Business Resources

February 20, 2015
Top 10 Innovative companies in Hollywood

Hollywood’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies

Just in time for the Oscars this weekend, Fast Company published their list of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Hollywood. Organizations were chosen for their use of technology to further their industry in terms of content or delivery, as well as for applying innovative ideas purely to better entertain us. To evolve, every industry must innovate. What changes have you seen in your business that keeps the momentum moving toward a healthy future?
February 13, 2015

Our Valentine’s Gift To You: 15 Ways to Beat Procrastination Infographic

For those of you who will be rushing around tomorrow buying the perfect last-minute gift for your sweetheart, we offer you this infographic from Essay.Expert on 15 ways to overcome procrastination. You are welcome.
February 11, 2015
successful entrepreneurs

Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

We recently came across an article from Entrepreneur on the 10 Steps to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur. It started us wondering if our business owner clients would agree with their list. Contributor Larry Alton suggests that the following will lead one down the path of successful business ownership: 1) Love what you do 2) Take baby steps 3) Learn from others 4) Learn to self-promote 5) Constantly take action 6) Make a plan 7) Build a reputation 8) It’s never too late to start 9) Build your “A” Team 10) Be mindful of your attitude What actions did you take or what mindsets did you adopt to create your business? What characteristics have you noted in other successful entrepreneurs you have met? Would you alter or add to Entrepreneur’s list?
February 6, 2015
top 100 jobs of 2015

Is Your Career Included in the Top 100 Jobs of 2015?

U.S World News and Report released their Best Job ranking for 2015 in January – is your career on the list? The publication looked to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for a collection of viable career paths, and then placed the list through a formula of desired job criteria. The top 10 jobs land solidly in the medical or technology industries, with Dentist and Nurse Practitioner ranking #1 and #2 respectively, and Software Developer ranking #3. We were happy to see Insurance Agent make the list at 33, though we feel it should be #1! The list includes a full review of the job, salary details and even a list of openings in that industry. How does your chosen career path rank in the top 100 jobs of 2015? Check out the full list here.
February 4, 2015
hiring consultants

Hiring Consultants: Complete a Vetting Process

Hiring consultants to supplement business activities is commonplace these days. Outside help can be a valuable solution for tapping into a particular expertise or for filling a need without the implications of becoming an employer. Although these contractors will not become a part of your payroll, they will become a part of your team. In a recent article in Entrepreneur, contributor Rob Beiderman reminds business owners to put consultants through a rigorous hiring process, just like they would for an employee. Similar to hiring a new team member, it is important to make sure your consultant is the right fit for your needs. Rob suggests six areas in which to vet your potential partner: Investigate their experience. Just because they say they have it, does not mean they do. Ask pointed questions about projects they have completed that align with your needs. Look at work samples. They have the experience, but is their level of quality up to your standards? Ask for examples of their work. Get references. It’s a large red flag if your consultant does not have any clients willing to speak positively about their relationship. Assess work habits. Working remotely is a common characteristic of contract workers and involves a level of trust. Discussing your expectations up front will help you gauge if their style fits into your company’s requirements. Measure flexibility aversion. As your project progresses, your needs may change. Your consultant has to be able to evolve with you, being open to altering the original scope of work if necessary. Compare price vs value. Weigh your desire for expertise and accountability against the cost of each consultant you are considering. The lowest price may not give you the best outcome. And remember, fixes after the fact can be expensive. What has your experience been with hiring outside consultants? Do you have any advice you could share?
January 30, 2015
future leaders

Are You Prepared to Lead the Workforce of Tomorrow?

Studies show that the workforce of the future is going to look quite different than the one we have today. Is your business prepared? Fast Company recently release an article discussing the measures companies need to take now in order to have effective leaders later. According to the piece, the evolving workforce will include more women and minorities, and will constitute over 50% Millennials. Also growing is the practice of hiring of temporary, part-time and contractor labor instead of maintaining a traditional employee model. Our future business leaders will need to be skilled in managing this diverse workforce of tomorrow. Fast Company offers some tips on preparing them for success. Do you see your employee mix changing? If so, what are you having to change about how you lead them?  
January 23, 2015
Finding a job in 2015

Top 10 Cities to Find A Job in 2015

WalletHub recently release a report ranking US cities on a person’s ability to find a job. Their research uncovered a positive outlook for the job market overall, with recent college grads garnering the greatest benefit to the growth in planned hiring. To create their list of top cities for employment, they analyzed 150 US cities using 16 key metrics. Indianapolis ranked 93rd on the list, landing 69th in the Job Market category and 109th in the Socioeconomic Environment category. Click here to read the report. The Top 10 Cities to Find A Job in 2015 1) Seattle, WA 2) Des Moines, IA 3) Gilbert, AZ 4) Sioux Falls, SD 5) Fremont, CA 6) Chandler, AZ 7) Omaha, NE 8) Salt Lake City, UT 9) Scottsdale, AZ 10) Plano, TX  
January 21, 2015
Business Plan

The Value of Creating A Strong Business Plan

Entrepreneurs are a lively bunch, brimming with optimism and belief in the premise behind their businesses. Their interests tend to lie in creating the product or service they are going to sell and convincing their customer base to buy it. For many of these busy business owners, creating a business plan seems unnecessary. We’ve heard comments like “Plans are limiting” or “My time needs to be spent growing revenue.” However, a formulating a business plan can offer many advantages. Entreprenuer Contributor, Tim Berry, outlined 10 benefits to having a robust plan for your business: Keeps your strategy top-of-mind Clearly defines your objective Allows for better-informed decisions Creates sensible priorities Reveals inherent process needs Sets milestones for better tracking Allows for successful delegating Promotes effective employee management and reviews Makes cash flow planning and management easier Sets a basis for the future Did you take the time to create a business plan when you started your business? If so, how was it helpful? If not, do you wish you had?
December 19, 2014
Wharton Insurance

Are There Only 12 Types of Millennials?

Can a whole generation be generalized into 12 types? AdWeek recently reported on a presentation by Exponential vice president Bryan Melmed at their recent Advertizing Week in New York, outlining the 12 types of millenials, people aged 18-35. Exponential analyzed data from over 4 million members of this group [to come up with these categories] and came up with the categories. According to the AdWeek article, “each group is largely defined by its reaction to three major forces: the economy, globalization and social media. Those, combined with an array of other experiences and lifestyle choices, have led to the emergence of these 12 millennial groups.” The names of these categories are interesting to say the least: 1) Boss Babes, 2) Brogrammers, 3) The Underemployed 4) Shut Out, 5) Nostalgics, 6) Travel Enthusiasts, 7) Culinary Explorers, 8) The Exuberants, 9) The Collectors, 10) The Quarter-Life Crisis Millennial, 11) Millennial Marthas, and 12) Millennial Moms. You can read more about the characteristics of each on AdWeek.com. Perhaps every generation has its categories. In the end, however, for a business owner the point is to understand the characteristics of your customers – their needs and wants, their pain points and decision-making processes. It may be that generalizing to this degree could lead to generalizing your customers, who are most likely looking for a more personalized approach. Have you found general truths about your customer base?
December 17, 2014
Businesspeople Having Meeting In Modern Open Plan Office

Tips on Hiring the Right Employees

Growing your business usually means bringing on key employees. Whether they manage your data, sell to your customers, or build your widgets, to be effective they need to meet your needs for that position. With all of the resumes hitting your desk, how do you choose the right people to add to your team? Entrepreneur contributor, Marty Fukuda, recently published a blog post on the 5 Essential Ingredients for Making a Smart Hire. One of his rules of thumb is to wait for the right person. Many business owners rush to fill a need within their organizations, which can lead to a poor fit in the long run. Taking the time to vet applicants for their skills, reliability, and ability to fit within your company culture will lead to a better hire. Training and then losing an employee is expensive! Finding the right match up front can save precious time and money. What rules of thumb do you use when searching for your next team member?
December 10, 2014
life insurance for businesses

What Happens to Your Business if Something Happens to You?

You are the leader of your organization, the one who sets the direction and ensures that everyone stays on course. Even if you have created a talented team for support, your organization still needs a captain at the helm. So what happens if you are no longer able to lead? For the health of the business you have worked so hard to build, you need a plan in place. Life insurance is commonly included in business succession plans as a tool to perpetuate the business, guide ownership changes, and/or protect lender interests. Each area has its own set of considerations, outlined below: Perpetuate the Business: In the case of the untimely death of an organizational leader, life insurance can help fund a plan to keep the business running and therefore, maintain its value. While it is not possible to insure receivables, organizations can insure the ability to bring someone in to support its operations. Businesses buy Key Man life insurance policies to cover the costs of attracting or retaining key individuals to fill leadership roles, and to keep them in place for a period of time. The policies are paid for and owned by the business, which is also the beneficiary. The death benefits of these policies tend to be set at 2-3 times the expected initial costs to help ensure funding lasts through the transition period. Additionally, these funds can be used to retain valued employees who could become a competitive threat if they left the organization. Direct the Transfer of Ownership: In some cases, when a key person in a business passes away, his or her share of the organization is transferred to their surviving spouse. This situation can get tricky for other partners, as the spouse may not know much about the organization, or may be mostly concerned about income. A life insurance policy owned and paid for by the company can be used to redeem a spouse’s shares in the business. The spouse receives the value of the shares and the company retains 100% ownership. The company leadership is then in complete control of the succession plan, allowing them to reinvest the capital into the organization. Policies set for businesses comprised of many partners can get quite complicated, as they are trying to protect multiple interests. Guarantee a Bank Loan: To borrow money from a bank to buy or start a business, or to fund a capital expenditure, an individual or organization may be required to carry life insurance to guarantee the loan would be repaid in the case of a death. Underlying all of these situations is the question of how best to insure the value of a person or business. Obviously in the case of the bank loan, the policy is based on the loan balance. However in terms of the Key Man and Transfer of Ownership policies, the methodology becomes more complex. CPAs tend to work out the valuation on which the policy is based along with negotiations between affected parties. The WIFS […]
December 5, 2014
hi-tech gadets

Hi-Tech Gadgets for the Geek in All of Us

The holiday season for business owners means spending most of your December weeknights going to holiday gatherings. While it is important to solidify the partner, customer and vendor relationships you have built over the past year, the constant party-going can leave you tired by the weekend. How is one to shop for holiday gifts then? To make that job a little easier, we want to share a list of gifts for the technology geeks in your life that we found in Entrepreneur this week. From tracking your keys or other often lost objects, to the latest in basic home security, this collection is filled with hi-tech gadgets you may want to add to your own wish list!
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