Make sure the information on your custom address labels is correct.

Consider These Tips When Making Custom Address Labels

As a business owner, it's important to provide insight and quality control in many aspects of your company. You want to make sure everything is on brand and represents what your values are. That means all forms of communication must be well done and thought out. If you're looking to make mail correspondence easier and less time consuming, you should make some custom address labels. Here are things to consider when doing so:

Style
If you've already made business cards, company flyers or event postcards you've likely established some kind of style that represents your company. Take a look at your logo. What colors do you use? This is a great place to start. Browse through the options that already exist, like "Solid Silver," "Great Connections" and "Evergreen Forest." There are many simple designs that will allow your business address to stand out just as much as our more colorful styles. For those who have a graphic designer on hand, you can upload your own design and then add text, completely customizing your address labels to complement your other business communications. 

Information
What information do you want on your address label? You'll need to include the following information for sure:

  • Company name
  • Building number
  • Street name
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code

You could also consider adding a small quote if your other information is shifted to one side of the label. Some businesses also choose to add their phone number. This way the post office can contact them if necessary, and it's easy for the mail recipient to call the company since they don't have to search for their digits.

Spelling
One of the most important things to double check when it comes to your business is your writing. Whether you're sending an email, posting a social media status or placing door hangers out in the neighborhood, you want your spelling and grammar to be correct. It's embarrassing and makes your business look bad if something is misspelled or has a grammar mess-up, so pay extra attention to these details on your custom address labels. Not sure on spelling? Visit Merriam Webster online. Double check that all your numbers are in the proper order and that you've also capitalized appropriately, like if your location has a directional such as "North" or "West." Also be sure you're using the right abbreviation for street or avenue. You want to make sure any mail you send that needs to be returned will bounce back right to your business.

Remember to provide your millennial employees with regular feedback.

How to Effectively Manage Millennial Employees

Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials have a reputation for being lazy and expecting a trophy for everything. However, workers from this generation can actually be good for your business. In fact, according to a 2014 survey from Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding, 68 percent of HR managers said millennials possess skills that older generations don't have. If you learn how to manage these employees correctly, they can do great things for your company. Here are some pointers on how to guide millennials:

Allow Group Work
More than half of millennial employees admitted to making wiser business decisions when a group of people offered their ideas, according to an IBM study of millennial workers. That's why you should allow these team members to work in groups on a regular basis. In addition to learning valuable knowledge from their older colleagues, millennials will enjoy the camaraderie group work provides.

Give Clear Instructions
If you want your millennial employees to succeed, you can't be vague when providing instructions. It's important to be as clear and detailed as possible, according to Michael A. Olguin, president of Formula PR.

"Though they want responsibility and authority, they are uncomfortable without having some sort of framework for the task at hand," Olguin said in Inc. Magazine. "The best scenario is good instructions and a lot of flexibility in how you get there."

Provide Regular Feedback
Millennials may have a reputation for being know-it-alls, but they truly want to hear your feedback. Consider having a one-on-one meeting with each of your millennial employees at least once a month to let them know how they're doing. When you have to deliver negative feedback to millennials, make sure to offer helpful advice on how they can improve and encourage them to write down your tips on personalized notepads

Praise Them for Doing Good Work
Since millennials are used to hearing praise for their hard work in school, it's essential to thank them when they've produced good work. If they don't receive any recognition for their efforts, they may think they're doing something wrong. When a millennial employee really impresses a client with a project, for example, tell the person how proud you are of him or her for going above and beyond to please the client. 

Remember to provide your millennial employees with regular feedback.

How to Effectively Manage Millennial Employees

Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials have a reputation for being lazy and expecting a trophy for everything. However, workers from this generation can actually be good for your business. In fact, according to a 2014 survey from Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding, 68 percent of HR managers said millennials possess skills that older generations don't have. If you learn how to manage these employees correctly, they can do great things for your company. Here are some pointers on how to guide millennials:

Allow Group Work
More than half of millennial employees admitted to making wiser business decisions when a group of people offered their ideas, according to an IBM study of millennial workers. That's why you should allow these team members to work in groups on a regular basis. In addition to learning valuable knowledge from their older colleagues, millennials will enjoy the camaraderie group work provides.

Give Clear Instructions
If you want your millennial employees to succeed, you can't be vague when providing instructions. It's important to be as clear and detailed as possible, according to Michael A. Olguin, president of Formula PR.

"Though they want responsibility and authority, they are uncomfortable without having some sort of framework for the task at hand," Olguin said in Inc. Magazine. "The best scenario is good instructions and a lot of flexibility in how you get there."

Provide Regular Feedback
Millennials may have a reputation for being know-it-alls, but they truly want to hear your feedback. Consider having a one-on-one meeting with each of your millennial employees at least once a month to let them know how they're doing. When you have to deliver negative feedback to millennials, make sure to offer helpful advice on how they can improve and encourage them to write down your tips on personalized notepads

Praise Them for Doing Good Work
Since millennials are used to hearing praise for their hard work in school, it's essential to thank them when they've produced good work. If they don't receive any recognition for their efforts, they may think they're doing something wrong. When a millennial employee really impresses a client with a project, for example, tell the person how proud you are of him or her for going above and beyond to please the client. 

Regular exercise will help you become a better business owner.

3 Ways Exercise Can Make You a Better Business Owner

As a business owner, you are in charge of everything from ordering custom business cards for your employees to marketing to new customers. All of those responsibilities will definitely keep you busy and may leave little time for anything else, including exercise. However, it's still important to make time for working out. Physical activity will not just keep you in good health – it is also beneficial for your business. Here are three ways exercise can make you a better business owner:

1. It Reduces Stress
There's no denying that running a business can get stressful at times. If you experience too much anxiety, however, it can have a negative effect on your company. If you squeeze in a workout in the morning, you will have a calmer mindset at work. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity decreases stress by increasing the endorphins in your brain and helping you forget about your worries. 

2. It Increases Energy Levels
Instead of relying on that morning cup of coffee to give you an energy boost for the work day, try exercising. A 2008 study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that inactive people who complained about being tired all the time increased their energy levels by 20 percent and decreased their fatigue by 65 percent by regularly engaging in low-impact workouts. If you go for a 20-minute jog or practice yoga before you head to the office, you should have more energy to complete your tasks.

3. It Can Boost Creativity
In order to put yourself ahead of the competition, it's important to come up with new ideas often. However, sometimes your creativity levels can take a hit and you can't think of anything original. That's when you should turn to exercise. A 2014 Stanford University study concluded walking increased a person's creative output by 60 percent. The actual act of walking, not the environment, was the main element in boosting creativity levels. 

"Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. We finally may be taking a step, or two, toward discovering why," study authors Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz explained. 

Whether you go for a walk before you leave for the office or take aerobic classes at your gym, regular exercise will have a positive effect on your organization. 

Multiple choice questions don't always offer the insight you're looking for. Include a comment box for your customers extra thoughts.

How to Craft the Perfect Customer Survey

Customer surveys are a valuable part of improving your business. They allow you to learn what you're doing well (and not-so-well) so you can make changes for the better. It is necessary to spend some time creating your survey in order to be sure you are asking the right questions and are working toward a goal. Here are some tips for crafting the perfect customer survey:

Establish a Goal
What do you want to learn from your survey? Have you implemented a new billing system that you want customer feedback on? Maybe you're more interested in learning what your customers want so you can better understand your target market. Establish a goal in order to help you decide what questions to ask in the survey. 

Decide on Distribution
Many companies opt to conduct online surveys because they are easy to send out and survey systems (like Survey Monkey) collect the data and turn them{according to AP, data takes plural verbs and pro-nouns – if it seems odd maybe you could change "data" to "answers" or "responses"?} into an easily readable format. You can send your customers a link and all they have to do is click it to get started. You could send a paper version, but know that many customers won't take the time to fill it out – your best best is to send it online.

Pick Key Questions
We've all done surveys that started out fine but eventually we realized there were just too many questions. When this happens, most people stop taking the survey. Keep this in mind while crafting your own questionnaire. Ask direct questions like, "On a scale of one to five, five being the easiest, how difficult did you find our new billing system?" Get straight to the point and ask exactly what you want to know.

Use Comments
When you only offer multiple choice questions, your customers likely won't be able to say all that they want to share. They may have comments that are much more valuable than simple scale or yes-or-no questions. This is why it's important to offer a comment box. Here your customers can add any last thoughts that were not covered on the survey or go more in depth on an answer they've given.

Don't Forget the Reward
People are more likely to participate in your survey if they will gain something from it. Consider offering a discount or special deal to those who complete the questions. Advertise for the survey on business flyers posted up in your office, or send out postcards ahead of time. Include information on the deal to entice people to get involved. 

Pay attention to your customers. They can offer helpful insight into what you can do to improve your business.

4 Lessons You’ll Learn From Your First 100 Customers

Starting a new business is often a big game of trial and error. Everything from creating custom business cards to getting your staff to fully understand your invoicing system is likely to involve some triumphs and a few mistakes. The good news is you'll learn a lot, especially while working toward obtaining your first 100 customers. Here are some things you'll learn during this exciting time:

1. Set Reasonable Goals
In your first few months of business, you will come to realize whether or not the goals you set for yourself, your company and staff are reasonable. For instance, you may have hoped to make $50,000 in your first two months. When you were just starting out, it's possible you thought this was attainable. Now that you've been handling operating costs and seeing how your customer base grows, you can better adjust this goal to fit what you're capable of at this point in your business. That doesn't mean you should make every dream smaller or less substantial. Just be sure to create reasonable goals – you can always make them higher or bigger as you progress.

2. Whether or Not Your Webpage is Helpful
One of the most important things that you can learn during the beginning stages of a business is whether or not your webpage is on par. The Internet is a very vital space to new companies, as many people will visit a company's website before they consider using its services or purchasing its goods. You'll hear from customers in person or on the phone if they have had a positive or negative experience with your page. They may mention important issues like the phone number is incorrect on your site or maybe they had a hard time navigating from page to page. Make note of all these statements and be sure to update the website to better represent your company and be more user friendly.

3. How Well Your Staff Works Together
So you hired a couple of  people to help you run your new business. While you can have a good feeling about them and even base your thoughts on interviews and checking out their resumes, you never really know how well they can work together until they are actually doing so. Monitor your employees to see how they are communicating both in person and via email. They should be doing the necessary tasks in their job position while also asking for help and collaborating when necessary. Having a positive work environment makes not just everyone who works at your new company happy – your customers will also take note. 

4. Who Your Target Market Is
So you've created a stellar product and you've opened shop to sell it to the masses. You probably have a target market in mind, like busy moms or tech geeks. You may think you know who will be interested in your new invention, but your first 100 customers will really show you just who is interested and will actually purchase the product. This understanding of your real market should help you to produce better packaging and find the right advertising avenues to get these individuals' attention. 

There are certain types of candidates you should avoid hiring.

4 Job Candidates You Should Never Hire

Making a bad hire is a serious matter in the business world. When you choose the wrong person for the job, it can affect productivity and cost your company money. It's important to interview every applicant closely and check references to avoid employing someone who's not right for your company. Here are four job candidates you should never hire:

1. The Know-It All
It is never a good idea to hire candidates who seem to think they know it all. Nancy Collamer, a career coach and author of "Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement," said in Forbes that these types of workers ignore everyone else's opinions, take over conversations and make decisions without thoroughly thinking things through.

"A 'my way or the highway' attitude often leads to unhappy co-workers, disgruntled clients and an unhappy work environment.," Collamer explained to Forbes.

2. The Complainer
Constant complainers are not something you want to deal with as a business owner. These types of workers whine about everything from not getting enough vacation time to working too many hours. They will put everyone in the office in a terrible mood and bring morale down. During interviews, listen carefully to what candidates say about their previous jobs. If applicants just talk about how bad they had it and don't bring up anything positive, they probably aren't worth hiring.

3. The YesMan
Hiring people who always nod their head in agreement and never argue might seem like a great idea, but it can actually hinder your business. Barry Moltz, motivational speaker and author of "How To Get Unstuck: 25 Ways to Get Your Business Growing Again," said in Open Forum that yes​-men don't tell the truth and never take responsibility for their actions.

"Since they never risk their own original ideas for fear of looking bad, they always place blame in the event of failure on others," Moltz explained in Open Forum. "They point fingers at everyone around them, blaming someone's bad idea or poor execution."

4. The Minimalist
While you don't want job candidates to go off on tangents and talk forever during interviews, you want them to give you more than one-word answers. If an applicant answers each question with as few words as possible, it could indicate he or she didn't do much research on your company and may do the bare minimum to get by if hired.

Encourage your employees to voice their ideas and opinions.

Encouraging Your Employees to Speak Up More

When employees are vocal and share their ideas often, they can help your company prosper. However, some team members may be afraid to speak up and give their opinions on important organization matters. It's up to you as a business owner to create an environment that supports open communication. Here is some advice on encouraging your employees to speak up more:

Provide Incentives
People tend to respond well to incentives, so consider rewarding your employees when they provide honest and helpful feedback. For example, if a staff member gives you a great idea on how to cut overhead costs, give that person a gift card or more responsibilities at work. If you reward your team members for speaking up, they will know you value their ideas.

Foster Team Communication
Peter Economy, author of "Managing for Dummies," said in Inc. Magazine that organizing your employees by project will encourage more communication.

"When a new project begins, kick things off with a team-building exercise, providing employees with positive, personal interactions and opportunities to build relationships before the project even begins," Economy explained. "By physically intermingling departments, you create an environment that encourages open communication while uniting your people in a common goal – the success of your company."

Give Them More Ways to Speak Up
Some employees might not feel comfortable sharing their ideas during company meetings, so give them more ways to voice their opinions. For example, at the end of every meeting, encourage staff members to swing by your office if they have any new ideas they'd like to share. You could also tell your staff members to write down their ideas on personalized notepads and put them in an anonymous suggestion box outside your door.

Find Out Why Employees Are Silent
If you notice that your staff members are silent during meetings, Joseph Grenny, the co-author of "Crucial Conversations" and the co-founder of VitalSmarts, suggests in Harvard Business Review to find out the reasons behind it. Grenny said it's helpful to come up with a code word to let your employees know they can be honest with you. He explained the phrase helps "frame the issue so that your team knows they have permission to be honest and open."

Have a financial plan ready to introduce to investors so they know you've really thought out your business.

Helpful Advice For Starting a Small Business

Have you been tossing around an idea in your head for starting a small business? Once you get that itch it can be all-consuming as you think of the many aspects of potentially running your own company. Don't fret, you don't need to figure everything out at once. Much of being an entrepreneur involves learning things on the fly and adapting as you go. Here is some helpful advice for people considering starting their own small businesses:

Thoroughly Develop Your Idea
The catalyst for many small businesses is a realization that something needs to be fixed. Perhaps you noticed you can never get all the ketchup out of the bottle or that it's difficult to find pro-bono work as a veterinarian. You saw an issue and thought, "Huh. Maybe I could help!" Now, this first kernel of an idea is very important, but you really need to develop your idea in order to gauge whether or not it would be a viable business opportunity. Develop a business plan establishing what your company will offer, how it will do so, where your production will occur and also covering any finances involved. This will help you think critically about whether or not your idea is good enough to see it through.

Locate and Involve Investors
Many small-business owners start their companies using only their personal money. This can be a very scary way to go, especially if you do not have many personal funds to start with. Instead of breaking the bank to go all out on your new company, opt to get investors involved. We don't mean you have to approach major corporations and ask for sponsorships. Instead, start a little close to home. Ask family members and people in your community if they would want to become financial backers for your new endeavor. Don't just ask for money, have a payment plan in mind. Know how much money you need to run your business and ask for a certain amount. This way people's imaginations won't run off with them, scaring them away from getting involved. Also, know what percent you plan to give back to investors once your business becomes profitable. This allows funders to see how well you've thought the company through and that you are prepared to return their money as soon as possible. 

Make it Legal
So you've realized you have a great idea and it could well change your business life. Now you need a name. Once you've decided on this very important manner, make it legal. Register you name with the local county clerk and apply for a trademark status. Also procure the domain name so you can easily direct customers to your website. Work with a graphic designer to create a logo that reflects what your company does and includes the business name. Once all this legal paperwork and important stuff is done, order custom business cards to share your big idea with the world. 

When you see an employee struggling, do everything you can to help the person.

4 Ways to Help Struggling Employees Succeed

Whether they have trouble finishing deadlines on time or are regularly disappointing clients, it's never easy to see employees struggle. However, instead of just standing by and watching your staff members have a difficult time, help them overcome their struggles and become more successful in their careers. If you take interest in your underperforming employees, they will thank you for it. Here are four ways to help struggling employees succeed:

1. Determine What's Causing the Struggle
The first thing you have to do is find out exactly why a team member is struggling at work. According to Tanveer Naseer, leadership coach and author of "Leadership Vertigo," there may have been changes in the staff member's environment that have affected his or her productivity.

"Perhaps there's been a change in the team's makeup that has altered the team's dynamics," Naseer said in his blog. "Or maybe this employee no longer feels challenged in their role or believes that their work matters less to your organization's shared goal. Whatever the case, the only way to know for sure is to take the time to talk with your employee and examine the situation in order to figure out what has changed and how you can help them get back on track."

2. Show Examples of Good Work
If you expect an employee to improve the quality of his or her work, you have to show the person examples of what good quality work looks like. For example, if your public relations assistant is struggling to write press releases the clients like, show him or her quality press releases that other employees have written. Once the staff member knows what you expect, he or she will be more likely to produce quality work.

3. Develop Performance Goals Together
During a one-on-one meeting, ask a struggling employee how he or she would like to improve. Then, help him or her create a plan to achieve those goals. For instance, if a staff member wants to improve his or her project management skills, have the person work with a fellow employee whose project management skills are up to par. According to Entrepreneur, doing this will motivate an underperforming employee to work harder and strive for greatness.

4. Recognize Improvement
If you see an employee putting in a lot of effort to improve his or her performance, you should let that person know you are proud of the progress. If the staff member knows that his or her improvements are recognized, it will increase the person's confidence and motivate him or her to keep working hard.

If you do everything you can to help a struggling employee and he or she still doesn't turn in quality work, it may be time to cut ties with the person. Letting an employee go is never easy, but it is sometimes the necessary thing to do for your business.