5 Strategies to Motivate Employees in Your Small Business

We can all use a pep talk, a walk in the park, and some recreation to keep us from getting burned out from our work each day. If you are a small business owner and have employees working for you, 1800Accountant, the nation’s leading small business accounting and consulting firm, recommends the following tips to keep your employees motivated as much as possible:

#1 – Be a positive influence on your employees

Imagine having your employees sit and watch everything you do each minute of the day for one whole day. Think about how they’d perceive your actions. If you act motivated and confident about your work, these traits should rub off on your employees in the way they carry themselves. It’s amazing how much an upbeat attitude can positively affect those around you. On the contrary, if you aren’t thrilled to be at work every day, your employees could reflect this behavior themselves.

#2 – Give incentives to your employees once in a while

As a small business owner, a great way of keeping your employees excited and interested in their jobs is to offer incentives to them. For instance, offer a small bonus to one or more employees for meeting a high goal. Buy lunch for everyone in the office for doing something above and beyond what they’re asked to do. In other words, give your employees a reason to reach for the stars on a daily basis. This will make a work environment more interesting and, more importantly, will keep everyone motivated to work harder on a consistent basis.

#3 – Encourage your employees to provide ideas/feedback

When your employees are comfortable speaking their minds openly about their jobs, they will be more willing to keep up their levels of motivation. This is because someone who is unhappy with a job and is afraid to talk about his or her struggles is more likely to be in a rut when it comes to work. An honest and upfront relationship between employees and their boss is a fantastic way for everyone to be in good spirits.

#4 – Have off-site social events for your employees as a thank-you to them

It may be helpful for small business employees to get out of the office and do different things together once in a while. These recreational activities are great for both motivation and team-building to get everyone more comfortable with each other in a business environment. These activities also help employees get their mind off work for a bit, which is necessary to stay fresh.

#5 – Do different things in your workplace

People sometimes tire of doing similar tasks over and over again. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to mix things up. In a small business, give your employees some different duties here and there to keep them fresh. Doing different things uses a different part of the brain, and this can keep everyone motivated by knowing that there could be some fun twists and turns in their jobs on occasion.

Turn to 1800Accountant for all of your small business development and accounting needs today. Call 1-888-749-0117 or check out www.1800accountant.com for further information.

5 Tips to Set Hours of Operation for a Small Business Store

There are several factors that go into setting the hours of operation for a small business store.

1800Accountant offers tips on setting the hours of operation for a small business retail store. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

When you glance at the front door of a retail business, you may notice that the hours of operation for this particular company are listed. There are some key factors in how to determine when your retail store is actually open to the public. 1800Accountant, the nation’s leading accounting and business consulting firm for small business owners, recommends the following tips:

1) Consider what your products or services actually are.

The items that line the shelves of your store can play a big role on when you offer them for sale. For example, if you sell food, customers may be more likely to come to your store during traditional meal times, such as in the morning, in the early afternoon, and in the evening. If your products aren’t really time-specific like food often is, you may have more flexibility in the hours and days you choose to be open.

2) Consider the schedules of your customers.

If you have a good understanding of who your target customers are, it’ll be a little easier to determine what their general schedules are and when they go shopping. Kids and teens are in school during certain parts of the day. Working individuals may not have much extra time during the regular 9-to-5 time period. Parents may be more willing to shop on Saturdays and Sundays due to how hectic their weekdays are. As you can see, the availability of your customers to be able to shop at your store depends on their schedules. If possible, try to be open when they would likely have time to come in.

3) Consider what your location is.

The location of a store affects how many people enter it on a regular basis. This location greatly factors into when the store should be operational. For example, if your store is in a downtown metro area, you may get business from local residents, tourists, and others nearby. You may want to have it accessible later in the evening and on weekends. On the flipside, a retail outlet in a suburb may receive greater foot traffic mostly from the locals during the day. In terms of location, you should also consider how much it costs you to operate a retail outlet. If you simply can’t afford to be open on certain days, this could have a large impact on your decision-making with regard to your hours of operation.

4) Determine the schedules of yourself and your small business employees.

You don’t want your small business to eat you up by taking away every second of free time. This is why it’s important to determine your schedule and the hours of any individuals you employ. Finding solutions to these questions will obviously affect when your retail store is open as well. If you run a small operation, you may not be able to sustain long hours, or you may have to bring on additional help.

5) See what works and what doesn’t by trying different things.

Sometimes it just takes trial-and-error to solidify your hours of operation. This means testing different timeframes and seeing how they work. Because of this, you may have to bite the bullet initially by having your store open at times when you aren’t getting much traffic. As time goes on, you’ll be able to see the tendencies of your customers, which will help you clarify when exactly to flip your sign to “OPEN.”

1800Accountant assists small business owners in all fields with both accounting and consulting services. Learn more by calling 1-888-749-0117 or by visiting www.1800accountant.com.

Benefits of having a home office for your small business

There are numerous benefits to having a home office for a small business.

There are numerous benefits to having a home office for a small business. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

Operating a business right out of a home-based office works extremely well for many small business owners. From offering convenience to the availability of tax-saving opportunities, there are many reasons to consider designating a portion of your home for business activities. The IRS recently simplified the ability of those who work from home to claim a deduction on their business expenses, giving taxpayers another reason to weigh this option.

You might already have a home office

A home-based office could actually be arranged already in your residence without you even realizing it. It could be an area where you’ve assembled a desk, a computer, and other office equipment or supplies. This means you don’t have to take the time and effort to go out and look for office space to buy or rent out, which is often quite costly. Commuting to a home office does not involve getting in your car, dealing with rush-hour traffic, and driving to a separate location. Instead, all your commute would involve is to walk into another room or area of your home – wearing whatever you wish. With that said, you can save on travel costs. A home office saves you both time and money – two of the most desirable things to save on for small business owners. You can also have more control by doing business in your residence.

You can do things your way

Rather than being restricted by the rules of an office complex on various activities you can conduct – and when you can actually conduct them – a home office can be run exactly how you choose to operate it. This means no time limitations on when it’s open or rules on whether pets are allowed to accompany you in it. The bottom line is that a home office may alleviate some of the numerous stresses you endure in your hectic role running a small business by offering plenty of flexibility.

You can reduce your taxes by claiming the home office deduction

A major tax advantage to maintaining a home-based office involves taking advantage of the home office deduction. For many years, the IRS has allowed certain business owners to deduct a portion of their expenses that are directly associated with operating a legitimate small business out of a home. These costs may include those for mortgage, phone service, Internet access, water, and even electricity. In many instances, you can simply use the percentage of these costs that are part of your total home expenses and deduct the amount used for business purposes.

The new home office deduction alternative

For tax year 2013, the IRS announced an alternative deduction method to make it easier to determine how much in home office costs small business owners can write off. You can now deduct $5 per square foot of a home office with a maximum amount of up to $1,500. This newly introduced flat-rate option substantially reduces the large amount of expense documentation that has been a staple of properly claiming the home office deduction. However, this flat rate is typically more applicable to taxpayers who reside in lower-cost areas. Small business owners who live in areas with higher real estate costs may still benefit more from taking the traditional standard deduction route for claiming home office expenses.

In the grand scheme of the small business landscape, a home office is a fantastic option for business owners looking to have more time to devote to their priorities. Running a company can be a 24/7 obligation, particularly in the startup phase of it. This is why you can minimize these outside factors by doing business out of your own residence.

Contact 1800Accountant for all of your small business accounting and consulting needs at 1-888-749-0117 or at www.1800accountant.com.

4 Tips to Develop a Product Name for a Small Business

The American dream has always been to come up with a million-dollar business idea that will find a niche market and sell like hot cakes. This idea could be represented by a tangible item. For a small business to successfully produce, market, and sell something, it has to put a name on this item that will help it sell and make money for the small business. 1800Accountant suggests some tips on coming up with a product name:

#1 – A name should define a product

If you’re selling a kitchen tool, what exactly does it do? If you’re offering an accessory for a video camera or a motorcycle, how does it function? Make a list of all the words and their synonyms that describe this item. Don’t forget about the action verbs that describe how it works, either. The final name that you settle on should serve as a descriptor of the item in some fashion. The last thing you want to do is cause confusion among your customer base about what the item actually does.

#2 – Think outside the box

Creativity is a big part of coming up with a product name that shines brightly, Bert Seither says. However, you don’t have to overthink it, or you’ll never settle on anything. Create a name that is unique, such as one that is a play on words, a takeoff on a traditional word or phrase, or something that you’ve never heard anyone else utter before. What does your product look like? What color is it? What shape is it in? Use these traits to make a name that’s a little out of the ordinary and reflects the item sufficiently at the same time.

#3 – Think of something memorable

The most popular types of products on the market are those that are named something that’s easy to remember. These items generally have short names that are easy to say and, therefore, easy to tell others about. This referral process is obviously what every small business owner wants to increase. Think of something cool that has a ring to it. Consider what would come to mind if the average person were to hear the name for the first time. Getting potential customers to remember your name is a huge step to turning them into real customers.

#4 – Consider using an acronym

Names can be long and difficult to remember, but using an acronym that provides a shorter version of a name is a great idea in many cases. It also allows you to use standard terms in a way where you can avoid using a name that’s already taken. In Bert Seither’s view, acronyms make it easier for others to recall the name of something. They can also aid in the marketing aspect of the product by giving you an abbreviated title that fits on business cards, websites, and other marketing materials.

1800Acountant can assist you with all of your small business and accounting needs. Call 1800Accountant today at 1-888-749-0117 or click on www.1800accountant.com to find out more.

5 Small Business Marketing Tips

Running a radio marketing campaign on a local station can be a great advertising option for a small business.

Running a radio marketing campaign on a local station can be a great advertising option for a small business. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

The never-ending question of how best to market a small business continues to persist even today. It’s clear that there is no magic formula that fits all businesses. It takes time, effort, and a bit of luck to strike the cords of potential customers who end up purchasing from a business. 1800Accountant offers the following 5 small business marketing tips for small business owners to have a good chance of getting some attention for their businesses:

1. Target your marketing strategies as much as possible

A small business should be marketed based clearly on what it offers. This will enable you to target the potential clients or customers who could benefit from what you’re selling. If these individuals are more likely to find your business by seeing a sign on the side of the road, give this method a try. If they’re tech-savvy, consider Internet small business marketing. If they listen to talk radio, make this an option for you as well. The bottom line is that you should try to make your marketing efforts as visible as you can to the individuals who’d be most likely to do business with you.

2. Think outside the box

You have to be open-minded when it comes to small business marketing. However, some of the most basic tactics can work extraordinarily well, so you don’t have to be as creative as Picasso to be good at it. Just think a little outside the box, and consider the best methods of how to express what you offer in a format that’s most appropriate to tell your story. Look at how other successful businesses have done marketing. You may be able to pick up some cues from them without copying exactly what they’ve done.

3. Use online marketing

If you’re looking for inexpensive marketing opportunities, the Internet should be your best friend. From website advertising to using popular social media sites, there are lots of ways to show off your business on the computer and smartphone screens that potential customers are looking at. With so many web-ready devices out there these days, Internet marketing has basically become a necessity for small business owners who are looking to drive more customers to their businesses. The good news is that it should cost you less than using traditional pre-Internet marketing strategies to do this.

4. Clarify how your small business is unique

Effective marketers know how to uniquely express what a business offers. This means communicating how its products or services differ from others. Make these offerings shine brightly by describing them with terms that show how they are unlike what other businesses sell. Consider using verbiage like, “Our product is better than others because it can benefit you in different ways. Others sell products that don’t offer these unique capabilities, so consider going with ours instead.”

5. Market yourself

Word-of-mouth can spread like you wouldn’t believe, and this starts by marketing yourself as a business owner. Attend events, hand out business cards, introduce yourself to strangers, and do everything you can to make sure everyone you know is aware of your company. Once others associate your name and face with your business, they’ll probably be more tempted to want to do business with you.

Don’t hesitate to contact 1800Accountant for all of your small business consulting needs, including advice on small business marketing and accounting needs. Learn more by calling 1-888-749-0117 or by visiting www.1800accountant.com.