How can you motivate your employees and colleagues to be as productive as possible? It’s a holistic approach and no single change is going to do it for everyone (or probably anyone). Plus, it also requires creating teams that work well together since some combinations (like too many dreamers and not enough doers) can be deadly to your company. When it comes to productivity, it’s a constant honing that you’ll never really perfect.

From having the right environment during special events as well as the daily grind to understanding which personality types work best together, there are many equations to better productivity. It also depends on your industry and goals. However, here are some foundational basics to get started:

1. Happiness

Happy employees are healthy, productive employees. In fact, Forbes even reported that the happier your employees are, the more money the business will make. However, many companies don’t make happiness a constant, high priority and instead try to inject it randomly (such as with forced office birthday parties). Be transparent with your workers and get feedback on what will actually make them happier.

2. A healthy environment

The health of your environment will play a huge role in how productive everyone is, which is why regular professional cleaning is a must. The healthier your employers are, the better they’ll be able to do their job. Infuse as much natural light as possible, encourage or require frequent breaks, and consider starting an office run/walk club or other fitness incentive. Even a daily lunch stroll can have huge benefits according to Real Simple, and it also provides a bonding opportunity.

3. The right tools and technology

You can’t expect your employees to be as productive as possible if you’re not kitting them out with the latest tools and technology. Your competition might be doing so, which puts you (and all your employees) at a major disadvantage. Remember that these items are tax write-offs for the business. Otherwise, you’re asking someone in Crocs to win a marathon for you.

4. Regular training

Just because Susie in accounting got her training with your company 12 years ago doesn’t mean she remembers anything or that the information is even relevant today. People forget, things change, and it’s normal to feel embarrassed asking for clarification on something a person is supposed to be doing everything. Provide regular training for all employees and teams, and you’ll discover things are suddenly being handled much better.

5. Give options

There are more and more companies offering telecommuting and virtual office options. For some employees, this can massively boost their productivity but for others it can hinder it. You can’t play favorites, so experiment by offering trial runs. You’ll find out if certain job descriptions work well with telecommuting, or if it’s just some people.

6. Give incentives

If you really want a certain person or team to do their best, inject some healthy competition into the mix. From making a certain sales goal to having the highest customer satisfaction rating, there are many approaches you can take with this. Make sure the incentive is truly desirable, such as a paid Friday or Monday for a long weekend or an impressively high gift certificate to a local restaurant.

When it comes to the productivity of your employees, a lot of it is in your hands. However, it’s tempting to get lazy and settle for good enough. Put some hustle into your workplace and actively encourage productivity on a daily basis. Remember that leading by example is powerful stuff, so don’t exempt yourself from following your own recommendations and bolstering your own productivity levels.


Every year, the Women’s Presidents’ Organization releases a list that features the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led businesses in the country. These companies generate billions of dollars in revenue and employ more than 20,000 people. The average number of employees per company is more than 600. The women owning and operating the diverse businesses are around 47 years of age. Explore the statistics of some of the top women in trade.

Happy Family Organic Superfoods

A group of young mothers headed by Shazi Visram established the company that is located in New York. All were concerned about the healthy food options available for infants and toddlers. The women devised the means to deliver nutritious and fortified organic products in the form of finger foods, shakes and smoothies containing various combinations of fruits, vegetables, fiber and protein rich seeds. Since introducing the business in 2006, revenues have exceeded more than $60 million annually.

Strategic Communications, Inc.

Kathy Mills established the communications company in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1994. Boasting clients of all sizes in every state of the country, the business offers everything from audio/visual solutions, cabling and networking to cloud computing and data centers. With technicians located throughout the United States, customers have access to the type of communication needs that best serve their purpose. The company receives revenues of more than $40 million every year.

BrightStar Care LLC

Shelly Sun began the company in Gurnee, Illinois, in 2002 in an attempt at addressing the care-taking needs of families. She recognized the need for clients to ensure that loved ones receive care in the familiar surroundings of their home. Staff members provide services around the clock whether needing childcare or supervision of an elderly parent. The type of care offered also varies from basic supervision or assistance with daily activities to licensed professional evaluations and treatment. Now with offices in more than 250 locations, the company lists an annual revenue of more than $200 million.

Intellect Resources

The company founded by Tiffany Crenshaw in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1999 offers a wide selection of IT services in the healthcare industry. The company recruits talent, manages projects, implements systems, trains personnel and provides live support when needed. By providing comprehensive and innovative solutions, the company has enjoyed revenues of approximately $30 million annually.

Cenergy International Services LLC

The Houston, Texas, company established by June Ressler in 1996 provides employment solutions for the gas and oil industries. The company also offers inspection and safety solutions, logistics optimization and vendor management when and where the services are required. The company currently provides services to industries located throughout the world and has revenues of $250 million.

Rose International Inc.

Sue Bhatia founded the corporation in 1993 for the purpose of providing employment and technology solutions. With more than 6,000 employees, who provide various services to more than 130 regular customers in every state of the country, in addition to having 20 International offices. The minority and female owned business generates more than $350 million in profits every year.

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Connecting with new customers is great for business, but your company must also learn how to drive repeat purchases. Loyal buyers can help your company weather slow seasons. Happy customers will also become promoters of your brand and products, allowing you to connect with all new customers and begin the cycle of retention again. Here are four ways to build customer loyalty and encourage repeat sales.

Offer Consistent Value

Your products, services, and prices play a significant role in building your brand identity. Customers expect some form of regularity from your business. It’s important to maintain certain levels of quality. Businesses often hurt themselves if they deviate from their normal pricing structures or successful product lines. Just take a look at what happened to Netflix, when they split their offerings into two separate subscriptions with different fees. The public backlash demonstrated that loyal customers had been conditioned to expect certain services and fees.

Keep Communication Channels Open

Make it easy for customers to contact your company and provide feedback. Loyal customers who become invested in your product lines should be able to communicate easily with sales and support representatives. This also gives your business an opportunity to catch detractors early and resolve their issues, before they take to online reviews to vent their frustrations.

Find Ways to Say Yes

Customers will take note when your associates go above and beyond their duties to be of assistance. Create flexible policies so that your employees have an easier time reaching a “yes” solution or at the very least, a compromise. Brands that are able to assist customers, especially during times of need or during high stress situations, will become instantly memorable. Saying “yes” and assisting customers can also be extremely fulfilling for employees who are positively impacting peoples’ lives.

Reward Loyalty

Finally, your company should have some way of tracking customer loyalty and providing incentives to repeat customers. Capture customer information, follow up with loyal buyers on a regular basis, and provide them with incentives. Promotions or special discounts can be excellent ways to acknowledge how much you value a customer’s repeat business. These small tokens of appreciation can go a long way in building a positive, long-term rapport.

Companies should strive to develop customer loyalty by adopting flexible policies, capturing important client data, and paying attention to feedback. Repeat business can help sustain your company in the long run. Loyalty rewards, effective communication channels, and consistent value can turn your customers into life-long promoters.



Living in the Bay Area, you expect to have the best of all worlds when it comes to connectivity and related services. The companies that compete to give you Internet, cable, and phone service do so in a competitive environment that forces them to enhance service offerings in order to gain and keep customers.

Below are some ways that area cable companies seek an edge in the battle to be able to serve you.


Now that greater speeds and greater bandwidth are possible, cable companies have been working to create the ultimate high-speed experience for your home or business. Some providers offer download speeds of up to 110 Mbps for their clientele, but at the same bundled prices they were used to receiving at slower speeds.

By providing improved services for the same package price, these companies not only retain customers who are generally pleased with the free enhancements, but also compete more effectively for new business.


Although many Internet service providers give you the access you need to enjoy online services such as on-demand movies, they frequently fall short in the category of direct entertainment services: television or movie channels, for example.

Conversely, local cable companies have managed to enhance their offerings by tailoring program options to serve a greater market. There are more international as well as sports programming options today than there were a few years ago.

Another feature that has continued to innovate is DVR service. Some local providers now offer multi-room DVR through the same box connection, which makes it easier for families to integrate their choice of television programming.

Some providers have also taken a page from the satellite television service providers’ playbook and made dozens of music channels available as part of the basic cable package.


If there are any users of traditional land lines still in the San Francisco area, they are few and far between. Cable phone service has proved to be superior in terms of both quality and convenience.

If you’re the kind of person who checks rates and has had phone service for a number of years, you probably know that local phone carriers that did not offer competitive prices saw them get driven down and out by both cable and VOIP service providers.

With VOIP, however, some users discovered that bandwidth issues could impede the performance of their phone, making its use for business unacceptable at times. Not so with cable: Plenty of bandwidth is on tap for phone users, and enhanced features that require additional bandwidth are also available.

The other service that cable companies helped spark, which was not a reality until recently, was the unlimited North American calling area for one low package price. Long-distance bills used to be something that people would fret over and occasionally placed limits on your ability to keep in touch with distant relatives.

Today, not only can you find low-cost packages that feature unlimited service, there are also even lower-cost packages that allow you to keep your phone line and use it locally while doing the bulk of your calling from a cell phone. In many cases, these packages cost less than what you would pay for just a DID, or dedicated phone number, without any service.


Many highly trained people are looking at the current economy and not wondering about a dream job, but hoping that they can get any job at all. Only a few years ago, the unemployment rate rose to a staggering 10 percent, and that forced many to rethink what it might take to land the ideal job.

With the following few tips, you can improve your chances of success no matter what direction the economy goes.

Define your needs

While it might seem intuitive that someone who’s on the job hunt should have a good sense of what he or she wants exactly in the coming years, many people do nothing more than narrow their search to a particular industry.

That’s not really enough. Instead of looking at an entire industry or even a job title, future employees should hash out precisely what they want from a job in the coming years. This could mean everything from the financial compensation and opportunities for upward mobility to making sure you have fulfilling daily tasks in a specific field.

There’s no such thing as too much research

When it comes to landing your dream job, you can never do too much research. A dream job should always involve doing what you’re passionate about, and this means you need to do quite a bit of homework on everything from the company itself and the competition to industry trends and current news.

According to Altibase, you should also “prepare an actionable plan (verbally) on how you will help the company.” This line of reasoning can potentially make or break your performance in an interview and enable you to stand out from the pack as a candidate.

Resumes get interviews, but not jobs

A well-designed and eye-catching resume is only the first step in the process. In the same way, no one should ever assume the interview will be sufficient to land the job by itself.

When there’s so much competition for a popular position, resumes are often used for nothing more than to ensure the potential interviewees meet the basic requirements. From there, it will come down to how well the interview goes and how prepared you turn out to be for any turn the interview may take.

Show recruiters your passion

One of the most difficult things for an interviewee to do well is to show passion without upsetting the interview. While every recruiter and company is slightly different, most are looking for some form of passion in the people they interview.

That means they’re not terribly interested in hearing a mountain of information about their own company or the current state of the industry. Interviewees will want to plan a few key speaking points about how and why they applied for the job, but they should allow the interviewer(s) to steer the conversation the vast majority of the time.

If you’ve only recently gotten out of school or are simply looking to make a dramatic shift in career path, the uneasy state of the current economy can raise your anxiety. But with a little bit of patience and passion, a dream job may be only a phone call and interview away.



Company leaders never want to think about data disasters. However, technology isn’t infallible. Natural disasters, office accidents, or user error can lead to the destruction of data. Does your business have a strong recovery strategy so that you can pick up where you left off? For example, do you have alternate emergency processes if your point of sale server goes down? Being proactive about backups and software maintenance can help you company prepare for worse case scenarios. Here are four things to keep in mind as you take data protection measures.

Hardware Backups

If your company stores business critical data on external hard drives, then strongly consider scattering these backups across multiple locations. Don’t’ keep all of your eggs in one basket. If a fire or burglary at one location makes data inaccessible, then you’ll still have copies stored in other locations. Ideally, your business should invest in a combination of cloud and local storage, so that you’re not overly reliant on any single system.

Behavior Rules

When we think of “user error,” many of us think about employees accidently deleting an important file. However, everyday office behaviors, such as drinking coffee near a server rack, can put your company at high risk for data loss. A trip, bump, or spill next to important hardware can lead to thousands of dollars lost within moments. Data disasters aren’t always accidental – your data is an asset that is susceptible to internal theft too. Create workplace guidelines to prevent internal loss or theft of data.

Data Testing

Backups are useless if the data is riddled with errors. Your IT department should schedule routine data verification to ensure that backups are working properly. If write errors are discovered, it is important to prioritize data redundancy so that your company has reliable copies to fall back on.

Cloud Storage

Cloud services have become so ubiquitous; your company can accomplish an endless amount of tasks using dedicated cloud solutions. However, it can be difficult to identify the right cloud solutions for your company. Consider working with a broker who can help your company uncover cloud solutions for your data protection strategies.

Businesses must take a multifaceted approach to data protection and recovery. If one system fails, then your employees should be able to fall back on other solutions. Preparing for data disasters now can give your team the confidence and ability to operate no matter what the future throws at you.




This year, “engagement” has been one of the biggest buzz words in Internet marketing … and there’s no wonder about that. As indicated by various studies that focus on effective online advertising, potential clients gravitate toward websites that engage them in fun, meaningful ways.

Since engagement is what leads to increased conversion rates and greater online visibility, website owners who sell anything, from collectibles to sheet music, need to do all they can to optimize engagement with interactive media.

If this is your goal, think about implementing the following three engagement optimization techniques.

1. Share buttons

Share buttons are engaging for a simple reason: They give your audience an opportunity to forward content they find interesting to other people in their social networks. So it’s a good idea to place share buttons on your website pages — always assuming you have content that’s worth sharing with people are interested in the kinds of things you are promoting.

In addition to engaging your audience, share buttons encourage your viewers to operate in the capacity of a brand ambassador by helping you advertise your goods and services. Websites such as Virtual Sheet Music have done a good job of placing their share buttons in conspicuous, eye-catching locations to make it easier for enthusiastic visitors to take the obvious course of action.

2. Questionnaires

Periodically requesting your audience complete a questionnaires is another great way to facilitate greater engagement. To maximize the impact of this strategy, make sure to ask questions such as “What types of things would you like to see more of on this website?”

When you ask these types of questions, your alert prospective customers to the fact that you’re interested in what people have to say.

3. Create engaging content

The phrase “content is king” is a truism for a reason. Content is the primary website element that prospective clients will study when attempting to determine whether the goods and/or services you offer have any value to them. So it’s important that your content be very creative and compelling.

Also, great content should be “scannable,” which means that your readers wil be able to glance through it quickly to find the information they want. The textual elements that make a website scannable include bullets, numbered lists, and headers. Using these tools will help make your content more engaging.

When you think about the ways you can make your content as engaging as possible, remember that the type of language you use matters. In addition to taking the time to study the kinds of words that members of your target market will typically use, keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid antiquated language or overly technical jargon that makes your content and website either irrelevant or opaque.

Keeping everything contemporary and cutting edge is normally a fool-proof strategy when you’re attempting to engage a new audience.

If you’re serious about using your website to optimize online profits, remember that engagement is one of the most important goals you can go after. By implementing some or all of the engagement strategies outlined above, you’ll be able to attract interest from members of your target audience.

Subsequent conversion rates should move in the direction you hope they will. Good luck!


The area of e-Commerce has become a crucial channel for running a complete business. Consumers expect the convenience of being able to browse and order products or services online, and gaining a reputation of a credible business owner demands it. Regardless of if your business is strictly online, or for those companies who are addressing the need from an expansion standpoint, there are 5 invaluable e-commerce business tips that you need to know in order to succeed.

Get Your Point Across In 30 Seconds Every Time

Online, there are innumerable opportunities for gaining customers. The challenge lies with capturing their attention long enough to make a lasting impression. Chance encounters with curious shoppers must be responded to succinctly and meaningfully. Remembering that less is more, helps a company advertise effectively and create new customers through identifying:

  • What you are offering

  • Why shoppers must act now; and

  • What’s in it for them

Customers who can easily identify what you’re selling, why they should buy and the benefits associated with their purchase, are patrons who will proceed with their online transactions.

Focus On One Thing, and Do It Well

According to this site, conducting business faster and better than the competition requires moxie and purposeful focus on one thing, and one thing only. Business owners are particularly susceptible to distractions that may adversely lead to multiple ventures. In regard to e-commerce, having software solutions in place to address how their online business will run will also help managers provide both focus and better customer service.

Proceed Like A Newbie

Acting like a start-up company regardless of tenure is an intelligent strategy for numerous reasons. It helps:

  • Maintain a low overhead

  • Allows for diligent cash flow management; and

  • Provides a reserve safety net

 A company is better off when expenses are minimal, which is why online companies enjoy lower costs.

No Pressure, No Diamonds

Essentially, successful businesses require hard work, perseverance and flexibility. This stands true when discussing online business as well. E-commerce takes dedication because it requires many layers of functionality in order to do business 24-hours a day. Moreover, peak shopping times like cyber-Monday require fierce competition and promotions like “free shipping”.

Recognize Your Own Game

Understanding that reputation is everything is an important aspect of recognizing your own game. Talking the talk, means having the ability to meet promises and either put-up or shut-up. Customers require genuity when it comes to who they’re dolling out the dollars to. Being forthcoming, is strategically a huge factor in how businesses last.

Following these 5 invaluable e-commerce business tips will help those new to online business stay focused and achieve their objectives, while they will also allow actively-successful websites to conduct e-business better than the competition. Implementing these techniques and delivering legitimate good-business practices will set your brand apart from the competition and allow you to dominate the niche in which you do business.


No matter what your job or career, nobody can really “get it” unless they’ve been in your shoes. However, there are some career paths that are more misunderstood than others. Some are veritable joke factories in their own right, while others are plagued by stigmas that are seriously outdated. Don’t let impressions and stereotypes keep you from a job that piques your interest.

Instead, understand where the doubters are coming from and get the knowledge you need to educate them. Sometimes it’s sheer ignorance while sometimes they’re just poking fun. Regardless, let your passions and interests drive your career choices.

1. Writers

Most often with an English degree in tow, writers are used to be asked what they’ll do with such a pointless degree or when they’re going to start teaching. Nowadays, writing (especially in niches like SEO) can be a very lucrative career. Every single business needs writers, especially for web content, which makes this a recession-proof and high paying option.

2. Attorneys

Attorneys probably have more jokes written about them than any other profession. They’re supposed to have no compassion, thrive on draining clients of their money, and their ethics and morals are questionable at best. However, the best lawyers are very empathetic and truly want what’s best for their clients. Many engage in pro bono work and got into law because they want to help justice get served.

3. Doctors

Whether it’s the stereotype that they have a God complex or they’re all filthy rich, there’s a lot of misinformation about doctors. Once you account for the long hours, high malpractice insurance (which most doctors have to cover themselves) and the high price of medical school, doctors don’t get paid nearly as much as people think.

4. Waitstaff and bartenders

These positions are usually thought of as jobs and not careers; they’re something to do while a person goes to school or otherwise preps for a “real job.” However, at the right restaurants/bars and in the right city, waitstaff and bartenders can make a seriously impressive income. They deserve it considering the hard work and tough hours, but since a college degree isn’t required, there’s the added bonus of not being forced to go into debt.

There’s wrong information getting passed around about every type of job and career, and while most times it’s not a huge deal it can sometimes be troublesome. Instead of getting frustrated, focus on leading by example and transparency when talking about your work.




House flipping, the practice of buying investment properties and quickly reselling them for a profit became very popular in the early 2000s. Investors purchased homes in need of repair at lower-than-market value prices, fixed the problems in the home and then sold it for a profit. Although the term “flipping” was fairly new, the practice of buying and reselling houses as an investment has been in practice for many years.

Period of Unprofitable Flipping

Unfortunately, reality shows such as “Flip This House” and others made it appear as if house flipping was easy and extremely profitable. This led to a considerable number of people entering the real estate investment market attempting to flip houses quickly at tremendous profits. Many of those who entered the house flipping industry overlooked the basics in real estate investing and lost a considerable amount of money.

Common Mistakes

There are several common mistakes that people make when they decide to start investing in real estate, whether it’s to flip a house or commit to a long-term investment in rental property. The first is lack of adequate funding. Although some homes, especially those that need improvements, are offered with low or no money down financing terms, those deals are not easy to find. In addition, if you’re financing the purchase, you’ll be paying interest until the home is sold. In order to make a profit, the purchase price, cost of renovations and any additional costs, such as interest or taxes, must be less than the sale price for the home. It also takes time to perform the renovations, which may also include a need for building inspections that must be scheduled, as well as the time it takes to sell the home. You also need to be able to perform much of the work yourself as hiring professionals will significantly reduce your profits.

Industry Improvement

RealtyTrac released data earlier this year that indicates home flippers earned a 30 percent gross return on investment in the first three months of 2014, one of the highest levels in years. The best market for flipping a home was in Pittsburgh where the return on investment was an average of 89 percent. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington was the second best with a 56 percent return on investment. Experts say that a more stable housing market, slower new-home build market and fewer total home flips have led to the increase in profits in 2014. However, not all markets fared as well for house flipping. Indianapolis, for instance, showed a -12 percent return on investment for homes flipped in that area, while Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg showed return of investment of -11 percent. However, experts caution that some markets had relatively few flipped houses and the cost of renovation was often not included in the data.

Although flipping houses can be hard work, if you have knowledge in construction, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, you can earn good profits on real estate investment of homes that need repairs. According to this website, funding is available for those who are interested in entering the house flipping or other real estate investment market.


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