop a concept and put your own money and maybe somebody else’s on the line for an unproven concept. This can take a lot of guts to do. And if you lack a good business education and the experience necessary then it might not be a good risk for you to take.

A Franchise Is an Investment

There is an alternative though. Buying a franchise can help you overcome some of the weaknesses that are inherent with small business. And if you pick the right type of franchise then you might find a good deal of support for your investment. Not all franchises are the same of course, some are better than others and they operate in many different industries. Restaurants are the single most popular field for franchised businesses. But there are many others for you to choose from. The first thing you have to ask yourself is what is right for you.

Your Franchise Is a Long Term Commitment

Buying a franchise is a long term commitment. You be required to sign a contract that usually will last five years or longer. You’ll spend thousands of dollars on your franchise and possibly undergo numerous training sessions. You need to make sure that the franchise you choose is what you will be happy doing. There are all sorts of franchises out there if you take the time to look. But just as you should do with anything else in business before you buy that franchise you need to educate yourself.

Educate Yourself about Franchises

Your education needs to include all that you can find out about the industry you are interested in and the franchise company you are considering. The fees that they charge need to be considered. What is the franchise fee and do they charge any kind of regular royalties? What training do they provide to you both upfront and on an ongoing basis. How many other stores are in your area? Does your franchise operate territories and can you buy control of more than one? When you consider buying a franchise you have to consider a lot of questions. And you need to do it carefully.

Benefits of Owning a Franchise

A franchise does come with some definite benefits though. Many franchises are proven business concepts with hundreds or even thousands of locations. Many have national advertising campaigns that they run. And a list of approved vendors the length of your arm that you can buy from. All you have to do is provide the money to get your location up and running and then go to work. How successful it becomes is not entirely up to you because of the support they are providing but how well your location runs is in your hands. Franchises are not for everyone but if you have the money and feel you need the support of a proven business concept it might be right for you.