Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beat Your Business Competition!

People always want to know what the secret to success is. I often get asked how to beat one's competition. It is simple. Have a great product. Products and services that are loved by consumers will sell themselves. That is why you always hear of these bootstrap businesses that started with nothing and made it to multi-million dollar sales status.

Here are my top steps to beat your competition.

First, don't buy into a competitor who is stealing your thunder. Maybe you did have the first idea on a specific service. Months after launching you then notice a new company pops up and is copying your idea. Don't freak out. In fact, don't even worry about your competition. Getting caught up in what the other company is doing, even with your idea, will distract you from moving forward.

Next, stand besides your product or services. Don't discount to meet a competitor's pricing. If you stand by the quality of your products or services, customers will remain or still buy. Why? People prefer quality over a discounted price. Even in this economy women are still buying $20 lipsticks from Macy's. Quality and reputation do mean something to consumers.

Last, love what you do. Some people start businesses to make money, not create a lifestyle or career. Your competition probably is in it for the money. You stay in it because you love what you offer. If you remain passionate, people will pick-up on your enthusiasm. This passion will drive sales, increase customers and allow you to be admired as a leader in the business community!

Have you ever had a business idea stolen by a competitor? Let's talk. Find me on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yahoo! Says No More Working From Home!

Yahoo!'s CEO Marissa Mayer sent a memo to her employees this week stating there is going to be a ban on working from home. Yahoo! , which always allowed employees to work from home or from the office, made the move stating "more productivity" as the main reason. Angry workers leaked the company memo to the media.

This can be a tough situation for Mayer. I understand her thought process but there are several companies now running their offices from the CEOs home. For example, this article specifically cites the benefits of hiring companies run out of a person's home or keeping employees at home as having many benefits. But, Mayer strongly disagrees. She cited “what is right for Yahoo right now,” The New York Times reports.

There are benefits and negatives to every situation in life, including Yahoo!'s decision to recall employees back into the office. Employees can be watched more closely, especially if they are hourly. And, being in the office allows workers to become closer and brainstorm. But, the negatives can be costly. Having employees too close can lead to unwanted advances and potential legal situations. Also, office gossip is a huge distraction and so is requesting and approving PTO time.

I can see both sides of the argument. I am interested in what you, as a business owner or employee, have to say about this subject. Send me a DM on Twitter!

Twyla

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Company Email and Abuse

Employees are going to do it. It doesn't matter what document they "forgot" they signed with Human Resources, employees will send a personal email at least once from their company email address. This is, at least, according to the statistics. So, how do you write a great email policy for your company? Below are my tips.

1. Be clear. The policy should list email risks to make users aware of the potential harmful effects of their actions. Make sure employees are signing this policy when they get the log-in to the company email system. And, make sure you speak directly with the employee upon hiring him or her about the policy.

2. The policy should state whether personal emails are accepted and if so, to what extent. I don't condone allowing any personal emails to be sent from a company computer. Liability issues can arise if your company's name is attached to anything personal that is threatening, explicit or can cause harm in anyway. Some companies are more liberal so speak with your legal counsel if you are considering allowing personal emails to be sent from your company's domain.

3. If you are going to monitor your employees’ emails, you must state this in your email policy. Warn that employees should have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send or receive on the company’s computer system and that the company may, but is not obliged to monitor messages without prior notice. If you fail to mention this, and have your employee sign that he or she understands this, you can be SUED. Yes, you can be sued because of FCC and other privacy regulations.

There are many rules associated with giving an employee access to email. If you are starting a business make sure to include this topic on the list of "to review" with your legal counsel. You, your company and your employees can all be liable for any type of misuses.

Twyla

Monday, February 25, 2013

Email Blasts: How to make them work!

I have many pet peeves when it comes to business practices. My biggest one is the email blast. When your customers sign up to receive emails from your company it is a gift. Why companies then SPAM there customers with countless email blasts is beyond me. Deal after deal can turn your valued customer right over to the hands of a competitor.

Start with knowing your email marketing provider. Always check the "tools" button and then decide how you will use these tools. Don't just accept the general settings. Be personal and remain professional. The next step is knowing when to send that email blast. Don't send one on Monday morning and never send one between 8 and 10 am. The best time of day is in the afternoon, not just as people arrive to work.

In closing, use what works and what will promote your brand. If you see people are not responding to offers sent on Tuesdays at 4pm, try a different day and time. If they still are not responding- rethink the offer!

Keep checking-in here for more FREE business advice.
Twyla

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Business Plan Mistakes!

There are a lot of mistakes to be made when writing a business plan. So, what are they? As a professional who owns several businesses, allow me to share the top three business plan mistakes.

#1- Too much text. People are BUSY. Don't get too fancy with large words, extra research or over analyzing situations before they happen. Be concise and to the point. If an investor is interested he or she will ask you for the details.

#2- Lax in research. You don't want to include too much text but you don't want to skip on the research. Investors like numbers and data. It helps them predict their ROI. So, include the research and cite it, too. Don't say "according to studies"- note the studies!

#3- Don't focus on the products or services. I know this sounds strange, but it works. Focus on how your products or services solves a customers's problem. If you talk too much about your product is wonderful and you fail to explain why it is wonderful- your business plan will not be convincing.

Have questions on your business plan? Feel free to contact me on Twitter and ask!

Twyla

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tips for Internal Auditing

Many employers are afraid to conduct an internal audit. Well, one- many don't want to find anything bad. But two, many are not aware how to conduct an internal audit. Here are my tips!

First, review an organizational chart of the department or division on which you will be conducting the internal audit. Knowing who reports to whom in the department gives you a big-picture view of responsibility and knowledge. As an employer, you should have this key information on hand. But, sometimes (especially with larger companies) this is necessary.

Next, set up a meeting with everyone and be prepared to ask the right questions. Remember, it isn't always about what questions are asked but how questions are asked. Don't be accusatory but be aware.

Last, look at all the steps you have set-up. Are they being followed? If not, why not? The devil is in the details. If a lot of steps are constantly being missed then there is likely to be a bigger issue and a second look is probably needed. Remember; always check into the company's internal controls policies to gauge the level of protection they provide from theft and fraud. Internal control policies include things like separation of accounting duties between different employees, locked safes for holding pending bank deposits and password-protected accounting software that tracks exactly who does what and when. This should be the first area of concern for an internal audit!

Have you had to conduct an audit recently? I'm interested in your story. Let's talk!

Twyla

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Save Your Company Money

We've all been there. We had one great year and then the economy took a plunge. Many of us are still recovering. Well, for you fellow business owners out there- I have some great money saving tips!

1. Shop around for health coverage. If you have to pay for health benefits, do your comparison shopping and do it often. Don't just "spam" the offers that arrive in your email. Forward them to your assistant and set-up an appointment for consideration. You never know what money you could be saving if you don't look at every offer on the table.

2. Mortgage. If you own your business' office space take time to speak with the bank. You may be in a position to refinance and get a better interest rate. It is very possible these days. Don't discount refinancing based on what the news is saying about it. Always speak with your bank about your specific circumstances.

3. Go paperless and help the environment Paper costs tons of money, hurts the environment, and takes up lots of office or storage space. Plus, going paperless can save on ink costs. There is money to be saved here and the environment will benefit. Take a look at your paper and ink costs combined with file storage costs. How much could you be saving right now if you turned to the cloud for storing files and obtaining electronic signatures?

4. PPC campaigns. These are the worst! Pay-Per-Click advertising doesn't work like it use to. Why? Well, we have social media now and blogs. We don't need to pay someone to advertise for us. We can do it ourselves or invest in a great copywriter! Either way, PPC campaigns are expensive and don't covert to a ROI.

5. Shop for new providers on everything. Remember item number one? Apply it here- but to all things business. The janitorial service, the overnight mail provider, phone provider, Internet provider, hosting service, domain service, company party venue- anything item that can be provided by another business, ask! Get quotes from everyone / business that you use on a day-to-day basis. You may not have to switch providers to get the best deal!

Have these tips worked for you? Let me know!

Twyla

What your employees aren't sharing!

The workplace can be like a second home. And, this can lead to a level of comfort with certain employees, especially if they've been with your company for a long time. But, there are three key items your employees should NEVER share with you (or your HR department) to protect themselves. So, what are these three things that your employees should keep "mum"?

First, medical problems. Don't get me wrong- this doesn't mean employees shouldn't ask for ADA accommodation for a medical condition. That is illegal and not morally in-tune. But, if employees have issues with headaches, PMS, bladder issues, or any other "medical" issue that can be easily treated and it doesn't interfere with their jobs- consider it TMI. If these employees share the information with you then know that it can hold you liable at a later date. If an employee tells you she has constant migraines and later doesn't get a promotion- you're liable. It could be considered discrimination even if the oversight was not based on migraines and the possibility of absenteeism. I always encourage employees and employers to share medical information on a need-to-know basis.

Facebook! Don't share it. Don't be tempted to invite co-workers or one's boss to be a part of your social life. Employees who send their boss a Friend Request should be addressed. Explain why it is inappropriate for you to be friends in a social media forum outside the workplace. For bosses, accepting a Friend Request can mean giving away your position of authority. For employees, certain political, religious or lifestyle differences can cause tension at work. And, certain photos can legally get them fired. So, employees should never share their Facebook accounts with the boss or any coworkers.

Lastly, boasting about time off. Employees who overly embrace their time off send a hidden message that is only picked-up by a boss. The message? Something to the tone of "I hate every second I work for you and while I was off I was seeking another job!" If you have an employee who is sharing too much about his or her time off and how they hated to come back to work, chances are you have an employee who isn't happy or loyal.

Have you ever shared something at work that caused tension within the office? Let's discuss this on Twitter!

Twyla

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sex and The Big 5- Is Your Human Resources Department Educated?

Your HR department should know more than the law. In fact, they should know what caused each law and related landmark cases. I get questions all the time about the subject of Sexual Harassment. When I ask if the person knows the top three or five landmark cases on the subject, they usually say "no". Well, being educated on these public cases and the provisions in each state can better prepare you (and your staff) for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.

What is sexual harassment? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment includes:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature ... when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment.

1. Anita Hill/Justice Clarence Thomas

The first sexual harassment decision was actually handed down in 1976. But it wasn't until the 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas that the concept entered national consciousness. The country watched live coverage of Anita Hill (Thomas's former colleague and a law professor) accusing Thomas of using inappropriate language and sexually harassing female colleagues when they worked together. Thomas denied all allegations. Thomas's nomination was barely approved by the Senate in a vote of 52-48.

2. Paula Jones/President Bill Clinton

President Clinton came under fire for alleged sexual harassment. Paula Jones was a state employee when Clinton was Governor of Arkansas. In 1991, she claimed that Clinton exposed himself and asked her for oral sex in a hotel room. Jones dropped her suit against Clinton in exchange for $850,000. However, she never received an admission of guilt or an apology. Years later the Monica Lewinsky scandal led to the impeachment of President Clinton.

3. The Tailhook Convention

The Tailhook scandal involved sexual allegations against the armed forces. Former Navy lieutenant Paula Coughlin was one of more than 80 women who alleged they were sexually assaulted. The assailants were drunken Naval and Marine officers attending a conference at Vegas' Hilton Hotel. Coughlin ended up suing the hotel for failing to provide adequate security. She was awarded $1.7 million in compensatory and $5 million in punitive damages.

4. Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing

In 1998, Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million to female workers at the Normal, Illinois plant where the work environment was anything but normal. The company was charged with allowing a hostile setting for women since at least 1990. In addition to the $34 million, Mitsubishi paid out several more million in individual suits. Why?

The women were routinely fondled, verbally abused, and subjected to obscene jokes, behavior, and graffiti. According to the case, one male worker even fired an air gun between a female's legs. Others were denied promotions when they refused to grant sexual favors. The company immediately hired Lynn Martin, former Secretary of Labor. Martin overhauled the anti-sexual harassment and complaint system, which now boasts a zero tolerance policy.

5. University of Colorado Football Program

Two women charged the University of Colorado's football program with sexual harassment. The women claimed they were sexually assaulted in 2001 at an off-campus party by Colorado football players and recruits. The women's suit was filed under Title IX, which promotes gender equality in education. Vastly different from the sexual harassment claims described above, violations of Title IX require showing that the school had actual notice of sexual harassment and then acted with deliberate indifference. The case was recently thrown out in a U.S. District Court, but the women have appealed.

My advise is to know the Federal law, know your state's law, and know the landmark cases behind the law. For example, the state of California has some of the strictest EEOC policies in the country. If you need help reviewing the Federal law, or setting up policies related to sexual harassment issues, click here: EEOC

Twyla

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Biggest Tech Trends!

Are you in the tech business? Maybe looking to become more tech savvy? Well, good thing you are here today. I'm listing my biggest tech trend predictions for business during 2013. Don't see your favorite trend on this list? Share it with me! Leave a comment of find me on Twitter!

1.Online workforce. Yes, hiring an online workforce and setting up a "virtual" office saves money in many ways, but it also promotes happier employees. You can hire an entire new team of professionals, each located in their home offices across the country or globe. Or, you can take your current workforce and let them work from home. Get rid of the office overhead and internal employee fights or potential sexual harassment issues by setting up an online workforce!

2. Grow your online business. Yes, don't rely on customer-to-business traditional sales anymore. More and more people are buying online without ever speaking to a customer service rep or a sales person from a company. Make your products or services easy to navigate so the purchase power stays with the online consumer.

3. Cut back on your IT department. Yes, I said it. Even in a virtual business playing field, today's culture means more people are computer Savvy and there are more independent contractors willing to charge less to come out and fix (properly) your computer issues. So, you will not be needing that "on call" IT department any longer.

4. The cloud.... Yes, I do love the cloud. Why? Any business owner knows what a necessity it is. The cloud is powerful and comes with services and new security systems emerging to support mobile, transitory, and an flexible workforce. Maybe you are keeping the office but now there is a blizzard. Employees are forced to stay home because streets are closed. The cloud allows your workforce to adapt to working from home on the days it may be required. Cut down on loss of work or employees from calling in sick because they are "contagious." Get the most bang for your employing buck by using the cloud!

5. The end of Facebook. We all see it coming so I am calling it. Companies spent the last few years going bonkers over a tight Facebook presence. The truth is Twitter is growing and Facebook is failing. Twitter allows people to be engaged and get direct answers and concerns immediately resolved. So, focus more on Twitter this year.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Shout Your Pay From The Roof!

There are reasons why not disclosing your pay scale is a bad thing. Employees are always going to be curious and competitive when it comes to comparing pay. Employers use to keep pay a secret, but that didn't last long. Employees shared their pay with each other and this often led to internal discretion. Opening up the conversation about pay, how raises are decided, and what the pay scale is will help create a better working environment.

Employees tend to guess how much MORE management is making. And, in truth, it isn't THAT much more. It hasn't been since the early 70's. But, the guessing alone can make employees resentful. So, why not consider a transparent pay policy? I'm not alone with this thinking, either. According to a recent article in Inc.com, "Provide aggregated pay information (e.g., the range of pay or median for a given role in the firm). Employees who earn more than the median will feel appreciated. Those who earn less will want to know why--which is a good opportunity for you to explain how you view compensation, and more important, what those workers need to do to earn more."

So, you see- being transparent with baseline pay scales are a great thing! Money is tight everywhere. Business owners are often stressed, employees are always (and rightfully so) seeking pay increases, and customers want the best service possible for the least amount of money. Eliminate a single stress by creating a pay scale memo, sending it out, and discussing the issue at your next company meeting.

Have you ever been put on the spot when it came to your pay? How did you handle it? Let's continue this discussion on Twitter! DM me.

Twyla

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tips for team building!

Your business isn't going to run itself. At some point you will have to trust a project manager and his or her team to accomplish major tasks. So, prevent a disaster now and instill some valuable team building components with your employees.

The biggest part of team building is communication. Employees have their inner circles and cliques. Regardless if you know of these circumstances or not, some employees will not help if someone they don't like is in charge of a team. Like anything, communication plays a vital role in team building and project managing. If you have four qualified people on a team, and they each despise each-other or just don't communicate, they will fail!

The best way to offset any communication problem is to do the following:

1. Define your expectations.

2. Have each team member write out their goals for the project, the company, and their team. Then have him or her sign the document for their file. This leads to more accountability and less bickering or slacking off.

3. Be involved. Don't hand a project off to a team leader without checking in. For example, keep your office door open and insist "brain-storm" session take place at the office right outside your door. Or, have daily update meetings in your office with the entire team. The update meeting can be as quick as 15 minutes - but it will keep people in-check and help the team gel together- and the project come together!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How to waste time in business!

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to business owners are those who seek success but also pray for miracles or reach for silver bullets. You have to put the time in. Not a single person who has been successful in business wished their way there. No one has a magic wand. So, if you are not going to commit to your business and you plan on using shortcuts, know that you are wasting your time!

Let's be honest here.... a lot of people TALK about owning or starting a business. But, many don't because there really is no shortcut to launching a business or finding funding. So, why put in all the work to launch a product or brand and then give up by using shortcuts or hoping for miracles when it comes to sales and marketing? Do you see where I am going with this?

Inc.com recently noted "hoping for shortcuts" as their number three time waster. I disagree. It is the number one time waster in business because shortcuts mean that you don't care! And, if you don't care - don't go into business.

Do you know time wasters? People who love shortcuts or those who wish for magic wands and avoid problems? If so, let's continue this conversation on Twitter. Feel free to DM me.

Twyla

Friday, February 15, 2013

There's Networking and then there's NETWORKING!

Are you likable? If not, you can network until the cows come home and you will not get anywhere! Networking isn't about how many people you meet or friends you have on Facebook. Networking is about REAL relationships and the picture people have of you when your name is mentioned in a crowd! So, are you networking or are you NETWORKING?!

Here are my tips to make solid business connections that truly are genuine.
First, don't slouch but don't stand up too tall. Believe it or not, standing too tall or posed can make someone look snooty or unapproachable- and you don't want that. So, be relaxed when meeting new people. Don't be overly formal.

Next, always tilt your head forward and smile. Some people are intimated by those in power. They clam up and the lack of smile sends the wrong message. Tilting your head forward with a nice smile helps put you and the person you are meeting in a relaxed state. Also, patting someone on their right shoulder works. For women this can be a challenge. We women always want to be friendly but not misread as coming on to someone. So, use this tip if you feel it is appropriate and will not lead to any misunderstandings.

Lastly, don't pitch yourself- at least not right away. Ask questions (not too personal) about the person you are networking with. Be honest with your answers and your interest. People LOVE to talk about themselves, so let them! They will associate you as a great conversationalist even though you, in fact, said very little. This trick is used by some of the best sales people in the business. Ask questions, collect information, stay interested, and then follow up with a thank-you note that pulls something personal from the conversation!

I hope this networking advice has helped you. Do you have networking tricks? Send them in or message me on Twitter!

Twyla

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Business Apps that YOU must have!

Business owners are always seeking ways to improve their lives and organize tasks. I've compiled, as my own Valentine's Day treat for you, the best business apps out there!

#1. UberConference.
Solve the conference call nightmare! This app puts faces to names. You can actually know who is talking when using this app, which is a common problem with paid and free conference calling services.

#2. Evernote.
If you manage projects with several team members, this app is for you! Why? All the people who are involved with working on a project are able to place their notes, drafts and research - even audio clips and photos - into one big notebook. And, there are permission settings to ensure projects are not manipulated improperly.

#3. Nimble
Nimble will make your sales force cry, in a good way! This app pulls all clients', and potential clients', social media info and puts it in one place. Now, you can gain access and info as to what the opinions of your clients are and their likes and dislikes. This helps sales people close deals, compete and gain a competitive edge.

I hope your Valentine's Day is enjoyable and I will post more business ideas and news tomorrow!

Twyla

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Two Problems Associated with Focus!

Alright business owners, I'm talking to you here. Focus is an issue when you own and run a business. I'm sure you already know how it feels to be in charge of many things at once. So, what are the two major issues associated with remaining focused? Let me tell you.

First, stress. Are you laughing? Good! You need to laugh more because stressed business owners are ill-focused people who make poor decisions. It is hard not to stress when running a business. So, how can you defer stress? Set aside fifteen minutes of quite time. Shut down the cell phone, walk away from the office, and just be quite and still for fifteen minutes. This will help deplete your stress and regain your focus.

Don't go online! Seriously. This is the next step to remaining focused. A recent study cited that people who work on a computer change their screen 40 times an hour. How can someone focus on a specific task with all this bouncing around between screens, email accounts, online interests, etc.? Solve this issue by making it appoint to ONLY do one task at a time. Don't keep email open on your screen and place your phone on silent so you can't hear the "ping" of new emails coming in. This simple task will help you stay focused and perform better!

Do you have focus issues? Maybe suggestions to help others stay focused?

Let's continue the conversation on Twitter!

Twyla

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Easy Business & The Federal Government

So, you have a business and you want to do business with the Federal government. But, perhaps you think it is too complicated of a process or very time consuming. Well, as a business owner who works directly with the Federal government, I am here to tell you that the Small Business Administration (SBA) is making it easier and easier to conduct business with the Federal government.

Here's why: In 2012 a special committee at the SBA was asked by the President to make it easier for small businesses to sell to the Federal government, and for the Federal government to buy technology from the private sector. Thus, the website RFP-EZ was born. Here is the link. rfpez.sba.gov

This easy to navigate website helps business owners find, read and apply for Federal government business within a matter of ten minutes. The process is streamlined and extremely easy. According to the SBA, " the system has a feature inside of it called SOWComposer, which allows government contracting officers to easily share statements of work (SOWs)—just like developers can share open source code on websites like GitHub. This allows contracting officers to collaborate on templates and share best practices, so they don’t need to reinvent the wheel along with each new procurement. And finally, with RFP-EZ, bids come in all in one place, where they are easily sortable so that contracting officers and program offices can figure out which ones are the best ones."

The program has had great success in such a short period of time. Over two hundred businesses that never competed for Federal government contracts are now in the game. So you see, there is time to apply for Federal government business. You don't need a Master degree to start the process, either!

Have detailed questions?

Leave me a message and I will be happy to respond!

Twyla

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Small Business is BIG Business!

Many small businesses feel that they can't compete with major corporations. This is simply not true! A recent study, derived from American Express, found that 78% of all consumers believe smaller business equates to more personalized service. Customer service gives small businesses the edge.

Even more so, small businesses with a fantastic online presence have a unique opportunity to reach a lot of clients but still provide that personalized service that consumers highly desire. It is important for any business, small or large, to have a human connection element- especially online! It provides the customer service and connect-ability that consumers are seeking. For example, if a consumer writes a great review of your products or services online then thank them with a personal note and an eCoupon. Don't just send a simple and generic "thank you". Also, if a consumer complains about your business online then take action. Apologize right away. Don't delete the post. Chances are people already read and aware of the complain. So, show you care. Respond in a positive manner and make a note on how you are going to correct the problem specially for the consumer and for potential consumers in the future. Think of social media as if it were a small town. News travels fast! Be positive, engaged and responsive.

Lastly, be honest. Great customers service comes from having good intentions. Again, think like a small town business owner when competing in the real world or online. If you are dishonest about services, you will be found out. Don't do anything you wouldn't be proud of should you get caught and the evidence were to be published. Be smart and genuine when conducting business.

These tips WILL help you compete against other, larger businesses.

All my best,
Twyla Garrett

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Take Your Business Drama to Your Mama...

Oh, the drama of being a business owner. Oh, the drama of being an employee. Conflicts at work are nothing new. So, I've decided to share my top three tips on avoiding drama in the workplace.

#1. Accept that you’re not the smartest person in the room. This is especially true for business owners and managers. Employees can have really great, money-saving suggestions. So, put those egos aside and listen. You might find business gold.

#2. Have a difficult conversation before it causes tension in the office. Don't dance around an issue. Address it and do so professionally. I once heard someone say, "critical feedback deserves your respect. It’s not something to fit in between phone calls ." They were right. Set-aside a time and place to have the difficult conversation and then move on.

#3. Think before you speak. This seems simple enough but we are human. If you just blurt out what a jackass someone is, you can be opening yourself up for a lawsuit- even if you are right! So, think out a response before saying one. If you need time to cool down, then say, "I have to think about this before commenting". There is no law out there stating you have to respond to something or someone immediately. Give yourself some time to cool down and to be diplomatic. It will make you a great leader and free of legal troubles.

Tell me about your prior work-drama experiences on Twitter!

Twyla

Friday, February 8, 2013

Business Opportunities for 2013!

People are constantly asking me what the latest, greatest business will be. This question rises in popularity during the first quarter of each and every year. The truth about investing in a business is that you should invest in something you love. But, if you are looking to diversify your portfolio (and congrats on making it!) then my suggestions for the best business opportunities in 2013 are listed below.

First, start with the organic foods market. Americans spent over 59 million dollars last year on organic products. This number is expected to double in 2013. So, if you can, invest in organics!

Consider a bike store. If you invest in a bike store, chances are you will see a return within two years. Last year there were over 2.44 billion bicycling outings scheduled in our country. And, mountain bikes (racing bikes, too) are not cheap. The average cost is around six hundred dollars. You do the math! Cycling is still growing, making this activity a great investment opportunity.

My last recommendation will be in pet farewell products and services. it sounds morbid, but great products are still needed to help pet owners say their final goodbyes to their furry friends. In fact, cemeteries for pets in the U.S. brought in $52.87 billion in 2012. This does not include all the figures for memorial plaques, wind chimes, and more. If someone approaches you with this opportunities, don't laugh. This industry rakes in serious money.

So, if you have the chance to invest in any of these markets- consider it. Do your research and speak with the right attorney.

Twyla

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Twyla Garrett Hosts Free Business Advice Blog.

Twyla Garrett is a serial entrepreneur. She has self-funded several multi-million dollar projects and is the owner of Investment Management Enterprise. Now, Garrett is promoting her recently published business blog,. Twyla’s posts offer advice on paying bonuses vs. providing pay raises, where to find the cheapest domain names, updated tax rules for different business classifications, and more. The blog can be accessed through a direct link on Twyla's official Twitter account.

“When I started my first business I truly was a fish out of water. I wasn’t prepared for all the real-life scenarios not taught in business school,” said Garrett. “I decided to write a blog post every day with real-world business advice. The stuff not taught in school. Entrepreneurs will be able to read my blog on a daily basis without ever providing me with an email address or receiving spam. This blog is my gift for those looking to start and run a successful business.”

Twyla Garrett posts a new blog entry on a daily basis, usually around 10pm pacific time. Garrett also takes requests to cover specific topics via her Twitter account. “If someone has a questions about which software to use for payroll, ask it. I can tell them what works and what doesn’t. I’m hopeful this information will help others learn from my mistakes and avoid them all together,” continued Garrett.

Twyla Garrett is an extraordinary entrepreneur, corporate speaker, and compelling author who has been personally invited to speak at The Whitehouse on the issues of creating jobs, economic growth and the controversial fiscal cliff of 2012. Garrett is known for her notable (sometimes 100% self-funded) business deals as much as she is known for providing excellent opportunities to individuals facing immense challenges. Twyla’s memoir will be published in 2013 and it will be followed by a series of “how-to” business books, starting with one based on Homeland Security. Currently, Twyla’s business blog and social media accounts furnish motivational quotes and an over-the-shoulder view of her unique perspective on profiting in business while helping others.

https://twitter.com/TwylaGarrett

Helene Vece of JumpStart Ink (Media Manager)
702-749-5925 Ext 210

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Free Business Plans? Yes!

Free business plans? Yes! They are out there. But, that doesn't mean these "free" business plans are good. In fact, many of them are not. I've been through dozens of business plans on ArticleBase.com. Many offer ideas and financials for doughnut shops, liquor stores, and even pawn shop business. These "resources" can kill a business before doors even open.

So, how do you get help writing an actual business plan? Hire a professional. I write business plans for clients all the time. But, not everyone can afford to hire me and not everyone wants to hire me. I can give you the basics on business, but really- you should pair yourself up with an expert in your field.

Don't cut corners when you are starting a business. This includes downloading a free plan for a business or even paying for an online, downloadable template. There is more to a business plan than just writing down what you think will work or what you think a bank wants to see. Trust me on this, a business plan is a crucial blueprint for your success.

I want to hear your business plan questions and horror stories. Contact me on Twitter or leave a comment here.

Twyla

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are you reaching for magic in business?

The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players. – Blaine Lee

Are you reaching for the magic in business? Many of us go into business because we are passionate to create our own path in life. But, are we creating this path for the right reasons? Are we truly reaching for the magic that will make us money but provide a legacy, too? Or are we only focused on quick money and not investing in ourselves and are employees?

The key to business is to reach for the magic. You have to focus on it. Don't chase paper, don't worry about money not rolling in right away. Worry about talent within your company. Great talent makes for amazing magic. Business owners know they can't possibly run every aspect of their business. So, you have to find talented people to help you create magic and then the money will come.

I am willing and ready to take your questions on the magic of business.

Twyla

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Justice Department sued Standard & Poor's Ratings Services late Monday!

Here is an interesting article,http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324445904578284064003795142.html

Basically, The Justice Department sued Standard & Poor's Ratings Services late Monday, alleging the firm ignored its own standards to rate mortgage bonds that imploded in the financial crisis and cost investors billions.

There are a lot of politically motivated reasons for doing this. But, there are some sound ones, too. I am not sure if I agree or disagree. We did default. I couldn't walk into a bank and state I didn't pay my credit card because my mortgage was to high and it was someone else's fault. The bank would laugh at me and state that it is too bad and still my problem.

As a business owner, who does business with the federal government, this article does make me nervous. I am really interested to hear what other business owners think about it. Share your opinions with me or follow me on Twitter.

Twyla

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Developing HR Policies

Business owners usually hate developing HR policies. Why? Well, the task can take them away from the core of their business and marketing duties. But, having strong and comprehensive HR policies in place will help you stay clear from potential liability issues!

Why policies are important!

1. They communicate values and expectations for how things are done at your organization
2. They keep the organization in compliance with legislation and provide protection against employment claims
3. They document and implement best practices appropriate to the organization
4. They support consistent treatment of staff, fairness and transparency
5. They help management to make decisions that are consistent, uniform and predictable
6. They protect individuals and the organization from the pressures of expediency

There are many ways to go about setting up HR policies that are legal, fair and keep company moral up. If you don't know much about HR then seek out information online, through professional HR groups, or you can ask me. The best advise is to have your legal team run a review on all the policies you are thinking about setting up before you implement them!

For a great HR resource, check out http://www.humanresources.org/website/c/

Twyla

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Paying A Bonus Opposed To A Salary Increase.

In the current economic market it is no secret that pay raises are a difficult topic for both employer and employee. Now, some employers are getting creative. Bonus pays are becoming more and more common as a way to replace a pay increase. Here is why:

1. Bonuses are results driven. If your team is working, they get a bonus. If they are at a standstill - no bonus. Pay increases are often thought of as an entitlement and having nothing to do with performance. Paying a bonus is a win-win for employer and employee.

2. Bonus pay attracts competitive talent. If an employer notes a base pay and then states "regular bonuses based on performance" you will attract people who want to work. Like item number one, people who are willing to work for a lower base salary in exchange for a performance based bonus are more likely to be at work every single day and working to their fullest while at their place of employment.

3. Compel better management. Managers like to blame employees for why departments are not making money. But, many times these managers are not as involved with the employees and day-to-day operations as much as they should me. Bonuses help managers become involved with the day-t-day operations.

So what is the catch? Money! Bonuses can cost your company more money depending on the frequency. I would suggest speaking with your company's financial adviser before making any changes.

Twyla

Friday, February 1, 2013

The best business domains!

If you have or haven't started a business website yet, chances are that you're curious if you have the best deal on a domain. There are many popular providers, such as GoDaddy and Yahoo! Business. But, is ten dollars really the average for business domains?

As a business owner, I know every single penny of your budget counts. Below is a list of the top and cheapest business domain providers. I am not endorsing any of these websites but simply passing on the information.

#1. Register.com - starting at fifty cents per domain.
#2.NetworkSolutions.com - starting at seventy five cents per domain
#3. GoDaddy.com - there is a ninety-nine cent promotion but strings are attached.
#4. SuperCheapDomainNames.com

Buy and selling domains to other businesses can be a lucrative business, too. I recently had a friend offered over four thousand dollars for a domain she paid less than a dollar for! Sure, this type of money-maker use to be more prevalent, but there are still opportunities out there!

Have a great business domain provider? Please share it with me!

Twyla

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